Illustrator Works: Join the AI journey with Tiffany

Being a journalism students gave me lots of opportunities using Adobe Premiere, InDesign and Photoshop, but that’s not enough! I am also trying Adobe Illustator. Would you like to join me?


Day 1:
It is the first day trying to create something with Adobe Illustrator and I decided to start with some basic knowledge on lines and fills. Here is the final product:

me


Day 2:
It is time to bring in some more layers! It is always good to learn from YouTube tutorials. Here it is!

plane


Day 3:
It is so hot today. My heart is melting. Would it be better if we add some gradients?

love


Day 4:
More layers and more colours are coming! Getting excited?
happyfire


Day 5:
The response on Instagram was good on the previous one. I must keep it on! Maybe I can do some font design with neon light?

neonfont


Day 6:
I guess I am a fast learner? Learnt so much about AI today! Do you enjoy the journey so far?
3d tree


Day 7:
It is a tough one! But learning is about trying, failing and not giving up, right?

rocket


Day 8:
Bringing in some Japanese style today! I want to make it my cover photo! What do you think?

japan


Day 9:
Struggled a bit on today’s work. The lights are so difficult to make! Wow… Now I am impressed by myself.

Underwater


Day 10:
It may be my favourite so far. It is a floating island! Who doesn’t like fantasy?

floatingisland


Day 11:
That’s a milestone: going from 2D to 3D. It is easier than I expected and I will definitely do more of these!

isometric city

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The Online Hotbed for Illegal Drugs

Reported by Yoyo Chow
Edited by Tiffany Lui

Blue pills – the story ends, you wake up in your bed, believing whatever you want to believe. Red pills – you stay in Wonderland, knowing how deep the rabbit hole goes. Sixteen-year-old Amy chose a set of pills from Yanhee Hospital which promised “a safe and effective hallucination”. Convinced by the photos and videos posted by an online shop on Instagram, she paid $300 to buy this medication.

“On the first day, I felt dizzy after taking the medicine. My heart was pounding very fast and I was always thirsty. I couldn’t fall asleep no matter how sleepy I was. The next day, I felt so weak as if I was floating. Eventually, I couldn’t take it anymore. I felt like dying,” Amy said.

“I asked the shop owner why I was suffering through WhatsApp. The medicine had no disclaimer on its possible effects. The owner said everyone might react differently, and that I should quit if I was sick,” she added.

Social media has become a hotbed for illegal drug trade. By law, substances used for medical purposes must  be registered with the Pharmacy and Poisons Board of Hong Kong before sale. But this is often not the case for medicine sold online. Between 2014 and 2016, there were  23 convictionslinked to illegal drug sales on social media, according to the Drug Office.

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Receipts of Yanhee

Common drugs offered on social media include those that promise to improve one’s appearance, such as breast enhancement or make you grow taller. They come under names such as Cosmoslim, Slim Perfect Legs and Yanhee. Input the keywords on Instagram and you get hundreds of posts of pills.

Online drug sellers often claim there is no medication in their products and that they are approved by the foreign agencies. For example, an online post of a height-increasing pill, High Speed Encourage Growth Capsule, stated it is manufactured by medical firm “GoJar”, which is said to be registered under the Food and Drug Administration of the United States. But there is no related record in the database of the department.

According to the Drug Office, the weight-losing pills from Yanhee Hospital, the medicines Amy took, contains sibutramine, and undeclared and prohibited substances that has been banned in Hong Kong since 2009. It is known to cause damages to the cardiovascular system. Other ingredients include psychoactive drugs and laxatives which , by law, can only be prescribed by a doctor. According to the Hospital Authority, 16 victims aged between 15 and 29 years sought treatment for taking this medication in public hospitals from 2013 to Mid 2014. Some of them suffered from shock, mental alienation and heart palpitation after taking the medicine.

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Despite her experience, Amy continued to purchase medication online. “I thought I should get rid of the chemicals from my body quickly, so I wanted to try new drugs again and again,” Amy said, “I just wasted hundreds of dollars buying useless products”.

