Meanwhile, back in Macau…

Question: What is unusual about the elderly lady in this picture?

Answer: She is the only person who is not Andy Lau…

It is heartening to see that the good people of Macau are finally rising up in revolt over celebrity endorsements. They are, judging by a recent visit, pointedly refusing to buy the dim-witted consumer product that is the massage chair, following one manufacturer’s almost scary over-use of images of the eminent Canto-star in its attempt to promote the items at Yaohan department store. I am tempted to donate my HK$6,000 free money from the generous Hong Kong government to the singer-actor; he must be in a desperate financial state if he has been reduced to this.

The same probably does not apply to the gastro-personalities who inhabit the overlap between the Big Lychee’s mass media and food cultures. They are ordinary people who, having appeared on a cookery show or written a few suspiciously positive restaurant reviews, acquire a ravenous appetite for money-making, opening their own humdrum eateries and taking payment for appearing to enjoy the fare offered by others. In this case, it is the ‘King Crown’ hand-made noodles emporium…

It has not escaped Macau people’s notice that after a restaurant gets a public nod of approval from one or more of these food idols, more Hongkongers and Mainlanders come to dine and the prices go up. The woman giving the thumbs-up to the venerable noodle-creator above is the latest figure of hate among the little city’s consumers. Less than an hour after having her leer over my shoulder from a poster on the wall as I tried the (pretty good) pasta, I find her again on an advertisement outside a bakery insisting on the superiority of the establishment’s egg tarts. So irate have the locals become about this woman (whose name I forget), that they have taken to spreading scurrilous gossip about her sexuality to anyone who will listen.

There are far better ways to market cuisine. Macau is very keen on the use of cartoon pigs, as we can see on the labels of ‘Piggy’ brand ham, and on an advertisement for a new pork bun outlet at the Venetian casino-hotel complex. The latter appears with what I take to be a satisfied, and certainly frequent, customer…

I have no idea whether the girl who presents the Macau TV weather forecast, seen on a screen at the aforementioned noodle place, also likes the buns. Maybe she does.

The gargantuan Venetian is soon to be joined by yet another gambling mega-resort on the Cotai strip, Galaxy. The vast development was originally planned to open in 2009, but was suspended after the financial crisis and China’s clampdown on visa restrictions. It will have 1,500 rooms, plus 700 more in related adjoining projects, and will focus on Asian hospitality, tastes, sensibilities and design influences – so they say. Some Asians may feel insulted that the architecture is specifically calculated to impress them. I am trying to pin it down…

I suppose there’s a bit of Byzantine (as of course there is, or at least should be, in the Venice-inspired gambling palace next door). Or is it Rococo? The more I look at it, the more I think ‘Nicolae Ceausescu’. The width of the main entrance would accommodate the wingspan of a 747. The towers loom out of the haze with more than a hint of menace.

Guests bedazzled by the sprawling pile of tackiness will experience an interesting juxtaposition of styles of Asian hospitality etc, when they look across the road and see the People’s Liberation Army HQ. A giant, floodlit, three-sided hoarding declares ‘Love China, love Macau’ and ‘Obey the Party and serve the people’. No celebrity endorsement necessary.

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14 Responses to Meanwhile, back in Macau…

  1. Maugrim says:

    “That” brand of massaging products. Two images spring to mind, the middle class family bleating last week about how the concessions they would get from the Government wouldn’t cover their brats extra curricular activites. In their living room was a massive massage chair, costing aroung $60,000. The other is the shopping centre roadshow that used to feature young sales assistants astride a vibrating exercise saddle for erm, fitness purposes. Their slightly glazed yet happy demenours pointed to perhaps who the target market might have been.

  2. Lady Marmalade says:

    Honey, we was missing you down Wanchai Neptune dis weekend. What do dey do in Macau better dan Lady M and her girls? Nuttin, for sure.

  3. Pig Man says:

    The half woman/half pig is my girlfriend.

  4. stanley says:

    George,

    When I suggested a change in persona, this is not quite what I had in mind, for sure.

  5. Stephen Vines says:

    “Obey the party”.

    That is so 1975.

    how about: “Enjoy the party” ?

  6. Stephen says:

    There is little about the CCP to enjoy and obey is as apt today as it was in 1975.

    BTW I’m shocked to the core that the HK Gov has chosen the ‘Foster’ design for the West Kowloon Property Play – I mean cultural thing.

  7. Mary Hinge says:

    Good God. That’s desperate. What have the politicos and developers done to sleepy old Macau? Please, please give it back to the Portuguese …

  8. Nulle says:

    Dude, the lady with thumbs up is so sze wong, headline the Chinese cooking show series “so good” on tvb, she is a known lesbian.

    She points out where the good food are…

  9. Tiu Fu Fong says:

    Thanks for translating the article from subtle to explicit, Nulle.

  10. Lesbe havin it says:

    ‘A known lesbian’?
    Crawl out of our cave Nulle, we’re in the twenty first century

  11. Stephen Vines says:

    I am with Nulle. We should be told.

  12. Phil "Cliffie" Whelan says:

    I second that.

  13. Sen says:

    I’d rather be a ‘Known Lesbian’ then a ‘Lesbian for Dick’
    [always wanted to say that]

    all revealed here
    http://wikiality.wikia.com/Lesbian

  14. Vile Traveller says:

    Just to qualify our dear leaders’ choice of “Foster for WKCD”, it’s actually “Foster-with-the-other-two-mashed-in”. Design by committee, what The Government of Hong Kong S.A.R. does best.

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