HK – still Asia’s barrier hub

Hong Kong has wide, open shortages of space as far as the eye can see. The missing-link psychopaths who plan our urban streets make sidewalks so narrow that pedestrians have no choice but to jaywalk. The bureaucrats need the roads, after all, to drive their shiny black seven-seat Alphards up and down on, while looking uncannily like overpaid smug jerks. And tycoon Li Ka-shing’s Cheung Kong is putting 195-sq-ft apartments on the market, and charging any midgets who are interested HK$1.94 million per unit. (The South China Morning Post’s graphic, comparing the dwelling to a cell at Stanley Prison, wittily portrays a cat pointedly not being swung. The Standard, eager to drum up business for Mr Li, quotes the discounted price of HK$1.65 million with wonderment.)

And just in case you’re not feeling cramped enough, the government has decided to seal off the public area outside the Legislative Council from… the public. You paid for it, now go away. At least between 11pm and 6am. Admittedly, most of us would not normally want to hang around the sterile ‘Civic Square’ late at night, but activists and demonstrators have come to appreciate the option, just in case. Now, they mischievously lament, they will have no choice but to gather in protest on Chater Road.

The symbolism is that of an administration under siege. But from whom? Most of us will assume officials are putting up the barricades against their own mob-like populace. But it could be that they also fear their masters in Beijing, who expect all underlings to prepare for civilization-destroying Occupy Central civil disobedience activities, and look like they mean it. (Businesses in Central are spreading the word to employees that they will probably need to implement their contingency plans for pro-democracy chaos and mayhem next month. We may need to ‘work from home’ – a prospect that needless to say distresses me greatly.) Either way, the erection of the metal walls around the area confirms, if we were in any doubt, that the arrangements for the 2017 election will not necessarily meet the international, UN-approved standards that pro-democrats want.

As if to prepare us mentally for the occupation, blockades and uniformed enforcers are already being rolled out in one part of Central – the walkway linking the Landmark and Alexandra House. Not content with surrounding Christmas trees and even the nativity scene with inelegant barrier tape every year, Hong Kong Land are now giving the same treatment to the hordes of allegedly cute and adorable papier mache panda bears that have infested various parts of the city in recent weeks…

Amusingly, the barrier-tape equipment does not cater for such short exhibits. Any toddler wishing to interfere with the bears – or any panda wishing to escape – can do so with ease.

I declare the weekend open by advising that I have timed the highly alert security guards’ patrol patterns and can report that any adult wishing to liberate or merely kick some of the non-furry furry creatures has a 10-second window of opportunity every minute. Not that I am suggesting it, of course. I merely note that it would upset the fascistic and anal building management, not to mention the trendy French (I bet) artist who produced this pale and lame derivative of last year’s classic rubber duck in the harbour.

 

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