#Hashtag Hong Kong



    Listen to #Hashtag Hong Kong every Sunday morning at 8.15

    Focussing on issues affecting civil society, we'll hear from representatives of NGOs, associations, statutory bodies, and non-profit groups.

    (Sundays 8.15am - 8.25am)



    Koonie Chan, Executive Board Member of Hong Kong Seeing Eye Dog Services

    Hi everyone I am Koonie Chan, Executive Board Member of Hong Kong Seeing Eye Dog Services. Today I am with my guide dog Happy.


    Visually impaired people face many challenges in life, especially when we go out and about. With the introduction of guide dogs, they have transformed our lives altogether. They guide us through busy streets and roads and take us to our destinations safely. Along with their arrival we face a form of challenge – public acceptance and respect. Although things have moved on and improved over the years, we still face challenges and discrimination going into public areas, most common are restaurants, hotels, taxis and shopping malls and even parks. Many still don’t know that guide dogs are allowed in public places.  

    I have personally faced restaurants that reluctantly let us in but try to shoot us in a dark corner, or allow us to sit outside. Some people on public transports are alarmed to see us, sometimes we hear unfriendly comments such as “How can you bring such a big dog on the train! Why is your dog not wearing a mouth harness?  What if it bites someone?”.

    The Equal Opportunities Commission recently issued “Guide Dogs: A Practical Guide”, which offers guide dog users and their guide dogs protection in settings such as the restaurants, in hotels, in taxis and public transport, public management places as well as in the workplace. Visually impaired people should be treated like regular patrons in these places. 

    So, what needs to be done after issue of this ‘Practical Guide?’ Public awareness and education.  

    Authorities may action publicity campaigns such as:  recording clips on radio so taxi drivers can get the messages, short ads so they can be screened on buses or trains, posters and signs at bus stops, MTR stations, markets, and other public areas, places where the public go about their daily business. Letting people know that guide dogs are allowed in all public areas.  They are clean, obedient and calm and they do not bite. 

    The government should be the front driver of this – displaying clips and signs at their own offices such as tax offices,  immigration, clinics and hospitals, displaying these signs at places where people have to wait to be seen to, you’ll be amazed how effective this can be. 

    The Equal Opportunities Commission can follow up after issue of the guide by visiting trade associations, the restaurateurs, traffic, taxis, property management sectors to encourage them to train front line staff. Our guide dog school conducts around 100 sessions of presentations and education to school children, day centres, to companies and their HR departments, encouraging them to train their staff as well. 

    That’s the social aspect of awareness.  What about practical needs? 

    This is a new issue, previously not realized. To date the first batch of guide dogs and nearing the end of their working lives, some have already retired and a few have passed away in recent years. Just like humans, guide dogs get old, and inevitably as they age, they need more medical care, they need more tests, supplementary foods, scans and even operations if needed.  Our guide dog schools as you know stay afloat by generous funds by stakeholders and other organisations.  So there is very little funding for guide dogs users to look after their dog as they age. I myself have been exactly impacted by this recently, when Happy had to undergo emergency operation.  Veterinary fees are very expensive.

    Going forward, we would like to see government departments or organizations seriously look into our ‘practical needs’. Some form of subsidy or financial assistance when situations like this happen. As we accept guide dogs as working partners, surely they should have the same admiration and respect as they are also working members of our society. 

    Please remember when you see a guide dog, observe the 3 Don’t and 1 Do rule:

    1. Do not disturb or touch.

    2. Do not feed.

    3. Do not discriminate.

    1 Do – if you see a visually impaired looking lost, go up to them and ask how you may help? Accept guide dogs and their partners as normal citizens in our inclusive society. We Never Walk alone!

    Finally I’d like to dedicate this song to everyone as well as my father who died recently. It's by Gerry and the Pacemaker and it’s called ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’. 


