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Bicycle demonstration oppose road expansion


protesters holding signs (photo: Oriental Daily)

Over 200 residents participated in a bicycle demonstration on Sunday, riding form Sha Tin to Tai Po to oppose the expansion of Ting Kok road, Oriental Daily reported.

A document drafted in 2011 by the Tai Po District Council proposed to expand the current two-lane vehicle route of Ting Kok road to four lanes to meet the increasing traffic after the completion of the Lung Mei artificial beach, which is also a controversial project opposed by environmental groups.

If the proposal is passed, it is likely that the 3-kilometer cycle route will disappear, S.M. Li, a green group leader, said at a press conference held earlier this month. It will also affect the eco system of the sea and even some ancient buildings, he said.

A member of the District Council responded to the proposal. “We don’t want the cycle route to be invaded either,” Chueng Kwok-wai said, “It depends on which section the road is in. If there is space beside the road, I think we should expand the road by moving the cycle route outward and do not change its width and affect people’s riding,” Chueng said.

Ting Kok road winds three kilometers from Sam Mun Tsai road to Tai Mei Tuk. Its cycle route beside the vehicle lane is among the few cycle routs in Hong Kong. Tourists and residents enjoy their weekends riding and jogging on the road. On one side of the road is the sea and Lung Mei beach and on the other is the village and the houses.

Although the Tai Po District Council didn’t clearly point out in its document that the cycle route will be invaded, green groups and residents still worry that the cycle route will be invaded. “Neither will they fill in the sea to construct the road nor knock down the houses, so it seems that invading the bicycle route is the only method,” Li, the green group leader said.

Woo Kwok ping, 34, lives in Tai Po and usually takes her children to ride bicycles in Ting Kok road. “That will be a terrible shame if it will include the bicycle path. And it’s very dangerous as well, because a lot of people do use them,” she said.


Crime reporter: More descriptions needed in sex crime stories

HONG KONG _ Reporters should be specific when describe the actions of child sex crimes to inform readers of what happened, because the more people talk about sex abuse the less crime there will be, a crime reporter said Monday.


photo: from Sara Ganim’s personal website

News organizations usually replace words such as “rape” with some more general and vague ones in sex crime stories according to what is called the “breakfast rule”, said Sara Ganim, a young Pulitzer Prize winner. Instead of saying a 67-year-old man raped an 8-year-old girl, they would say a 67-year-old man accused of fondling an 8-year-old girl, which will possibly result in doubt and misunderstanding in readers’ head, she said.

The “breakfast rule” means editors or TV directors don’t want their audiences to be disgusted by gruesome descriptions when they have breakfast, Ganim said.

Therefore, disclaimers such as editor’s note or TV warnings are often used to prevent people from reading graphic descriptions that may lead to discomfort, said Ganim. “I think we should use a lot more. It gives you more opportunity to go further with your language with descriptions. We shouldn’t keep details out for the sake of sparing readers from anxiety or discomfort,” she said, “if there was penetration, say it.”

Ganim, 25, is one of the youngest journalists to win the Pulitzer Prize. She was the first to break the sex abuse scandal of Jerry Sandusky, a Penn State assistant football coach. She spoke with the journalism students at a Hong Kong university.

Another problem with sex crime reporting, according to Ganim, is the struggle of giving enough information but not identifying the victims. In the story of three teenage girls being raped by their father she only wrote that “the man has been accused of raping three teenagers,” but didn’t use their ages, so later they weren’t identified by their friends. However, reporters sometimes could be blamed for covering up and not telling the story if little information were provided for the sake of protection, she said.

“It’s not a easy decision and it differs every time,” she said, “my best advice is that more information is usually better than less information.”

Chinese blogger arrested for twitter joke about China’s 18th Party Congress

  1. Zhai Xiaobing’s Nov. 5 tweet said  “#SpoilerTweet #Enter-at-your-own-peril ‘Final Destination 6’ has arrived. In which the Great Hall of the People collapses all of a sudden. All 2,000 people meeting there died except for 7 of them. But afterwards, the seven die one after another in bizarre ways. Is it a game of God, or the wrath of Death? How will 18, the mysterious number, unlock the gate of Hell? Premieres globally on November the 8th to bring you an earthshaking experience!”(translated by Yaxue Cao)
  2. Stariver
    #剧透推 #慎入 死神来了6即将上映。大会堂突然倒塌,正在开会的2000多人只有7人幸免,事后却又一一离奇死亡。是上帝的游戏,还是死神的怒火,神秘数字18怎样开启地狱之门?11月8日全球院线震撼登场!
  3. His friend Liu Yanping confirmed on her twitter that Zhai was taken away by the police at 11 a.m., Nov. 6 when he was home alone and detained at 2 a.m., Nov.7.
  4. duyanpili
    RT @iamhudi:  我昨晚与星河妻子通电。6号上午11时许星河独自在家被特警抓走带至派出所,7号凌晨2点被刑拘。目前关押在密云县看守所。 @ArielttDF:@wenyunchao正在寫關於此事的報導,請問你們有沒有哪位致電過北京公安局?
  5. AP: sources including: Liu Yanping, Zhai’s friend; a Miyun county police officer; Maya Wang, a Hong Kong-based Asia researcher for Human Rights Watch
  6. Wall Street Journal: unnamed sources including: friends and police officer;
  7. BBC: more analysis and context is provided
  8. South China Morning Post
  9. A petition drafted by Wen Yunchao, Hong Kong, media professional on November 17. demanding the release of Zhai Xiaobing
  10. A Chinese blogger’s blog post
  11. Some of Zhai’s tweets translated in English by Yaxue Cao, a Chinese blogger

