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The Young Reporter


Engaging the Diaspora: Examining the Significance of Overseas Voting in Hong Kong for Korea's 22nd National Assembly Elections

Ban Kyungmin, an exchange student at Hong Kong Baptist University, came to the Korean consulate with a friend on the first day of the election to vote.  "I've always participated since I had the right to vote. I knew that I could vote overseas, so I applied in advance to participate in the overseas elections,” she said. South Korea is holding parliamentary elections on April 10th. Under the overseas election system, which was introduced after the amendment of the Public Offices Election Act in 2009, the Korean Central Election Commission announced that it would set up overseas voting stations in 178 diplomatic missions around the world, so Koreans living in Hong Kong will be able to vote at the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Hong Kong from March 27 to April 1 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on each day.   The Hong Kong Korean Association and other Korean student organizations in all Hong Kong universities and colleges have been eagerly anticipating the event and have been promoting it through their respective online communities and social media. Election officials are at the entrance to guide the election. “I think it's an opportunity for Koreans abroad to feel a sense of belonging to Korea and to unite with other Koreans living abroad,"  Ban Kyung-min added. Kyungmin Ban and her friend make a "vote-proof pose". The Korean Central Election Commission is responsible for preventing and cracking down on election crimes and supervising election administration. The Overseas Election Commission comprises two members nominated by the NEC, one nominated by each of the political parties that form a bargaining group in the National Assembly, and one nominated by the head of the diplomatic mission.  Overseas missions and the Election Commission have recruited various personnel, including poll guides and election officials.  …

Culture & Leisure

Art Basel Hong Kong full-scale returns with an objective turnover

The 11th edition of Art Basel Hong Kong was held from Mar. 28 to 30 at the Convention and Exhibition Center, with more than 80,000 visitors and totaling $39.4 million, recording a 4% increase in global turnover. Art Basel 2024 showcased the work from 242 of the world's leading galleries from 40 countries and territories.  Lu Caiyun, Chairman of UBS Wealth Management Asia, said in a public address that art market sales in Mainland China and Hong Kong reached approximately US$12.2 billion, a 9% increase year-on-year. "While the cloud of high interest rates, inflation and political instability continues to slow down growth at the top end of the market, buyers are particularly active in the lower price points,” said Clare McAndrew, the founder of Arts Economics.  This year, 23 galleries from Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas exhibited in Hong Kong for the first time, with an increase of 65 galleries over 2023, according to Art Basel Hong Kong. “Our goal is to connect visitors from around the world with our home, Hong Kong, through the collaboration and innovation inspired by art and artists," said the director of Art Basel Hong Kong Sylvia Lok in public address.  

Hong Kong Budget Unveils HK$ 1.09 billion to Boost Tourism, Reinventing the City's Brand Image

  • 2024-02-29

Financial Secretary Mr. Paul Chan released the budget proposal today. Photo source: Sing Tao Daily. Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po said he would allocate an additional HK$1.09 billion to support the tourism industry, including monthly fireworks displays and drone performances on Victoria Harbour, revitalising the nightly harbour light show and promoting immersive and in-depth experiences such as "Citywalk."  The plan aims to effectively use the city's waterfront resources and enhance local tourism activities to attract visitors and improve Hong Kong's economy while reshaping its brand image. The Tourism Board also intends to introduce dining, retail and entertainment facilities in suitable locations along the Victoria Harbour waterfront to provide convenience and enhance the visitor experience, Chan said. “We want to promote Hong Kong as a hospitable, people-focused city,” Chan said in the budget address. The government is also launching initiatives such as the Sai Kung Hoi Art Festival to "soft sell" Hong Kong.  However, Tang Wing Tung, 20, a university student and hiking enthusiast, said, "As a hiking enthusiast, these projects already have some level of promotion within Hong Kong itself. I believe the government's so-called 'soft sell' approach will have little impact," she said. The budget highlights initiatives to promote arts, culture, and creative industries to boost tourism, including an East-meets-West Centre for International Cultural Exchange and introducing a blueprint for developing arts, culture, fashion and creative industries. Funding injections of around HK$1.4 billion and HK$2.9 billion will support film, arts and design projects, including the annual Hong Kong Fashion Design Week. Local vocational college VTC  held a fashion show in West Kowloon in October 2023, though Christian Dior postponed its highly anticipated March fashion show on Feb 26.  The government has also launched the Signature Performing Arts Programme Scheme to establish long-running, representative local performing arts programs. They aim …


