ANYWHERE but the swimming pool – please

An NGO with an outdated name, if not mission, seeks publicity for an embarrassing-sounding but no doubt well-intentioned forthcoming event. Taking its cue from desperate for-profit companies, witless political parties and lame vested-interest lobbies, it organizes a survey designed to yield eye-catching results and therefore big headlines in the press. The subject is people’s sexual behavior, and the group quite possibly overdoes it: wait a day to check Google News to see the Southeast Asian, US and UK media pick up this ‘Big Lychee wackiness’ story.

The Family Planning Association press release behind this avalanche of prurient smut begins by announcing this year’s Sex Cultural [they possibly mean ‘Culture’] Festival, which will be held in the Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre. Impure thoughts of what a kinky sort of place that must be for such an event are quickly dashed by a quick cold-shower blast: it’s in un-sensual, almost anti-erotic, Shek Kip Mei.

Then it gets down to the survey results. Basically, 98% of Hong Kong people have sex in alleyways and on roofs and beaches. It claims that some do it in public swimming pools, but this is so stomach-churning I refuse to believe it (come back kids who pee-pee in the shallow end, all is forgiven).

And it refers mysteriously to ‘the bush’. This could mean beneath or behind the many finely maintained shrubs in parks and sitting-out areas, many of which – now I think about it – are almost suspiciously well-suited for the purpose in terms of shape, size and accessibility. Or it could mean the great rolling outdoors up in the New Territories, of the sort that catches fire in Australia and houses the nomads of the Kalahari. Or it could be a subliminal effect of the world’s most horrifying razor commercial.

The Hong Kong press handle this with varying degrees of tastefulness. Sing Pao devotes its whole front page to a lurid treatment of the shock findings, complete with a couple doing some sort of warm-up on an unappetizing stretch of shoreline. The Standard puts it lower down but with a bigger, not to say tacky, headline. The South China Morning Post, eschewing sensationalism as we would expect of Asia’s journal of record, stuffs it away in the City section, where it gets just a fraction of the space allocated to the riveting story on Hong Kong University’s fascinating retirement policy.

As if the swimming pool thing weren’t nauseating enough, we are invited to believe that Lan Kwai Fong is the most romantic spot in town. It’s full of cockroaches and rats, strewn with garbage and sometimes piles of vomit, heavy with traffic emissions, and it (reportedly) attracts the low-bred and loud. Compared with a roof or alleyway – a nice change.

There is a serious point to all this, and that is a lack of space. This story is a spiced-up version of last Tuesday’s about proposals for maternity leave and cash bonuses for parents who breed. That, in turn, is a story about demographics and Asian and other social trends we can only guess at, but which probably include things like the work-life balance, especially for women, and the curious and growing sense of society as a zero-sum Darwinian jungle in which fewer kids mean better chances, and no kids represent escape. And, as the property-obsessed Standard’s piece reminds us, it includes the costs of housing (40% of the paper’s story is actually about real-estate prices – more if you include details of rates for short-stay hotels).

There was a time when a middle class family could buy an 800-square-foot apartment for five years’ salary; that’s now gone to maybe 500 square foot for 10 years’ salary. It has been an elaborate social experiment. What happens when we take more and more of people’s wealth away from them, and give them less and less space to live in? The results are in. They bonk on roofs.

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16 Responses to ANYWHERE but the swimming pool – please

  1. maugrim says:

    I’ve always wondered why we don’t have the clean and fun love hotels the Japanese have unlike the dirty ones we have at present (apparantly)

  2. Headache says:

    I see you’ve joined with the rest of the media in yelling SEX! SEX! SEX! thus distracting from the real issues of the day.

  3. PropertyDeveloper says:

    Two-seater cars are better, although less comfortable, since they soon get steamed up, affording the necessary privacy. But the number of quiet cul de sacs, even in the wilds of NENT, is reducing daily.

  4. cat says:

    Lan Kwai Fong “most romantic spot”?! In the movies, right?

    For every twenty/thirty-somethings who are still living with parents, finding somewhere to have sex is quite an issue… -_- In the US, we would have moved out ages ago. Blame the expensive housing.

  5. Mary Hinge says:

    Just park on the landfill, PD. They’re even extending it for you.

  6. If the government really wants to boost the birth rate, the finding that many people have sex “in the bush” could be our best hope for saving the threatened country parks.

  7. Gin Soaked Boy says:

    @maugrim. There are plenty of clean and fun love hotels in Kowloon Tong … so I’m told!!

  8. maugrim says:

    Gin soaked boy, Plod told me that at one stage there was a photographer from one of the sleazy news magazines camped out the front taking pics in the hope that someone newsworthy was spotted. Besides, do they have the Hello Kitty/Dodgem rooms you can get in Japan (allegedly)?

  9. Big Al says:

    OT: I saw on the news last night that Sir Gordon is the latest tycoon threatening to pull out of Hong Kong because the constant angst betweeen the adminsitration and the public is making it more difficult to screw money out of everyone. Don’t threaten. Just fuck off. I’ll help prepre the company winding down forms, if he wants …

  10. reductio says:

    @Big Al

    Also seen plus it was in the SCMP today. Big Gordon – due to him we’ve got that stupid Macau bridge inching ever closer.

    @ Headache

    Not at all. In fact we could kill two birds with one stone here by turning the Occupy Central movement into a 24-7 love-in. I’m up for it (although not as often as in the past. Et in Arcadia ego.)

  11. Real Sex Player says:

    This gives a whole new meaning to terms like : beach party, alley cat, gene pool and bush baby.

    It also creates a whole new category of haves and have nots. Those who have go to Villa Victoria.
    Those who do not have go to Victoria Park.

    I can see the FPA needs a TV ad campaign, with maybe a musical jingle along theses lines:

    Girls and boys go out to play
    The moon is shining bright as day.
    Leave your parents’ tiny flat
    The public park is where it’s at.
    Try the public swimming pool
    Cos water sex is really cool.
    Even better try the roof
    Cos there you both can really hoof.
    But best of all’s a pick-up truck
    Cos there you both can really fuck
    Hong Kong suffers low birthrate
    So GO OUTSIDE to procreate

  12. Real Scot Player says:

    Zip chance Sir Gordian Knot will ever leave Honkers. Hopewell Centre part deux is just too impossible to repeat in a normal economy with things like real competition

  13. PropertyDeveloper says:

    Come out on my boat some time, Mary, there are a couple of things I’d like to show you.

  14. gweiloeye says:

    LKF Romantic?? Other than the stench as already mentioned, where could you go around there without a mainland tourist shoving a camera in your face. Which leads to that age old question – what is so appealing about taking pictures of white folk drinking beer, walking?

  15. PCC says:


    Imagine you’re on safari and you see a white rhinoceros. You’d take a picture, too.

    I had that Diane Fossey in the back of my cab. Lovely lass.

  16. Gordon was, I believe, the first developer to advocate smothering the country parks in concrete. I’d be happy to head to the airport (or wherever he berths his private yacht) to wave goodbye to him.

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