Hans Ebert writes a kinda Dear John Lee letter...

The question is whether those managing Hong Kong want people to be creative, and, if there are still genuinely creative talent left in the city, are they motivated enough to bother even trying?

From speaking to friends either in Hong Kong or watching from afar as to what happens next in a city broken down and seemingly with no one with the answers to drag it out of the swamp, there’s the feeling that though decision makers might ask for answers, they’ve already made up their minds. And so...

This means either thinking of that regular pay check and agreeing with everything so as to maintain financial stability or going rogue and showing up Hong Kong’s Follies Bergere and Good Golly, Miss Folly.

It just might be time for the Kunta Kinte Money Money Money mantra to be replaced with the more calculated rhythm stick of Django unchained.

The reason for bringing up the subject of creativity and recreating Hong Kong is because the next Chief Executive John Lee is apparently looking for a new team to work with him to reactivate Hong Kong.

The $64,000 question is how “creative” this team would be allowed to be and exactly who might be on this Love Boat or sampan? The usual suspects?

Right here, don’t worry, dim sums. There will be no mention again of the white elephant that is CreateHK and how it’s managed to carry on for so long by doing so little, that is, if this government funded organisation has done anything at all.

One has to wonder if John Lee has even heard of CreateHK- and has thought about the laundry list of white elephants scattered around Hong Kong? And if he hasn’t...

What’s next for and from Hong Kong? Allowing the pretty much waste of space that is PMQ, and the former prison on Old Bailey Street that is the kinda spooky Tai Kwun arts and cultural hub to aimlessly drift along? Remember how so much was promised from these two projects? And today? Pffffft. Few in Hong Kong have been to both more than twice. Others have forgotten about them.

What exactly is happening to the much-discussed West Kowloon Cultural Centre with its musical chairs of leadership roles?

Perhaps next, there will be another waterslide at Ocean Park, the announcement of a new seal pup being born, and, more than likely, diversity at Disneyland.

Apparently being built is a multi billion dollar indoor stadium that can house everything from international sports events like the Hong Kong Tennis Open and the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens to music concerts.

All very good, but is all this something like putting the Trojan horse before the cattle cart?

Would this attract tourism to a city that the world has seemingly so quickly forgotten?

Even if one were to make nearby Macau the next playground for Clubbers like Ibiza is, would this have International tourism look twice at Hong Kong?

Right here and now, whether correct or not, Hong Kong is looked as a tourist destination with the same level of interest as, maybe, Sri Lanka, or the lost city of Atlantis.

One thing is for sure: Hong Kong ain’t exactly Fantasy Island and there’s no Mr Roarke and Tattoo waiting for the next plane load of tourists with Love’s Theme playing in the background to welcome them.

This is what John Lee is taking over from the housewife Chief Executive- a once barren rock that grew to be “Asia’s World City” and is now seen as something like a George Castanza Shrinkage Zone.

If ever having the chance to shoot the breeze with John Lee over a cuppa yum cha, I would say, “John, mate, not to curb your enthusiasm, and I certainly don’t have the experience nor the vision of Allan Zeman, the big poohbah of Lan Kwai Fong, but, first and foremost, there’s an urgent need to make the world feel confident and comfortable about even THINKING of visiting Hong Kong.

“John, no one wants to feel that the moment they step off the plane after a long haul flight that they’re going to be met by Rod Serling who welcomes them into The Twilight Zone.

“The Fear Factor must be removed, John, and the international media needs to be weaned off the usual narrative about restrictions and quarantine and bubbles and things that go bump in the night.

“John, only once this is done can the new Hong Kong Kumbaya menu of choices be introduced that highlights the main courses and the appetisers and desserts.

“Until then, John, you’re pretty much on your own with, as Paul Simon wrote, a pocketful of mumbles that are sometimes promises.

“Let’s hope promises made are kept.

“Thanks for listening, John.

“May The Force Be With You, man ”.


#johnlee #hongkong #forwardthinking #future #chiefexecutive #hansebert

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