“The online shops would follow your account on Instagram and try to to sell you more pills,” she added.

Sally (again, not her real name) runs an online shop via Instagram. She sells mainly cosmetics and beauty products.

When she travels, she buys products upon customers’ requests and earn the handling fee of around $20 to $30 for each product. But she also buys medicine for shoppers.

“I am not even selling the medicine,” Sally said, “I just help people buy them, just like souvenirs.”

She once helped a customer buy Taisho comprehensive cold pills from Japan. In 2016, a man was arrested for selling the powder version of this medication. It is not registered in Hong Kong and can only be sold with a prescription. Sally’s practice may be illegal in another way since she does not have a trader license as required in the Import and Export Ordinance .

“I didn’t even know it is illegal.  But I chose not to sell medicine publicly because drugs may harm our health,” Sally said.

William Chui Chun-ming, president of the Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Hong Kong said the government should hold online vendors of illegal drugs responsible. Existing laws on the drug trade, he said ,  date back to 1978 and there is a lack of public education on the issue.

“Only when there are incidents, the government would tell the public not to buy drugs from the Internet,” said Chui. He called on the authority to promote community pharmacists as primary gatekeepers of public health because consumers can seek their advice easily and for free.

“Internet vendors separate the process of payment and the delivery of products to the clients. This  makes it hard to trace the trading process which is needed for prosecution,” said Chui, “the quantity of medicines involved in the trade have to be relatively large too”.

Apart from establishing a specific team to monitor internet sellers, Chui said Hong Kong should refer to laws from other countries. For example, in the United Kingdom, online medicine stores need to be registered with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and display an EU common logo on their website since 2015.

“Similar to buying clothes from Taobao, you always know there are risks that they are not authentic,”  Chui pointed out, “ but for medication, it’s dangerous”.

Amy does not order medication on the Internet anymore, but there is still a stuffed pill box in her bedroom. She has painkillers, anti-inflammatory capsules and sleeping pills. She has lost count of all the times she tossed and turned every night. Glancing into the darkness, she realized what she has lost  not just her money, but probably also her  health.

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FORGOTTEN NAMES

Have you ever questioned why Cheung Sha Wan Government Offices is at Sham Shui Po Station and why Causeway Bay Wet Market is at Tin Hau Station?

There is also one person who is interested in the mismatch of Mass Transit Railway (MTR) Station names and place names, Chang ka-lun Alan.

He noticed the problem when he heard that the MTRC is going to expand its services to central Kowloon.

‘Why this place we called Hung Hom is now called Ho Man Tin?’ he wondered and started to look at maps and books to search for the reason.

The MTR Kwun Tong Line extension has opened on 23th October and attracted 176,000 people to use the new stations on the first day.

The Kwun Tong Line extension includes two new stations, namely Ho Man Tin Station and Whampoa Station, in central Kowloon area.

After the first day of service, many people have focused on the 25-story stairs in Ho Man Tin Station but few noticed the debates on the name of the station.

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‘The station has got a wrong name!’ he said.

Therefore, Chang set up a Facebook page Protecting Hong Kong names to ask for supports his action to rename the existing ‘Ho Man Tin Station’.

There were street stations and voting boards around the area in mid-November, asking people to vote for a suitable name of the station.

‘This place is actually Lo Lung Hang. It takes more than 20 minutes to walk from this station to actual Ho Man Tin area,’ he explained.

Lo Lung Hang seems to be forgotten by people, by the government, and by the MTRC. Yet, many documents and maps, for example maps from the War Department of United Kingdom, show us the name ‘Lo Lung Hang’ and many residents from the older generations have this name in their heart.

Where is Lo Lung Hang? It is actually a valley located at the northwest of Hung Hom, including the area of Yan Fung Street, Wuhu Street, Gillies Avenue South and Chi Kiang Street. As for District Council electoral district, it is partly To Kwa Wan South, partly Ka Wai.

Ho Man Tin station is located here, right on the valley.

How about Ho Man Tin? ‘It is about 1.5 kilometers away from the closest exit of Ho Man Tin Station,’ Chang said.

