RTHK's English-language current affairs programme that takes "The Pulse" of Hong Kong ... and the world around it.
Kung Hei Fat Choy! Hello and welcome to the first episode of The Pulse in the Year of the Dog.
The some 300-year-old Lai Chi Wo village inside Plover Cove Country Park is one of Hong Kong’s best-preserved Hakka villages. Consisting of about 200 houses, three ancestral halls and two temples, it’s situated in a crescent of thick trees and shrubs that acts as a natural barrier. Pretty much abandoned for a long time, the village has undergone something of a revitalisation and now serves as a pilot example for nearby communities.
It’s the Year of the Dog, and in Chinese iconography, dogs symbolise good luck, loyalty, obedience, prosperity, and a promise of friendship. But their relationship with humans isn’t always an easy one. Not only are they – often brutally - killed and eaten in some Asian countries, including China, commercial breeders and pet shops are known to confine them in particularly distressing conditions, and would-be owners are not even allowed to keep them in many Hong Kong housing estates. Things are looking up, as more people across Asia and locally are adopting dogs and looking out for their welfare. As anyone who lives with them knows, they often give back at least as much affection and trust as they receive.
The flu season is upon us, and, not for the first time it’s led to overcrowding and a medical manpower crisis in public hospitals. According to the Hospital Authority, around 230 people have died since the start of the winter flu season in early January. Public hospitals are severely stretched. With us in the studio are legislator Kwok Ka-ki and Alex Lam Chairman of Hong Kong Patients' Voices.
Food waste in Hong Kong is a big problem. It makes up the largest portion of municipal waste in local landfills. We dump more than 3,000 tonnes each day. Some of it is perfectly edible. And it’s not just cheap food. Many packaged food products, especially in supermarkets, are marked with “use by” or “best before” dates. Just before the Lunar New Year, there were reports on social media that 3,000 tins of abalone, which had passed their sell-by date had been dumped at one refuse collection point.
It’s a situation that’s drawn attention worldwide, with many food retailers even arguing they are scared to give expired food to charities in case food poisoning leads to criminal liability. Much of it though is completely safe.
We'll leave you with images of the Chinese New Year ritual last Saturday where there was confusion as a fortune stick picked by the Sha Tin rural committee vice-chairman was mixed up with the one drawn for Hong Kong by Heung Yee Kuk chairman Kenneth Lau. Both sticks had mixed messages. And there've been mixed reviews for Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing's new "Connect Hall", criticised for having a less than original design, being shoddily finished, and for including a wall with characters containing negative words such as "bribe", "thief", "defeat" and "poor".