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Hong Kong: When all else fails, give them even more expensive (and useless) firework shows …

There’s that very old Dad’s joke about how many people it takes to screw in a lightbulb: 149 to try and screw it in and one to direct this operation. 

It’s not unlike every “creative by committee” way of working, and it’s something that afflicts every large company, organisation and government. 


This is where everything including the kitchen sink is thrown against the wall to see what sticks because no one knows what they’re doing, nobody wants to take responsibility for any lemons, and so they hide behind “strength in numbers” and produce something that appeals to the lowest common denominator.

Having seen this modus operandi at work first hand at the Hong Kong Jockey Club, then, when in advertising and working on jobs for what was then GIS- Government Information Services- and also being the person to bring to attention the inner workings of that Pandora’s box of intrigue known as HarbourFest, it always came down to weak hires, The Peter Principle (google it) and being fed on a diet of ravenous greed.

Nothing has changed other than standards being allowed to drop to a cheap and tacky “night vibes” level and with good leadership skills almost extinct.

This is because there’s a post pandemic world out there that’s confused, in fear and questioning everything and doesn’t know what it wants. 


Those trying to navigate this runaway bus are not exactly Sandy and Keanu, and have never had to deal with whatever is going on out there today.

In all the frenzy to fix the wheels, does anyone wonder if these might have fallen off much earlier than many think?


With regards to building a happy Hong Kong and attracting international tourism that can have a positive chain reaction to so many other things needed, we’re seeing a few hundred headless chickens running around, and, just maybe, with everyone involved knowing that if everything else fails, there can always be yet another fireworks display or light show. 


When is this lazy and daft approach to marketing and promotions going to stop? 


Will we ever return to those very early days of advertising when the technique nor the technology were the ideas and thinking out of the box wasn’t some bumper sticker or sound bite for those talking in corporate cliches and hoping no one notices?


Has anyone in Hong Kong trying to put Band-Aids on Humpty Dumpty read The Art Of War with the first rule being Know Your Enemy?

Not to keep banging on about firework displays being seen by way too many as some magic elixir for every problem, but these festive celebrations happen the world over.


Soon, there might even be The Fireworks Olympics.


Who knows?


In Hong Kong, apart from twenty minutes of thunderous noise that has horses neighing in fear and dogs hiding under beds, how do any of these fireworks displays

(A) help Hong Kong and

(B) what is its return on investment for what is the taxpayers money? 


Twenty minutes of Selfie Time and a photograph on the front page of the newspapers? 


And then what?


Where is the sustainability instead of more- or less- superficial Love You Short Time thinking and talking and talking and talking and no follow up? 

This is what we have today- bibs and bobs of superfluous and glib tidbits without the beef- without the glue that brings everything together and creates a cohesive and marketable whole as opposed to feasting on yet another dog’s breakfast.


Everyone knows this, but cannot be bothered to say it, or else keep quiet because of some invisible fear.


This present Humpty Dumpty city will remain cracked and be one big yolk for those without the moola to create their own la la land until the Hong Kong government- and the other big Poohbahs being paid the big bucks to deliver- understand the need to delegate and admit that they and their overpaid little foot soldiers and foo foo fighters are not only any good, they’re getting in the way. 


Their incompetence is slowing down the process.


Without turning this into a tome, I come bearing fruit and perhaps food for thought to do with as the government feels fit to do…

 Without knowing about licenses and sound ordinances etc and without disturbing the once a week horse racing at the iconic Happy Valley racecourse out of which the government receives a lazy whack of the humongous betting turnover from gambling, have the venue become a five day carnival of thematic good vibes and creativity every three months. 


Create a sustainable carnival of fun comprising pop up everythings, buskers, ‘live’ music, fashion shows, talent searches, creative showcases…

Remember the white elephant that is the Hong Kong racing museum? 


How does this remain relevant when nearly everyone we know has never heard of it, let alone visited it? 


Who might be tempted to explore the inner sanctum of this venue? 


Couldn’t this museum be much more than a convenient place to grab a taxi? 


 It’s not exactly a Big Picture idea, but, for the first time, bring the Masterchef brand to such a foodie heaven like Hong Kong along with all its international entertainment and perhaps even news appeal. 

At the same time, there should be a new broadcast license made available for a post pandemic television and streaming service that’s not based on what HKTVB used to be. 


This type of thinking and lazily recycling ideas from the days of yore are no longer relevant and are, well, rather dead.

Hong Kong needs an exciting new multimedia platform that is created for and attracts an international audience and not more Canto Pop talent quests and powderpuff frivolity for fifty and sixty year olds.

Show empathy and that Hong Kong isn’t all about breathing and sucking up to money and more money and that we, as a community, care about- especially- the mental well-being of the next generation.

On a more serious note, I have seen how good and kind and caring our healthcare workers are as are all those others who give their time to those who need help and empathy. 


This is what real community spirit is about and this is something lacking in pretty much all those given leadership roles and obscene amounts of money to lead. 


The question is whether their IQ levels are of Mensa grade or not, and how many degrees they might have, it’s about qualities that have to do with being liked and trusted and respected.


This is something very very different to being tolerated by toadies because of a fear of those who play the Control card without realising that this is long past its due date.

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