US News: Clearing the Air About Being Black in Hong Kong

Written By: Marta Colombo
Photos by: Katherine Cheng for USN&WR

HONG KONG – “IF YOU HAD a time machine, would you go into the past or into the future?” asks hosts Marie-Louisa Awolaja and Folahan Sowole, aka “Lou” and the “Fantastic Fo,” to one of their interviewees on a recent episode of their podcast, HomeGrown. “Black people have suffered enough in the past, what am I going to do back there? There’s nothing there for us, I’m going into the future,” guest Katakyie Ofori-Atta answers while laughing. “That’s optimistic,” says Sowole, also laughing.

The exchange encapsulates the lighthearted approach to discussing serious topics in HomeGrown, which British-Nigerian millennials Awolaja and Sowole recently launched in Hong Kong to create a platform to inform and inspire the Black expatriate community in the city.

While the series deals with timely themes such as racism, inequality and being part of a minority in a largely homogenous society, it does so through personal and relatable stories that deviate from many conventional and stereotyped narratives. More importantly, HomeGrown celebrates diversity and excellence.

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Guardians of the Pearl River Delta (China Dialogue)

By: Katherine Cheng (Published October 16, 2020)

Nestled deep within one of the many bays of the Pearl River delta, a rare patch of mangrove forest can be found hidden between the towering skyscrapers on the Hong Kong–Shenzhen border. Egrets laze in the sun as small crabs scuttle at their feet, a mountainous skyline of construction cranes looming behind them.

Mangroves are small trees that grow along the coastlines of more than 100 countries in tropical and subtropical regions. They were once widespread on the Pearl River delta and around the inlets and islands of the neighbouring Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR). Now there are only about 60 small patches remaining in Hong Kong – the largest is at Mai Po, at the head of Deep Bay (also known as Shenzhen Bay).

Protected by the Mai Po Nature Reserve, this mangrove forest and the surrounding mudflats has been designated as a Wetland of International Importance under the Ramsar Convention since 1995. It is part of a Hong Kong success story, albeit a limited one. After years of degradation, a recent survey conducted by Dr Stefano Cannicci from Hong Kong University’s Integrated Mangrove Ecology Lab found that mangroves are now making a recovery in the region.

This goes against the general trend. Over the past 50 years, 50% of the world’s mangroves have been lost. This is due to a combination of factors, including coastal reclamation, urbanisation, unsustainable aquaculture practices and pollution.

To read more, please visit China Dialogue

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