A landmark case involving W, a transsexual woman who wants to get married in Hong Kong is expected to be heard at the Court of Final Appeal next year. Now, W's story is being dramatised in a musical called "Dream of the Mermaid". Varsity meets members of the production and looks at some of the struggles faced by transsexuals in Hong Kong.
The future of the government's plans to build a multi-billion dollar waste incinerator off Shek Kwu Chau has been thrown into uncertainty after legislators opposed the proposal. Opposition to the plan has been most vocal from green groups and residents on nearby Cheung Chau. But little has been heard from actual inhabitants of Shek Kwu Chau, who would live on the doorstep of the facility.
Local farmers are struggling to compete against cheaper imports from the mainland. The Accredited Farm Scheme is supposed to help local farmers get better prices for their produce and encourage consumer confidence in locally grown fruit and vegetables. But not all farmers are convinced of the benefits.
The number of disabled students at Hong Kong's universities has risen over the past decade. New facilities built on the territories campuses have to comply with guidelines for disabled access. But as some disabled students have told Varsity, barrier-free access is not just about getting around campus.
In recent years, the term 'gang piao', literally 'Hong Kong drifters' has been used to describe the educated young mainlanders who study and then work in Hong Kong. The gang piao identify with and have taken to Hong Kong's culture, language and values to varying degrees. Some mix only with other gang piao and speak Putonghua, while others have learnt Cantonese and find themselves changed by their Hong Kong experience. Varsity hears some of their stories.
Vehicle emissions are one of the major causes of air pollution in Hong Kong and the government has been promoting the use of electric vehicles as a way to tackle the problem. But despite its efforts, the response from drivers has been disappointing. Apart from the relatively higher cost of electric cars, motorists tell Varsity the lack of quick chargers is one of the reasons there are so few zero-emissions cars on our roads.
Hong Kong's squatter settlements are an integral part of the territory's history. Since the 1980's, these shantytowns have been steadily demolished to make way for public housing estates, private residential developments and malls. Varsity speaks to residents who are still living in some of the remaining squatter homes. Some are waiting to move to public housing flats. Others, like the villagers of Ma Shi Po view their squatter houses as their home and never want to leave.
Hong Kong faces an aging population and a shrinking workforce, yet many women are deterred from rejoining the workforce and families put off having children, due to the lack of affordable and accessible childcare services. Varsity meets some of the mothers struggling to strike a balance between working and looking after their children.
It is a misconception that Hong Kong doesn’t have enough international school places. In fact, there are too many, says Ruth Benny from Top Schools.
In recent years, the lines between mainstream and alternative media and professional and citizen journalists have become increasingly blurred. The recent Umbrella Movement saw many citizen journalists on the frontline, filing up-to-the-minute reports for various online media. Varsity caught up with some of them.