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Hello Hong Kong and a begging bowl

What can one say about the new multi million dollar government driven song and dance “Hello Hong Kong” promotion to attract tourists from around the region to visit the city, except perhaps that it could have been worse: It might have been a song in Cantonese, English and Mandarin and sung to the tune of “Hello Dolly”. This could have included singing and dancing business leaders, the common folk and with the Chief Executive leading a conga line winding down from the Peak to Central and then going through the Cross Harbour Tunnel before singing and dancing their way through Nathan Road. By now, the conga line would be one long masked human train featuring every one of those “ethnic minorities groups” always needed to show diversity in Hong Kong. Lines sung could be along the lines of, hmmmm, let’s say, “Hello Hong Kong/Bigger than King Kong/You’re our favourite dim sum/You’re more fun than playing mahjong”. But let’s not give Team Hong Kong any new ideas. There are already noodles and noodles and noodles of promotions built around “Hello Hong Kong” and to be released soon- what else?- an “MTV” featuring ageing Canto Popsters Aaron Kwok, Sammi Cheng and Kelly Chen.

Not being privy to the internal high level brainstorming sessions that must have taken place before arriving at this “strategy” to “lure” tourists from around this region to visit or revisit Hong Kong, some of the ideas come across like bribes and outright begging.

There’s nothing here to fill Hong Kong Belongers with a sense of belonging or pride. Simply put- simple because this is how simple minded corporate thinking by those whose job isn’t in the creative sphere of knowing how to make Hong Kong look attractive enough to visit works, trotted out are the usual To Do dim sums and then some with the overriding theme being one of serial desperation.

“Hello Hong Kong” is nonsensical and a waste of time as it says nothing except showing up English copy seemingly written by a group of adults talking down to their audience by using words like “goodies”, lines about a “world of winners” etc. Is the theme of “Hello Hong Kong” even grammatical? Couldn’t it at least have said, “Hello From Hong Kong”?

What’s most sadly revealing about this promotional campaign is the lowering of standards in pretty much everything coming out of Hong Hong these days. Here’s a showcase to reveal standards in free fall of the service sector, English, the nightlife, the entertainment, and most of all the dated thinking that takes everything back to one of those tacky HKTVB variety shows from the Seventies and the Eighties. To the outside world still very much reticent about various aspects of Hong Kong life and looking at other inexpensive tourist destinations like Thailand and Indonesia, let alone Singapore, “Hello Hong Kong” shows up a city lacking in self confidence and which could be a mighty big turn off to those looking in from the outside. Hong Kong has entered The Dumbed Down Duh Duh World Of The Stupids. It’s now here for the world to see. And cringe.

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