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Almost Everybody Is Hurting, John Lee.

If it wasn’t the muddling read that it is, there was hope for the creative community in Hong Kong when the headline in today’s South China Morning Post screamed out “LEE PROMISES GLOBAL TALENT DRIVE”.

The sub-head was, “Chief Executive says he will detail innovation plans in maiden policy address amid brain drain fears”.

For a nanu second, thoughts of former Hong Kong government mouthpiece in the form of the ubiquitous and, say some, usefully useless Duncan Pescod with his big and bold announcement for a “global search” for someone to head up CreateHK crossed my mind. This “global search” ended up with the unknown and dithering Jerry Liu. How? Why?

And what exactly has CreateHK ever done for the Hong Kong creative community?

Below today’s headline in the SCMP with the realisation that Hong Kong is suffering from creative menopause and constipation, was this: “Emigration wave sees 113,200 leave the city in 12 months”, an increase of 1.3 departures compared to the year before.

Relatively new Chief Executive John Lee has inherited a dog’s breakfast though some argue that having worked under the hapless housewife, who has now conveniently disappeared, he was part of the problem.

Personally, I don’t subscribe to this thinking.

With his background in Security, I would assume that John Lee’s priority is the safety of Hong Kong, still one of the safest cities in the world, and then, with his team, fix the massive potholes that are tripping people up.

Leadership comes from the top. It always has. Good leadership. I have lived and worked in Hong Kong long enough to know how underlings suffer from acute shrinkage and resort to shameless shoe-shining when confronted with what could be termed Bully Boy authority figures.

From everything I know, John Lee is not a bully, he is his own man, and, hopefully, he has a diverse enough Think Tank where new voices are not only given the platform to be heard, but also the freedom and support to present and offer things other than new additions to Ocean Park and Disneyland.

We’ve heard ideas like these ad infinitum for decades from the usual suspects and in exalted positions long past their Use By Dates.

As for stemming the tide of the Hong Kong brain drain, what I would ask John Lee is why there should be a “global search” for talent?

Surely, we should be trying to attract good Hong Kong talent BACK to Hong Kong AND to NURTURE the young creatives still LEFT in Hong Kong?

Why return to those times when many in Hong Kong imported under-qualified hires from overseas with good hair and natty suits, overlooked talent in their own backyard, and gave these often shallow newcomers to the city the keys to the kingdom along with exorbitant expat packages?

Again, the name Duncan Pescod flashes through my head- and others who were lucky enough to be holding Get Out Of Jail Free cards.

This was a time in the history of the city when many Hong Kong Belongers had to be subservient toadies and resigned to working in the back room- Hong Kong Chinese and certainly those, like myself, from minority groups.

Perhaps, I might not have been dealt a great hand when arriving in Hong Kong from Ceylon as a nine year old with parents without a cent to their names and not knowing their future, but, for whatever reason, someone sneaked me a few wild cards.

There was, for instance, Daniel Ng, who didn’t listen to the naysayers and had the belief and vision to bring McDonald’s to Hong Kong.

Daniel also trusted this Sri Lankan creative enough to help make his vision come true.

This led to other career music, in journalism and in marketing.

I might be an exception to the rule and feel extremely fortunate, yet sad, when I see talent, especially amongst minorities, ignored because of stereotyping and, well, racism.

Minorities in Hong Kong are not all domestic helpers, road workers, security guards and inexpensive covers musicians.

Who’s helping change this stereotypical picture of minorities in Hong Kong into A Big Picture Alliance?

I know that I can.

For Hong Kong, right here and now, there’s no time like the present to get things moving.

The airport remains an insane clown posse obstacle course and mine field whereas any form of quarantine is an anathema to tourism.

What’s also sidestepped are the effects on one’s mental health after hotel quarantine.

I am still going through a healing process before finding my sea legs and resetting my mind after a week in a tiny room by myself and where windows could not be opened, which meant there was no fresh air, and bedsheets were not changed.

What would happen if I got ill?

What if I decided to permanently check out?

Who should be sued?

Other than pulverising Hong Kong with more and more fear and rules and regulations, there’s much more to do than “EASING RESTRICTIONS”.

Speaking of which, is there some secret elitism deal attached to quarantine hotel rules? Hmmmm.

For the government, its job is to convince Hong Kong that they’re in the hands of a trustworthy and genuinely empathetic government.

This sure wasn’t the case when being treated like peasants by the hapless housewife in Le Bastille.

More than anything else, Hong Kong- all of Hong Kong-especially the children- wishes to be inspired and motivated- in all the many meanings of those two words.

Hong Kong people don’t wish to be treated like incurable patients- not even the elitists in our midst- and just surviving but not living.

As Michael Stipe sang, “Everybody Hurts”.


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