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Instead of calling it ‘Lo Lung Hang Station’, the MTRC decided to name it ‘Ho Man Tin’.

‘This is misleading!’ Mrs Kwong, who came from Hong Kong Island, said.

‘I came to visit a friend in Ho Man Tin, and I came here. I didn’t know I need to walk a long way there!’ she said.

Ho Man Tin Station does have an exit for Ho Man Tin Estate and seems to have justified the reason of using this name; however, Chang explained that even Ho Man Tin Estate is not exactly located in Ho Man Tin.

Chang has thumbed through a lot of historical documents and he found in a map of Kowloon in 1902 showing that the area of Ho Man Tin, originally named Ho Mun Tin, was only limited to a valley between Mong Kok, Fo Pang and Tai Shek Ku Temple.

‘It is after Ho Man Tin Estate was built that the area expands to Quarry Hill,’ Chang said.

Discussion online doubt that the MTRC and other land developers are trying to expand the area of traditional luxury residential area Ho Man Tin, so as to build more luxury homes in these areas.

Chang said, ‘I cannot say that they do this to raise the property price, but it is true that we can see the price of the newly built building, which is named after Ho Man Tin, is way higher than other buildings in the district.’

It has been five years since Chang first sent an email to question the naming decision on the station and the MTRC still insist to use the name ‘Ho Man Tin’ and said they had consulted the stakeholders to get this conclusion.

However, the voting results tell a different story. Valley Station, Lo Lung Hang Station and Hung Hom North Station are the most popular choices.

Who had the MTRC consulted?

‘I live in Hung Hom. Here is Hung Hom,’ Ms Chan, resident in the area, said.

She continued ‘before the construction of the station started, I had never think of calling this place Ho Man Tin. I was born and raised here, in Hung Hom.’

Shops and places in the area use Hong Hom as their address. ‘Most of the residents believed that they live in Hong Hom since they were told so,’ Chang said.

Mr Lam Pok Jimmy, the District Councilor of To Kwa Wan South, referred us to the District Councilors of Ho Man Tin, although Ho Man Tin Station is located in his responsible area Lo Lung Hang.

While the MTR is using the name ‘Ho Man Tin’, residents are using ‘Hong Hom’, even District Councilor call it ‘Ho Man Tin’, why should the name ‘Lo Lung Hang’ be kept?

‘ It is sad to see people do not know the real names of the place they walk past every day,’ Chang said.  ‘It symbolizes the history and culture in Hong Kong.’

Ho Man Tin is not the only case that could be found along the MTR lines. Mei Foo Station, which locates in Lai Chi Kok, was named after big housing estate Mei Foo Sun Chuen; Taikoo Station, locates in Quarry Bay, was named after Taikoo Shing; or in some cases like Olympic Station that has no relation to the district Tai Kok Tsui at all.

‘People now can only remember the names of these large housing estates and Hong Kong is dominated by the property market. People start to forget all these old place names.’ Chang added.

Another reason for the confusion could be the lack of organization of the government. There are many shops registered in the Water Supplies Department with Hung Hom and being told by Lands Department that it is To Kwa Wan.

Lands Department said there is no official boundaries for different districts but only boundaries for District Council and Legislative Council election; while there are clear boundaries in other countries such as the United States and New Zealand.

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Chang said he would continue to spread out his idea of keeping the old names and wished there is opportunity to educate the young generation about local geography.

Will there be one day that the names that have existed for hundreds years totally disappear from Hong Kong? Will there be anyone remember that this place is called Lo Lung Hang?

NEW YEAR MARKET HAS STARTED

Reported by Wing Li
Edited by Tiffany Lui

The Lunar New Year Fair 2017 has started in the Victoria Park this week.

There are eight thematic stalls, 284 dry goods stalls, 180 wet goods stalls and three fast food stalls in total this year.

Since the election for Hong Kong’s Chief Executive is coming, some political parties sell products relating to the election while some sell products relating to localism to catch the attention of the visitors.

Some students have started their business for the first time in the flower market.