    26/05/2024 - 足本 Full (HKT 08:15 - 08:30)


    03 - 05


    Koonie Chan, Executive Board Member of Hong Kong Seeing Eye Dog Services


    Dr Joey Chan, Secretary of the Hong Kong Society of Sleep Medicine and CUHK Associate Professor (Clinical) Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, CUHK


    Dr. Anthony Ying, the Chairman of the Cancer Prevention/Early Detection Subcommittee of the Hong Kong Anti-Cancer Society


    iu Vor, Vice President of Hong Kong Entomological Society


    Faride Shroff, the Founder and CEO of SENsational Foundation


    Simon Wong, President of the Hong Kong Federation of Restaurants & Related Trades


    Ryan Yeung, Founder and CEO, Happy-Retired Charity Action


    Erica Lee, Director, The Hong Kong Down Syndrome Association

    Wong Suet-mei, Conservation Officer, The Hong Kong Bird Watching Society


    World Migratory Bird Day 2023 was celebrated on 13th of May. This annual campaign reminds every one of the urgency to conserve migratory birds and their habitats. It echoes The Hong Kong Bird Watching Society (HKBWS) ’s mission which is to promote appreciation and protection of birds and their habitats.



    HKBWS is a non-government organization, founded in 1957, with a vision of "People and birds living in harmony as nature continues to thrive." Our work ranges from scientific research, habitat management, and education to conservation advocacy.


    Wild birds, especially migratory birds, are facing multiple threats worldwide. Urban development not only causes the ongoing loss of suitable habitats, but buat also creates death traps that are threatening the survival of birds. Amongst these traps, bird-window collision is one of the major killers.


    Bird-window collisions refer to when birds fail to recognise a glass curtain wall or mirror as an obstacle and mistakenly think they can fly into it, thus hitting the building and causing injury or even death.


    HKBWS has released its first report on bird-window collisions in Hong Kong. The report consolidates the data collected during the period from September to December last year. A total of 179 deaths and 17 injuries were recorded in the bird-window collision cases in these four months. Seven of them are species of conservation concern, such as the globally “Critically Endangered” Yellow-breasted Bunting, and the nationally Class II protected species Northern Boobook.


    The window collision victims were distributed across multiple districts in Hong Kong. Various types of structures were involved in collision events, for example, buildings and shopping malls with extensive glass or mirror facades, transparent noise barriers, glass railings, and village houses with glass doors and windows. Bird window collisions may pose a challenge to local biodiversity, and even more, to the protection of globally threatened species. We must not overlook such risks.

    It’s time to work together to save the birds and turn Hong Kong into a Bird-Friendly City.


    What can we do as a member of the public?

    To fully understand the seriousness of bird-window collision in Hong Kong, we must continue recording the situation and further expanding our monitoring. We would like to invite all of you to participate in our Bird Collision Monitoring Campaign by reporting bird collision cases to the Global Bird Collision Mapper, and support our work. You will get an anti-bird collision tee in return for a donation of $400 or above.


    What if you are the property owners, developers, or architects?

    One way to prevent bird-window collisions is to design your buildings and the surrounding landscape in a way that is safe for birds. Apart from reducing the use of transparent or reflective glass materials, you can consider using bird-friendly glass and leaving sufficient buffer between the greening area and the glass. For those existing buildings, you can start a monitoring scheme to identify the potential collision risk in your properties. If there is an area of high risk, you should apply treatments on the outside surface to help the birds see the glass as a barrier, such as putting up stickers with a dense pattern that has a maximum gap of 5 cm.


    Changing our ways to use lights at night can also be a way to reduce bird-window collisions. Birds are easily disorientated by artificial light during migration at night. They are very often attracted to the urban areas where glass elements are commonly found, thus increasing their chance of colliding with buildings. We can adopt bird-friendly lighting strategies to reduce the risk, such as turning off non-flashing lights at night.


    To prevent bird collisions in the long run, regulations and policies are also crucial. The Hong Kong government can refer to the practice of other countries and consider introducing new laws to ensure bird-friendly elements are incorporated into all building designs. Like in New York, a new law has taken effect in 2021 that requires all new construction and alteration of buildings to use bird friendly materials and designs.


    Lastly, we once again call for your support and participation in our long-term data collection, monitoring, analysis and policy advocacy. Let us all work together and help create a safer and better environment for birds living in and passing through Hong Kong, such that we can move towards our vision of "People and birds living in harmony as nature continues to thrive."


                I'd like to share this song with you all this morning, I want to dedicate Up&Up by Coldplay




    21/05/2023 - 足本 Full (HKT 08:15 - 08:30)

    21/05/2023 - Wong Suet-mei, Conservation Officer, The Hong Kong Bird Watching Society