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Jan retail sales up 0.9%

The value of total retail sales in January, provisionally estimated at $36.5 billion, rose 0.9% compared with the same month in 2023, the Census & Statistics Department announced today.   After netting out the effect of price changes over the same period, the provisional estimate represents a 1.2% year-on-year decrease.   Of the total retail sales value in January, online sales accounted for 6.5%. Provisionally estimated at $2.4 billion, the value of this segment went down by 20.9% compared with a year earlier.   Noting that retail sales tend to show greater volatility in the first two months of a year due to the timing of the Lunar New Year, the department said the year-on-year comparison of the figures might have been affected to a certain extent.   The value of sales of jewellery, watches and clocks, and valuable gifts increased 25.2% compared with January 2023.   Increases were also recorded in the sales of other consumer goods not elsewhere classified (up 7

Empowering youth through training

Apart from regular lessons at school, the Civil Aid Service believes that outdoor education is essential for students to gain experiential knowledge.


The Civil Aid Service provides alternative learning paths for teenagers under the Youth Potential Development Scheme that works to equip the city’s future leaders with essential life skills and inspire them to make a positive impact on society.


Hands-on learning


As an example of such learning, a group of Primary 5 students left their classrooms and arrived at the service’s Yuen Tun Camp located in Tai Lam Country Park where the Civil Aid Service had prepared three outdoor activities for them.


One of the activities was orienteering. After participants formed groups of five, they were tasked with locating seven checkpoints, according to the orienteering map instructions, where mini tasks involving riddle and puzzle solving awaited orienteers.


Another activity called for conquering the low ropes course where students had to work together to pass through obstacles.


One such student, Raphael Mao, described it as the ultimate team-building experience that he thoroughly enjoyed.


“At first we were bad at it and fell a lot. But I learnt to co-operate with others.”


The final activity involved students working together to build components of a Roman catapult using bamboo branches and ropes. The goal was to show them that such hands-on learning helps cultivate problem-solving abilities. As a bonus, parts of the catapult were used in more fun games.


Effective strategy


Before organising such activities, the Civil Aid Service explained that it must first understand the needs and desires of the participants. The objective of the three activities on this particular day was geared towards enhancing the students’ communication and problem-solving skills in addition to building resilience.


Tactical Force Emergency Rescue Training Office Section Leader Yeung Ching-yi was pleased to see students enjoying themselves, and said she hoped the activities made them far more knowledgeable.


As one of the instructors of the scheme, the service’s Cadet Corps Training Office Staff Officer Yeung Ching-fung noticed that interpersonal communication is becoming increasingly rare because students rely on their mobile devices too much.


“Nowadays most of the kids are glued to their phones.


“We took them back to nature, hoping to temporarily detach them from the digital world.”


Tailor-made activities


The scheme is managed by public education section of the Civil Aid Service.


Since its establishment in August 2020, the section has successfully organised over 150 activities, benefiting more than 10,000 individuals.


The scheme is catered to the needs of schools and organisations, offering tailor-made activities that are designed to equip youngsters with essential life skills and inspire them to make a positive impact on society.


Civil Aid Service Operations & Training Officer (Public Education) Siu Po-wa pointed out that each activity has its own unique features.


“The activities are aligned with the daily duty scope of the Civil Aid Service, enabling young participants to experience the mission and values of the service.”

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