The products they sold are mainly related to rooster, the Chinese zodiac of 2017.

“I want to show the products we designed to others in the flower market,” said Ho, a student from Queen Elizabeth School.

“I want to use this precious opportunity to learn how to run a business “, said Roy Lee, a student from PolyU HKCC.

The stall owners have a positive view towards the market this year and expect to make profits at the end.

The flower market lasts for seven days from 22 January to 28 January 2017.

FOLLOW-UP OF POLICY ADDRESS 2017

Reported by Wing Li and Michelle Ng
Edited by Daisy Lee and Tiffany Lui
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Five major achievements of Chief Executive CY Leung:
1. The increase of the minimum wage from $28 to $34.5 in 2017 to resist inflation.
2. The implementation of the zero-tolerance policy against doubly non-permanent resident pregnant women to give birth in Hong Kong in 2013.
3. Three-days paternity leave for male employees with child born on or after 27 February 2015
4. The implementation of Old Age Living Allowance since 2013 and the cancellation of “bad son statement” in 2017.
5. The implementation of the Residential Properties(First-hand Sales) Ordinance to strengthen consumer protection and enhance transparency of the market.
Five major underachievements of Chief Executive CY Leung:
1. Concerning the setting up the standard working hours, no consensus is reached between the members of the Standard Working Hours Committee.
2. There were over-budget and delay of the construction of Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge and Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link Hong Kong Section.
3. Increasing the transparency of land supply was one of the manifestoes of CY Leung. However, lawmaker Eddie Chu Hoi-dick alleged that there is collusion between the government, rural landlords, business and triads behind the Wang Chau project in 2016.
4. The controversial Political Reform proposed by CY Leung in 2014 triggered the Umbrella Movement. The 72-days demonstration is one of the largest political movement within the decade in Hong Kong, involving more than 200,000 people according to various reports.
5. The supply of public housing still cannot meet public’s demand. The average waiting time for a public residential housing unit increased from 2.7 years in 2012 to 4.5 years in 2016.

CARRIE LAM’S AND JOHN TSANG’S RESIGNATION APPROVED, PAVING WAY FOR CHIEF EXECUTIVE BID

Reported by Wing Li and Michelle Ng
Edited by Tiffany Lui
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The State Council of the PRC approved the resignation of former Chief Secretary of Administration Carrie Lam and former Financial Secretary John Tsang this Monday.

Lam has announced her intention to run for the Chief Executive election, while Tsang is having a press conference this afternoon.

Tsang resigned from his former position on 12 December, with Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury Ceajer Chan Ka-keung as the acting Financial Secretary. But Secretary for Development Paul Chan Mo-po has replaced to be the new Financial Secretary.

Acting Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung Kin-chung has officially replaced Lam after her resignation last Thursday.

Besides from the two resigned principal officials, retired judge Woo Kwok-hing and Executive and Legislative Councillor and New People’s Party chairwoman Regina Ip, have also announced they would run for the Chief Executive last year.

BREAKING: JOHN TSANG FORMALLY DECLARES BID TO RUN FOR THE COMING CHIEF EXECUTIVE

Reported by Wing Li and Michelle Ng
Edited by Tiffany Lui, Daisy Lee and Cecilia Wong

Former Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah announced his intention of running for Chief Executive in March 2017.

At the press conference in Admiralty this afternoon, Tsang said he was saddened to see that more and more Hong Kong people emigrate to other countries.

Upon seeing many social problems and conflicts occur in Hong Kong these days, he said he wanted to contribute more to the society by running for Chief Executive.

He emphasized that there should not be advocation of independence of Hong Kong due to the reason that Hong Kong has become a great city with the strong support from China and the “one country, two systems” framework.

“I know Hong Kong,” said Tsang, who served the government for 34 years.

He hoped that Hong Kong can become a better city with “trust”, “unity” and “hope”, which are the three main values he holds in this election.

Commenting on the housing policy of CY Leung, he thinks the direction is correct and he will continue the process.

He said he will focus on the economic growth, housing and public welfare if he is elected.

