We are so distracted by the Hong Kong government’s frequent one-off blunders that we overlook the many permanent ongoing screw-ups these clowns inflict on the city. One of the most infuriating never-ending disasters is the entrenched default policy of giving private cars – owned by 13% of households – priority over pedestrians and public transport users.
A human-geography specialist at Hong Kong U once said that Hong Kong does not have a transport department – it has an anti-pedestrian department. At the most mundane level, this means things like sidewalks that are too narrow and often blocked. I encountered this rather eye-catching example on Caine Road a couple of weeks ago…
Following which, I was introduced to this website – Transit Jam (also on Twitter). If you want to be thoroughly depressed and infuriated, this is a must-see. Bridges to nowhere (they’re all over the place). Patchy (as in ‘hardly ever happens’) enforcement of traffic laws. A recreation area where bicycles are banned but cars are allowed. And, on a topical note, how cramming pedestrians into small spaces is even stupider during a virus epidemic. And lots more. Just in case your anger levels aren’t high enough already.
I agree. Hong Kong is that crap, one day I’ll have to get round to leaving.
Corona Virus is LETHAL and you MUST wear a face mask…except when you’re:
b) lapping some insipid bakery bread out of its plastic bag while you’re walking to the MTR
c) chowing down in Cafe de Coral with a hundred other people
d) jogging by the harbour
e) at the gym
f) luxuriating in the magical surrounds of some disgustingly filthy country park bbq site somewhere, breathing air that’s 0.3% less skanky than the crowded disgusting corral-like sidewalks of Mong Kok, Yau Ma Tei etc etc
g) too busy begging for lose change in the gutter or MTR exit
Apparently the Hong Kong engineering qualification is recognized by many other nations…should we conclude that the problem isn’t a lack of professional knowledge?
As many of us realize, it would be shocking for any local department or bureau to solve a problem. Individuals must ‘work with one eye closed’ as a local colleague once advised me as I expressed dismay at the incredible stupidity found in my workplace.
非禮勿視，非禮勿聽，非禮勿言，非禮勿動 or something to that effect.
And don’t forget the most important mask exemption of them all:
One of the nicest unexpected byproducts of the last 9 months of open rebellion against the government has been the disappearance of about 70% of all the enormously restrictive barrier railings. Coupled with the death of mainland tourism (which turned out to be a huge boon in slowing the Coronavirus), the Police’s popularity being so low that they’re too scared to go on the beat and the new level of everyday rebelliousness leading to more jaywalking, it’s made the place a much more pedestrian friendly place.
The 1% who make decisions are, to a man and woman, part of the 13% who own cars.
The police in blue are back, regularly walking around Causeway Bay and Tin Hau, although often in groups of six or so.
I have had the misforune to be in two police stations recently. All front of house being in blue. Go outside/or round the back, the lads and lasses in geeen, even when nothing happening and nothing expected but “in case”.
I agree with every anti traffic sentiment uttered, and welcome the dismantling of the “pedestrian barriers” de facto increasing the size of pavements. Noticeable that the plastic “chains” do not survive very long.
Finally, will somebody explain why so many shops wrap things in plastic, including bannanas, apples, bread as well as chilled and frozen items. These are then put in separate plastic bags, maybe with one other item, and then the whole put in another larger plastic bag. All supplied by the shop.
When I ask why, the reaction ranges from blank incomprehension (not on linguistic grounds) to being told to go visit my mother. What happened to the 50cent levy? Why not make it at least 5 dollars per actual bag or item of plastic wrapping, with a minimum charge of say HK$100?
People who obsess about plastic straws would be so much happier if they didn’t.
On bridges to nowhere somebody has been (not) building a (presumably) pedestrian bridge over Mongkok Road at the junction with Nathan Road for at least the last 10 years. At current rate of “progress” it may not be finished before 2047.
Dimuendo – reminds me of that chaotic construction site on the edge of Kowloon City. Zero progress for years and years and years. Only recently, for some reason, have I seen any sign of progress.
@D3SH – then there’s the “temporary” market in Haiphong Road, Tsimshatsui – after a couple of decades, you’d think there’d be some progress towards permanency. Actually there used to be a perfectly serviceable purpose-built market building in nearby Peking Road, but it was considered too old, useful and attractive, so it was first turned into a police recruiting station, then demolished and replaced by the One Peking tower block.
Maybe the best way to get half-finished projects completed is to convince the government that they would make a vital contribution to the Greater Bay Area innovation hub concept thingie, like the useless Macau Bridge.
And another case I forgot to mention is the Central Market makeover – ten years now and still not completed. General rule of thumb – if it may benefit Hong Kong people, hold indefinitely. If Beijing wants it, full speed ahead!
What is wrong with paper straws, if you have to use a straw at all?
Sporadically I see boys in blue around CWB. I always make it a point to make eye contact and give them my dirtiest look (for which I am almost famous). Yes, it’s true. The popo are scared to go on the beat. On a side note, I read a twitter message from which I derived that ‘blue shirt’ police commanders have no authority in regard to green object actions in their area. Can anyone comment on that?
I absolutely swear that there used to be a pedestrian bridge in Sheung Wan that had a wheelchair ramp up one side, and none down the other.
At Olympic, there is a light-controlled pedestrian crossing onto a traffic island in the middle of the West Kowloon Highway, with no other way off of it.
I can’t get worked up about plastic bags and plastic straws when I see how many plastic road, construction site and government/police station protection barriers are in use around this city.
I’d add Indians, Nepalese, Sri Lankans and Pakistanis
Not many of them need masks from what I’ve seen.
Caucasian mask rate seems about 50/50
@Chris Maden — totally agree that it’s the 13% with cars that are making the decisions as the transport department (and elsewhere within the government, for that matter). These people are so out of touch with the vast majority of Hong Kongers, it’s like they live on a different planet.
@dimuendo — I’ve been told that some of the styrofoam wrapping on fruits is to prevent bruising, and the plastic to prolong their shelf life. Must admit that I’d still prefer to see the bulk of them sans plastic wrapping though.
I bet a lot of commentators are glad they were not around in Medieval Europe – otherwise they’d have been bollocking-on about the unfinished cathedrals and the attendant issue of misspent funds. I am certain that the Egyptians faced the same issue with their pyramids, as did the Greeks, Romans, Chinese and Aztecs with their major constructions.
” I bet a lot of commentators are glad… medieval…cathedrals…pyramids…”
You really are fucking stupid