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Why Hong Kong needs its own Neverland

There’s no reason why certain things happen. They just do.

It’s like how, once in a while, and when needing something to uplift and help you unload, whoever is orchestrating our lives, makes you see or hear something that touches you in ways no one else can understand and which takes you on a journey where you’re not the pilot.

And so it was while recently watching “Finding Neverland” for the first time and which tells the story of playwright J.M. Barrie and his relationship with the family that inspires him to create Peter Pan and that magical place called Neverland.

Johnny Depp who plays J.M. Barrie says to the troubled young boy named Peter in the family, “Just believe, Peter, just believe”.

This belief he’s talking about is something that I keep referring to as an “emotional attachment”.

It’s a feeling that draws one in by offering a reason to invest in something and which then offers them a sense of belonging and ownership.

Maybe there are things going on in my life where I need to believe that things will only get better, especially to my home that is Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong government will do what it can to improve things like attracting tourism, and try and get the city back on its feet and, well, whatever else governments do.

The question I have is whether anything it does will have any emotional attachment with its audience?

In a word: No.

Everything will be expected and safe and probably have all the impact of dim sum made with the wrong dough.

What Hong Kong desperately needs is a little magic, a great deal of Hope, trust and creative wizardry.

When the world looks at Hong Kong in 2023, what it sees is hardly the most exciting place on earth.

It’s just another flawed city with not much going for it including ways in which to attract international tourists with spending power, along with those younger visitors to hopefully wake up those in Hong Kong their age who are going through a confused and disillusioned existence and suffering because of a shortage of inspiration and motivation.

Ocean Park, horse racing and Disneyland plus, perhaps the former police station in Central known as Tai Kwun and the Palace Museum aren’t exactly any reason for anyone to fly half way around the world to visit the still masked city.

Even if masks were to eventually come off, it’s not something that’s going to have tourists flocking to Hong Kong expecting the land of a thousand dances and Chic singing about Good Times.

Somewhere along the way, Hong Kong lost its mojo- and lost its way and also lost confidence in itself and allowed negativity to set in and take over.

This negativity can’t be solved by those posting fluffy “positive thoughts” online for Facebook friends who aimlessly click that ubiquitous “like” button and speak through emojis.

Music, for example, has aged very badly in Hong Kong because its garden has been allowed to be overrun by weeds and mediocrity.

Music is meant to be timeless and ageless, but is it? In Hong Kong?

It might be if the musicians are artists like Stevie Wonder, Diana Krall, Norah Jones and legacy acts, but who’s going to pay top dollar to watch and listen to now middle aged local cover acts singing the Adele/Whitney/Amy Winehouse Songbook?

If, however, Hong Kong could bring in at least one major international artist a month, something one understands will happen in Macau this year, there could be the start of the city entering its own Neverland and being inspired enough to shoot down the malaise hanging over the city.

For example, why couldn’t there be new areas for nightlife using the current dead zones that exist in Wanchai, Lan Kwai Fong and all down Wyndham Street?

Couldn’t these dead zones be turned into a tribute to some of the city’s most iconic nightspots and restaurants that are no more here- The Scene, Canton Disco, Jimmy’s Kitchen, the fabulous Bistro Manchu, Guru etc?

Staying with dead zones, couldn’t these areas also be turned into creative hubs to showcase the work of new Made In Hong Kong talent like designers, dance studios, independent film makers...?

What is still called Happy Wednesday at a time when happiness in the city is in such short supply is just plain silly.

This could be changed into its own Neverland- a place filled with magic and adventure and imagination and available on course and online.

With horses running and riders guiding them, imagination- and technology used creatively and built around a strategic idea- could take audiences to new places through virtual reality where new things await them.

To those naysayers who only wake up to critique ideas when jealousy strikes and who have been asleep at the wheel for decades, well, as Bob Dylan said all those years ago, Don’t criticise what you can’t understand.

These are almost always those past their Use By date and hopelessly out of sync with the world around them.

The Hong Kong government will continue with its long range plans for housing and how to solve unemployment through bureaucratic thinking.

This is just how governments around the world work.

Hong Kong isn’t Finland and doesn’t have a Sanna Marin running the show.

Current Chief Executive John KC Lee is a huge improvement over the former housewife Chief Executive who mismanaged Hong Kong through fear and loathing for way too long.

As for us Hong Kong Belongers, well, instead of complaining about everything not happening fast enough, it’s time for those of us who know each other’s strengths to come together and actually make things happen.

Hong Kong is looking like a piece meal affair right now- a fragmented dog’s breakfast and with nothing bringing everything and everyone together.

There’s no glue, Gumby, and no ties that bind.

Bottom line: There’s so much that could have and should have been done by now- like creating a virtual Hong Kong that could at least create some interest in this city instead of looking as if it’s some place that’s dropped off the face of the earth.

It’s still not too late.

Simply put, Hong Kong needs a facelift.

Let’s just make sure that it doesn’t turn out to look like Madonna does today.

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