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Has Hong Kong lost its marbles and the plot, Sherlock?

In some countries it would be seen as being politically incorrect and something for the “woke generation” to get their teeth into, but in good old Hong Kong, and with the city so desperate to get behind something and anything to cheer about that those who should know better pump up the tyres of what’s described as “Chubby Hearts”. These are “Chubby” red love balloons that are said to have cost taxpayers HK$7.8m. 

What’s the return on this investment for the revival and survival and, well, sustainability of “Chubby Hearts” and who approved this inflated chubby little idea? 

Like the giant yellow duck seen in the harbour sometime back and giant grapes that because of their name in Chinese says “Be vigilant”, where “Chubby Hearts” are going to take a city that often finds itself in the hands of a select few, seemingly “given” funding for promotional efforts that don’t exactly float anyone’s boat, is anyone’s guess. 

It’s all become rather infantile and a series of inane Hello Kitty ideas of cuteness that’s put Hong Kong inside a wobbly bowl of Jello.

This latest episode of goofiness comes hot on the heels of the Messi-Inter Miami-Beckham-Tatler-China-Argentina-Falkland Islands mixed up bouillabaisse of intrigue following the non-event in Hong Kong that made headlines around the world and keeps on giving and giving.

This week saw the superstar Argentinian footballer in a video apologising and explaining what did and didn’t happen when he was in Hong Kong.

Again, Hong Kong is looking somewhat dopey by being duped by a disorganised overnight events organiser that was Tatler whereas the city is back in the news now that the equally dopey television series “Expats” is finally being shown- but not in Hong Kong.

This despite the series being filmed here and actress Nicole Kidman exempted by the then government in the hands of the desperate housewife Chief Executive from having to self isolate herself during the height of the Covid crisis.

One wonders when all this everything that’s nothing is going to stop and if there will be a knight in shining armour that might be able to save Hong Kong from itself and let sanity prevail.

Moving right along…

While some may wonder about what happened to the HK$5 billion initiative that is/was The Institute Of Philanthropy (TIOP) after the promises of its official launch late last year, the Hong Kong government continues to work on attracting budget tourist groups from Mainland China.

This to-ing and fro-ing is done with handing out of vouchers, promoting the good old Ocean Park and Disneyland, whereas the HKJC showcases racing twice a week for largely those retirees in the city with nothing better to do and those random people wanting a beer and fried chicken wing and an inexpensive night out.

It was interesting to read SCMP racing reporter Jack Dawling write this week about the forward thinking and positive changes he recently saw taking place in Qatar- yes, Qatar and which I, too have seen and applaud- while mentioning the “howling of some so-called singer at a Happy Wednesday”.

Good ‘live’ music is something else that’s very much in short supply in the city and with zero initiatives on the horizon to address this problem. 

A city without even reasonably good music is as sad as a man without love.

As we leave one to ponder this situation, the Chief Executive of Hong Kong was quoted this week as saying that the city must “relentlessly” pursue attracting “superstar” artists to Hong Kong. 


One guesses that this must have had something to do with the prime minister of Thailand saying that Singapore paid concert promoters AEG an extra US$2 million to cement the deal for the upcoming shows in the Lion City by Taylor Swift as part of her worldwide Eras tour.

No real surprise here.

With Western music barely promoted in Hong Kong because of the city having focused on promoting only Cantonese music since the Nineties for the local fat cats to get fatter, why would any big international names make visits to Hong Kong in 2024 knowing that they would barely have an English speaking audience?


The reason for tours to other cities in this region by people like “Tay Tay” and Coldplay happened or are happening because of the scheduling of their global tours- and performing to audiences that know and appreciate their music.

Quick: How many “Swifties” are there in Hong Kong?

Let’s also never underestimate the importance of having a friendly and welcoming airport like what Singapore has.

Making good first impressions, especially at a time when travel is slowly starting to take flight after years of being Covid grounded is extremely important. 

Everyone wants the fear of flying to a foreign destination taking out of their travel itinerary.

As for attracting international superstars and international tourism back to Hong Kong, there’s a need for the city to first look at improvements that can be made to, yes, the city’s airport, but also recognising the plummeting standards of English, and then try and tap into wooing to the city the experienced business and marketing savvy minds an

of entrepreneurs with proven track records and impressive roller decks.

Those in Hong Kong looking at ‘live’ music to make the city sing in perfect harmony again, and especially with the opening of the new stadium at Kai Tak in mind, should consider bringing to Hong Kong the very good lookalike and sound alike groups available from overseas- those performers looking like and playing all the hits of ABBA, The Bee Gees, The Beatles, U2 etc.

It isn’t always about spending big money on one off performances by superstar international acts and seeing no sustainable return on investment. 

This premature ejaculation type of marketing strategy must be reined in from getting out of hand.

This is why there’s a need for someone like my friend Simon Fuller, below, who managed David Beckham’s career for 23 years, broke him in America, created the “Idol” franchise etc etc and knows how this region, including Hong Kong, works.

Why not bring someone like Simon in as an advisor to the Hong Kong government to stop it from talking to itself and having others score own goals on the taxpayer’s dime?

But would he even want the gig?

There is an urgent need in the city for something completely new and exciting attached with the marquee value name of someone like a Simon Fuller to help resurrect the image of the Hong Kong brand.


This means not going back to same old well and dredging up those whose Use By dates have come and gone.

It’s about facing up to the truth and admitting that here’s a city that needs help as opposed to pandering to those, well, losers, attending empty talkfests where everyone who is no one compete for airtime.

Those who see through the shams and scams taking place in Hong Kong just hope that they’re not passengers on a runaway tram heading nowhere except perhaps over the precipice via Shaukeiwan.

As someone who arrived in Hong Kong from what was then known as Ceylon at the age of nine with parents who hardly had silver spoons sticking out of their backsides, I had to prove myself in every aspect of life as an “ethnic minority” person in colonial Hong Kong.

This city is my home and where I achieved what I have in journalism, advertising and the music and entertainment industries without anyone’s help.

What I am not going to do is sit around listening to dullards talking in clichés, and seeing Hong Kong lose its dignity, because of what’s looking more and more like a city under siege by professional boffins offering nothing in the way of solutions.

Copyright ©️ Hans Ebert

Contact Hans Ebert @


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