Siamese fighting fish competition adds a punch to Hong Kong Pet Show

  • By: YANG Shuyi、NG Natasha Goa ShengEdited by: Yau To LUM
  • 2024-01-27

The “Hong Kong Pet Show 2024" returns on Jan. 25 with Hong Kong’s first-ever “IBC International Betta Show 2024” organized by the International Betta Congress, a worldwide union of Betta-lovers and breeders.  Over 600 Siamese rumble fish from different countries are displayed at this year’s Hong Kong Pet Show for the global competition. The event is supposed to raise awareness on the conservation of fighting fish, otherwise known as rumble fish or betta. Eddy, one of the staff members in charge of the “IBC International Betta Show 2024”, said that Betta competition in the world has changed. “Nowadays Betta competition is no longer the same as before. We are now focusing more on their appearance,” he said.  Before the start of the competition, all fish are separated into different groups based on their fins, breed, and colour. Then, a demerit point system is used to grade their score. It is expected to have 600-700 competitors before the registration deadline. “We hope that through this competition people could be aware of the increase of Betta breeds now and more people will know about them,” he said. Hong Kong Pet Show 2024 is bigger than in previous years, with more than 650 booths and offering all kinds of products, pet food, and pet insurance. But Gary Chiu Wai-lam, the Management Director of one of the exhibitors, Kangaroo Pet Nutrition, thought there were 10 percent fewer visitors to this year’s pet show on day one compared with last year. “Since we are agents for other pet shops, joining the pet show gives us a channel to tell our customers what our products are about and the advantages of different products.” Daisy Pun, the director of 1363 Natural Pet Home, is an exhibitor who hasn’t joined the pet show before. “Big exhibitions can help …


Greater transparency needed as Hong Kong aims to transform into a green finance hub

    “Greenwashing” is a new buzzword featured at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow. It’s part of the slogan of teeanger climate activist, Greta Thunberg. Greenwashing refers to a false impression or providing misleading information about how environmentally friendly a business of a product might be. Hong Kong has been trying to reposition itself as an international green financial hub since 2018. But the process finally stepped out this year as the government and industries seek to address disclosure issues in the green and sustainable investment market as a way to stamp out “greenwashing”. Stephen Phillips, director-general of investment promotion in InvestHK, a department of the government responsible for foreign investment in Hong Kong, told The Young Reporter that  the city “has an important role to play as a green finance centre”. “A number of listed companies also, very strongly committed to both raising green capital, but also being compliant around bringing standards,” he said, “ and Hong Kong obviously serves not only Hong Kong and the rest of China, but also a place in which companies raise money from across the whole of Asia.” A report conducted by Standard Chartered Bank in 2020 found that among 1085 respondents from Hong Kong, Singapore, the United Arab Emirate and the United Kingdom, 59% of them who put money in sustainable investment said they would consider investing 5% to 10% in sustainable investing, and 75% said they would consider increasing their investment to 25% or more due to the pandemic. However, Alvin Li, Group Financial Consultant of TAL Group, said many investors may take a wait-and-see attitude towards green investment mainly because it is still under development. “The green bond market is still relatively new, still in the embryonic stage, and the secondary market is not fully developed. Investors have doubts …


13 years after Sichuan earthquake: looking back and moving on

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: WANG Jingyan 王婧言、REN Ziyi DavidEdited by: Robin Ewing
  • 2021-05-12

