Nightmare scenarios

Here’s a plan of part of a large shopping mall. There are five open-front clothing and electronics stores around a large common area, and three corridors connecting the whole space to the rest of the mall…


Under the tenancy agreements, the store owners are allowed to use the three feet of space in the common area adjacent to their premises…


Some – indeed most – of the stores tend to abuse this at times and use even more space in the common area. Shops 1, 2 and 5 in particular tend to claim to have some sort of right to do this, though no-one else in the mall takes them seriously.

However, the people in fast-growing and profitable Shop 1 have recently started to get particularly greedy and even threatening. Although they are a bit vague about the specifics, they pretty much insist that they own not only the whole of the common area, but even parts of the other stores’ three-foot extensions…


The once-effective security guard who used to keep order in this area has grown fat and lazy. He seems to spend most of time right at the other end of the mall, in a zone full of energy products stores with chaotic managements. He has now started to mumble something about coming over to the clothing/electronics zone more often and essentially make it clear to Shop 1 that it can’t take over the whole public area. The owners of Shop 1, who are notoriously sensitive, are already showing signs of going into Major Foot-Stamping Tantrum Mode.

We are, of course, talking about this (and this, this, etc). There is no polite or euphemistic way to put this. In theory, this is a struggle for regional dominance between the US and an emerging China. But to some extent it is probably a three-way conflict, with the Chinese military (and maybe supportive factions) tussling for power with the Chinese government of Xi Jinping. Most likely, this time all parties concerned will step back a bit and muddle through for a while. But sooner or later something has to give, if not in the South China Sea, in one of the less extreme and outrageous of China’s expansionist claims. Ideally, the civilians in Beijing will assert control over their generals and focus on their monumental economic, environmental and demographic problems closer to home. The alternative is – not pretty.

I declare the weekend open with a non-allegorical retail clash: another look at the slowly changing neighbourhood scene, where businesses aimed at locals seem to be resurgent against the tourist-oriented outlets that threatened to eat the whole district. A flyer in my mailbox invites me to this…


I suppose it had to happen. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, with all the dog cafes everywhere, someone opens one for kids. While it obviously sounds abominable – like something that would loom before you in a nightmare about Discovery Bay – we can at least say with confidence that this is not aimed at the Mainland and Korean visitor-pestilence. Hopefully, the business is owned by some up-and-coming plutocrat monopolist who will crush any competitors who try to break into this new and scary-sounding market. The alternative is that the concept will spread through the surrounding streets like a rat-borne plague, and we will become Asia’s Child-Themed Retail Hub from Hell.

(Do kids even drink coffee? I have no idea, but you don’t really associate the two.)


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16 Responses to Nightmare scenarios

  1. reductio says:

    Although you brought this up yesterday, I’m surprised you missed this one Hemmers:

    Even by the usual dismal standards of “Moving Forwards” this is the most vapid, illogical, unintelligible load of codswallop I’ve read for a long time. Her responses are in a new form of English I’ve not encountered before. Read the bit about TV sets in the bottom panel. No wonder Pansy doesn’t give interviews.

    Dreadful and depressing.

  2. PD says:

    Hemlock, For a moment I could have sworn you were talking about village houses.

    China’s aggressively expansionist policy, sideways, up and no doubt soon down, can surely come as no surprise to anyone with the slightest knowledge of the behaviour of “indigenous” (sic: often foreign-born, foreign-passported and foreign-language-speaking) “villagers” (re-sic: who hate rural life and live in public housing high rises).

  3. oldgit says:

    The first super-typhoon to level the Spratlys should save everyone a boat-load of money

  4. Maugrim says:

    Well the gwai jai/gwai mui hordes have claimed 711s in Wanchai and LKF, so I suppose spoilt jugend need somewhere to have a puppychino or whatever.

    As to the shopping centre analogy, if truer to real life, shop one would take the common area, justifying that it had been owned by an ancestor/bestowed by Kwan Yin/had always been theirs/the other shopkeepers are racists etc.

  5. Jonathan T Proboscismonkey says:

    Have you not heard of the ‘babyccino’ – fashionable with trendy mummies in Australia?

  6. Dawei says:

    By the look of the flyer the kids will be dead from Childhood Diabetes before the end of the weekend.

  7. Scotty Dotty says:

    China has always been a mega mega imperialist, they’ve just been on a long break for a couple of centuries while they got their shit together.

