Stone Tsang Siu-keung, Hong Kong endurance racer (taking part in the inaugural Vibram Hong Kong 100, Hong Kong's first solo 100-kilometre endurance race in 2011), Hong Kong
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"I thank God for giving me such a good legal team and for his support. I thank my family for their support and love. I am especially thankful for [friend] Wong Hei, Pastor Lam Yee-lok, [TVB managing director] Ms Fong Yat-wah and [executive deputy chairman] Mr Leung Nai-pang."
General manager and two co-accused acquitted of cheating TV station after judge criticises its management of payments for celebrity appearances
Amy Nip and Austin Chiu
Sep 03, 2011
TVB general manager Stephen Chan Chi-wan was yesterday acquitted on all corruption and fraud charges after the judge criticised his employer for its poor internal management.
Chan, his former assistant Edthancy Tseng Pei-kun and TVB marketing chief Wilson Chan Wing-shuen were found not guilty of all five charges against them in the District Court yesterday. The Department of Justice has yet to decide whether it will launch an appeal.
Prosecutors had accused Stephen Chan of receiving HK$112,000 behind his employer's back to perform in a live talk show. Chan and Tseng also allegedly concealed sponsorship arrangements in another book signing event and cheated five TVB artists - who supported Chan free of charge at a show held in a shopping mall - of their commissions. Wilson Chan and Tseng were also accused of conspiring to defraud TVB of HK$550,000.
Acting Chief District Judge Poon Siu-tung criticised TVB for allowing its artists, who normally get an appearance fee, to join ones attended by its senior executives for free.
"TVB is a listed company. I can hardly understand why such arrangements can be made," Poon said.
A listed company should not be a "clubhouse of major shareholders," he continued. TVB did not lay down any rules governing support-the-boss activities and made judgments solely based on who the boss was, the judge said.
Cheers erupted in the courtroom after all charges were found to be unsubstantiated. A red-eyed, emotional Tseng hugged his friends while the tense faces of the two Chans relaxed into smiles.
Facing a throng of reporters outside the court, the trio repeatedly thanked their family and friends.
Stephen Chan said: "I thank God for giving me such a good legal team and for his support. I thank my family for their support and love. I am especially thankful for [friend] Wong Hei, Pastor Lam Yee-lok, [TVB managing director] Ms Fong Yat-wah and [executive deputy chairman] Mr Leung Nai-pang."
The legal fees of Stephen Chan and Tseng will be paid for out of public funds. Wilson Chan was required to pay his own costs as the evidence he gave to the ICAC raised justifiable suspicion.
TVB stated that it respected the court's verdict and that its operations remained unaffected.
An ICAC spokesman said it would study the judgment in detail, while a Department of Justice spokesman said reasons for the verdict would be studied to determine what action, if any, would be taken in an appeal.
Professor Anthony Fung Ying-him, director of Chinese University's School of Journalism and Communication, said it was common for artists of entertainment and music companies to attend events for free.
"It is an attempt to build up relationship with clients ... artists may show up at a shop's opening party without getting paid. But clients may hire them as spokesmen for their products later," he suggested.
Exhibition's last day attracts those shoppers happy to open their purses for cut-price offerings
Helene Franchineau and LeeAnn Shan
Aug 16, 2011
Casually leaning against the wall, Ken Chen watches over two carts and several bags full of biscuits, frozen dumplings and seaweed. He is also waiting for his wife to return with more goods. Although she holds the purse strings in the household, she is now busy loosening them.
"We spent HK$1,000 so far together, but I think my wife has already spent much more [on her own]," said the car mechanic from Yuen Long.
Chen was one of 382,000 visitors who shopped for and sampled food from 19 countries and multiple regions at this year's Hong Kong Trade Development Council Food Expo at the Convention and Exhibition Centre. The event, which ended last night after five days, attracted 3 per cent more visitors than last year.
As it was the last day, most of the 900 exhibitors slashed their prices, and thousands of people came with bags, carts and even suitcases to stock up on everything from ground coffee to mooncakes.
Dried abalone, normally priced at HK$5,600 for 500g was discounted by 50 per cent, while two packs of four steamed buns cost HK$10, instead of HK$14 for one.