  The Young Reporter looks back at the Sichuan earthquake 13 years ago today. The magnitude-8 quake devastated the region, killed nearly 70,000 and injured close to 375,00. Almost 18,000 people are still missing. People all over China as well as in Japan, Thailand and the Philippines reported tremors. Now, more than a decade later, the psychological effects are still being felt but China is more prepared. May 12, 2008 -- 2:28pm “I felt the sense of shaking but at first I didn’t care about it too much,” said Wang Zhangling, who was in primary school in Mianyang, Sichuan when the earthquake hit. “The whole building began to shake heavily, and teachers shouted at us to run,” he said. Now a 20-year-old university student, Mr Wang said he remembered many classmates were crying as they rushed to the playground. Close to 16,000 died, thousands of them schoolchildren, and more than 100,000 were injured in Mianyang. Seven schools in the city collapsed. Long Zhengyin, now 51, said he remembered clearly the landslide when the quake struck the rural college he worked in as a security guard in Wenchuan county in Aba prefecture. “Dust blotted out the sky, and it was very dark,” he said. “The first thought in my mind was ‘I’m definitely going to die’.” Peng Sien, now 19, experienced strong tremors in Chengdu, 80 kilometres away from the epicentre. “I’ll never forget that moment when I ran downstairs in our kindergarten, holding one shoe in my hand,” she said, explaining that it was nap time when the earthquake hit.   The aftermath For a month, Mr Wang and his family lived in a temporary tent because of aftershocks that continued until June 1. Every night they placed an upturned beer bottle in front of the tent to alert them …

Hong Kong top cyclists eager to join next week’s Nations Cup ahead of the Olympics

  • 2021-05-06

Next week’s track cycling Nations Cup, the city’s biggest international sporting event since the outbreak of COVID-19, will be a good “warm-up match” for the Tokyo Olympics, Hong Kong cycling coach Shen Jinkang said in an online press conference today. In April, the government approved a COVID-19 safety plan from UCI, the worldwide governing body for cycling, for the event, which will be held in the Hong Kong Velodrome in Tseung Kwan O. The plan, which UCI calls a “life bubble,” includes no audience during the competition and no quarantine for the 100 athletes arriving from overseas, who are required to have a negative COVID-19 test before boarding. The Hong Kong team will send five cyclists to participate in the competition, including Sarah Lee Wai-sze and Jessica Lee Hoi-yan, who will join the Tokyo Olympics. “We are very eager to join this competition,” Mr Shen said at the conference, adding that this is the best chance for the Hong Kong team to learn about possible competitors before the Olympics, especially for Sarah Lee, who is competing for the first time in 14 months. Sarah Lee, who won Hong Kong’s first Olympic medal in cycling in 2012, will participate in sprint, keirin and team sprint in this competition. She set the goal to become the top three in individual competitions and help the team for the top eight. “In the past, there were crowds of audience in Hong Kong, and I remember their faces and cheers so this time I will know they are there for me,” she said in a recorded video at the press conference. Cyclist Jessica Lee said the “life bubble” is an advantage as it will help the team get familiar with a similar model for the Olympics. The first international athletes will arrive in Hong Kong …


Hong Kong hotels struggle to stay afloat despite staycation fad

  • The Young Reporter
  • By: Zhu Zijin Cora 朱子槿Edited by: Zhu Zijin Cora 朱子槿
  • 2021-02-12

