The whole front page of everyone’s must-read Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece Ta Kung Pao today is occupied by an advertisement for Avignon, yet another pretentiously named, atrocious-quality-for-money scam in the government/tycoon-rigged pyramid scheme that is the Hong Kong property market. It is hard to imagine anyone habitually reading the newspaper being interested in buying overpriced real estate. In fact, it’s hard to imagine anyone reading the thing at all. Among the key target customers of the Big Lychee’s so-called luxury developments are rich Mainlanders looking to park wealth offshore or simply have an overseas apartment to brag about along with their race horse and case of Chateau Lafite, but they certainly don’t read our local CCP organ. So we can assume that Sun Hung Kai placed the ad there as a friendship donation to a politically correct but cash-strapped relic of a bygone propaganda era.
The apartment complex on Castle Peak Road is inspired by the paintings of Claude Monet, and each unit comes with a HK$120,000 Gaggenau refrigerator with tempered (they damn well better be) glass shelves. There’s a wine cellar, purples and greens in the show flat, and no doubt garish chandeliers dangling above dazzling marble foyers.
As it happens, authorities in the nation’s capital have just announced a ban on (outdoor) advertising that excessively promotes ‘foreign’ things and uses words like ‘supreme’, ‘royal’ and ‘luxury’. Other cities may be following suit, attempting to soothe disharmony resulting from the growing wealth gap by removing reminders of the expensive goodies the rich elite can have and the rest of the rabble walking past cannot. (I vaguely recall a time when South Korea banned red cars for this reason, or maybe I dreamt it.)
Perhaps this trend will extend as far as Sun Hung Kai’s Shenzhen sales office. Maybe it will then spread across the border, and expanded to encompass such adjectives as ‘exclusive’, ‘lush’, ‘unparalleled’ and anything followed by ‘lifestyle’. Backed up by firm enforcement. For starters, whoever made the bim-infested Billionaire Royale video would have to be nailed to a tree by his ears…
… for inflicting his hackneyed tawdriness on the perfectly innocent and inoffensive slum district of Kowloon City.
This would be the sort of cross-boundary integration and cooperation we could live with.