Phillis Man, a housewife from the New Territories, chose to come on the last day because she already knew what she wanted and how much she wanted to spend.
"I came here for items that cannot be found in normal supermarkets or are usually too expensive," she said, filling two suitcases with biscuits, coffee, peanuts, crabs and seaweed.
A primary school teacher from Kowloon bought HK$1,500 worth of Chinese traditional medicine. She estimated she spent a total of HK$3,000 on her first visit to the expo.
Most exhibitors were satisfied with this year's show.
"In the Trade Zone, we made 1,360 business contacts, which was slightly better than our expectations," said Tomohiro Ando, the director of agriculture, forestry, fisheries and food business promotion division at the Japan External Trade Organisation, which co-organised the Japanese pavilion.
With more than 160 exhibitors, the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster-hit country sent its largest-ever group of participants in order to restore people's faith in food coming from Japan.
"It is remarkable that our exhibitors sold their products so well, even under such difficult conditions," Ando said, referring to worries about the fallout from the damaged nuclear plant in Fukushima.
"This shows that Hong Kong people still love Japanese food. We found it very encouraging."
Dr Benita Perch
Aug 16, 2011
Most of us are overtired and overworked. But these dietary tips will give a healthy glow.
1. Drink mineralised water
Water is essential for cells and organs to function optimally. Most people are chronically dehydrated and should drink at least 30 millilitres per kilogram of body weight daily. Drinking enough water gives you more energy, and can help with weight management, as hunger is often confused with thirst.
Additionally, when dehydrated, the body adapts by reabsorbing water from the colon, causing constipation, which could lead to poor health and skin.
Tap water is full of toxins and heavy metals that do not benefit the body, and distilled water lacks minerals, so I recommend mineralised water.
2. Eat a rainbow of colours and at least five vegetable servings a day
The more colourful the fruit or vegetable, the more nutrients it has. The orange colour of butternut squash, for example, is due to its high level of beta-carotene. Eat a variety of colours to get full benefits. For healthy skin and hair, try these specific compounds:
# Vitamin C helps in the formation of connective tissue.
# Biotin, a B vitamin found in peanuts and some fruit and vegetables, may improve hair growth.
# Silica, found in horsetail, alfalfa and many other fruit and vegetables, is an important component of collagen, the substance that gives skin its bounce.
3. Load up on vitamin D
Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to many cancers, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, depression, fibromyalgia, chronic muscle pain, bone loss and autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis. Most people are deficient because they stay indoors, use sunblock and don't get enough D from the diet. Get a blood test for 25-hydroxy vitamin D and take supplements if necessary. It can often take six to 10 months to get back to optimal levels.
4. Get checked for food intolerances
The common ones are dairy, gluten, wheat, eggs and soya beans. Such intolerances can play a key role in many ailments. Discovering and treating intolerances can help with weight loss and boost energy levels, prevent headaches and irritable bowel syndrome. It can improve mood and autoimmune conditions.
5. Ensure daily bowel movements
It's essential for health. The ideal is a bowel movement after every meal. With a lack of movement, the body reabsorbs toxins, leading to headaches, fatigue and poor skin. Simply drink enough water, eat enough fibre - found in wholegrains and vegetables - and exercise. Magnesium deficiency can also cause slow bowel movements.
6. Drink green tea daily
Green tea has antioxidant compounds and is naturally detoxifying. Much research has shown the benefits of antioxidants, particularly in cancer prevention.
7. Take fish oils daily
There is a vast amount of research that shows the benefits of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), compounds found in fish oil. EPA and DHA have been found to help with everything from preventing cardiovascular disease by lowering lipid levels to helping combat depression. They work by keeping cell walls healthy, which helps maintain healthy skin.
8. Choose organic
Eating organic food is important to prevent a high intake of insecticides, hormones or antibiotics. Often the least contaminated fruit or vegetables are those with an outer layer that can be removed before eating, such as bananas or avocados. Also try to frequent local organic markets or use food-box deliveries.
