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Coming and going in Hong Kong

Updated: Apr 21, 2022

It’s a two-fold problem- at least: no one has any answers and very few are looking for answers.

When this happens, everything is on auto glide with its wings clipped.

This is where Hong Kong is at right now and no matter how much one tries to be positive, there’s such a lack of inspiration that there’s no motivation to be inspired. Confused? So is Hong Kong.

A friend was asking me this week how long will it take for Hong Kong to get its mojo back and if a knight in shining armour will ride in and save the city from itself.

At least for now, which will probably last for more than a decade, try as I may, the future is hazy.

The leaders of pretty much everything who are left in the city, most past or approaching retirement age, are hardly relevant or visionaries.

These are Yesterday’s People who are there recycling everything that’s come before- cookie cutter television programming from the days of Enjoy Yourself Tonight, HKTVB variety shows and skittish kits with some relics from the Canto Pop pool wheeled in for today’s ageing population.

Think about that: Hong Kong’s main audience for anything is closing in on sixty. Hate to say it, but these leaders of different industries and one-time entrepreneurs are bereft of ideas, and so all they can do is waste time actually stunting growth. The government funded CreateHK that once promised so much through the mouthpiece that was the now retired Duncan Pescod still plods along with everyone none the wiser of what it contributes to especially young creative talent in Hong Kong. Is there any?

Of course, there’s a fairy godmother looking over CreateHK and others of that ilk who has apparently moved people around from one government department to the next at great expense to manage various white elephants before everyone retires.

And so this conga line of those busy doing nothing continues with the usual huffing and puffing which we all know is nothing more than pompous hot air.

What does Hong Kong really have to offer anyone other than Ocean Park, Disneyland and horse racing taking place in a bubble?

There’s no tourism because of strict quarantine measures, a once buzzing airport that’s today a Dead Zone, and, more to the point, nothing that’s on anyone’s bucket list anymore.

The bucket list has become a spitoon.

The hugely popular World Rugby Sevens is gone forever. It’s tough to think that the photos below are from a Hong Kong not that long ago.

Also gone are international golf and tennis tournaments, the nightlife, the great restaurants, shopping and the very pulse of Hong Kong. Even Michael Chugani has disappeared.

In their place is an alarming lack of anything new and worthwhile on the horizon. Even Elon Musk wouldn’t have a clue as what to do with Hong Kong because the minds of so many are in air tight lockdown mode.

Living in constant fear of just about everything, including one’s shadow, has seen a rapid decline in the standards of pretty much everything except for an upswing in what I call The Stupids- a dreadful lack of humour, social skills and a Tik-Tok version of English.

Look at the quality today of what was the best international horse racing in the world. Apart from the “racing bubble”, what’s its USP?

Whether one agrees with them or not, the spate of pop-up races with its slots and slot holders, relentless marketing and dangling million dollar carrots in the form of more and more prize money and marquee value equine talent have invigorated horse racing in Australia. Away from being bamboozled by all those different races, there was recently news of Jockey Craig Williams making a secret visit to offer aid to his wife’s people in the Ukraine.

In Hong Kong, the “racing bubble” froths along with grown men seemingly paid extremely well to put up with being treated like children. It’s really not a good look. It’s goofy and embarrassing.

Anything approaching an Orwellian society is never a good look for a city. It’s like being locked up in an angry and nervous Animal Farm. It makes one wonder about the relevance of the Hong Kong Tourism Board. What on earth could it be promoting?

Whether all this negativity in Hong Kong has to do with almost three years of following orders and the results of mind games like being fed crumbs to keep the pigeons happy, no one really knows.

What one cannot ignore is the serious increase in small talk and mental health issues that are brushed under the carpet and believing that surviving instead of living is good enough.

Where’s all this leading? No one knows. Everywhere in the world, no one knows where anything is leading.

For now, let’s look at a possible reboot of Hong Kong before a lack of caring has the city return to being a barren rock.

As a Hong Kong Belonger, here are some personal thought starters on how Hong Kong can save itself from itself...

*Remind and re-introduce Hong Kong to the best of what is already here- places like the wonderful Ying Yan Coastal- before these, too, disappear.

*Whether one agrees with the politics behind it or not, the Umbrella Movement of 2014 gave many young Hong Kong artists somewhere to showcase their creative work.

This work, or at least the talent of these artists, was never given the freedom to breathe and multiply.

*Stop continuing to wheel out the usual suspects who are past their Use By Date. It/they immediately age the city.

*Invest in the next generation of entrepreneurs who might have new ideas worth embracing instead of quashing them because of the dreaded Not Invented Here syndrome.

*Even if it’s a morsel, bring back Fun Instead Of Fear.

*Rent control, rent control, rent control. Without the government FINALLY controlling this, it doesn’t take an Einstein to realise that no one would see the business logic in starting up anything.

*Pop the zit that is the “racing bubble” and relaunch horse racing as a fun, entertaining and exciting new television product instead of having the game creakily go around and around before the tired looking merry-go-round comes to a complete halt.

*Wherever you are, keep your sense of humour intact.

This Silly Season pandemic might last a while.


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