The Great Central-Wanchai Bypass Ventilation Building Outrage Massacre of 2010 continues, with the Hong Kong government announcing that relocation of the pollution-spewing eyesore is “not feasible (with photo)”. This represents a hardening of official attitudes: a bureaucratic backlash against the opposition to the ventilation buildings near the highway tunnel entrance right in front of IFC Mall.
The infrastructure fetishists of the Highways Department originally hoped to lure the public into accepting the evil and hideous smokestack monstrosity by offering us a choice of design: ‘streamlined green roof’ and ‘play of illusion’:
The idea – based on the civil servants’ usual assumption that the city comprises themselves plus 7 million child-like, mildly retarded cabbages – was to make us feel flattered and involved, so we wouldn’t notice that it was a fat, 60-foot tall block churning out vehicle exhaust fumes.
Now it’s No more Mr Nice Guy: We’re going to put that thing there whether you like it or not. However, in a valiant attempt to keep everyone calm, the government imagineers have come up with another artist’s impression of the final result:
Putting the ventilation building right there, it seems, will turn the harbour front into a green idyll – the azure crystal waters of the sun-kissed Aegean, embraced by the lush emerald foliage of the Amazon. And there, right in the very centre, just visible to the keen-eyed black kites that circle the pristine skies, is our very own grassy knoll. That’s right: ‘streamlined green roof’ nestles contentedly amid the clear air, immaculate water and the orchard miraculously growing out of the concrete. And a couple of gleaming, cube-like new office blocks right in front of IFC 2 that I don’t recall seeing before. Not a trace of six-lane freeways to be seen. Just – if you look really, really closely – a few happy loving couples atop the little hill sunbathing and picnicking sur l’herbe.
Two questions. What is the artist taking? And where can I get some?
Where has the General Post Office gone?
I have a feeling that this is the second blow for people power. From memory they wanted to erect a couple of large buildings in front of the IFC on that squalid patch grass, only to be rebuffed. I’m surprised the dimwits in our civil service didn’t also plan to make the smoke stacks into columbariums, killing two birds with one stone so to speak. Perhaps the juxtaposition of smoking chimneys next to cremated remains was too much even for them.
It’s pleasing to see the Government (they barely deserve that capital ‘G’) providing me with ample confirmation that my imminent departure back to my homeland is a good one.
The area in front of the Outer Island ferry piers has for years been a complete shit tip. Overall, the proposed scheme is a great improvement, so I am giving it the thumbs up.
If some of the prententious sods who sit wasting their office hours in the IFC Starbucks are a bit miffed at the loss of view, then fine – go back to work.
Three cheers for Sir Donald and, in response to N, three cheers for the entirely capitalized GOVERNMENT.
You see, this is exactly how I know you’re part of the out-of-touch, elitist, holier-than-thou expatriate class: not one word about the most significant, earth-shattering news of our time in HK.
The Stephen Chan case.
While you’re poking holes and debunking myths about minutiae like urban planning and pollution and government complacency and moneyed-class cronyism, we plebs have much more important things to worry about. Seriously, TVB and TVB actors actually being VICTIMS, at the hands of a fifty-one dandy who OBVIOUSLY eats boys a third his age for lunch (figuratively, though possibly literally). The mind boggles at your choice of priorities.
how green is our valley