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Hong Kong and its empty creative rice bowl

It’s a tough thing to say about one’s home, but today’s Hong Kong is an old person’s city suffering from shrinkage, which, I guess, is fine by some.

With young talent seemingly uninterested in investing in the still masked city after over three suffocating years where its leaders, especially the housewife Chief Executive diddled and daddled, there’s now an effort to try and make up for lost time.

This also offers more opportunities for the usual suspects- more opportunities for these serial hoarders to continue hoarding their power and wealth despite many having passed their Use By Date.

It’s another brick in the wall and an example of the blind leading the blind with many being led over the precipice.

This is not to say that all “mature” people should be exiled into retirement homes in St Helena.

There’s no substitute for experience and that inate ability to read the tea leaves and see where the cards and mahjong tiles fall before they do.

But like asking, “Where’s the beef?”, the question is this: Who is in their teams? Do these people have the potential and chutzpah to one day lead?

More importantly, away from the rigid, frigid corporate world with its very own fear factor, and order takers walking on eggshells, where are the confident young independent thinkers without any baggage?

Where are those with the creative skill sets needed to get this city up and running in double-quick time?

There might be long range forecasts by the Hong Kong government, but let’s not kid ourselves.

Life is short and nobody is going to live forever to see too much of tomorrow.

Plus, who wants to work for the rest of their lives and until they keel over?

The next time they, or you and I look, we’re 5-10 years older and those “younger people” behind us are suddenly in their fifties.

This isn’t a problem, but what’s needed is a balance.

There’s nothing more tedious than listening to someone regale you with stories from their long distant past that you’ve heard over the decades.

What’s pertinent is what they are doing in the here and now other than sitting back and talking about “options”.

“Options” is another word for “No idea”, “I have no bananas”, and no gig.

I know a few people like this and it’s forced me to cut off ties with them.

It’s not unlike “unfriending” someone on that online retirement home known as Facebook.

Reminiscing and wallowing in the past becomes a waste of time and space plus there’s the sudden, or maybe not so sudden, realisation that you have moved on, but the other person is back there clinging onto the past.

The problem that Hong Kong- and probably some other countries have- is its image and being seen as not only old, but that the city’s once intangible “Can Do” spirit has upped and gone forever.

Of course, nothing lasts forever, but without the right team around you, dreams can’t come true.

This is what Hong Kong needs- different teams that are a combination of experience and the youthful energy and understanding of those who see what’s needed for their generation- and what should be delivered- and how.

Most of those in my generation have moved into retirement mode with their families and are living at Happily Ever After. Absolutely nothing wrong with this.

If, however, still very much involved in all things creative- and creative is a survival mechanism- and able to understand, embrace and contribute to a number of very different subjects, the real problem is running towards where you want to be- but discovering that you’re running alone.

This is not that different to the sound of one hand clapping.

There’s also no point in governments throwing money at various projects if there’s no one there to catch it...and know what the hell to do with it.

It’s just a waste of time with nothing ever reaching its rightful potential.

For example, what’s the point in a “tech sector” without those capable enough to provide the ideas and creative content?

Technology is never ever The Idea.

How many even understand this?

In today’s Hong Kong, the nightlife has been dimmed so much that the lights are switched off and most of those out there making music have been making music in this city for around twenty years.


There’s pretty much no one new, and the young recording artists rarely, if ever, will want to play what are still “functions” at the Champagne Bar or Foxglove or the Beer Garden at Happy Valley as these venues are not exactly a Rebirth Of The Cool.

It’s 2023 and Hong Kong still doesn’t even have its own sound- just a Cantonese reworking of variations on “Desperado”.

Just to wind this up, last week, along with a few friends, we were at a six star bar in a five star hotel charging six star prices for drinks and snacks that included two-star entertainment.

To me, someone who knows a thing or two about music and marketing and the creative process and product, here was proof positive of a Hong Kong suffering from mediocrity, and where Senior management either has the wrong team or else are insistent on getting involved in areas where they do not belong.

The end result was another old looking- and dated sounding- product that offered nothing of anything to anyone- and certainly not what Hong Kong needs.

It was all, well, rather icky. And very very boring with not much Kung Hei Fat Choy.

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