Hari Kumar
Hari Kumar
Hari Kumar is a journalist based in Hong Kong since 2003.

Leading epidemiologist says mass vaccination against coronavirus cannot work and will not achieve herd immunity, and urges more judicious use of available jabs together with various methods of surveillance.

At a time of higher scrutiny over the ethics of medical experiments, reports on new breakthroughs highlight gaps that could be exploited. Experts must come together to develop a comprehensive, universally applicable ethics code.


There are worries about Covid-19 being transferred through the air as entertainment venues reopen and workers return to their offices. Hong Kong should implement air circulation regulations for buildings and ease up on other measures to allow more outdoor activities.

Conspiracy theories propounded by the anti-vax movement are as old as vaccinations themselves, from 19th century cartoons to modern-day hysteria on social media.


The authorities should adopt a targeted approach instead of sticking to the all-enveloping measures drawn up when we weren’t sure how Covid-19 was spreading.


As India watches the Chinese economy pulls farther ahead of its own, it must realise a growth model built on a one-party system is a poor fit for India’s diverse democracy. Policies formulated in the comfort of government offices cannot be pushed through with brute force.


As a country that has seen vaccine scandals in its recent past, China has to take a transparent approach to vaccine development. The advantage it has as a leading economy will not be enough to convince the world of the safety of its treatment.


Fears about vaccine safety and scepticism about health policies are bound to become hurdles for governments everywhere. Fortunately for Hong Kong, people’s trust in public health experts has remained largely unscathed.


K.J. Yesudas is the epitome of the Indian film singer after his early years of hardship and prejudice, writes Hari Kumar.

It has been around for less than three decades, but the internet has changed our lives vastly. But even as we laud the progress the worldwide web has bestowed on us, every now and then we are reminded of its dark underbelly.

It was a claim that was bound to go bust in the face of scientific evidence. A local company's assertion that its dietary supplement drink can help women develop a perfect heart-shaped chest has been deflated by experts, who say there is no scientific evidence to support this.

The suspected case of Ebola in Hong Kong turned out to be a false alarm, though the person in question came from one of the affected countries and displayed symptoms similar to the deadly disease, like vomiting and diarrhoea.

When the UN General Assembly adopted the international treaty on discrimination against women in 1979, it was hailed as the bill of rights for women aimed at ending all acts of prejudice by persons, organisations or enterprise.

The way things are going, one shouldn't be surprised if cyberspace ends up as empty space soon. From one end it is leaking like a sieve.

Business owners in Hong Kong will have to find another HK$1.4 billion if the minimum wage goes up by HK$3 an hour. Wait a minute. You are saying the business owners will dip into their own pockets to find this money? You must be from some other planet if you think so.

Hong Kong is a safe place to live, if nothing else. Our police force has kept crime rates relatively low and maintained law and order without an intimidating presence.

This is the last thing we need in Hong Kong right now. Soaring political temperature, skyrocketing rents, pollution - and now a rising population of monkeys has been added to the list.

One suspected Ebola case in Hong Kong turned out to be a false alarm. But officials say they will still be on high alert.

As millions of Muslims celebrate the Eid-ul-Fitr holiday, a pall of gloom hangs over a world that has been witnessing the killing of innocent civilians in Gaza by the Israeli army.

Not sure whether it was his penchant for investigative journalism or mere pangs of hunger which drove him there. But a colleague ventured into a local McDonald's outlet last week, only to be utterly disappointed.

Champagne corks were doubtless popping in the California headquarters of Gilead Sciences on Thursday as its quarterly earnings were announced.

There's nothing like going on a sightseeing trip to have a blast. Whatever your beliefs and convictions, this holds true. That's probably why the newly founded Islamic State, the caliphate declared in some parts of Iraq and Syria, is now into that business too.

The crash of a Malaysian passenger jet over eastern Ukraine has brought into focus the horrors of a conflict in which powerful countries play proxy games.

If you are reading this at your breakfast table, with a bunch of bananas in front of you, you should consider yourself lucky. Because bananas may soon disappear from your life, say some scientists.

