Hong Kong officials were shocked two months ago when they proposed taking around HK$14 billion of the public’s money and chucking it down the toilet. Rather than responding with the meek acquiescence the bureaucrats realistically expected – or the lavish and adoring praise they secretly hoped for – the people insisted on finding fault with the idea.
If we look at the plan in detail and in context we can see that the popular opposition was not simply due to perceived waste of a relatively trifling sum of cash. What the government was suggesting was that it chuck HK$14 billion down the toilet (along with a further HK$30 billion already earmarked for being flushed away so it doesn’t count), and in return the Big Lychee would be inundated for several weeks in 2023 with even bigger-than-usual hordes of tourists coming to watch slightly dim but fit men and women from across Asia run around and throw things.
Looking on the bright side, we might all be dead in 2023. But Hongkongers in this day and age focus on the negative. They could think of better things to do with money than host the Asian Games. They doubted the government’s claim that the event would turn us into avid sportsmen or boost social cohesion. Some pointed out that the city is too crowded already, while others saw a plot to channel their wealth into the pockets of officials’ rich tycoon friends. Even the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment Etc of Hong Kong, a local front for the Chinese Communist Party under orders to obey Beijing’s appointed rulers at all times, opposed the idea.
Some of us looked at the government’s consultation paper and wondered whether the whole thing was just a joke to humour the Velodrome lobby, a tiny group of self-appointed sports heroes who think a city where the average family has 400 square feet of living space should devote sprawling acres of land for feeble-minded athletic pastimes. In other words, the proposal wasn’t intended to be taken seriously. If this was the case, the cunning bureaucrats are doing a good job of pretending to be promoting the project by now producing a counter-proposal: we’ll halve the amount we chuck down the pan, OK?
The Standard’s headline calls this a bid to meet the public halfway. But of course it isn’t. To genuinely reduce by 50% the gap between what the citizens wish for and what their apparently Martian overlords want, we must go further. We must halve the other HK$30 billion already earmarked to be chucked down the toilet. We must halve the number of cyclists, Wushu-ists and muscular, steroid-addled chess-players attending the mass bore-fest. And, not least – not least by a world-record-breaking throw of a javelin – we must reduce the number of pestilential tourists clogging up our streets, polluting our air, driving rents sky-high, and just generally being here.
In sum: the government wants a pile of poo 100 yards high; the people say they don’t want a pile of poo; the government gives in, screams “Consensus City!” and creates a pile of poo 50 yards high. Hong Kong democracy in action.
HK is getting to you. Time to sell up and move to Chipping Norton.
Gold medal in excremental analogy: Hemlock, representing the HKSAR
9 countries and regions, $45 billion and counting, utterly shameless.
If HK’s officials don’t waste shedloads of cash on the 2023 games, they will feel compelled to do it on something equally daft. Perhaps a super-sized Hong Kong Phoey-focused theme park on southern Lantau. Actually, that would be rather good fun if only for watching Mui Wo’s NIMBYs getting wound up during the “consultation” phase.
Beijing must have basically told HK to push on with this – things did not get this far without us being nudged rather hard. Me thinks it is the Mainland’s way of avoiding having one of its big cities host a cash-down-the-bog EAG until at least 2040….”Sorry chaps, our brothers down in Cantoland did the honours back in 2023.”
News today that the SAR won’t admit Vietnamese domestic helpers for security reasons. But any place holding an Asian Games must sign a contract promising to admit all members of the “Olympic Family”. As we found out at the Sydney Olympics, that includes various sports administrators who in their day jobs are in fact gun runners, white slavers and drug peddlers who wouldn’t get an SAR visa normally. The Afghan and Sri Lankan asylum seekers who stay behind will at least contribute something to Hong Kong’s cultural diversity, eventually.
Well I just clicked on the “steroid-addled chessplayer” link, and my firewall (CA) stopped me from connecting, with the message:
“The website you are attempting to view has been detected as unsafe, and access has been blocked. It is recommended that you do not proceed to the website.
Category: Malware Distribution Point”
Another indication that China does not have a clean press.
Hong Kong already devotes sprawling acres of land to a feeble-minded athletic pastime. It’s called horse-racing.