Another day, another chapter in the South China Morning Post’s epic 10-part ‘Moving Forward’ series on how Hong Kong can boost its competitiveness after the Occupy-Umbrella Disaster Mayhem Cataclysm Massacre. And another aging Chinese professional male spouting exactly the same ‘correct’ things.
Integration with the Mainland is seriously cool, the opening blurb says, because it will give Hong Kong workers ‘opportunities to commute’. Interviewee Paul Cheng then recites rather too comprehensively from the list of Stale Stuff to Say if You Want a Silver Bauhinia Star. We should be part of China, not block it. Democracy sounds good, but… Nasty minority ruining everything… Young people creative blah blah innovation and technology blah blah. Beijing helped poor little Hong Kong. Losing edge to Shanghai… Singapore much better and nice and authoritarian…
In a nutshell: Why oh why can’t everyone just shut up and move to affordable housing outside Zhongshan and enjoy the lovely opportunity to commute to the New Territories Mega-Mall every day to work selling stuff to Mainlanders?
You might flick through the newspaper in the hope of finding something less shallow, less unoriginal, less trite – less depressing. And then you get to the report that the HK Tourism Board wants to ‘lure art lovers’ to a particular street that happens already to be known worldwide for its art galleries and is in no need of special promotion. But there’s a twist. The Board hopes to ‘evolve’ Hollywood Road into something like Samcheong-dong in Seoul, because obviously being something like Hollywood Road in Hong Kong isn’t good enough.
A Tourism Board spokes-zombie blathers on about attracting non-shopping men who are into art and greenery, because we desperately need this last remaining tourist segment that is not yet swamping the city. Meanwhile, an art gallery owner gushes with unseemly enthusiasm about the bureaucrats’ dim-witted ideas.
The key feature needed to make the art-and-cafes district trendy is, apparently, an antiques shop that never opens. I’ll bet that a Tourism Board fact-finding trip to Korea discovered that Samcheong-dong has a unique and seductive air of mystery about it owing to such an enigmatic outlet. Fresh from their success in installing a Ferris wheel to make the Central waterfront something like London, they now plan to develop Hollywood Road into our very own antiques-shops-that-never-open hub. The antiques shop that never opens will be given a new high-quality plastic exterior to make it look more authentic, and there will be special purple signage sprouting from the middle of nearby sidewalks directing visitors to this famous must-see attraction.
(Just a thought… Living in that neighbourhood, I can attest that a large proportion of the tourists clogging up the area are Koreans. Apart from spreading an air of solemn despondency, their main kicks are the Mid-Levels Escalator, egg tarts and standing outside Marks and Spencer – in other words, the very things that are not something like Samcheong-dong.)
Time, surely, at last, to ‘evolve’ the Tourism Board into something like a bunch of unemployed people.