My job comes with the privilege of being able to disguise a curiosity about people whose lives are different from mine with questions; journalism endorses my nosiness. But the real privilege is delivered in the answers people offer: the insight they lend on communities and circumstances about which my experience is limited. And the announcement that the Gay Games are to be hosted in Hong Kong in 2022 lends a perfect opportunity to ask questions, to be educated, informed, and to ditch preconceptions.
Many expatriate parents want to provide their children with a British boarding experience for at least part of their school career. The schools are also popular with Hong Kong families as seen at the British Boarding Schools Fair, organised by Britannia StudyLink and held in November but it is an expensive option. The 2016 Independent Schools Council (ISC) annual census revealed that the average boarding fees per term for pupils at ISC-member senior boarding schools was 10,217 (US$13,600).
Encouraging children to adopt good eating habits and healthy attitudes to food early in life is crucial for their future well-being. This is especially so given doctors warnings that Hong Kong teenagers are at growing risk of suffering strokes later in life after a recent survey showed a worrying trend of youngsters rarely exercising and eating a poor diet. The Hong Kong Stroke Fund survey of 12,405 secondary school pupils in September and October showed 56 per cent eat diets in which vegetables formed less than a third of their intake.
As more research highlights poor physical and mental health among Hong Kong students, more than 100 local kindergartens and schools will join a family sports carnival hosted by the Physical Fitness Association of Hong Kong, China (HKPFA) at Hong Kong Science Park in Sha Tin this weekend. Children, parents and teachers will take part in interactive games, activities and performances to highlight how physical activity benefits students holistic development. The citywide annual event is part of HKPFAs Jockey Club Keep-Fit Formula for Children, a three-year pilot programme funded by The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust to integrate physical literacy movement skills such as running, hopping, throwing, catching and jumping that give children confidence to participate in sports, and games into early childhood curriculum.
Many families are from multiple cultures and live in one that is not their own, potentially exposing children to different languages at the same time and from a very young age, says Scarlett Mattoli, a psychologist at Hong Kong mental health consultancy Psynamo. Studies have shown that our brains have the ability from birth to differentiate between languages, but preferences for usage will be set according to what is heard in the environment from very early on, and this preference tends to be stable, she says. Research has shown that babies who live in bilingual environments can distinguish between two languages by reading lip movements and facial expressions, and they show a strong preference for the language their mother spoke during pregnancy.
British boarding schools continue to be a popular option for families in Hong Kong and China the 20 plus schools, consultancies and colleges that exhibited at the recent British Boarding Schools Fair in Hong Kong are testament to this. But how do you know youre choosing a proper boarding school experience for your child? Some British schools describe themselves as a boarding school, and they are.
A number of Chinese traditions persist around pregnancy and delivery. There is the practice of sitting the month a centuries-old custom that prohibits new mothers from eating certain foods or leaving the house. Another ritual permitted a fathers involvement in a babys first bath but excluded him from being present during labour.
A stomach ache that recurs more than four times a month for more than two months is classed as chronic andan intestinal illness may be responsible, according to the Cologne-based Professional Association Of Paediatricians (BVKJ) in Germany. However, nearly one in four children between three and six years of age suffer from so-called functional abdominal pain, which has no organic cause and is usually due to stress, the association says. To help a doctor determine whats behind the pain, the BVKJ recommends keeping a diary.
The adage charity begins at home certainly holds true in Titus Fernandez family. His daughters Isabel Meng Shinn,14; Annabel Pui San, 12; and Rozabel Hui Ling, 10, have been involved with charity work since young. When my girls were younger, they used to accompany my wife and my mother-in-law to distribute food to the underprivileged community in Ara Damansara, Petaling Jaya.