Tsang has served as Financial Secretary for three terms since 2007. His resignation was approved by the Beijing Government on last Monday.

Other than Tsang, retired Judge Woo Kwok-hing, New People’s Party Chairperson Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee and former Chief Secretary for Administration Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor are those who have announced to run for the next Chief Executive.

HONG KONG NEEDS LOCAL BAZAAR TO HELP THE POOR

Local Bazaar can help the poor to earn some extra money while letting people to buy cheap wares.

Bazzar-630x210

Reported by Holly Chik
Edited by Tiffany Lui

In November 2016, the Yau Tsim Mong District Council rejected government’s proposal to organise a food bazaar at Macpherson Playground.

While the government proposed the plan to allow local bazaars to be held during Chinese New Year, local bazaar advocates do not think the government is doing enough to develop local bazaars.

According to Oxfam’s latest report named ‘Report on Women and Poverty’, more than one in six women are living below the poverty line in Hong Kong.

The poverty line for a 4-person household was $17,600 in 2015, according to the Commission on Poverty.

Wong Shek-Hung, Oxfam’s Hong Kong Programme Manager, said running local bazaar on a regular basis and in an organised manner can be the way out for poverty because poor working women can make money on the side while enjoying the flexibility to take care of their families.

Interacting

Suffering from breast cancer, Mrs Chan (right) said local bazaars allow them to sell their locally and organically grown vegetables to promote healthy eating so that fewer people will suffer from diseases.

Despite the complicated application procedures of running bazaars, the Supporting Grassroots’ Bazaar Alliance hold the Tung Chung Bazaar after the two-month Hong Kong Bazaar Festival.

Chiu Sin-ting, a spokesperson for Supporting Grassroots’ Bazaar Alliance, said they implemented this pilot scheme of holding the bazaar, in response to the government’s “district-led and bottom-up” approach to initiate hawking proposals.

Opening

The Tung Chung Community Development Alliance urges the government to set up a dedicated department to promote the development of local bazaars and to coordinate with different departments who are responsible in various parts of the organisation of local bazaars.

In order to gain broad local support and address various local needs and concerns, hawking proposals should be initiated by the local community, according to The Food and Health Bureau.

Chiu said citizens’ needs of local bazaar have been shown in last year’s bazaar festival, in which stallholders are from all 18 districts.

Candy Ho, a stallholder at the Tung Chung Bazaar who sells flowers and purses, said vending in bazaars is a stepping stone to small business.

Despite a large loss, Ho said she would not give up vending because it allows her to meet neighbours from Tung Chung and to support the development of local bazaars.

“I join local bazaars in protest of the Link Real Estate Investment Trust (Link REIT), which owns the Yat Tung Shopping Centre, hoping to pressurise them by being their competitors.” said Ho.

Ho added that buying groceries in Tung Chung, especially after Yat Tung estate’s wet market was outsourced to Uni-China (Market) Management Limited in Sept 2015, can be very costly.

Ho thinks local bazaars also allow the grassroots to earn money on the side and buy cheaper wares.

“However, joining the bazaar is risky since I have invested over $5000 but was only able to earn about $1000 in the past eight days.” said Ho.

She hopes the government will implement a territory-wide long-term bazaar policy that allows each district to hold its own local bazaar regularly at the same location.

Yet when organising the 16-week Tung Chung bazaar, only one location that the Alliance has proposed to the Islands District Council was approved. Other five out of eight locations are co-managed by the Housing Authority and the Link REIT, which banned their proposal, said Chiu.

One of the suggested locations is managed by Leisure and Cultural Services Department, according to the Working Group on promotion of bazaar development in Islands District.

With many lands managed by different government departments and application produces of lands not open to public, it is difficult for interested parties to apply for lands for running bazaars, Chiu added.

To apply for holding a bazaar, if the proposed location of running a bazaar is private, the government will examine whether the land use is in breach of the land lease conditions. If yes, the property owner may apply for exemption.

Therefore urged the government to set up a dedicated department to promote the development of local bazaars and to co-ordinate with different departments which are responsible in organisation of local bazaars.

