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Just like that maudlin song about how, “There comes a time”, there’s no time like the present why some of us proud Hong Kong Belongers cannot do our part to help sell Hong Kong overseas- and beyond Mainland China- and, as we used to be so good at doing, bring the best in international tourism back to the city.

Without this internationalism, Hong Kong is not Hong Kong. It’s lost its product personality and is some unknown place with nothing much going for it except for random bibs and bobs that are pushed through the turnstiles and as has been proven over and over again, might be good for a few selfies, but has nothing whatsoever to do with marketing Hong Kong beyond, well, Kowloon.

Things like chubby red balloons have zero sustainability and only benefit those who belong to this new and exclusive younger entrepreneurs club driven by self interest.

Surely, after almost two years of dithering by the government and its various teams to find ways to attract international tourists to the city, those at the top of the bun festival must realise that none of these dumplings have worked?

Some of us still here were responsible for launching McDonald’s in Hong Kong. 

Whether good or bad, we created the music genre known as Canto Pop, gave the Hong Kong Jockey Club its Happy Wednesday brand, helped launch STARTV, brought a unique sense of humour to a new form of Made In Hong Kong movies, created international award winning work for the Hong Kong Tourism Board etc etc.

We have patiently sat and watched the government, the Hong Kong Tourist Association, and whoever else was involved, launch some pretty daft promotions and events like The Search For Chubby Red Hearts, The Messi Messy Saga, and hand out vouchers, more vouchers…

There were the dim “Night Vibes” in Temple Street that flIckered and disappeared, a “Hello Hong Kong” campaign featuring aging singing and dancing Canto Pop celebrities, a “Thank You Hong Kong” campaign, drone shows, light shows, the obligatory fireworks displays etc etc as confusion, nepotism and the rise of the vapid local Facebook Selfie Generation continue to reign.

It’s been an ugly and unspectacular spectacle of incompetence and ignorance mixed with arrogance and the mixed nuts surrounding a singing princely sheikh from Dubai and talk about setting up an office in Hong Kong and a commitment of US$500m to benefit the city adding to the goofiness and shuck and jive of it all.

What happened? Nothing, this sheikh’s team including the supposed CEO and familiar to those on LinkedIn suddenly disappeared.

Weird and with many unanswered questions?

A very much trimmed down Hong Kong might still be here, but who’s attracted to what it’s offering other than asking a litany of questions?

Like what?

Like, what’s the city’s product personality in 2024 and moving forward?

What’s there here with any real sustainability?

Where are the international tourists and how are these categorised?

Young adults? Young families? Retirees? Who?

What’s going to bring them here- not five years from now, but next year?

Let’s face it, Hong Kong today is hardly bursting at the seams with love and happiness and crackling creativity, young entrepreneurs, and giving off aspirational and inspirational and welcoming vibes.

It’s looking old and withered with there being those days when one thinks we’re surviving in Gotham City and waiting for Batman.

Even the once international horse racing that the Hong Kong Jockey Club was so proud of is looking like a rerun of the old HKTVB variety show that was Enjoy Yourself Tonight- and marketed mainly to a rather old audience.

Once trendy areas like Lan Kwai Fong, Soho, and Wanchai barely have a pulse whereas what might be out there supposedly offering a reason for a night out usually ends before 11pm.

Isn’t this just a waste of time and money?

Wouldn’t it be time and money spent better to fly to new and greener pastures?

Having said all this, there are still in Hong Kong talent who have worked with some great mentors like the brilliant designer Henry Steiner, successful advertising executives like James Wong and Philip Tse, filmmakers Michael Hui, Tsui Hark and others.

Can’t the government not persuade at least some of this talent with decades of experience and international award winning work in their portfolios to come together and help mentor a new generation of Hong Kong born creative talent?

It’s not only time for this to happen, common sense demands that it should though one wonders if common sense might be in short supply.



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