How old trees are preserved in Japan

These days I was in Kyushu Japan. As the place did not bear the brunt of typhoon Jebi, I could tour around a bit.

I was in Dazaifu where I came across this more than 1,500 years old tree. It was a stunning scene to spot. And if we think about the tree in terms of human life, it was awe-inspiring. If a man has an average life of 80 years, this tree then has been living almost 20 lives. If 30 years is a generation (when people give birth to their children), this tree has witnessed 50 generations of human evolution.

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But what amazed me most was not having a tree this old, but how it was conserved. If you looked carefully at the branches at the top, you could see they were all mounted with some sort of protection. I was uplifted by the efforts the Japanese government made in conserving old trees. By protecting valuable trees, natural, historic and cultural treasures can be conserved. Cities with oldest trees should aspire for better preservation.


日本的古樹保育

最近去了日本九州,該地並未受到颱風飛燕強烈影響,讓我可遊玩一番。

我在太宰府時遇到這棵逾一千五百年歷史的古樹,實在蔚為奇觀。假設一個人能活到八十歲,這棵古樹已活了差不多二十個人的一生了,若三十年是一代的話(假設人們大概在這年紀生下下一代),這棵古樹已見證了五十代人的進步了,想想實在讓人嘖嘖稱奇。

但最讓我留下深刻印象的,並非一棵樹木能活上這個年紀,而是它的保育工作。如果你仔細看,會發現古樹頂部的樹枝護着保護物料,日本政府的樹木保育工作實在值得學習。透過保育珍貴的樹木,我們同時保護了大自然、歷史和文化瑰寶。需要進行古樹保育工作的城市應當仿效。

A serene afternoon in Coloane, Macau

Having transformed from a fishing village to a metropolis, Macao shares a similar history with Hong Kong. Now the city is famed for high-end casino resorts, so it is hard to imagine its humble past. If you’re interested in experiencing its history, Coloane is the perfect place. It is also a delight to spend a comfy afternoon there.

Coloane is part of a southern island of Macao. Because of reclamation, the once standalone Coloane island became connected to Taipa. It is easy to travel to this quiet fishing village of Macao. Several bus routes go there, such as lines 15, 21A, 26, 26A and N3.

The Coloane Village was a must-go. It was a residential area along the coast of Coloane. Near the dock, there was the colourful settlement of houses made of iron sheets. I was lucky to be there on a sunny day. It was a delight to see the colourful houses floating on the muddy beach against a bright sky. Sometimes people fished at the dock. What a relaxing afternoon.

The landmark of the area was the Chapel of St. Francis Xavier. The chapel was 90 years old, recognisable in the baroque architectural style and its yellow and white facade. It was built to commemorate the local people’s victorious fight against the pirates in saving a group of children held captive. The chapel used to house some Christian relics which were then transferred to other churches.

If you’ve seen enough of the urban hustle and bustle, this serene part of Macao would sure make your day.


在路環感受澳門舊時的漁村風貌

澳門和香港同樣從漁港發展而成國際大都會,看着澳門華麗的賭場度假酒店實在難以想像其漁港歷史,但一些地方仍保留昔日漁港面貌,路環就是其中一個體會其漁港歷史的好地方。

路環位於澳門南部,原本是個獨立島嶼,但因為填海的緣故已與氹仔連接起來。到路環的交通十分方便,數條巴士路線如15、21A、26、26A和N3都能到。

路環村是沿海發展的民居,十分值得一遊。在此處閒逛,偶爾還有人在碼頭釣魚,近着碼頭有不同顏色的鐵皮屋民居,剛好當天風和日麗,各種顏色的鐵皮屋在蔚藍天空的映襯下,一派趣味盎然。

來到路環必定要參觀聖方濟各聖堂,外型是典型的巴羅克風格,黃白色的明亮外表是其特點。聖堂已有九十年歷史,為了紀念當時村民擊敗海盜救回一群被綁架的小孩而建。聖堂曾存放聖方濟各的手骸聖鐲,後被轉送到其他教堂。

如你看夠熱鬧的城市,來寧靜簡樸的路環感受澳門舊時的漁村風貌是不錯的選擇。

 

New UM Campus in Hengqin, Zhuhai

Over the weekend I made a one-day trip to Macao to enjoy some peace of mind. This time I didn’t follow a typical tourist itinerary but seized the time to pay a visit to the new campus of the University of Macau. The new campus, now one river apart from the old site, was relocated from Taipa to Hengqin in 2013 and 2014. Though situated in Hengqin, Zhuhai, the new campus is under the jurisdiction of the Macao SAR. Visitors can go to the campus directly from Macao by bus MT3U, 71 and 37U without going through immigration procedures.

