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Hans Ebert on the Far Side type of Chow Fan Strategy to sell Hong Kong to the outside world in 2024…

Updated: Mar 25

There might be the illusion, or some might call it the delusion, created by smoke and broken mirrors, that’s more often than not, a furiously stirred wok crammed full of chow fan ideas with anything and everything dumped into the dumplings in the hope that something relevant might happen.

It never does because of a scattergun approach that keeps missing its target.

Who are these marketing ideas for? The local Hong Kong community? Tourists from Mainland China? Or those international tourists who seem to have forgotten about Hong Kong or where it even is?

The fact is that those in charge of selling Hong Kong, especially to the mean old West, have seemingly no idea what gives this city a Unique Selling Point- and with an emotional attachment.

The Hong Kong that’s here and now might inhale everything that’s given to it, but it has sadly lost the confidence to know what is real and what’s really needed.

Perhaps today’s Hong Kong is missing the internationalism that made it Asia’s world city and fabulously aspirational and fashionable? 

The serving of chow fan in recent months has included chubby red hearts, colourful eggshells, more and more vouchers, way too much news and noise about Article 23, being Swift, refunds and thinking that random things like “crowds” flocking to Tai Kwun, the former Central police station and now something else that falls under the “cultural” banner, and a bakery somewhere in Kowloon are things that are “trending”.

What does any of this actually mean?

Are we desperately in need of a Don Draper?

Or a Henry Steiner, James Wong, a Michael Hui and a David Tang?

Where’s the beef with soya sauce, Hop Sing?

Where’s anything with substance and sustainability?

There are those days when pretty much everything going around me like pesky tsetse flies is reminiscent of those extremely creative and telling cartoons from the weird and wonderful mind of Gary Larson.

Larson’s brilliant work showed the many foibles of humans and were played out by his cartoon family of animals, primitive man, monsters, aliens who couldn’t understand planet Earth, and the very Far Side way of trying to survive.

We might not know it, but this is where we find ourselves today: The Far Side.

There’s often the feeling that during those lockdown years when we were running around like headless chickens trying to save ourselves from ourselves, and following orders, we were quietly being “needled” by and injected with a mix of serial Stupidity.

Thank you, Dr Fauci.

Without writing a tome, here’s a menu of suggestions:

Make official statements from the government not sound scary as hell and as if written in Latin by some mad Professor Doom.

Be aware that those from within and outside of Hong Kong often misinterpret what they read and create unnecessary panic and confusion and anxiety.

Let’s remember that we’re still in a post pandemic holding pattern.

Perhaps have these statements be sent out with a photo of the Chief Executive looking more, well, chilled?

Like maybe having him lying in a hammock and sipping a mojito while taking on a more Miami Vice type ‘look’.

Have the government fund a Hong Kong Ethnic Minority In A Major Key music weekend and bring ALL of Hong Kong together.

To internationalise this event invite artists like Peter Gabriel, Neneh Cherry and Gorillaz.

As someone who falls into this third world category, think my OneTeam company can’t put this together- and without throwing in the multi million dollar kitchen sink?

If Hong Kong is to attract tourists who are not from across the border, there’s an urgent need to improve the standard of English. Perhaps it’s half past time to bring back Ye Olde RTHK series “One Minute’s English” hosted by Josiah Lau, where many learned to speak colonial and almost Dickensian English.

Have boy band Mirror take over the Hong Kong Jockey Club.   

Imagine what this would do to making the entire city feel young again and happy and dance like octopuses on steroids?

OF COURSE, Mr HKJC CEO should dance with Mirror!

His popularity ratings will go through the roof!

Organise a daily citywide Hong Kong Wellness event at 6am where everyone stops whatever they’re doing and meditates and chants OM for an hour.

Have a cuppa Happy every morning.

When you feel like you’ve done the best you could and there’s nothing more to do, watch any of those Adam Sandler single dad or buddy movies and know that if people buy into this crap, you can do something much better.

Instead of looking at the obvious and spending more of the taxpayers money that disappears rather quickly with no real refunds, bring out those BANDS that feature actors Keanu Reeves, Johnny Depp and the Bacon Brothers. 

Here’s the deal: Whoever is trying to make Hong Kong look interesting and show that there are signs that it’s working again is lost, dazed and confused.

Continue this way without fully understanding who any of this chow fan is for and what happens is too many cooks.

It’s also a kitchen even Gordon Ramsay will walk away from trying to fix as even trying would be Mission: Impossible.


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