Big changes take time– environmental group leader interview

Gabrielle Ho, project manager of Green Sense

When Gabrielle Ho is grabbing her lunch one day, she overhears a man’s complaint. “We still rely on electric fans in autumn, then how are we gonna survive in summer?” She doesn’t argue with the man though she really wants to, but she can’t help thinking: is it really that hot to turn on the air conditioner?

Ho, 29, is the project manager of Green Sense, a non-governmental environmental organization. Among all the environment-related topics, the wise use of air conditioner is one of their major concerns.

“The electric heaters in a convenience store of the neighborhood are almost sold out because the room temperature in an office building is too cold. ” she says. “This is totally unreasonable and unnecessary. It doubles the waste.”

Green Sense, established in 2004, advocates environmental friendly practice in society and calls for public environmental consciousness through research and education. It also focuses on issues of shark saving and light pollution etc.

Recently, Ho is busy with the Lung Mei project, a controversial proposal to turn a natural beach near Tai Po into an artificial public beach by 2015. The Green Sense, together with other green groups is working hard to save the habitat of more than 200 rare marine and bird species.

Ho, like most college graduates did, found her first job at a large company. But it was not long before she quit her job. “The company is really environmental unfriendly in many ways.” Ho explains. Then she became a staff of Green Sense after her three-year voluntary work. “I’ve really given up lots of things,” says Ho, “but I just felt a sense of mission to do so.”

The geography major says she got the initiated ideas from her mother. “She collected all the plastic bags and brought them when she went to supermarket,” Ho says, “She also told me to collect the bath water and reuse it to mop the floor.”

Now it’s the eighth year since Ho has been to Green Sense. “It’s not easy,” says Ho, “We have received phone calls from angry residents, some of whom were very rude, blaming us on setting the temperature of air conditioners so high that they are sweating.” “It’s understandable because big changes take time,” she adds, “but I will persist in what I think is right. This is quite important.”

A simple life

HONG KONG_ She made the vital decision at the age of 25, Zhi Rong, a Buddhist nun had her hair cut in the tonsure ceremony, where she got her current name, meaning “wisdom” and “harmony”. Now, she is 46.

In the living room of a small Buddhist temple near Kowloon Tong, Zhi Rong, wearing a light gray robe and a pair of rimless glasses, sits down at a table. “Have some tea,” she says while smiling. A deeply tranquil presence seems to surround her.

It was not until she witnessed her fathers suffering from a serious disease did she realize the uncertain nature of life and the existence of karma.

“People’s motivation may differ, but it more or less deepens after they suffered something. In Buddhism, the ultimate goal is to end the circle of repeated death and rebirth by seeking enlightenment,” she explains.

Born in Taiwan, Zhi Rong became a Buddhist nun in Hong Kong eight years ago. She got a Bachelor degree and had some different jobs before she became a nun, but not married.

For Zhi Rong, Buddhism is not passive. “We have to fulfill our commitment to our families,” she says, “I once said to my father, ’when women got married, sometimes they may not necessarily be the daughters of their fathers anymore, but I will be your daughter forever after I become a nun. ’”

She took an oath on the first day she became a nun of not breaking the 348 commandments, whose specific terms are kept confidential to outsiders. “This is because the commandments are for the purpose of self-discipline, but not for you to judge others by this system of measurements,” she says.

Among all the commandments, avoid eating meat is an obvious one. “We believe that all beings, including animals, have once been our parents in the many lives we lived, so we need to protect them,” she says, “Vegetarian diet makes you comfortable and feel at ease. It also gives you pleasant body odor.”

In this 21st century, Master Zhi rong also has a cell phone—not an iPhone 4S or a blackberry, but an old, black-and-white screen NOKIA, which costs HK$198. She didn’t learn to use the computer. “People are easily indulged in it,” says Zhi Rong.

Life is simple, but sometimes they are happier because they already learned to satisfy.

Living with or without——summary of a radio program on “This American Life”

Nubar Alexanian had been suffering from the annoying, loud tones in his head all the time for over 10 years. It is tinnitus. The first doctor that he went to said there was no cure and he had to learn to live with it. He went to several other doctors and tried almost every means through out these 10 years. But it only turned out that the first doctor was right.

