May 13, 2014
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The bun myth

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Cheung Chau, Hong Kong
By Bobby Yip

Cheung Chau, or “Long Island”, with a population of around 30,000, is famous not only for its seafood and snacks, and as a small resort for local tourists, but most of all for its buns.

The Bun Festival is the annual highlight of this former fishing village. Tens of thousands of visitors flock to attend the ritual, jamming the narrow streets of this quiet island.

Nov 21, 2013
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Survival of mankind in the face of disaster

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Tacloban, Philippines

By Bobby Yip

Back in 2006, I landed at Tacloban airport, then took a car for a six-hour journey to cover a mudslide which killed 900 people in a remote village in the central Philippines. Seven years later, Tacloban airport is the destination.

Each day after super Typhoon Haiyan battered the city, hundreds of homeless residents try to be evacuated. They fear being left behind, despite some having no clue about what their future holds in another city.

Jun 19, 2013
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Where in Hong Kong is Mr. Snowden?

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Hong Kong

By Bobby Yip

Hong Kong became the focus of the world’s media this week after Edward Snowden, a former contractor at the National Security Agency (NSA) who leaked classified NSA information, gave The Guardian newspaper an exclusive interview and then went to ground somewhere in the financial hub – a town more used to a focus on money-making matters.

With more than 6,000 people living in every square kilometer, Hong Kong is one of the most crowded cities in the world. After checking out of the Mira Hotel where he first stayed, the public has no idea where Snowden’s current “safe house” is. One magazine article even suggested Snowden head ‘offshore’ and hide on one of the island’s iconic “junks”.

Oct 1, 2012
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My gay daughter for a dowry

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By Bobby Yip

With a well-dressed attractive woman waiting to pose for me, I asked her to sit on the darker side of a classic sofa, trying to depict the situation she is facing — waiting for people to accept her status as a lesbian, the first among Hong Kong’s upper class to have a same-sex marriage.

Gigi Chao is a comparatively low-profile person among celebrities here. As the daughter of a tycoon playboy father and a divorced actress mother, she was followed by local paparazzi occasionally. Curious entertainment journalists finally broke the news of her getting married in Paris in April – to a woman.

Jun 29, 2012
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Pearl of the orient; 15 years after the Handover

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By Bobby Yip

Hong Kong celebrates its 15th anniversary since the handover to Chinese sovereignty from British rule on July 1, 2012. In the city’s King George V Memorial Park, a plaque from the colonial era is hidden behind the roots of a banyan tree. I found this to be a good symbol of the fading former colonial links to the territory’s past.

Bearing the romanticized phrase “Pearl of the Orient”, Hong Kong attracts visitors from around the world. Due to a fast growing economy, a flood of mainland Chinese visitors in recent years (including many big spenders) have boosted the city’s retail sales. In 2011, nearly 42 million visitors came to Hong Kong, about 64 percent of them from the mainland.

Apr 23, 2012
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Window to North Korea

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By Bobby Yip

A ten-day media tour to North Korea is a challenge for the authorities, as well as a challenge for the press. As one side tries to highly control what should be seen and who should be interviewed, the other side tries to show the world what the reality is.

Except visits to scheduled events, in most cases photographers are not allowed to walk on the street to take photos. Many of my images were shot through the window of a media bus or on one occasion through the window of a train. Watching the street scenes and the village scenes along the way, I felt an isolation between the people and me. I also sensed the isolation between the people themselves. It is the ideology behind the surface which distinguishes North Korea from many other countries, and it shows on the streets.

Nov 7, 2011
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Moments between isolation

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By Bobby Yip

Those who have visited Hong Kong know how packed the buildings are, how busy the traffic is and how quickly people walk. When there was a global photo project on the world’s population reaching 7 billion, the first image that came to my mind was Mong Kok – one of the most crowded places in the world. The Guinness World Records lists Mong Kok as having a population density of 130,000 per square km or 340,000 per square mile.

Unlike the two high class shopping districts for tourists, Causeway Bay on the island side and Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon Peninsula, complete with world famous fashion brands, Mong Kok has a more authentic feel of the territory. Here you will find older residential buildings, smaller stores of all kinds with tags displaying cheaper prices. It’s packed with people on the pavements, crossing the streets and even sitting on the ground.

Sep 24, 2010
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Fly or dive? The spirit of the birdman

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When a flying machine is made in the shape of a flying horse, a dragon head or a television set, I wonder if anyone expects that it will really fly.

That was the case at a birdman competition held this week at a downtown lake in Jiangmen, a city in China’s southern Guangdong province.

Nov 24, 2009
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A traditional art with young faces

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Cantonese opera, one of the major categories of Chinese opera, targets tens of millions of people speaking the regional dialect, mostly based in the southern Guangdong and Guangxi provinces, including the cities of Hong Kong and Macau.The United Nations recently proclaimed Cantonese opera, which involves singing, acting and sometimes martial arts, as one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.Among all such opera groups in the territory, the Hong Kong Young Talent Cantonese Opera Troupe is made up of the youngest professional artists in town, many of them in their 20s. In this opera, a 16-year-old girl, who has studied Cantonese opera for ten years, is cast in the main role of a man, normally performed by older actors.With younger faces on stage, the troupe hopes to attract a new generation of audiences to this centuries old art form.