An announcement of a cure for a disease that affects millions across the globe is naturally greeted with relief and enthusiasm.

You can call him Vlad the bad, you can ridicule his penchant for bare-chested bravado and criticise his lack of tolerance towards any opposition. But Russian President Vladimir Putin is proving to be the top dog on the world stage as he moves in to snare Crimea.

Going to the zoo on a Sunday with your children is usually a pleasant activity – unless you were in Copenhagen recently. The children who went there on a recent Sunday were witness to the carcass of a culled young male giraffe skinned in front of them.

Technology getting too invasive is a complaint that has been around for a while. The weird gadgets that were unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show that just concluded in Las Vegas do little to belie this refrain. What else can you say when they put technology right into your mouth, through a toothbrush which collects and sends data about the way you brush to your smartphone?

When the FBI was formally launched in the 1930s, its brief was to fight crime. But under J. Edgar Hoover it stretched much further beyond that until finally a US Senate investigation was ordered in 1975 to rein in its powers.

It is getting tricky choosing a holiday destination for this coming Lunar New Year. The top destinations that Hongkongers flock to are all not exactly welcoming places right now.

With Janet Yellen as the US Federal Reserve chief and Christine Lagarde as IMF boss, the banking world will hopefully become more genteel. The confirmation of Yellen to the post of Fed chair has also brought hope to some that the glass ceiling for women will be truly broken in the financial world.

How many studies do we need before we accept something is true? Yet another study came out last week - this time by Virginia Tech researchers who wired up the subjects and their cars with video cams and sensors - to say texting while driving is dangerous. Duh!

An expensive car belonging to a well-connected family crashes late in the night. The news is sketchy but triggers some chatter on the internet. A few weeks later the real picture emerges, despite an apparent effort by some people to keep the incident under wraps and very few media reports on it.

A poignant picture emerged from South Africa during US President Barack Obama’s first state visit to the country. The world’s most powerful leader was photographed, standing alone and looking out from a tiny prison cell where Nelson Mandela spent more than two decades of his life.

The next time your Microsoft Word document file crashes and that irritating window pops up, asking you whether to send a crash report, read it carefully.

The film world and the financial world are not getting along well these days. Days before Feng Xiaogang’s big budget movie Personal Tailor was released in China, some institutional investors dumped the shares of producer Huayi Brothers Media, sparking a run on its shares.

The dawn of a new year brings with it promises of better and happier times. It is natural to hope for this in your personal and professional lives. But you have to be a hardcore optimist if you hope such changes will come about in the political sphere of our societies.

Another day and another year ends. Except for a change of the calendar on the table, not a lot will change immediately. But you never know.

The art world had a fabulous year with a number of paintings fetching record prices in auctions held around the world. The top 10 lots auction raised US$752.2 million this year, a 27 per cent increase from last year and an 82 per cent jump from 2011, according to Bloomberg.

The maid in USA row between Washington and New Delhi rumbles on with media on both sides adding to the din with some shrill voices and jingoistic claims.

Sport can be a great positive influence even in the most trying conditions. The spirit of camaraderie and a level playing field it ensures can even help spur change in societies.

With the tree in place and gifts all wrapped, I guess we are all waiting for the arrival of dear old Santa. The old dude in the red coat is generally welcomed everywhere even if you are not into religion.

Banking authorities in China and elsewhere are cracking down on use of the bitcoin. Among other reasons, financial authorities point out that this virtual currency is not traceable and so is being used for dubious activities such as the drug trade.

The gang rape of a photo journalist in Mumbai has again brought the state of women in India into focus amid the clamour for more punitive action. After the mass protest against a similar incident in New Delhi last year, new laws were enacted against sexual harassment and rape. But, as the new case indicates, stricter and more stringent laws are not much help in a society where the chauvinistic attitudes of men remain deep-rooted and even sanctioned in the name of tradition.

The king of sleaze from Queens has done it again. Anthony Weiner, a New York mayoral candidate, is caught in a new sexting scandal. An earlier one cost him a seat in Congress. In 2011, when the scandal broke, he tried to fend off allegations by claiming his Twitter account was hacked.

