Women's Festival Hong Kong offers expert advice on staying positive amid the coronavirus pandemic, dealing with bereavement and more

trans woman, difficult to grieve, forgiveness, speed dating session

The Women’s Festival Hong Kong has built a reputation for its bold programming and this year, the fourth edition, it doesn’t disappoint. Acknowledging that we’ve all faced challenges over the past year of the coronavirus pandemic, the festival is designed as a preparatory guide for those who have struggled to envision a better future.

“When the world is falling apart, it is more vital than ever to reflect on the ways things have been that were not working, and to find radical and creative alternatives,” says festival co-founder Sonia Wong.

“A Superheroine’s Preparation Guide For A World To Come” will run over two weekends, August 21-22 and 28-29, at the Eaton Hong Kong and brings a burst of positivity. Wong says it would be easy to slip into pessimism as we watch friends leave Hong Kong; instead she wants to help women come together and invent a world they want to live in.

Chantal Wong, co-founder of the festival and Eaton Hong Kong’s director of culture, says there is a lot of anxiety around human touch which has been magnified by concerns over Covid-19, and yet the science shows we need the human touch. Giving someone a hug for 20 seconds has been proven to reduce stress.

trans woman, difficult to grieve, forgiveness, speed dating session

Chantal Wong, co-founder of the Women’s Festival Hong Kong, at the Eaton Hong Kong in Yau Ma Tei. Photo: Jonathan Wong

“Skinship is a Japanese expression which is a play on friendship and relationship. Within certain cultures there is the acknowledgement of the need for people to touch each other and through touch, a different kind of relationship is formed,” says Chantal Wong.

This intimate, non-sexual touching between close platonic friends includes hugging and holding hands or linking arms. Counsellor Sarah Braidenback will lead a skinship workshop (August 22, 12-2pm, in English) and will explore why touch is something we crave and require, but also something we fear and avoid, and look at ways to use touch to boost physical and mental health.

The past year has made us all more aware of medical care – and it’s becoming increasingly more obvious that health care is not equal. Access, medical literacy and the ability to pay are all limiting factors.

“For a long time, the male body has been considered to be the model body, so all drugs and procedures were tested on a male body, leaving out pregnant women and children. As society progresses, we are thinking about biases against people of different skin colour and gender,” says Sonia Wong.

Ming Chan, a trans woman and medical student, and Sringatin, a trans Indonesian migrant worker and labour rights activist, will join a panel discussion on the limitations and biases in the medical field (August 21, 2-4pm, in English). By sharing stories from a diversity of experiences, the panel aims to work towards envisioning a future where medical care is inclusive, compassionate and ethical.

trans woman, difficult to grieve, forgiveness, speed dating session

Counsellor Sarah Braidenback will lead a skinship workshop at this year’s Women’s Festival Hong Kong. Photo: Focus

trans woman, difficult to grieve, forgiveness, speed dating session

Chantal Wong (left) and Sonia Wong, co-founders of the Women’s Festival, at the Eaton Hong Kong hotel. Photo: Jonathan Wong

Conversations around death are also on the festival agenda. Chantal Wong says in the past two years both her grandmothers have gone through dementia and she has witnessed the decreasing level of choice around the way they die.

“From an ethical point of view, if you can’t choose the way you go and there’s no public or collective conversation around it, then how empowered are you around the way you live? We all have to confront our own passing,” says Chantal Wong.

Professor Gordon Mathews, professor of anthropology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and Small Yuk, a Chinese doctor and intersex activist, will lead a discussion, “Being Mortal: How to lead a good life until the end” (August 22, 2-4pm, in English). Overcoming taboos and fears when talking about death – our own and others – and creating a platform for open conversations about issues from terminal care to funeral rituals will help us lead full lives until the very end.

trans woman, difficult to grieve, forgiveness, speed dating session

Gordon Mathews is a professor of anthropology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Still on the theme of death, the Chinese programming will see drag queen Coco Pop read two books on loss and letting go – “What to do when I’m gone” and “Dancing at the Pity Party” (August 28, 2-4pm). The festival’s drag queen story time is usually set aside for children, but this year it is designed for adults.