Chiu hopes that a dedicated department would simplify the application of holding bazaars by formulating a set of clear and standardised application process for bazaar operation to allow bazaars to be organised regularly more easily.

Hong Kong needs such a department also because the Food and Hygiene Bureau, which proposed the Chinese New Year Bazaar in November 2016, could only manage, but not encourage and develop local bazaars, said Chiu.

Local bazaar can be better developed with government’s support – implementing a bazaar policy – when many grassroots needs them, said Chiu.

Wong from Oxfam holds a similar view; due to restrictions from the complicated procedures and the lack of supporting policy, the develop of bazaars all depends on the initiative of local organisations and communities.

Wong also suggest the government to compose a list of bazaar-available sites so that social welfare organisations can borrow these sites for holding bazaars regularly.

The Tung Chung Bazaar, which is held under the consent of the Islands District Council, will be organized every Saturday at Yat Tung Estate in Tung Chung until February 25.

The Legislative Council Subcommittee on Issues Relating to Bazaars was newly set up late last year to to improve the policy on setting up bazaars to cater for the needs of the grass-roots community.

CLICK HERE to view it on TYR.hk:
http://tyr.journalism.hkbu.edu.hk/?p=4009

BEAUTY WITH A DIFFERENCE

2With her hair shaved on both sides and dyed purple, Happy goes to the gym everyday.

Happy Ma Sin-Yi , aged 28, is a fitness coach and bodybuilder.. She is one of eight finalists  in The Queen of D.N.A. beauty pageant.

“I think every girl has dreamt of becoming Miss Hong Kong. I was planning to join last year and then my sister told me about this show,” she said.

The Queen of D.N.A. is not a typical pageant. All of the candidates have different characters and styles. The contestants did not learn manners and elegance from an etiquette coach. Instead, they strutted the runway under instructions from Miss Tiffany’s Universe, a contest for Thai transgender women.

Happy has been much talked about on social media ever since ViuTV announced the list of finalists. Unlike other candidates, she is very muscular and has a rather boyish character. In fact, she has been champions in several local and international bodybuilding competitions.

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(Provided by Happy Ma)

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(Provided by Happy Ma)

But opinions on her are split. Some say she is so muscular that she could be a construction worker or be Mr Hong Kong. Instead of getting angry, Happy jokes about the comments  and sees them as chances to her  stand out from the rest.

“I am now used to those negative comments. Sometimes they are just kidding or they do that because they have low self-esteem,” she said.

Before becoming a fitness coach, Happy tried different kind of sports but most of them did not turn out well.

“I love dancing but people think I am too muscular to dance,” Happy said.

It is not the only challenge she encountered on her way to success.

When Happy finally discovered that she likes bodybuilding, some of her family members kept  asking her to have a stable and ‘feminine’ job and get married.

“I understand that they want me to have a bright future but these are not what I want! Why can’t a girl go to the gym?” she said.

Happy used to strike back or get upset, but she has since learnt that sometimes people are just caring about her. She thinks her beauty lies in  her curiosity, which enables her to keep trying and learning.

“We are not Barbie dolls on shelves,” Happy said on the ViuTV’s show. “Every girl has the right to be herself. We are already very beautiful if we know ourselves well, do what we love, and not make excuses to give up,” she added.

Happy hopes that by joining the pageant, her story will influence others and let people know that beauty should not be limited to certain modes.

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“Be yourself. We do not need to fulfill the other’s’ expectations,” Happy said.

(Edited by Alvin Kor)

 

TEENAGE BINGE DRINKING ON THE RISE

Local research shows more teenagers, as young as eight years old, are drinking alcohol

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By law, selling alcoholic drinks to people under 18 is illegal, but many shops would still turn a blind eye.

by Isabella Lo and Tiffany Lui

Ammy Cheng Pui-lam, currently a university student in Hong Kong, was 12 years old the first time she got drunk. She was celebrating her primary school graduation at a friend’s home.

Later she developed a drinking habit. She would go drinking two to three times a week.

