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Funding indifferently and investing honestly in Hong Kong’s creative future...

Updated: Feb 2, 2023



Maybe it’s been the lack of mentors, or maybe there’s always been a resistance to change because of too many looking out for numero uno. And maybe this is what is preventing Hong Kong from having a fluid, independent and diverse creative culture.


It wasn’t always like this...


Somewhere along the way, however, it seems that Hong Kong sneezed, skipped a beat and reversed back into the Seventies and Eighties.


This where too many today are happily trapped without realising it, or, perhaps more to the point, don’t wish to understand this because ignorance is bliss.


It’s kinda like being trapped inside one of those vacuous HKTVB television variety shows from yesteryear where everyone gave thumbs up and victory signs and tried to look “Hello Kitty” cute.





What does CreateHK do? Anything?





CreateHK has been kept alive on false promises perpetuated over two decades ago by then-government mouthpiece Duncan Pescod who led a charmed life in Hong Kong.


It was Pescod who promised a “global search” in 2010 for the right creative talent to lead CreateHK.


This turned out to be someone named Jerry Liu Wing-leung, below, who had apparently worked in “various media related companies” and was picked from “over 150 applicants”.



What happened to the “global search”? Jerry, by the way, is now happily retired.


Fast forward to today and CreateHK has nothing much of anything to show for its existence. Not even a “loverly” bunch of coconuts. CreateHK was DOA.


Apart from the random subsidisation of a few meaningless projects, there hasn’t been even one home run.


Yet, CreateHK is allowed to carry on because this is how it’s been.


Why Hong Kong doesn’t need another CreateHK


Whoever runs organisations like these prefer to glide through life and receive a very nice salary with all the perks instead of going out on a limb and daring to push the creative envelope.


Hong Kong has no envelope, let alone a creative envelope, because those who are given the keys to start up toothless things like CreateHK don’t understand the difference between funding and investing in things that can grow to be relevant to the city.


Maybe they just don’t care because they have their retirement plans to think about.


Either that, or these are the bureaucratic ways in which organisations like CreateHK are setup just for show, and where there is no one with the skill sets to understand the importance of the hiring process, let alone lead, inspire and instil the importance in looking beyond the bloody obvious.


It always comes down to taking the easy way out by regurgitating what’s been done before and lazily trying to package this in new designer clothes despite the lack of a core idea.


The thinking is dated and which makes the product dated.



It’s like the caterwauling that takes place each week these days at the Beer Garden in what once was the successful Happy Wednesday night out for younger people at Happy Valley racecourse.




Why is Hong Kong so uncool?



There is no “cool factor”, anywhere, because I don’t think Hong Kong knows what is, well, cool- and not in some shallow and contrived way. There’s enough of that.


There might have been glimpses of “coolness” in the films of Wong Kar-wai and Stephen Chau, and artists like Anita Mui, Faye Wong and Leslie Cheung plus Canton Disco when in full flow, but what else?




Cool isn’t Chow Yun-fat wearing shades indoors and trying to be Alain Delon.


Alain Delon remains cool to this day because he didn’t have to work at it.


Today, there’s the interesting young artist Moon Tang, below, and a couple of others, but they all need a new vehicle for their careers in music to move.



This vehicle is not going to happen on Instagram nor by having “management” without a roller deck, a recording deal or counting how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall by streaming music for free onto platforms that are Oliver Twisted.



This is why I keep mentioning Netflix and the type of content being produced from the streaming site- and the unknown artists it’s discovering all the time for the original series they create and produce.


Couldn’t Hong Kong have its own version of Netflix?


Of course, it can- with the right team and a visionary leader like Netflix’s Bela Bajaria- and I am not joking when saying that this could be called Chopstix.



If Chopstix can form a working partnership with Netflix, I am extremely confident that this would be the motivation needed for Hong Kong to have a new generation of creative talent that are far removed from “heavenly kings” and more Hello Kitty Canto Popadums.


First, however, do those in leadership or management roles understand the Netflix business model or what’s needed for Hong Kong in 2023 to sprout wings and fly?


Do they or their underlings understand good from bad, cool from uncool and when there’s an outta tune sax being blown and someone trying to sing “Billie Jean” over a backing track to those in Hong Kong who still attend the horse races?


Maybe this audience can accept mediocrity because they’re now in their Seventies and want to enjoy being at the races for a completely different kind of customer experience called gambling?


Music? Who cares? And if it’s a question of “Who Cares?”, why bother having music at all?



What is seen more and more these days are those in executive positions with the power to make executive decisions sit back and be allowed to keep making the wrong ones.


This, of course, is a global problem, whereas very old looking Hong Kong is being stunted by a dated and flawed “system” and disorganisation charts that come with the blinkers on.


Standards of everything- English, music, hires, marketing, the service industry, horse racing, advertising etc- are allowed to keep dropping with there being no safety net to break the fall.


What’s scarily and blatantly obvious is that those who are looking for that creative spark to feel alive again have nowhere to go.


As Dylan wrote, “‘There must be some way outta here,’ said the Joker to the Thief”.


And there is.


First, however, it’s about creating a new environment that’s conducive for The New Creativity to grow and nourish and replenish the senses of a new generation.


To do this, it’s about moving away from old ways and days and giving Hong Kong something new- and Hong Kong showing the world what hasn’t seen trotted out umpteen times before.


For this to happen, there’s a need for a creative facelift, a completely new mindset to the malaise that exists today and a Made In Hong Kong creative culture.


And Chopstix.



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