“I’ve gone through loss myself in the last year. It’s very difficult to grieve, there’s little space for grieving or mourning in our busy modern life,” says Sonia Wong.

She lectures in gender studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and says her course on love and intimacy has made her aware of how difficult many people find it to express their emotions with loved ones, especially when it comes to talking about guilt, forgiveness and apologising.

With this in mind, she has invited two young women writers, Yvette Wong Lok-yee and Kitty Hung – to lead two letter-writing workshops, one on forgiving yourself and the other on writing love letters to yourself 10 years in the past and 10 years in the future.

“People generally don’t take the time to sit down and pen a letter. Taking time to be introspective and [reconcile] with the self are important,” she says.

There are also more lighthearted events in the line-up, including a pillow fight slumber party with DJ and cocktails and a speed dating session that cuts to the chase with the 36 questions to fall in love, developed by psychologist Arthur Aron.

trans woman, difficult to grieve, forgiveness, speed dating session

Drag queen Coco Pop will read two books on loss and letting go at the women’s conference. Photo: Facebook/Coco Pop

“We believe in the capacity to reimagine collectively and to move forward as a community. We see this as an opportunity to come together and have difficult conversations, to get closer to the world we want,” says Chantal Wong.

See the Women’s Festival Hong Kong website for more details.

News Related


Nigella's stunning Autumnal Birthday Cake is causing a stir on social media

© Brendon Thorne – Getty Images Nigella Lawson’s stunning Autumnal Birthday Cake recipe is giving us baking inspiration and causing a stir on social media. Here’s how to get the ... Read more »

Professor receives online backlash for claim on diabetes risk increase if you don't fit into clothes you wore at 21

© Getty Images iStock-181854900.jpg A university professor is receiving backlash on Twitter after his comments regarding his claims on what increases the risk of developing diabetes. Professor Roy Taylor, director ... Read more »

Jennifer Garner, 49, Shares the $29 Wrinkle Repair Serum She Carries With Her Everywhere She Goes

© Steve Granitz – Getty Images Jennifer Garner shared her favorite facial serum for smooth and youthful skin. It’s the Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Retinol Pro +.5% Power Serum. Jennifer ... Read more »

Sama: Health workers should be prioritised if J&J booster jabs implemented

© AFP Vials and syringes of the Johnson and Johnson Janssen COVID-19 vaccine are displayed for a photograph at a Culver City Fire Department vaccination clinic on 5 August 2021, ... Read more »

Why Snacking on Hemp Seeds Can Help You Sleep More Soundly

© Photo: Stocksy/Sophia Hsin hemp seeds for sleep Hemp seeds pack a powerful nutrient-rich punch. “First of all, hemp protein is considered to be complete, meaning it contains all essential ... Read more »

Prince Charles surprises picnickers during visit to Kew Gardens

© Provided by Hello! prince-charles-kew-gardens-visit The Prince of Wales and the President of Gabon today heard how work to support biodiversity by British scientists could futureproof the multi-billion dollar coffee ... Read more »

Princess Anne's unusual breakfast is so healthy – but it might make your stomach churn

© Provided by Hello! princess-anne-bananas Breakfast is commonly considered the most important meal of the day – and for the royal household, this belief is no exception. Princess Anne reportedly ... Read more »

Anti-vaccination stances in the NBA are taking center stage ahead of the new season

© Mary Altaffer/AP Images Kyrie Irving. Mary Altaffer/AP Images There are 50-60 NBA players who have not received the COVID-19 vaccine, according to Rolling Stone. Unvaccinated players and their refusal ... Read more »

Rebel Wilson Shares Red Swimsuit Pic to Celebrate More Than 60-pound Weight Loss

© Provided by Eat This, Not That! rebel wilson If you’ve been keeping up with Rebel Wilson over the past two years, you’re likely aware of her total body transformation. ... Read more »