The new campus is about 20 times of the old one, accommodating around ten thousand students. The entire environment was spacious, tranquil and picturesque. There was a colossal green space, covered with lawns and decorated with trees, rivers and lakes.

It was relaxing and refreshing to simply hang around the campus, admiring the spectacular academic buildings and green garden. The architectural style was eclectic and characterised by eastern and western designs, blending elements of Southern Europe and the Cantonese culture.

The campus is self-sufficient. There is a variety of restaurants and cafeterias scattered around, offering Chinese, western and Portuguese cuisines, catering to different preferences. There is also a complex where you can find a supermarket, bookstore, post office, bank, clinic, pharmacy, etc. It is very convenient.

It was a pleasure to spend a laidback morning there. Though it was not my alma mater, strolling around the campus brought me back memories of old school days. How time went by.


欣賞澳門大學獨樹一格的綠色校園

剛過去的周末我特意到了澳門一日遊,享受片刻寧靜。早上我並沒有去看旅遊勝地,而是參觀了澳門大學(University of Macau)的新校園。校區於二零一三及一四年陸續從氹仔搬到橫琴,新校與舊址僅一河之隔。雖然新校舍位於珠海橫琴,但屬澳門管轄,所以遊客可直接從澳門乘搭巴士前往新校區,不用辦理過關手續,巴士MT3U、71和37U均可直達,相當方便。

新校園大概是舊校舍的二十倍大小,現容納約一萬個學生。整個校園寛敞,環境優美寧靜,是個寛廣的綠色園林空間,綠草如茵,綠樹成蔭,還有小河湖泊,漫步其中心曠神怡。校園的建築和學術大樓兼收並蓄東西方設計風格,融合中國嶺南文化和南歐風情,繞有特色。

整個校園自給自足,有林林總總的餐廳食肆選擇,如中式、西式和葡式等餐廳。校園的商場有超級市場、書店、郵局、銀行、診所、藥房等等,十分方便。

在校園閒逛一個早上十分愉悅,雖然澳門大學並非我的母校,但美麗的校園亦勾起了我的學生回憶,真是光陰似箭。

Startup Community in Copenhagen

Copenhagen is well known for being a happy and smart city. That’s why I was really excited about joining the Startup Weekend of the Copenhagen Fintech Week and couldn’t wait to meet the dynamic FinTech startup community there!

The Copenhagen Fintech Week was an international event where people from all around the world came together to share insights on latest hot topics in the Fintech world like artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, cybersecurity, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), open banking, etc. As part of the Copenhagen Fintech Week, the Startup Weekend embraced novel ideas from Fintech startups and provided a competitive yet potentially collaborative platform for innovation initiators. There we worked on projects that interested us, honed our ideas with exchanges from fellow participants and help from coaches, and finally got to pitch our work.

It was a valuable experience working and interacting with inspiring people, and building up our ideas with the insights and experience from like-minded fellows. I really appreciated the opportunity and looked forward to more to come!


參與哥本哈根的金融科技周,與各地初創企業家互動交流

哥本哈根是知名的快樂和智慧城市,所以我相當高興能參與其金融科技周的初創周末,急不及待和那裏的金融科技初創社區見面交流!

哥本合根的金融科技周是個國際盛事,來自世界各地的專業人士會聚首一堂,分享探究金融科技世界最新最流行的議題,這次的主題涵蓋人工智能(Artificial Intelligence),區塊鏈技術(Blockchain)、網絡安全(Cybersecurity)、可持續發展目標(Sustainable Development Goals)、開放銀行(Open banking)等等。而初創周末作為金融科技周的一部分,特別為初創企業和項目發起人提供一個鼓勵協作又具競爭性的平台,讓我們能在此開展我們感興趣的想法或項目,並藉着和與會者交流看法和導師的建議而加以完善,最後我們有機會匯報自己的項目提案。

這實在是個難得的體驗,能夠和不同背景但志同道合的與會者和初創企業家互動,藉大家的經驗和建議來改善加強彼此的項目想法,實在受益匪淺,期待未來更多與各地金融初創交流的機會!