9. Get at least seven to nine hours sleep a night
Most people are sleep deprived. They wake up exhausted and use coffee to keep going. A study carried out over 14 days at the University of Pennsylvania showed that subjects who had eight hours of sleep rarely suffered attention lapses and showed no cognitive decline over the study. Those in the four-hour and six-hour sleep group showed a steady decline in the same areas and, frighteningly, at the end of the study, felt that the lack of sleep was not affecting them.
Go to bed early. An hour's sleep before midnight is worth two after.
Exercise is well known for its cardiovascular, osteoporotic and other health benefits. It is detoxifying and improves the functioning of the organ systems. Regular exercise also helps prevent anxiety and depression, as it releases endorphins, also known as happy hormones. It even helps reduce the severity and frequency of hot flushes in menopausal women.
Even a simple exercise programme helps, such as a daily 30-minute walk.
Dr Benita Perch is a naturopathic physician with Dr Susan Jamieson & Holistic Central Medical Practice.
Remus Choy of Grasshoppers tells court he drank four glasses of wine before driving into railings
Jun 11, 2011
Canto-pop star Remus Choy Yat-kit crashed his new Bentley after driving it for only a week, a court heard yesterday.
Choy, 44, of the pop group Grasshopper, admitted he had been drink-driving when he crashed his car in Pok Fu Lam last month.
He told Eastern Court he was so "mentally disturbed" by the accident that he needed to see a doctor. He pleaded guilty to careless driving and drink-driving.
The court heard that Choy crashed his Bentley after he drank four glasses of red wine and slept for four hours. The crash took place in Sassoon Road, near Queen Mary Hospital at about 7.40am on May 1.
A breath test showed a reading of 66 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres or air. The legal limit is 22 micrograms.
Wong Ching-yu SC, for Choy, said his client had the new car for only a week before the crash and he was not familiar with its operations.
The court heard that the luxury car hit a metal railing before knocking down a mailbox and a fire hydrant.
The vehicle continued to move uphill in Sassoon Road for about 200 metres, hitting a safety barrier before it eventually came to a halt.
Wong told the court Choy shared two bottles of wine with his friends the night before the crash. He drank fewer than four glasses of wine and had slept for four hours.
Choy was released yesterday on HK$5,000 bail. Sentencing was adjourned to June 24, pending a community service report.
Choy suffered scratches to his right arm. He refused to be admitted to hospital for medical treatment.
Acting Principal Magistrate David Dufton said Choy's alcohol level would not be that high if he had rested. He also questioned why Choy's car continued to move after the first crash, adding that it seemed Choy intended to leave the scene.
Wong explained that it was because Choy was shocked at the time and accidentally stepped on the accelerator, causing the car to move 200 metres further.
He asked the magistrate to give Choy the benefit of doubt, since there was no evidence proving he tried to flee the scene.
Wong said Choy was remorseful. He had refrained from driving since and hired a personal driver. Wong said Choy was severely "mentally disturbed" by the incident and needed to see a doctor.
Choy has been fined six times for traffic offences, including five for speeding.
Grasshopper is a trio comprising Choy, his brother Calvin Choy Yat-chi, and Edmond So Chi-wai.
"Meeting her gave me a remarkable feeling that we will find something very special. She was singularly charming and energetic - I sometimes suspect she is a descendant of Cleopatra, she's that charming."
Hongkonger with a record of scientific missions works with Dominican on ancient Egyptian mystery
Aug 24, 2011
A Hong Kong dentist known for his love of science exploration is about to embark on a mission to find the lost tomb of doomed Egyptian lovers Cleopatra and Mark Antony.
Ng Tze-chuen, 58, said he would work with Kathleen Martinez, a lawyer turned archaeologist from the Dominican Republic, on delivering "the most important discovery of the 21st century".
They would visit Egypt together next month to meet Zahi Hawass, Egypt's controversial former minister of state for antiquities, Ng said.
Hawass was appointed to the ministerial post in January by Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak shortly before the latter stepped down in February. Hawass was in turn dismissed by the new government but reappointed; he resigned last month amid reports of widespread looting at Egypt's museums.
Ng said the changes in Hawass' official status would not affect their mission. "He still oversees all these projects, and we're going to see him next month to discuss the next stage of the search for the tombs. He is irreplaceable - nobody does it better than him," Ng said.