The One Major Effect of Eating Shrimp You Need to Know

© Provided by Eat This, Not That! shrimp salad Whether you’re enjoying some shrimp tacos, a plate of shrimp scampi, or your very own coconut shrimp at home, it’s safe ... Read more »

The #1 Way to Tell If You Need More Vitamin D

© Provided by Eat This, Not That! vitamin d in the sun Reality check: Most people don’t get enough vitamin D. In fact, a 2018 review in Cureus revealed that ... Read more »

World Heart Day 2021: Know all about the date, history, significance and theme

As per the World Heart Federation, World Heart Day is important as cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains the world’s number one killer, resulting in 18.6 million deaths a year. Covid-19 has ... Read more »

A wedding therapist says couples need to reframe what they think it means when someone RSVPs 'no' to their wedding

© Provided by INSIDER RSVPs have a different meaning amid the pandemic, according to a wedding therapist. Irina Lev/Getty Images The pandemic changed the reasons people decline wedding invitations. But ... Read more »

Almost 28,000 Pounds of DiGiorno Frozen Pizza Recalled Over Undeclared Allergens and Misbranding

Nearly 28,000 pounds of frozen DiGiorno pizza has been recalled due to misbranding and undisclosed allergens. Certain DiGiorno Crispy Pan Crust pepperoni pizza boxes may mistakenly contain three-meat pizza, which ... Read more »

The Scientific Verdict on the Healthfulness of Eggs

© Photo: Stocksy/Nadine Greeff are eggs bad for you Americans have long been confused about eggs, especially when it comes to heart health. Despite what nutrition experts have told us ... Read more »

Roast chicken and cauliflower with 'nduja recipe

© Laura Edwards Roast chicken and cauliflower with ‘nduja recipe – Laura Edwards The work here is done in about eight minutes flat and it tastes fabulous. You do need ... Read more »

Ramaphosa: The longer it takes to vaccinate world, the greater the loss of life

© GCIS. President Cyril Ramaphosa addressing the nation on 11 July 2021. JOHANNESBURG – President Cyril Ramaphosa has called for an effective multilateral trading system that benefits all affected by ... Read more »

The Best 4 Stretches To Do in the Morning, Right When You Wake Up—and How To Do Each

© Rear view of a woman in plaid shirt standing near the window while stretching near bed after waking … stretches in the morning For the many folks who spend ... Read more »

Hopes rise that Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine will be authorized for use in children aged 5 to 11 by late October, and Russia suffers worst one-day death toll

© patrick t. fallon/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images CORONAVIRUS UPDATE Pfizer and German partner BioNTech have submitted initial data from the late-stage trial of their COVID-19 vaccine in children aged 5 to ... Read more »

DEA issues rare warning on counterfeit pills containing 'lethal doses' of fentanyl

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has issued its first public safety alert in six years about mass-produced counterfeit pills containing lethal doses of fentanyl that have killed unsuspecting users. © DON EMMERT, ... Read more »

Inspired by young fan, Kurt Busch introduces 'Window of Hope'

© Logan Riely Getty Images Inspired by young fan, Kurt Busch introduces ‘Window of Hope’ CONCORD, N.C. (Sept. 28, 2021) — NASCAR Cup Series veteran driver Kurt Busch unveiled his ... Read more »

Mu COVID Variant, Which Sparked Fears Over Vaccine Resistance, Eradicated in U.S.

The “B.1.621” or “Mu” variant of COVID-19 that sparked fears of vaccine resistance and increased infectiousness, appears to have been eradicated in the U.S., according to virus tracking website Outbreak.info. ... Read more »

'5 or more': Higher fruit, vegetable servings linked to kids' improved mental well-being

Higher fruit and vegetable intake was linked with greater mental well-being scores among secondary schoolchildren, according to a new study based out of the U.K. “The relationship of diet and ... Read more »

CNN's René Marsh fights for change after losing 2-year-old son to brain cancer

Like all parents, CNN national correspondent René Marsh and her husband, Kedric Payne, could not wait for the arrival of their first child. “March 14, 2019, remains the best day ... Read more »

