#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)



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


    As the government has announced the “ Waste Blueprint for HK 2035 “ to tackle the challenge of waste management as well as to build a circular economy and a sustainable green living environment, “Waste Reduction” is on the top priority list. The government has proposed a measure to regulate disposable plastic tableware in phases. The Amendment Bill for the first phase of regulation was thus passed in March 2023 and will be in force on April 22, 2024.


    Under the Regulation, nine types of disposable plastic tableware would be introduced.


    In the first phase under the Regulation, EPS tableware, plastic straws, stirrers, cutlery and plates are prohibited to sell to end-consumers and prohibited to provide by catering premises to customers for dine-in and takeaway services. The other disposable plastic tableware such as plates, cups food containers etc, will come into force in the second phase, but the date of implementation has yet to be determined.


    There are a few issues which the catering industry is concerned upon the introduction of the ban on using plastic disposable materials. The catering industry at first worried if there were alternative products to substitute the plastic tableware, and whether those environmental substitutes would increase the operating cost.


    Accordingly, if we look at the website of the Environmental Protection Department, we find that at the moment 64 companies are carrying 737 items which cover a wide range of non-plastic disposable tableware. Restaurant operators do have a lot of varieties to choose from which would suit their needs.


    However, many restaurant operators are, at the moment, not eager to use non-plastic tableware as the government is giving a six-month grace period to the trade, such that operators will not be fined if they do not follow the regulation on and after April 22. On the other hand, it would give enough time for importers and wholesalers as well as retailers to consume or or deal with their inventories within the allowable period. This period would also offer more time for the catering industry to find more suitable products to suit their budget and needs.


    In general, the cost of environmentally disposable products is about 20-30% more expensive than the plastic ones. Take the straws for example, a few cents increase seems not much for each straw, but it can translate to a substantial percentage increase when large quantities of straws are to be consumed. Since almost all non-plastic disposable products are imported, importers and wholesalers are not willing to take the risk of keeping too much stock in their warehouses at the moment. However, we believe that costs will come down when all restaurants have adopted the practice due to the larger quantity imports.


    Another concern is the quality of the substitutes. Those non-plastic substitutes are commonly made of paper, bamboo, softwood, wood pulp and plant fibre materials. Though there are a lot of choices for each type of utensil, the quality of the product varies. Some customers have complained that the paper straws or spoons cannot sustain in higher temperatures nor cannot be put in liquid for too long as they will become soft. Of course, we can find better quality products in the market, but the cost will then be higher.


    As the date for launching is drawing near, the catering industry has thought of ways to deal with the situation. Large restaurant groups, such as fast food chains, hotels and high-end restaurants have started using non-plastic utensils. Even though the cost, in general, is higher, they are willing to do so as it’s a social responsibility to compile with the ESG initiative. Some restaurants simply do not provide disposable utensils, but charge customers upon their request. Some restaurants or coffee shops have started to encourage customers to bring their utensils; in such cases, restaurants will save on the cost of providing the materials, while customers do not need to pay additional to the restaurants for getting non-plastic disposable tableware.


    There are about 18,000 restaurant outlets in HK, and 98% of those are small and medium-sized enterprises. With the present gloomy economic environment, these SMEs would be very cautious about the increased expenses if environmental products are used. However, I would suggest to them to use more reusable products to lower their cost and not provide the disposable utensils to customers.


    After all, the bill has passed, we, as an individual should do more for the environment. I also believe that education and publicity are vital means to pass the message to the public. The government should without any hesitation, launch more programs and publicities to educate the public how to deal with the change of living habits as well as to let people understand our environment is at risk if we do not act now.


    I'd like to share this song with you all this morning, I want to dedicate "Somewhere over the Rainbow" by Judy Garland. Thank you for listening.

    21/04/2024 - 足本 Full (HKT 08:15 - 08:30)

    21/04/2024 - Simon Wong, President of the Hong Kong Federation of Restaurants & Related Trades


    02 - 04


    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


    Christina Lee, Director of Wofoo Social Enterprises


    Joe Lo, Convenor of The Long Term Tobacco Policy Concern Group


    Fiona Nott, CEO of The Women's Foundation


    Innocent Mutanga, Founder and CEO of Africa Center Hong Kong


    Professor Edwin Ho, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) researcher in the School of Life Sciences at The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

    Elvis Ng, Regional Manager, Heep Hong Society

    Hi I am Elvis Ng from Heep Hong Society.  

