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Photo Essay

Weighing ambitions with a steelyard

  • 2016-12-11

A skill that bonded father and daughter over decades by Connie Fong People in Hong Kong may come across traditional Chinese steelyards, a type of balance, in wet markets and Chinese medicine pharmacies. Yet only a few of them know the proper way to use one, though it was the optimal tool for measuring weight in the olden days. Lee Wo Steelyard, the last store selling handmade steelyards has nestled in Yau Ma Tei for over eighty-five years although digital balances had replaced steelyards and diminished its crafting industry. "My goal is to preserve my dad's spirit and let more people understand about the beauty of steelyard", said Mrs Ho, the owner of Lee Wo Steelyard. She has been determined to keep her father's dream alive by operating his store up till this day despite having few successors in steelyard crafting. It is hard for beginners to learn the skills in the steelyard industry because the masters and seniors treat their apprentices harshly, Ho said. Her dad had gone through a tough time when he first stepped into the scene, as the requirements for making a steelyard of good quality was fairly high in the golden days. "I hate to say this but this is really a pity for me to witness this unique craft vanishing in the society", said Ho. The steelyard shop owner is unable to make any new steelyards at 76 years of age and the stock in her shop are all that she has left. There are only three to four steelyard masters left in Hong Kong and they would soon be retired as all of them are in senility, Ho said. "I wouldn't retire until the day I die because the shop is my dad's ambition in his life and I will do everything to …

Photo Essay

Americans remember: 15 years after 911 in New York

  • 2016-11-10

The second Sunday of September marks the 15th anniversary of the 911 terror attack by Henry Wong Many memorial events were held around New York city, to mourn and remind Americans of their loss. Apart from the major 911 memorial ceremony which held the morning at Ground Zero (former World Trade Center site), memorial events were held at St. Paul's Chapel and other places as well. A parade was also organised by the New York City Police Department to honour the police officers who scarified their lives in this terrorist attack. "I feel that more people have come to the memorial events this year,"said Alexandra De Rose outside the 911 Memorial and Museum, "I was eight when it happened." Ms Rose, 23 years old, is an Italian who often visits her family members living in New York. "I remembered I was in school when it happened. It really resonates with us because a lot of the victims were Italian American,"Rose said. "I was little when it happened. When I saw these images on TV, I could not really comprehend, I just thought it was horrible,"she said. Ms Rose thought the national security has become better after the attack, especially security check at the airport.   (Edited by Aaron Au)

Photo Essay

Handcrafted Mahjong

  by Henry Wong Ho Sau-mei polishes and refines her newly made piles of mahjong with the custom-made tools in her tiny shop in Hung Hom. "The society might not need this handcrafting skill anymore, so it is inevitable that it will be lost to technological advancement," Ho said. Ho Sau-Mei is in her 50s. She is the only mahjong crafter in Hong Kong and still works in the shop which her father started in 1962. Handcrafted mahjong has been listed by the Intangible Cultural Heritage Advisory Committee as an intangible cultural heritage in Hong Kong. Yet, Ho might close her shop when she retires. "I am tired and my eyes are not as good as they used to be. I would say I do this as a hobby, not for money," said Ms. Ho. Making handcrafted mahjong is time consuming. Ho needs at least a week to craft, paint and clean a complete the set of 144 mahjong tiles. "Even my son refuses to carry on the heritage. I see no future for this industry because you would not be able to earn a living with the skill," Ho said. "I seldom play mahjong. I just enjoy the process of crafting the tiles," Ho said. (Edited by Phoebe Chau)

