hong kong

Since coming to Hong Kong in January, Brian Cooklin has been busy making selections. The principal of Nord Anglia International School has been swamped with more than 1,000 teaching and 500 student applications as he prepares for its opening in September.

Leaving behind their pens and voice recorders, journalists switched roles yesterday to march in defence of press freedom. The "Free Speech, Free Hong Kong" protest was organised by the Hong Kong Journalists Association, which said 6,000 took part. Police put the figure at 1,600. "Such a big number of people illustrates that the public has started to feel that press freedom is at risk," association chairwoman Sham Yee-lan said.

When 34-year-old Hong Kong singer and actress Ella Koon penned a column for the respected local paper Ming Pao on Jan. 24 entitled "Kick Out Hatred and Discrimination," she was trying to beseech her fellow Hong Kong residents to be more tolerant toward mainland Chinese visitors. Instead, she has found herself pilloried online in a display of hatred toward mainlanders that's become eerily typical over the past several years.

In prosperous Hong Kong, arts and culture are commodities, with institutions increasingly blurring the lines between retail spaces and galleries. Yet despite being the third largest auction market in the world, the city is lambasted, often and loudly, for its lack of sophistication and cultural vacuity. Therein lies the cultural paradox: its focus on big hits and big profits doesn't always create fertile ground for homegrown talent.

January 6, 2014

Are China’s leaders destined to ask each other, “Who lost Hong Kong?” It’s a question worth pondering after a holiday week that offered a stark reminder of just how restless -- if not unhappy -- a sizable percentage of the former colony’s residents are under Chinese rule, 17 years after the end of British sovereignty. Of course, nobody seriously entertains the idea of a political schism between Hong Kong and China.

Vision First, an NGO dealing with refugee issues, presents daunting statistics: of the 12,409 people who sought asylum in Hong Kong in the past 21 years, just four succeeded. Despite such enormous odds, about 800 people still flock to the city seeking refuge each year - and that's excluding 1,200 others who claim to have been tortured in their home countries.

When Americans think of symbols of democracy, they might imagine the Statue of Liberty, or the Declaration of Independence, or perhaps the Liberty Bell. Here, in China’s semi-autonomous territory of Hong Kong, citizens have adopted a more unusual symbol of their political aspirations: a grinning Ikea wolf doll named “Lufsig.”

Although Kim Jong-Un is no stranger to the international spotlight – from hanging out with NBA legend Dennis Rodman to being named the Sexiest Man Alive in 2012 – the North Korean dictator is rarely photographed outside of Pyongyang. One enterprising Australian man with an uncanny resemblance to the Supreme Leader brings the likeness of Kim to the streets of Hong Kong – without sparking a diplomatic crisis. The Mao suit-donning impersonator shocks passerby and provides an otherwise impossible photo opportunity for tourists.