    Hong Kong parents face different pressures every day, especially those with preschool children. Often, stress arises from the personal expectation on children’s performance, parent-child communication, and children’s conduct. A survey conducted by Heep Hong Society " Social Work Service for Pre-Primary Institutions " from February to March 2022 on "Parental Stress and Resilience of Children" found that among 502 parents with preschool children, over half of them exhibited symptoms of depression. More than 40% of families with Special Educational Needs children were assessed as unhealthy, with resilience at a risk level.

    Emotional resilience is based on six areas: parental emotional flexibility, coping abilities, self-compassion, common humanity, family support, and social support. This framework provides parents with more personal and interpersonal resources to face various difficulties and adapt to negative emotions and events. It enables them to maintain good emotional health even when confronted with challenges.

    Those with lower emotional resilience are easier to be affected mentally and physically. For example, there may be persistent feelings of low mood, pessimism, or unhappiness. It can result in a loss of interest in daily activities and social events. Besides, this can also  lead to various physical symptoms such as insomnia, loss of appetite, fatigue, headaches, and stomachaches.

    In response to this, Heep Hong Society, in collaboration with the Hong Kong Baptist University Department of Social Work, implemented the "Project PSI Preschool Children’s Parental Stress Intervention Study" from February 2022 to September 2023. This project was implemented in 32 kindergartens and 4 preschool rehabilitation service units. The study aimed to identify parents with low emotional resilience through the "Social Ecological Resilience Scale" and using "Cognitive Behavioral Therapy" (CBT) to enhance parental emotional resilience and family functioning, reduce parental stress, and promote the emotional health of parents and children.

    The "Project PSI Preschool Children’s Parental Stress Intervention’’ utilizes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to assist parents of preschool children in recognizing personal thinking patterns and cognitive traps that arise in caring for their children. It involves learning different techniques to apply in changing thinking patterns, aiming to establish a new life experience and interpretation for parents of preschool children. This process aims to replace past negative experiences. This approach contributes to strengthening parents' ability to control their emotions and reducing emotional distress in the context of caring for preschool children.

    Data from the CBT Intervention group indicates that, after intervention and in the three-month follow-up, the percentage of parents with negative emotions reaching a healthy level increased from 72% to 91%. The level of family functioning increased from 0.9% to 1.8%. The percentage of improvement in the difficulty level of children increased from 38% to 47%. The percentage of parents with high levels of emotional resilience reached from 60% to 76%. There was improvement in all four areas, and 90% of parents saw a return of their negative emotions to a healthy level. Some of these benefits persisted in the three-month follow-up.

    Our partner, Professor Wong Fu-keung, Chair Professor of the Department of Social Work at Hong Kong Baptist University, also pointed out that the data reflects a corresponding decrease in emotional and behavioral difficulties in children when parental negative emotions are reduced. This indicates the correlation between parents and children in terms of emotional health. Effective intervention strategies not only assist parents in improving emotional health but should also enhance parents' resilience in facing adversity, indirectly improving the health and well-being of their children. 

    We have established the "Social Ecological Resilience Scale" to help parents and peers understand their emotional resilience, to identify parents with low emotional resilience as early as possible. The public can visit Heep Hong Society’s website to access relevant information and conduct self-assessments to understand their own situations.

    Social Welfare Department has been providing "Social Work Service for Pre-Primary Institutions" to support the parents since 2018. This year, the service is localised to four districts, our team is assigned to provide services in Sham Shui Po starting from August. We aim to provide immediate intervention, professional counseling, and referral services to the  pre-school children and their family members at risk of potential crisis.

    I would like to dedicate this song Just Carry On by Terence Lam to everyone. 


    31/03/2024 - 足本 Full (HKT 08:15 - 08:30)

    31/03/2024 - Elvis Ng, Regional Manager, Heep Hong Society