HK Time Out Magazine – Column #20

timeout

I’m currently contributing a short, light-hearted political column to Hong Kong Time Out Magazine. Below is the uncut, original version of my latest piece…

Digital Distractions
If your response to today’s news was “when is this coming out for Playstation 3?”, then it’s probably a sign that the industry is in trouble. When Next Media’s CGI animation of what may have happened to Tiger Woods went global, it prompted much journalistic head-scratching and ethical beard-stroking over what it all means and how we’re all doomed. Many rightly believe the online videos to be a lowest-common-denominator attempt for the traditional press to make money in a time of poor sales, free alternatives and crisis point ad revenues.

HK tabloids already push standards of integrity and decency with their ‘infotainment’ thirst for gore regardless of victim’s families. Too often, violent, invasive photos grace the front of newspapers resembling a horror movie. However, what is most worrying is that these new virtual re-enactments present us with a potential version of the news. Local serial entrepreneur billionaire Jimmy Lai is behind the ‘Action News’ trend, employing 160 software engineers in Taiwan to motion capture 20 faux-news sequences a day.

Activism – HK-GZ High Speed Rail Link

Activism

Thousands of protesters gathered for several days and weeks outside of HK’s LEGCO building in largely peaceful demonstrations against the construction of a high-speed rail link to Guangzhou.

The project is the most expensive rail project in the world (HK$66.9 billion) and would involve the needless destruction of countryside and villages in the New Territories, despite there already being rail and road links to the mainland city. Further, a new link would only cut the current two-hour journey time by around 20-30 minutes, as it would terminate 15 metro stations away from the city centre. In a prime example of unlected officials putting profit before people, the legistlation passed on 16.1.10 amdist heavy protest in the surrounding Statue Square in Central.

See the Wikipedia for more on the rail link and the impact of the ‘Post-80s‘ generation and their

Press stories:

GZ Rail Link Protest - 16.1 GZ Rail Link Protest - 16.1 (3)

GZ Rail Link Protest - 16.1 (2) IMG_5376

– click to view

HK Time Out Magazine – Column #19

timeout

I’m currently contributing a short, light-hearted political column to Hong Kong Time Out Magazine. Below is the uncut, original version of my latest piece…

Toxic Town – Green Gone Wrong
My five-year-old Nokia is already an archaic laughing stock amongst my colleagues and in a few years, it’ll no doubt become a prehistoric curiosity. Friends of the Earth revealed that young Hong Kongers change their phone every 600 days, with 65% admitting they upgraded annually. The reasons include rapid technology change, low initial cost, planned manufacturer obsolescence and good old peer pressure. However, my self-righteous custom of differentiating between what I ‘want’ and what I ‘need’ (a trait my friends often mistake for ‘being tight’) means that I’ll probably only replace mine when it packs in beyond repair. And being a well-meaning tree-hugger of sorts, I’ll probably try and get it recycled.

The culture of disposable gadgetry extends to Japan, the US and EU, where e-waste recycling is built into law. Private companies fill containers with, often toxic, old electronics which are then shipped thousands of miles to Hong Kong where legal loopholes mean they are sent onto the infamous Guangdong town of Guiyu, just over the border. Precious metals and other valuable elements are then retrieved from the products, whilst mercury, lead and other harmful substances are also processed, often by children and without protection.