Recession looming – HK rejoices


EJ-WhatNoThey said it could not be done: an article sympathetic to the Hong Kong tourism industry that makes sense. The secret is to see the tourism industry as something separate from parasite property tycoons.

News of the ‘collapse in tourist arrivals’ has unfortunately not reached the Koreans, who are still flooding into my neighbourhood for no very obvious reason. Their behaviour suggests they do not travel so much as move zombie-like in total obedience to guide-book instructions…

Clutching bag of counterfeit Jenny Bakery cookies, take selfie on Mid-Levels Escalator, which is a Disneyland-type ride put there entirely for your amusement and not for the benefit of local residents, who love it when you obstruct them, and will definitely not shove you aside. Then stand for hours outside Ye Olde Chris Patten Egg Tarte Shoppe for substandard overpriced pastries. After, line up for ages to buy uninteresting dessert drinks from the Quaint Authentic Hong Kong Uninteresting Dessert Drink Stall. Next, stand on narrow sidewalk and look confused while blocking others’ way. Hint for large groups: be sure to gather outside Marks & Spencers just above Hollywood Road and stare around dumbly for at least 20 minutes.

Bearing in mind Jake van der Kamp’s warning on GDP figures, it seems we are once-vibrant yet now on the brink of recession, not least because of the ‘collapse in tourist arrivals’ that never seems to happen. The WSJ lists standard Hong Kong-slowdown clichés: plummeting sales at Chow Tai Fook gold and Sa Sa cosmetics (like we care), container terminal bypassed for Mainland ports (like we care), home prices falling (as if this is bad), etc.

This is terrible news if you are a big retail landlord (like Li Ka-shing), own container terminals (like Li Ka-shing) or develop residential property (like Li Ka-shing). Otherwise, why should we worry? In the last 10 years or so, the city has been flooded with visitors buying luxury garbage, jammed with traffic and other transport congestion and suffered huge rises in rents and housing costs. The city’s GDP increased significantly, yet median incomes hardly budged, while the cost of living rose and the quality of life fell. Is it too outlandish to predict that the imminent recession will make most people’s lives better?

If you got stuck in the Zhang Dejiang traffic jams today, here’s something to make you feel better. Today’s Gold Bauhinia Medal nominees are…



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6 Responses to Recession looming – HK rejoices

  1. Enid Spart says:

    I am one who delights in all manifestations of the Cheguevarian muse.


    I like a nice riot. You’re forced to!

  2. Knownot says:

    A Korean friend writes to me:

    Hong Kong is a very good place with many tall buildings and big shops and nice pastries. The people work hard and care very much about money, like us Koreans. I am very proud to see many people have phones from my country. I like the people but some foreigners are very rude, my friend I do not mean you! There was one foreign man on the escalator. We leave many spaces but he pushed through murmuring some bad words. I have a surprise! In one her photos my friend capture this man! He is quite old, I cannot say hunchback, but his back is bent. His nose is long, his forehead is low, he looks angry. I think he does not respect us Koreans. My friend has posted the photo on Facebook so now every Korean will say Hello to him!

  3. Laguna Lurker says:

    @Knownot: Your Korean friend is a brilliant strategist.

    Er … it wasn’t Hemlock perchance?

  4. Laguna Lurker says:

    Sorry. Didn’t mean to shout. My HTML is rusty. 🙁

  5. stinky foot says:

    touché Knownot,
    I’m having a laugh!

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