Photo Essay

The Haunted House

  • 2016-01-29

  by Choco Chan Lights were dimmed, the walls were dilapidated. Big signs were found on the walls threatening residents to destroy their copper pipes. This is the site known in Hong Kong for multiple murders and suicides, the Hoi Hing Building. Hoi Hing Building is one of the redevelopment projects of Henderson Land Development in Tai Kwok Tsui, there has been an ongoing buy-out of this building since 2008. "They (the remaining residents) struggle to live every day because of the unbearable living environment the developer created," said one of the committee members of owners' corporation in the Hoi Hing Building, Lee, who lived there for 34 years. After the gruesome murder case of Henry Chau Hoi-leung, who chopped his parents' head off and later froze the remains in the fridge in 2013, most of the residents have seeked for another shelter for their lives. The building was left to rot with less than ten occupancies out of 270 flats. "Among the ten households that still live in this building, three has yet given up their ownership," said Lee. "The developer has been destroying the building, for example, cutting the electricity, to force the remaining residents to give up on their ownerships." There are five gates to the building from different directions. Lee said one of the locks was deliberately destroyed after the buy-out have taken place. Without locks and guards, the security of this building was further enfeebled. Crimes like rape, arson and robbery were rampant, fear of the Hoi Hing Building blanketed the neighbourhood and lingers. "It's not likely the remaining flats can make it through under this living condition. The developers always have their ways to get what they want, be it good ways or bad," Lee said. (Edited by Amie Cheng)


The Face of Victory: Tsai Ing-wen and Her Supporters

  • 2016-01-18

  Tsai Ing-wen won the 2016 Taiwan General elections and becomes the first female president on the island. She beat the Kuomintang' candidate Eric Chu Li-luan in a landslide victory by grabbing more than 6.5 million votes. She said today's victory is the first milestone for reforms, promising to unify all parts of Taiwan and strengthen the country to defend the people: "We will not be divided by the elections but we will be more unified by democracy." Supporters of Tsai Ing-wen, the president elected of Taiwan, celebrated outside the headquarter of Democratic Progressive Party. More than 30,000 people used their mobile phones to "Light up Taiwan". That has been the slogan of Tsai's electoin campaign. The DPP also took about 60 percent of the seats in the parliamentary election held on the same day. Jeffrey Chiu Shien-yu, 26, one of the supporters of the new president, waved a rainbow flag at the moment of victory. He believed Tsai will be willing to listen to the public. "She understands the needs of the minority, such as LGBT, ethic groups and indigenous people, he said. "We are proud that she is elected. She is the first female president of Taiwan. It's not only men in politics." Chu Li-luan conceded defeat when Tsai had a commanding vote count and resigned as the president of the Kuomintang. "We have not tried hard enough and failed supporter' expectations." "We are facing unprecedented challenges," said Mr Chu. "We have to remember the lessons so that we can come back the next time." Pan-green camp, led by the DPP takes at least half the seats in parliamentary elections, wresting control of the 113-member parliament away from the Nationalists. Chiang Wan-an, son of former president Chiang Ching-kuo, was elected as legislator of Taipei. As the first parliament member …

Photo Essay

Final days of the fabric bazaar

  by Flavia Wong Chan Yu-tung, also known as "Uncle Tung", 82, is the oldest hawker in the Yen Chow Street Hawker Bazaar in Sham Shui Po, where he has worked for decades. He still enjoys his work in the market, although he says the environment is not ideal – the small fabric market was built with plastic and iron sheets and is packed with fabric bolts. But that all may soon come to an end if the government gets its way. In August, the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department sent letters to hawkers saying it was planning to resume the land for building 200 units under the Home Ownership Scheme, according to a report by local media Apple Daily. Hawkers with a license may have the choice of compensation of $80,000, lower than the normal $120,000, if they return the licenses back to the government, or they will be offered a stall in other markets. Yet, among the 190 tenants, only 21 of them actually have government licenses, according to Cable TV's report. These hawkers will receive no compensation. Tung has no license. "The government has not talked to us, the tenants, yet. We have no idea how they would settle us, or if they would compensate us," he said. He added that he will miss the market if it is closed. Since the 1970s, the fabric market has been the paradise of fashion students. They have also expressed their reluctance to part with the market. Some university graduates even take photos in the market in their graduation gown. "We can find varieties of fabrics here and they are very cheap. Hawkers are also very nice to us. It actually nurtures many students," said Chee Ka-po, a graduate of Bachelor of Fashion and Textile Studies, Hong Kong Polytechnic University. …


The man behind the mask

  • 2013-10-14

  As popular as his videos may be, the man behind the local YouTube channel, FH Production HK, remains a mystery to viewers. Unlike many who have found fame, Mr Darren Cheng prefers staying in the shadows as he enjoys the glory of his success.