One thing that you can safely predict about fortune tellers is they will step up to the plate whenever there is a chance to garner media attention. No sooner had the royal baby appeared in London than they were out with their take on the future king of England.

Concerns raised by Executive Council member Cheng Yiu-tong about the flaws of unrestrained democracy have attracted a lot of comments. He was worried that some sex symbols might get elected if we adopt a "Western style" democracy.

Property tycoon Ronnie Chan Chi-chung's tirade against Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah's policies has again brought into focus the wisdom of freely giving away government money. Reams were written in 2011 when the government paid every permanent resident HK$6,000 in one-off relief. In a society that is peppered with HK dollar millionaires - one in six on the Hong Kong Island side - that did sound like an odd policy.

It's news that every sports fan should welcome wholeheartedly. The European Court of Justice has ruled that World Cup soccer should be aired for free, not on pay television. The rules only apply within the 27-member bloc but should give authorities everywhere food for thought.

For the thousands who consider an air crew job to be all glamour and a chance to see the world, here is a word of caution. Life is not, it seems, always so smooth up there. A photo of some crew members praying for the flight to be on time that circulated on the internet proves that. Not only do they have to wait around dressed up and look unruffled, when the job actually starts they are confronted by a plane load of angry passengers.

Despite being stuck in a Moscow airport transit hotel with no passport and few people ready to help him, Edward Snowden may have scored a first victory, albeit a small one, in his quest to bring details about the secret US surveillance to the public's reach.

The need to win at all costs is depriving many contests of real sportsmanship. With big prize money at stake, not to mention the prestige, it was not surprising some Englishmen decided to give short shrift to good old "gentleman's spirit" and decided winning was everything.

Calling for a ban on provocative attire has always evoked strong reactions from those who enjoy wearing such clothes. But warnings against revealing clothes have been heard on too many occasions recently, with some even blaming instances of sexual violence on such behaviour.

At sites thousands visit every year, it is natural that authorities put in place very strict regulations. It is, however, a bit strange to demand protection for a place no one has visited for four decades.

That must have been one hell of a pep talk that Nigerian amateur soccer team Police Machine got at half time against Babayaro. They did not do too badly in the first half, scoring eight goals. Any team would have been satisfied with that. Not these policemen. After the break, they came out fully charged and made history, slamming in 59 more goals.

Mass protests by opponents of the government choke the capital. Protesters claim the elected leader is destroying the social fabric of the country and want him to step down immediately, although his elected term is not over. The government refuses to concede to their demands and claims it has the majority's backing, resulting in a stalemate.

The BRICS nations are banding together to protect their information security, it was reported over the weekend. Another report said companies were seeking out security firms to shore up their internet security.

The economic boom from trade without barriers over the last couple of decades has given advocates more evidence that market forces are better at shaping things than a controlled economy. But as the law of supply and demand is applied in more areas, evidence is emerging that a free market is not all milk and honey.

Educating and equipping children to face the future with confidence is the aim of every parent. Most go to great lengths to make sure of this, and to meet the needs of such parents experts chart out different kinds of curriculums. But some courses on offer leave one a bit perplexed.

The Indian Supreme Court ruling that denied Swiss drug giant Novartis a patent for its cancer drug is a continuation of the battle between multinational drug companies and developing countries over accessibility to cheaper drugs.

Thomas Beatie was seeking a divorce from his wife, Nancy, and a decision on the custody of their three children. But the problem was Thomas Beatie was born a woman - Tracy Lehuanani Lagondino - in Oahu, Hawaii. She underwent a few operations and testosterone hormone therapy to become a man.

Mainland tourists are often the butt of criticism for their perceived lack of finesse. Spitting, littering, smoking in prohibited areas, queue-jumping - the list of offences is fairly long.

If it was publicity Ford Motors was seeking, it got it in trunk loads. For the launch of its Figo model, the Indian unit of the American carmaker must have wanted special attention paid to the bigger storage area.

It is a deal that most of us can only dream of. You are only 17 and still in high school, but you've built a US$30 million business and a few tech giants are eyeing you up for a future job or deal.