Nubar was a photographer. He used to travel constantly until the tinnitus suddenly stopped his career.

Nubar said he couldn’t imagine losing his hearing. However, for his teenage daughter Abby Alexanian, living with perfect hearing was unimaginable either. Abby had a hearing loss and had to wear a hearing aid.

Coincidently, those high frequent tones which Nubar always wanted to remove from his head  were just the ones that Abby missed from her hearing loss. She just can’t hear the tones that her father hears.

After the tinnitus, Nubar was forced to slow down his life. He spent much more time at home with her daughter. “I got more of you.” “And I think that was really good for the family.” her daughter said.

A real Hong Kong behind statistics

What is the most impressive image of Hong Kong in your mind? For most people, Hong Kong may be an international metropolis with big shopping malls and various kinds of delicious Dim Sum. However, statistics would be helpful to reveal more facts of Hong Kong in depth.

1. Air-conditioners

The “no air-con night” event proposed by Green Sense can reduce, at one night, the CO2 emission by 370 tons, which equals to the amount of CO2 that 15,000 trees may absorb in a whole year.

no air-con night in Sep.2011

According to government statistics, among the total electric energy consumption, nearly 60 percent is consumed by air-conditioning during July and August of each year.

Although the government recommended temperature is 25.5 °C, many places such as cinemas, subways, and classrooms are still extremely cold. (some even under 19 °C) This forces many children, women and senior citizens to wear coats to keep warm.

check out the link for more details: http://noaircon2011.blogspot.hk

2. Non-eligible deliveries

Compared with last few months, fewer pregnant women from Mainland China rushed to the AEDs to give birth to their children.

statistics from Hospital Authority

The number of deliveries by non-eligible persons via public hospital AEDs dropped from 57 in August to 52 in September.

check out the link for more details:


3. Public Housing in Hong Kong

According to the housing statistics released by Housing Authority, about 46 percent of Hong Kong residents live in public houses funded by the government, with an average living space per person of 12.9 square meters.

residential buildings stand closely against each other

Hong Kong is no doubt a compact city with more than seven million people live in a small land. Residential buildings are usually vertical extended to make advantage of the limited space.

check out the link for more details:


4. Hong Kong People love eating outside

Hong Kong residents spend 27.5 percent of their money on food each month, among which 17.1 percent are used  for meals away from home.

Moreover, the catering industry is highly developed in Hong Kong. There are over 12,000 restaurants in Hong Kong by the end of 2010.

check out the link for more details: http://www.censtatd.gov.hk/m/o270.jsp

5. The Residential Care Services for Elders

By the end of August 2012, there are 29047 elders who are in the waiting list to move into the eldercare center.  And statistics show that the average waiting time for the elders to move in is more than 25 months, which is about 2 years.

Statistics on ‘Waiting List for Residential Care Services’ and ‘Waiting Time
for Residential Care Services’

The Hong Kong movie “A Simple Life” (Sister Peach) brought people’s attention to the living conditions of elders. But from the statistics we can conclude that moving to the eldercare center is not easy and still needs a lot of time.

check out the link for more details:


The sun on Sunday


Aries in Hung Hom 


Filipino workers gathered in the public garden at night

HONG KONG_It’s an ordinary Sunday in Hung Hom. Aries Valle and her sister are taking pictures of each other in turn against flowers and the blue sky.

Around them in the public gardens are groups of Filipino workers gathering to enjoy their only day off on Sunday.

Aries, 31, is one of those Filipino workers. She lives in her employer’s house in Tsuen Wan and travels a no short distance to Hung Hom only to meet her sister.

This is Aries’s fifth year in Hong Kong. Besides the nitty-gritty household chores based on a regular and fixed schedule, a top priority of Arise is to take good care of the two children of her boss.

Aries always gets along well with kids. She gets her current job just because the kid likes her. “The boy pointed at me and said to his mom ’I like this woman, ’ ” Aries recalls. Then she went back home with her current employer.

Aries spends most of her time with the kids, much more than her boss does. “On Saturdays when my boss is still at work, I play puzzles or do some readings with them for a whole day.”

Gradually, the children developed strong attachment to Aries. “Of course sometimes my boss is jealous, but he can somehow understand because it is me who spend more time with their kids,” Aries adds.

Actually, she spends much more time with her boss’s children than her own ones. She left Philippines nine months after giving birth to her first child. And she went back home every two years. “Yes, the two children here are closer with me than my own kids. But I have no choice, I have to make money.” Now, with nearly 4000HKD monthly salary, she sends her children to private school for better education.

Aries loves shopping. She bought her favorite lipstick by Christian Dior last year. “It was on sale so I bought it with my bonus,” she says. The lipstick is almost done with its end dented. So she can only reach it by a small brush. “I don’t like wasting so I just kept it.”

Aries says overseas workers are regarded as heroes in her country. “I feel proud and happy that I can help with the economy. ”

Life may seem tough and difficult, but never to Aries.

She knows how to let sun shine in her hearts.