You have to wonder where all this is going to end up.

The number of Mainland tourists flooding into Hong Kong is set to double in the next four years, and even National People’s Congress deputy Michael Tien gets slapped down by Global Times for selfishly suggesting that maybe we can’t handle so many. At the same time, the number of kids crossing the border to come to school here could quadruple.

What does this mean in practice? Twice as many Prada and Gucci outlets spreading into twice as many neighbourhoods? Local parents having to camp out in the street for two nights instead of one to get a school application form? Officials perversely maintain there’s no problem. Overcrowded streets and trains? Your favourite little noodle place closing to make way for a shop full of gold trinkets? Not happening! All a figment of your imagination. And think of all the jobs being created.

Meanwhile, much the same officials and their bureaucratic and corporate soulmates announce a Major Panic Freakout Alert: Hong Kong has a critical manpower shortage. We need an extra 500,000 workers! The Bauhinia Foundation’s paranoid demographic apocalypse is a nightmare vision of dependency ratios, ‘Type II babies’, future reproductive capacity, the ‘churn’ rate of migrants, and a plan to lure back 800,000 Hongkongers-in-exile to make clones from. Breed faster or we’re finished! Singapore will overtake us! The government will run out of money! We must tax you (unless you’re a Mainland shopper) more, now!

Financial Secretary John Tsang, after years of pouring recurrent revenues down the toilet in the form of inane subsidies and giveaways, will soon release a report (possibly around the time of the Budget next week) with a title something like We Face Total and Utter Fiscal Annihilation Disaster Mayhem Calamity Right This Minute! It will presumably be stuffed with all our favourite mythical monsters. People are healthier and living longer, therefore we are doomed by the aging population. Healthcare costs will bankrupt us. Our reserves of HK$200,000 per person will go psssst and in an instant we’ll be like the US, where government debt equals HK$400,000 per citizen. Pssst! Just like that! Honest.

So, on the one hand we have an already-unmanageable number of visitors streaming into town, and they’re  due to double in quantity, almost certainly to or beyond the point at which something snaps and we get Causeway Bay Crowd Stampede Fatalities, or Race Riot on the MTR. But no! Our genius leaders see no problem at all. All perfectly sustainable and in fact good for you.

Then, on the other hand, we have a spectrum of non-problems concocted to justify grasping ‘solutions’. An aging society, a shortage of babies/workers, stupendous financial reserves mysteriously turning into the mega-deficit from Hell, a human version of Bee Colony Collapse Disorder, and all sorts of non-existent disaster scenarios that those same leaders are insisting we must Hurry Up and Wet Ourselves About Furiously.

How and where does this end up – possibly around the same time that Beijing’s game of chicken with the pro-democrats comes to a climax with the failure of a political reform bill in the Legislative Council, and the realization that this current system will remain for another decade or so.

Or maybe everything will come out OK. I declare the weekend open with the thought that the root of our problems is pretentious, smug, arrogant and self-serving grey men who don’t realize how easily their oh-so-clever ideas can be pricked and burst – as someone in Osaka recently discovered…


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14 Responses to Contradictions…

  1. Headache says:

    Nice multiple skewerings today, yakitori-style even!

  2. Gumshoe says:

    I keep hearing the commercial on RTHK warning of our shrinking work force. We need to get housewives working! We also need to increase the birth rate! ….? Ok, so how do we do that? More domestic helpers imported to live in shrinking available land reserves stingily handed out by the group with the monopoly on them, the government itself? I’m not sure how this can’t fly out of control, the centre cannot hold.

    If they really wanted to encourage birth rates, maybe they should at least bring labor laws into the 80s, the 1980s I mean! (You see I was talking about the 1880s)

  3. maugrim says:

    Today’s post raises a few good issues, the problem/not a problem blinkers, being a salient one. This week our ‘chief’ had this to say:

    “Leung said any behavior that is a nuisance to tourists should be condemned and that “the government will follow up the incident according to the law.”

    Really? Any behaviour? A ‘nuisance’? The quote enshrines how low down the totem pole HK residents really are. Prepare for more shafting, we really aren’t the important ones in the equation at all. Perhaps its time for more messages to be sent to those who simply dont get it.

  4. mumphLT says:

    The shotgun is mightier than the sword.

  5. Regislea says:

    On the tourism issue: van der Kamp always strikes me as sensible here.

    If I am understanding Jake correctly, the positive effect on Hong Kong’s economy – much touted by politicians – should be significantly discounted.

    Thus, a Hermes bag sells for $10,000 Great – except that, say, $5000 of that revenue goes to France or wherever these things are actually made/imported from. If the shop is also owned by foreign interests, that profit also goes overseas. So the actual benefit to HK is . . . probably 70% less than the tourist industry would claim.

    And the key beneficiary is – wait for it – the landlord!

    Same applies to hotel , etc.

  6. reductio says:

    That Global Times article is scary. What to quote, what to quote? So many nuggets (of BS). This one:

    ” But it is a lopsided plan [limiting mainlanders] that only targets the maximization of Hong Kong’s interests at the huge cost of the administrative resources of the mainland. It will make mainlanders feel offended and such a proposal will not address the problem properly.”

    Offended? Ahh, did-ums, did you get offended?

  7. Scoff Law says:

    “Leung said any behavior that is a nuisance to tourists should be condemned and that “the government will follow up the incident according to the law.”

    Hahahaha nice one maugrim – Leung talking about enforcing laws 😀

    He should demonstrate real leadership by getting himself arrested for his illegal structure thus spearheading the enforcement of illegal structure laws.

    Dodging laws is an integral part of Chinese culture.

    Party on.

  8. Oneleggoalie says:

    Oneleg has an acquaintance of enormous wealth but cannot obtain a shop lease in Ocean Terminal as the landlord told him “only foreign brands need apply”…true story.

    And all this reminds of KMT going too far before the commies ran them out of mainland China…our imbeciles in government and the few tycoons will hang themselves…of that it is certain.

  9. RSG says:


    Heaven help those that might dare hurt the feelings of the Chinese people.

  10. Chimp says:

    A Hermes bag for $10,000? You got ripped off mate. You could have paid TWICE AS MUCH at the shop next door.

  11. Ex Tax Payer says:

    Tipping point !
    T I P P I N G P O I N T !!!

    It’s a-coming….

  12. Regislea says:

    Chimp – I’m just cheap – please don’t let my wife know!

  13. @RSG – but doesn’t the government keep reminding us that we’re all part of China now? What about Hong Kong Chinese feelings?

  14. CCP says:

    backlash against the Glabal Times’ editorial – a new ‘nationalistic event’ on 9th Mar, organised by a number of HKers, aims to ‘unify HK & China by preaching to the mainland tourists, especially the single-day trippers, the importance of spending only on Chinese brands but not a penny on foreign brands and luxuries in HK. As this would not only foster the evil power in the West but also maximise HK’s financial interest and ultimately lead to it’s independence.’ Some of them will be dressing up as people in the Mao’s era and you’ll be guaranteed to see Mao’s photos and Mainland brands a lot on that day. Hopefully, some fresh Mainland baby milk will be provided to the tourists to help them understand the true meaning of patriotism.

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