The dentist, who has operated in Causeway Bay for 30 years, is known for his involvements in world-class science projects, including an unsuccessful Mars effort by Britain's Beagle 2 spacecraft in 2003. He said he was chosen for the Egyptian mission because he impressed Hawass by establishing a team of international scientists for a third attempt at investigating a secret chamber in the Great Pyramid of Giza, which was built for the Pharaoh Khufu.
He will design a robotic probe fitted with LED lights and a wide-angle camera to locate a tomb thought to contain the remains of Cleopatra, the last pharaoh of ancient Egypt, at Abusir, a Mediterranean town on the western edge of the Nile delta that used to be called Taposiris Magna.
"This will be the most important and interesting exploration I have been involved in," he said. Of his working partner Martinez, he said: "Meeting her gave me a remarkable feeling that we will find something very special. She was singularly charming and energetic - I sometimes suspect she is a descendant of Cleopatra, she's that charming."
Martinez said they were chasing their dreams because "he's a dentist dedicated to the invention of robots and research devices and I'm a lawyer with a passion for archaeology".
Martinez, who stopped work as a lawyer five years ago to look for Cleopatra's tomb, pioneered the theory that she could be buried at Taposiris Magna. Martinez was part of a team that in 2009 found a mask said to represent Antony, 22 coins with Cleopatra's face and 10 noble tombs. They also discovered a series of deep shafts where the lovers might be buried.
Of the expedition, Martinez said: "If there's a 1 per cent chance that the last queen of Egypt could be buried there, it is my duty to search for her."
Two years ago, Hawass and Martinez identified three underground sites ripe for excavation.
"If we discover the tomb ... it will be the most important discovery of the 21st century. If we do not discover the tomb ... we made major discoveries here, inside the temple and outside the temple," she said.
Antony and Cleopatra committed suicide in 30BC after losing the Battle of Actium.
Thursday, August 25, 2011
In yet another U-turn, the government has dropped plans to teach national education in secondary schools.
However, a source said the Education Bureau will push ahead with the plan to introduce the subject in primary schools next year.
The bureau originally proposed making national education an optional subject in secondary schools next year before making it mandatory for all schools from 2013.
The proposal was slammed by several sectors as a form of brainwashing.
Last Sunday, 200 teachers, students and their parents protested outside the old central government offices, after which a bureau spokesman hinted that adjustments could be made after listening to public views.
Earlier this month, the Civic Party said 68 percent of the 1,134 respondents it polled wanted the proposal withdrawn.
The decision to abandon the secondary school plan comes before the four- month consultation on the issue ends on Tuesday.
Hong Kong Professional Teachers' Union president Fung Wai-wah said it is not technically possible to introduce the subject in secondary schools as they are already facing a lot of challenges because of the new 3+3+4 system.
He said the education sector has reached a consensus that the national education plan be withdrawn as a similar course already exists in the curriculum.
Meanwhile, Secretary for Education Michael Suen Ming-yeung took a high- speed train to Wuhan, Hubei, with about 300 students and teachers as part of an exchange program to mark the 100th anniversary of the 1911 Revolution.
The tour is part of the "Passing On the Torch: Exploring and Embracing Chinese Culture National Education Exchange Programme." Launched by the bureau last year, the program has seen 8,300 students participate so far.
The three-day tour will see the group visit Wuhan University and join learning activities with students there.
The trip is expected to give local students a deeper understanding of the nation as well as strengthen their national identity and sense of belonging.
"You're out of control, you're a hater and you're unattractive inside."
"“I’m… going… to… ram… this… f#@&ing… ball… down… your… f#@&ing… throat!”
"I didn't say I would kill you, are you serious?"
Other related tennis posts by HKSAR Blog
Sep 05, 2011
Contrary to Cynthia Sze's view ("Hong Kong should not pay ESF to maintain its luxurious schools", August 30), I advocate an increase in government subvention to the English Schools Foundation in order to ensure that there are enough affordable places for local and expatriate children.
The ESF offers an international education at fees lower than the norm for international schools because of the government subvention, without which fewer kids could afford to attend these schools and the ESF would be a smaller organisation.
