As the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover draws near, Hong Konger Thomas Chan reflects on the changes that have taken place over the last few years and the real and pressing issue of residents, especially the young, drifting away. Most are seeking better prospects abroad in a wry turn of events from a time when the city was viewed as the land of opportunity. Now, amid dreary skies and Telegram alerts announcing yet another citizen-police chase, the city stands forlorn as it watches its people leave.
As far as a passion for tea goes, cultural historian Cheng Pei-kai meets his match in a tea shop owner in Sham Tseng. The tea connoisseur is an alchemist almost as he varies the ingredients and brewing methods to concoct the most memorable teas.
Former journalist Lim Jen Erh remembers the delicious da rou bao or large steamed meat buns he used to scarf down as a kid. They don’t make them like they used to, but the memory of its luscious taste is intact, triggered instantly by old photographs of bustling teahouses of old Singapore.
Being his mother’s good helper in the kitchen for many years, Taiwanese art historian Chiang Hsun got to experience cooking with firewood, charcoal and of course the everyday natural gas. He is convinced that a different fire and stove begets a different flavour in food. Taiwan today is fortunate to have access to fire at the flick of a switch but this could all change. Lucky thing for Chiang, some firewood is all he needs to make his favourite scorched rice snack.
The tragic life of the last emperor of China has been the subject of much popular culture, not least the movie The Last Emperor. But why was he often thought of as a political puppet and how did he go from emperor to commoner? Historical photo collector Hsu Chung-mao provides a glimpse into the final period of China’s imperial rule.
Taiwanese art historian Chiang Hsun remembers his trips to the market as a child which taught him more than he could ever learn in schools about life and humanity. From the back lanes of 44 Kan Site, a shopping street that used to house exactly 44 shops, he would peek into courtyards and encounter the kindness of shop owners; from the varied stalls of Dalong Market, he learnt about the sanctity of life of all living beings, human or animal.
Chinese academic Sun Peisong notes that renowned financier George Soros has always been critical of China’s social system. While "the man who broke the Bank of England" has a keen eye for finance, Sun feels that Soros’s criticism of China’s “closed society” sheds light on his penchant for globalisation and dated means of making the wealthy wealthier.
After the political and societal changes that have taken place in Hong Kong in the 25 years since the handover, what’s left in the aftermath? Zaobao journalist Tai Hing Shing ponders the nostalgic, the bittersweet and the hard realities of Hong Kong’s present and future.
Outdated military equipment, expired rations and the plundering of household appliances — these are the realities of Russia’s military fighting in Ukraine. Meanwhile, those at home face a leadership characterised by corruption and impunity. Economics professor Zhu Ying highlights the incidents that have been laid bare for the world to see and how they may lead to Russia and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s downfall.