    In our era, Tibet and Mongolia and Xinjiang and Taiwan are but aperitifs, it’s already on to the main course in the Indian Ocean, served with dollops of Africa and a side order of Australia. For dessert it’s South America.

    Funny thing, all those pro-Chinese shoe shiners that moan about western imperalism, and those nasty foreign sorts, they’re nowhere to be seen when China’s imperialism is illuminated.

    It’ll all end in tears, imperialism always does, and China is shaping up to be the sinner of the next thousand years.

  8. NIMBY says:

    If you had included that the shopping mall had been built on a sacred burial ground (1) of the nomadic aboriginals, and the common area was also part of a corridor connecting two heavily trafficked areas (North Asia and the Straights of Malacca (and on to Africa/Europe)) then you’d really get the flavor.

    Poltergeist, but here it’s the CCP comes out of your TV and occupies your bathroom, while the US drone bombs your attic, cleans out your retirement funds and dumps e-waste all over your house and yard.

  9. Joe Blow says:

    Pansy is the richest (inherited-wealth) woman in Hong Kong but she is so plain she can’t get laid. Money ain’t everything, folks.

  10. Scotty Dotty says:

    Coming from someone with neither looks nor money that’s pretty rich.

  11. Red Dragon says:

    Hello, folks.

    I chanced upon the fragrant Pansy’s piece while taking the ferry into town this morning. My first thoughts were of the ‘it-bargepole-not-touch’ variety, but suppressing my growing nausea, I determined to plough on. Silly me. I hadn’t got much past the second paragraph before I was overcome by a spasm of projectile vomiting not seen on the Mui Wo route since Regina Ip launched her better English page. Fortunately, most of the regurgitated lo mei kai landed squarely on a bottle-blonde Australian yummy mummy with a push chair the size of a Mini Moke. Ah well, at least Pansy’s pensees were the catalyst for one small, but significant, act of serendipitous protest.

    By the by, I did note that the commies were out in force today. From Causeway Bay to Central, I spotted sad little panels of prune-faced losers (all of a certain age, rather down-at-heel, and by no stretch of the imagination out of the top drawer) trying to drum up support for the suave, silver-maned thinker, Robert Chow’s, forceful and persuasive signature campaign. Hats off to the eager beaver at the stall in Pedder Street (representing The Hong Kong Association of Guangxi Federations of Alumni of Ningbo Tertiary Colleges of Technical and Scientific Studies) who summoned up the gumption to ask yours truly if I’d care to sign on the dotted line. Why was it, I ask, that she was so taken aback when I pointed out that, such was my ardour for her cause, I had already signed the petition fifteen times since getting off the tram?

    Funny old world.


  12. nulle says:

    I see the scenario where the owners of stall 2-5 and others in the mall would gather and destroy and burn down stall#1 and all its inventory and hardware after beating the living out of the owner(s) of stall #1…sadly, for now the cowardly owners of stall 2-5 don’t have the balls to confront the owner of stall#1

    the fat lazy security guard finally got its act together and patrol the common area with the owner of stall#1 throwing a temper tantrem…

    what I find sad is that owner of stall#1 signed a contract when stall#1 open shop that prohibits them to “the whole of the common area, nor any parts of the other stores’ three-foot extensions” basically any contract owner of stall#1 is worthless…

    what Hemmers describes are similar to what happened about 70-80 years ago…

  13. Joe Blow says:

    Last week I signed my name 3 times, as ‘Michael Chugani’, ‘Diane Butler’ and ‘the Big Bad Wolf’.

    Next week I’ll put it down as ‘Phil Wheelan’, ‘Barrie Manilow’ and ‘Roman Tam’.

    I was going to do a ‘Christine’ as well, but apparently she has already signed up.

  14. gweiloeye says:

    joe blow just dont use bb king. then i will get angry gweilo on your arse.

  15. Joe Blow says:

    thanx gweilo-I: I am going to add BB King, Wilson Pickett, Little Richard and The Ink Spots.

    Support the movement, people. The CCP will overcome !

    All together now: “The east is red………..(hu-er-hai-yo)”

  16. Is it just my imagination, or does Robert Chow’s latest Guinness World Record attempt (for the largest number of fake signatures ever gathered) have fewer booths around the place than his previous efforts did? Perhaps even the comrades are getting tired of feeding his overweening ego. I can’t imagine anyone on either side believes the signature campaign will change even a single person’s mind, so what’s the point?

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