Chui Yuk-hei, a 26-year-old event planner, checked into several luxury hotels in November. She enjoyed her stay at the Mandarin Oriental, the Peninsula Hong Kong and the Four Seasons. “I never tried them before because these top hotels were super expensive,” Ms Chui said, “but now they all offer affordable overnight staycation packages. It’s the best time to enjoy their services.” She spent about HK$9,000 on three hotels in total, less than half the original prices.  More Hong Kongers like Ms Chui are going on staycations, spending holidays in hotels this year. But amid the coronavirus gloom, staycations are not enough to boost revenues, and local hotels still face uncertainties. The fourth wave of Covid-19 infections started in the city in late November 2020. Before that, clusters of cases linked to staycations prompted the government to limit the number of guests in each hotel room to four people only. “Health concerns made many customers cancel their staycation, “ said Benson Soo Koon-chau, 46, manager of four-star One-Eight-One Hotel & Serviced Residences in Sai Wan.      “Staycation is a very up-and-down business,” Mr Soo said. “Many hotels’ staycation business has been largely affected. It’s unlike long-staying service, which people need to pre-pay, no matter whether they eventually check in or not.” One-Eight-One Hotel has increased the portion of long-term leases for customers staying longer than two weeks to earn more stable revenue, he said. “I won’t go on staycation any time soon. It’s not safe. Even before the fourth wave, I would check the health measures at each hotel first,” Ms Chui said.  The pandemic has hit hard on the city’s hospitality industry which already suffered from anti-government protests in 2019. The occupancy rate slumped to 39% in the first six months of 2020 from the previous year’s 90% for …


Invest for your Future: Retirement Savings should now be on Track

Retirement may seem a long way off for young people, but it is never too early to invest for better retirement life. Once entering the workforce in Hong Kong, fresh graduates will start to invest via the Mandatory Provident Fund (MPF) - an employment-based retirement protection system. Under the scheme, both employee and employer are required to make a monthly mandatory MPF contribution, which is equivalent to 5% of the employee's relevant income, with a cap of HKD$30,000 per month. Employees with monthly earnings less than HK$7,100 are exempt from contributing to their own MPF accounts, but their employers are still required to make a 5% contribution.  In that case, for someone who has worked for 43 years, he or she will have a minimum of $3 million of savings under the MPF Scheme.  However, MPF hasn’t made everyone feel secure enough. The Financial Literacy Monitor 2018 reveals only 34% of surveyed Hongkongersres aged 18 to 79 were confident that they were financially well-prepared for retirement. According to UN World Population Prospects 2019, the average life expectancy for Hong Kong people has reached 85 years, ranking the top in the world. As people in Hong Kong generally retire at 65, retirement can potentially last for more than 20 years. During retirement, your monthly living expenses, medical fees as well as the cost of inflation can come up to much more than you expect. According to the Census and Statistics Department, the average monthly expenditure of retired households is $22,634. However, the survey done by the University of Hong Kong shows that respondents expected an average monthly retirement living expenses of about $12,600, which is less than half the actual monthly expenditure from the census and statistics department survey. Nearly 80% of the respondents considered that the average monthly expenditure after …


A drive through the newly opened Wan Chai Bypass and Island Eastern Corridor

The Wan Chai Bypass and Island Eastern Corridor opens today, costing $36 billion dollars to build. The project began in December 2009 and aims to reduce traffic from the eastern corridor towards the city’s central area, which has previously been a problematic area for traffic during rush hour. This is caused by drivers and passengers going back to the Kowloon side via the Cross Harbour Tunnel and surge of traffic going towards the Sai Ying Pun area from Causeway Bay. Passengers that go by the route from the eastern corridor to the west side often have a 30 to 45 minute wait between 5:00PM to 7:30PM. Roads have now been changed in order to accommodate the brand new tunnel. One of our reporters drove through the tunnel this afternoon, taking about 5 minutes to drive through the entire 4.5km tunnel, with generally smooth traffic. However, the final "test" that should occur would be during the rush hours in the morning and evening. During the drive, there were no clear instructions indicated on switching lanes within the tunnel was not allowed, giving the Wan Chai North (going to the Wan Chai Convention Center) only one lane, but three lands while heading out to the western side of the island. Despite the three lanes leading up to the western side, there was also no clear route that connects the Western Crossing harbour Tunnel since the exit is currently closed. One of the main aims of the tunnel was to divert the traffic from the Cross Harbour Tunnel to the Western Crossing Tunnel and the Eastern Harbour Crossing. However, the unclear instructions and unopened roads made it very difficult to get to the Western Harbour Crossing. Overall, the experience of driving through the tunnel was smooth, despite some minor changes in the directions and some exits of the tunnel remaining closed.