China power crisis: thermal coal inventory nears record low as country suffers worst outages in a decade

In past years, when the calendar turned to September, China’s power-generation groups set out to replenish their coal inventories ahead of the cold winter months. This year, coal is so ... Read more »

GBBO's Paul Hollywood's secrets to losing a stone revealed - see photo

© Provided by Hello! paul-hollywood Great British Bake Off judge Paul Hollywood recently revealed he had lost just over a stone in weight, but how did he do it? He first ... Read more »

Sweeteners found in soft drinks increase food cravings, study says

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo An artificial sweetener commonly added to soft drinks may actually be increasing food cravings and make people eat more, a study claims. Diet ... Read more »

Fever Tree's new Damson and Sloe Berry Tonic is a dream for easy Autumnal cocktails

© FEVER-TREE Launching for autumn the brand just revealed a new Damson and Slow Berry light tonic and it’s perfect for elevating your autumn pours and Christmas cocktails. For a ... Read more »

This Is How Cheryl Burke and Cody Rigsby Were Judged On 'DWTS' Amid Her COVID-19 Diagnosis

© Provided by Shape Getty Images Cheryl Burke may be sidelined from Dancing With the Stars due to a breakthrough COVID-19 infection, but the show continued on Monday night, with ... Read more »

You can cure tummy trouble using just your fists, viral hack claims

A HACK is going viral for claiming to ease constipation within minutes. Some say it got their bowel movements going with ease, while others are more skeptical. Anita Tadavarthy says ... Read more »

Sober October 2021: The best non-alcoholic beers, wines and spirits to get you through it

Every year many of us attempt to stay off the drink for Sober October. The annual initiative is organised to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support with those signing up ... Read more »

Tempers flare, panic-buying ensues in UK as petrol stations run dry

© Provided by CapeTalk [INSERT AUDIO] The country has enough fuel but not enough drivers to get it to fuel stations Panic buying is common, despite pleas from the government ... Read more »

This hot mug from Zyliss works as a cafetière AND a travel coffee cup

© Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo Products featured in this Mail Best article are independently selected by our shopping writers. If you make a purchase using links on this ... Read more »

Get your hands on Aldi's must-have Christmas hampers before they sell out

© Aldi Aldi Special Buys: The premium Aldi hampers for Christmas are back for another year, with prices starting from just £19.99. Aldi’s Christmas hampers are back for another year, ... Read more »

'Like toilet paper and hand sanitizer': At-home COVID-19 tests hard to find as Biden mandate looms

The Biden administration will spend nearly $2 billion on coronavirus home tests in tandem with a vaccinate-or-test mandate for corporate America. But experts say the administration’s purchase of 280 million ... Read more »

Pneumonia: 6 'severe' symptoms that could prove life threatening - are you at risk?

Your symptoms can vary depending on what’s causing your pneumonia, your age, and your overall health, but there are some common signs to look out for. Common symptoms of pneumonia ... Read more »

Twitter is buzzing about 'parasocial relationships.' Are they unhealthy?

The term “parasocial relationship” is getting a lot of attention on Twitter as of late. When news broke that comedian John Mulaney and actress Olivia Munn are expecting a baby ... Read more »

Jewel Stuffed Turkey Breast Recipe

© Gareth Morgans – Hearst Owned Our super simple, flavour packed stuffing is made with pork and apple sausagemeat and bread sauce for gentle nutmeg spice and to prevent it ... Read more »

Ericsson's China chief remains hopeful on prospects in the country despite rising geopolitical tensions over 5G

Ericsson’s China chief said the Swedish telecoms equipment giant’s operations in the country have been affected by geopolitical tensions after Sweden banned equipment made by Huawei Technologies Co from its ... Read more »

From kissing to knitting – 6 ways to beat winter colds and boost your immune system

AS the colder temperatures creep in so do symptoms of winter colds and flu. Sneezing, coughing and feeling a bit rough in general can leave us clutching at our cups ... Read more »