As the parent of a child who attended ESF schools for 11 years, I appreciate the quality of its education and how it contributes to the internationalisation of Hong Kong.
The presence of expatriate children (whom Ms Sze incorrectly described as "non-residents") gives these schools an international flavour and should be welcomed rather than discouraged.
Their parents are Hong Kong taxpayers too and Ms Sze should not be too upset that they are enjoying the "privilege" of the subsidy.
If they were to attend local schools, which they are entitled to just like the minorities that Ms Sze has so much sympathy for, the subsidy per child would be higher.
The children at ESF schools have a native command of English. Not many children in even the best local English schools can boast the same.
The ESF's contribution to Hong Kong should be extolled rather than bulldozed.
Instead of curtailing its services, ESF should be encouraged to expand its reach. Neither is the subvention outdated, nor the "privilege" anachronistic as alleged by Ms Sze. It is essential to ensure that this time-honoured alternative education is accessible to more local and expatriate children.
Ms Sze's letter smacks of sour grapes and strikes me as inward-looking and narrow-minded.
I have disclosed my association with the ESF and would like to know whether Ms Sze has an axe to grind with it since she takes so much exception to the alleged policy of Cantonese (only?) speaking kids getting a lower priority for admission.
Jonathan Leung, North Point
Aug 14, 2011
He’s had just three years’ experience in making Hong Kong-style milk tea, but Chan Kam-wui, 18, yesterday beat five more experienced rivals from Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen, Melbourne and Toronto to win the International Kam Cha Competition.
Aug 12, 2011
He brewed the best cup of tea last year and now, he is also "your-cup-of-tea-plus-coffee" king.
This year, the Association of Coffee and Tea held, for the first time, a competition on yuan yang - a mixture of milk tea and coffee - a unique local beverage. The champion, Law Tak, was last year's "milk-tea king".
Although different in tastes, one judge, Pamela Peck Wan-kam, said milk tea and yuan yang were similar in certain ways. "It's about real coffee and real tea. Don't expect a machine to do the best," she said.
Fancy a cold drink in hot summer? "No way! They must be hot. Ice cubes only dilute the flavour," Peck said.
"For me, Earl Grey tea plus Java coffee beans make the best cup of yuan yang," she added, although such a combination is rarely served in the cha chaan teng or tea cafes.
Some say the prevalence of fast food-style coffee shops has diminished young people's interest in the traditional beauty of tea.
Twinings, the 300-year-old exhibitor, said it had newly added organic styles to cater to the younger, more health-conscious generation.
Local tea brand Ying Kee, founded more than 100 years ago, recently put its tea into bottles, a trend that has proved appealing to grab-and-go young people.
Tea-loving American Matthew London, a visitor, put it this way: "I think tea is not just ancient, it's also part of the modern spirit today."
Tuesday, August 02, 2011
It is hard to imagine that a girl who aced English Level A2 and just missed the perfect International Baccalaureate score by a point could not even order a Coke during a trip to London when she was nine.
Pearl Ho Sze-pui was on a two-week study tour and had placed an order at a McDonald's counter, when she was served a large Coke, not the medium one she thought she had ordered.
Now 17, Ho recently graduated from the IB Diploma Program at Yew Chung International School in Kowloon Tong.
She scored 44 out of 45 in the six subjects she took, including the highest score of seven in A2 English - a level of near-native fluency.
Seven out of 1,265 local students taking the IB got a perfect score of 45 this year, in results released last month. Ho was one of 29 who scored 44. "My classmates made fun of me when I first came to this school [Yew Chung]," Ho said. "As I always pronounced my English name as `Pearl-lu."
"Pearl-lu" sounds like "pineapple" in Cantonese, and it became her nickname for a while.
But though Ho had a hard time at first, she picked up confidence in the Intensive English Program, a bridge program for new students.
"There is no Chinese class in this program," said Ho, who reads English fiction in her spare time, with the Harry Potter series among her favorites.
"Whenever I came across a word I didn't understand, I would highlight it [and look it up later]," said Ho, who is set to start as a philosophy and economics major at the London School of Economics next month.
Devil. Whale. Chlorophyll, Violante, Treacle — you name it, Hong Kong probably has someone who goes by it. Inquisitive, enterprising and...