Just a handful of links after a wearying week in Mainlandization. William Pesek puzzles over the Hong Kong government’s efforts to maximize inequality as the city struggles with pandemic and underlying political divisions. Everyone Thinks Budget Was Garbage Shock Horror. And some thoughts from hotel quarantine, including comparison of Hong Kong and Australia.
Also, amid all the pessimism, Don Don Donki announces its faith in Hong Kong’s future.
If you’ve yet to discover these magnificently garish emporia of J-crap, they are going to fix that. There will be no escape. A brief idea of what to expect…
Imagine what Yata or Aeon would be like if they were crammed into a third of their usual space, redesigned by the people who do the CCTV’s Spring Gala sets, and you were visiting while on psychedelic drugs. A labyrinthine floorplan that sucks you in, deeper and deeper, through narrow canyons of instant noodles, 1.5-litre boxes of cheap sake, refrigerator deodorizers, more instant noodles, pervy kids’ costumes, five hundred varieties of trashy matcha-flavoured snacks, ladies’ elbow-lotion, socks, plastic things that stick (allegedly) to bathroom walls, 10-packs of frozen udon. A malevolent non-stop jingle that makes Wellcome’s ‘Yuu’ song sound like Mozart. Staff on quaaludes (surely). Denser crowding than Admiralty MTR at rush hour – because obviously Hongkongers just can’t resist the place.
The only two merciful things about it: 1) at least you’re not being eaten alive by rats; and 2) there’s a hot food counter (teriyaki, oden, etc) near the exit.The company is planning to quadruple its Hong Kong stores, adding 18 to the current six. (That could be a typo – maybe it’ll be 180.) As it is, several branches are open 24 hours (should you want to enjoy the song at 4am). Donki fans at Invest HK must be on their knees in gratitude for this expression of confidence in the city. The loudness, brashness, claustrophobia, and general hellishness of the outlets is compelling, and I wonder if the expansion is a last-ditch attempt to keep the younger generation from emigrating – you won’t get this in Manchester.