Beauty

A view of Huangshan, Anhui province, China. (Hong Thai Travel)

A Singaporean's climb up Huangshan 40 years ago

Hua Language Centre director Chew Wee Kai describes his first visit to Huangshan some 40 years ago, which was a memorable trip in more ways than one. Aside from the unapologetic clouds and towering pine trees atop of the mountain, the climb up and descent down is one for the books.
Customers queue outside an Apple store during the first day of sale of the iPhone 15 smartphone in Beijing, China on 22 September 2023. (Andrea Verdelli/Bloomberg)

Behind Apple’s ‘insult’ of China

A photo on Apple’s customer service webpage sparked controversy in China by featuring a person with “stereotypical” Chinese looks, with slit eyes and a long braid, coming under fire for “uglifying” Chinese people. While aesthetic preferences do differ, is there something deeper under the criticism of a stranger’s looks?
In the olden times, a fortress could be built among the lush mountains, where the Bandit Chief of the Mountain could peacefully reside. (iStock)

I could be a bandit chief on Ma On Shan: Hiking in Hong Kong [Part 6]

In the last of a six-part series on hiking in Hong Kong, cultural historian Cheng Pei-kai shares the wonders of Hong Kong’s hiking trails. As he rediscovers the hidden splendour of Ma On Shan on a difficult hike, he marvels at the ingenuity of the gods, keeping the pristine away from the evil world. Only the most determined will glimpse unparalleled beauty.
A yellow Wedelia prostrata flower. (Photo: Alpsdake/Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0)

Every plant a medicine: Hiking in Hong Kong [Part 5]

In the fifth of a six-part series on hiking in Hong Kong, cultural historian Cheng Pei-kai shares the wonders of Hong Kong’s hiking trails. With the nagging feeling that the city’s development is slowly encroaching on nature’s bounty, Cheng traces the sights and sounds on a stroll on the beach in Wu Kai Sha, discovering plants of beauty with medicinal properties too.
The Eight Immortals crossing the sea. (Project Gutenberg/Wikimedia)

Escaping the city to join the Eight Immortals: Hiking in Hong Kong [Part 4]

In the fourth of a six-part series on hiking in Hong Kong, cultural historian Cheng Pei-kai shares the wonders of Hong Kong’s hiking trails. This time he stays closer to home, in his neighbourhood of Wu Kai Sha. From his lookout point, he can make out Pat Sin Leng, the Ridge of the Eight Immortals. If he heads to the beach, he can hear the gently lapping waves or dabble in village life under a lush canopy.
The natural landscape of Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden in Hong Kong. (iStock)

The allure of youth on the mountain trails: Hiking in Hong Kong [Part 3]

In the third of a six-part series on hiking in Hong Kong, cultural historian Cheng Pei-kai shares the wonders of Hong Kong’s hiking trails. This time, the vibrant colours of flora and fauna at Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden revive the spirits.
The author on one of his hiking trips to the Dragon's Back, a mountain ridge in Hong Kong. (Photo provided by Cheng Pei-kai)

Seeing California from Hong Kong's shores: Hiking in Hong Kong [Part 2]

In the second of a six-part series on hiking in Hong Kong, cultural historian Cheng Pei-kai shares the wonders of Hong Kong’s hiking trails. Even in the foggiest of weathers, with a little imagination, the beauty of Hong Kong’s mountains and seas are a sight to behold.
Hong Kongers have beautiful bays, mountains and seas to discover, right in their own backyard. (iStock)

Hong Kongers are fortunate people: Hiking in Hong Kong [Part 1]

In the first of a six-part series on hiking in Hong Kong, cultural historian Cheng Pei-kai shares the wonders of Hong Kong’s hiking trails. Hong Kong’s known as a shopping paradise, but go off the beaten track and there’s plenty more to discover.
Chinese textbook illustrations have come under fire.

Suggestive Chinese textbook illustrations: An infiltration by the West?

Recently, there has been an uproar in China over illustrations in school textbooks, with comments that the characters drawn are “ugly”, with some depicted in suggestive poses and wearing questionable designs on clothing. Is this merely a question of aesthetics, or does the problem go deeper? Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan looks into the issue.