Something has gone horribly wrong within the Hong Kong government.
A while ago, a small but appealing piece of downtown public land – a harbour-front wharf – became available for some other civic use. Local residents had for some time enjoyed the space as an informal park for strolling, cycling and dog-walking. After considering various anti-people, ugly and wasteful options behind closed doors, officials decided that the least desirable, most unpleasant and non-social function for the area would be a ‘community garden’. Most of the area would be sealed off behind a tall fence within which a small number of people would be allowed to grow plants on tiny patches of soil for their personal amusement. Other citizens would be allowed to access only a thin strip alongside this pointless facility.
Some impertinent rabble-rousers protested. And that would normally have been the end of the matter. The bureaucrats would reject outsiders’ views without ado, and start ordering the HK$100,000-per-foot chain-link.
But then a shocking thing happened. In a disastrous breach of standard operating procedure, someone in the government listened to public views, and – even more disturbingly – changed official plans accordingly.
What on earth is going on? It’s as if citizens know better than the government – and someone in the government actually believes they do.
The plans have now been scaled down from 90% shit to 30% shit. Of course, civil servants from the Quality of Life Reduction Unit, the Anti-Pedestrian Department, the Inefficiency Bureau and the Tourism Board are all working hard to put things right. Expect the installation of huge safety barriers, signage listing 200 forbidden activities and a Milk Powder Heritage Footpath for Mainland shoppers. But at the end of the day, the result will be perhaps 50% non-shit – at least half-serving local people’s wants and needs. Residents will like it. From the government’s point of view, this is a major failure and the road to chaos and anarchy.
Presumably officialdom will recover from this horrible setback and get back to their usual standards of administrative excellence – soon.
This is democracy in action, but not in a million years would you recognize that Chinese populist democracy is often superior to Western mechanisms. You are too blinded by Alden Pyle and the superiority of the West. If Chinese populism triumphs, you think it’s an aberration but it triumphs all the time here and on the Mainland.
Here’s another quote from your seminal work THE QUIET AMERICAN. Read slowly at the FCC this evening with all those fat White superior bores.
“If Indo-China goes. . .”
“I know that record. Siam goes. Malaya goes. Indonesia goes. What does ‘go’ mean? If I believed in your God and another life, I’d bet my future harp against your golden crown* that in five hundred years there may be no New York or London, but they’ll be growing paddy in these fields, they’ll be carrying their produce to market on long poles wearing their pointed hats. The small boys will be sitting on the buffaloes. I like the buffaloes, they don’t like our smell, the smell or Europeans. And remember-from a buffalo’s point of view you are a European too.”
“They’ll be forced to believe what they are told, they won’t be allowed to think for themselves.”
“Thought’s a luxury. Do you think the peasant sits and thinks of God and Democracy when he gets inside his mud hut at night?”
“You talk as if the whole country were peasant. What about the educated? Are they going to be happy?”
“Oh no,” I said, “we’ve brought them up in our ideas. We’ve taught them dangerous games…
This is a classic head fake by the government… expect to see some other horrible shopping mall/auto “hobbyist” track/innovation hub/parking structure go up somewhere else as attention is focused on this tiny irrelevancy.
On the one hand, initiatives as relevant and useful to Hong Kong as community gardens, food trucks and ferris wheels. On the other hand, an inability to use public transport or find toilet paper (or, presumably, its intended destination with both hands).
It’s not hard to identify the foreign agents who are fucking up HK (together with the friendly folks at the liaison office, of course). No wonder CY never bothered to explain.
Of course this sudden about turn that gives only a portion of the pier area to a United Front ‘NGO’ has absolutely nothing to do with the announcement that this site is slated to be the exit of the proposed East Lantau Metropolis.
Another ‘throw them some crumbs’ exercise.
“….civil servants from the Quality of Life Reduction Unit, the Anti-Pedestrian Department, the Inefficiency Bureau and the Tourism Board…” – most excellent! 🙂