“My parents scolded me when they smelled alcohol on me at night, but who is not rebellious at that age?”, Ammy said with hoarse voice, which she believed is the result of frequent drinking.

In some films, TV shows and advertisements, drinking is often portrayed as a thrilling social activity that cool people would do in glamorous situations. This kind of depiction has affected young people’s perception.

“Drinking is a symbol of growing up, and we are enthusiastic to try,” said 20-year-old Ammy.

In a report published by the Hong Kong Academy of Nursing, the earliest age at which local kids start drinking alcohol beverages is eight years old. At the meantime, one in 16 teenagers aged 18 to 24 are reported of alcohol abuse, according to the report.

Shiu Ka-fai, legislator from the Liberal Party, said a liquor license is required for restaurants and bars to sell alcohol beverages. “If they sell alcohol to the underage, their license will be suspended. I think they are quite careful on this,” he said.

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Legislator Shiu Ka-fai said that he believed most alcohol retailers have been strictly following the law.

He thinks it is inevitable that teenagers are mistaken as adults sometimes. “But I also see some responsible retailers that would question those who appear to be underage and demand to see their identity card,” said Mr Shiu, who is also a member of the Wholesale and Retail Task Force in the legislature.

In Hong Kong, alcohol is believed to have both social and cultural functions. It is commonly consumed at socio-cultural activities, which leads to young people seeing alcohol as a “cultural endorsement”, according to the World Health Organisation.

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Dr Fanny Lam said many teenagers would turn into drinking if they have poor academic results.

Dr. Fanny Lam Wai-fan, specialist in Developmental-Behavioural Paediatrics, said early exposure to alcohol, emotional well-being of the children, and environmental influence, including peers and family, are the important factors for children in Hong Kong to develop drinking habits.

Dr. Lam believes there is a correlation between children’s drinking habits and failures at school. “When the child has little satisfaction at school or in leisure activities, they are more prone to using alcohol as relief,” said the specialist. “Children with drinking habits are found more likely to have developmental barriers and underperform at schools.”

A study conducted by the University of Hong Kong revealed that parental practices, such as encouragement of drinking, is an important risk factor for youth drinking in Hong Kong.

Dr. Lam points out that parents are important as role models for their children. “Try not to drink in front of children even in ceremonies or celebrations,” said Dr Lam. “If parents find their children drinking, they should communicate with their kids and try to understand their difficulties, instead of merely judge or criticise their behaviour,” said Dr. Lam.

“Adolescence can easily get access to alcohol even they are underaged,” said Ammy. “Sometimes convenient stores would not check our identity cards. Even if they check, the staff do not verify the photos with our faces,” said the 20-year-old alcohol lover.

Ammy and her friends usually get their adult friends to buy alcohol for them. While they sometimes borrow identity cards from grown-ups and buy alcohol themselves too. “We usually go to grocery stores to buy alcohol. They are less strict than convenient stores,” she said.

“Teenagers go through substantial brain development. Their brains are very susceptible to chemicals, up till the age of 18. Drinking at this age may have negative impact on the frontal lobe, which affects the mood, inhibition, attention, organisation skills, or even leads to a series of disorders in the heart and liver,” Dr. Lam said.

“My health has not been affected by alcohol up to this moment. Sometimes I would vomit or feel dizzy after drinking,” said Ammy.

However, she admitted her academic performance suffered. “I might be unwilling to get up the next day after getting drunk. So I would skip school,” she said.

The Department of Health plans to launch educational activities against harmful alcohol use. Those include handing out pamphlets, setting up a 24-hour education hotline, websites and electronic publications.

The government is also studying the issue of regulating off-premise sale of alcohol by examining local and overseas evidence and practice as well as the possible impact on society.

Ammy continues to drink at University. “I go to bars with friends very often. We can drink and talk freely. Sometimes we will compete to drink with each other and see who’s the first one to get drunk.”

Although she is still a frequent drinker. Ammy wishes she could have stopped drinking at an earlier age.

“Even if you go to drink, go with friends you can trust and remember safety is the most important” she said.

(Edited by Julianna Wu; video edited by Sharon Shi)
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