HK’s tackiest retailer decides it likes the place

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.

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17 Responses to HK’s tackiest retailer decides it likes the place

  1. Stanley Lieber says:

    Donki is a writhing hell wrapped in torture inside a nightmare.

    I tried to escape the terror, but returning to the entrance was impossible, the jingle drowned out my screams, it was too crowded to move and the exit was undiscoverable.

  2. so says:

    Larry Jewelry has been sued for back rent in IFC Mall. The shop has been emptied.

  3. Apple Clock says:

    You forgot to mention the adult toys section (although it is hidden behind a curtain)

  4. Donki says:

    It’s not for everyone but I like Donki. Great range of snacks and nice to have an alternative to Wellcome / PnS.

    And anything that caters to local market rather than either a tourist trap (i.e jewellry store) or another over priced expat bar/restaurant has to be an improvement.

  5. Joe Blow says:

    @so: Swatch shops are also being sued for back rent.

    I just witnessed blue shirt popo harassing the Canal Street villain-hitting grannies. I can already sense the black curses flying towards the Wan Chai police station.

    I also once got trapped in Donki hell. While slow-shoe shuffling along the snacks and candies I wondered what would happen if fire broke out. So I searched the ceiling for sprinklers: there were none. So if you don’t want to end up as a deep fried snack yourself, beware.

  6. Ho Ma Fan says:

    @Joe Blow; no need to worry. In the event of a fire, the purple tentacle monster behind the curtain puts it out.

  7. Mary Melville says:

    @Joe Blow – Surely you are aware that fire and building regulations do not do not apply to properties managed by our large property developers. A complaint about Henderson Mira Mall, home also to a Donkey shop, to both FS and Buildings when one of the main exits to the mall was, and still is, blocking one of the main exits resulted in …….. nada.
    The aisle congestion in Welcome and Park’n’Rob has been not only tolerated but encouraged for decades.
    Regulations are only for the small potato businesses that can be easily intimidated. Action against a big swinger involves far too many letters from lawyers that would require ingenuity and perseverance to address.

  8. zatluhcas says:

    @Donki
    I fully agree!

  9. Tamey Tame says:

    ‘you won’t get this in Manchester’

    Southerner Hemlock clearly hasn’t been to Affleck’s Palace, basically a Northern DonDonDonki with more joss sticks, less plastic and … well basically they’re both crowded and rammed with crap you can never imagine any balanced human being purchasing. HKers will love it.

  10. Hamantha says:

    @Donki and Mary Melville

    Yeah, Donki is a decent alternative to the big monopoly supermarkets. Also a ton of cheap real estate is now available for the taking. Case in point, I hear through the grapevine that WeWork will literally be absconding in the night from its 10-year rental contract at ICC Tower atop Elements mall very soon!

    @Apple Clock

    Wtf?! Adult Toys?! I’m headed there right now.

  11. Ho Ma Fan says:

    @Tamey Tame – from memory, Afflecks Palace is full of goths. The only thing they have in common with HKers is the avoidance of sunlight. Afflecks and Donki are equally fire traps.

  12. Mary Melville says:

    Apologies, the news bulletin that 50 odd fellow citizens will probably be jailed without bail on Sunday for nebulous charges under a law that ‘will only target “a small group of people’ impacted my concentration. Should read:
    “A complaint about Henderson Mira Mall, home also to a Donkey shop, to both FS and Buildings when one of the main exits to the mall was, and still is, blocked by a pop up shop resulted in …….. nada.”

  13. Mary Melville says:

    Got the sick bag ready, they snuck this one in when they figured we would all be tucked in https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202102/26/P2021022600824.htm
    Video message by SJ at 46th session of UN Human Rights Council (with photos/video)
    *********************************************************************
    Following is the full text of the video message by the Secretary for Justice, Ms Teresa Cheng, SC, at the 46th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council today (February 26):

    Madam President,

    After the enactment of the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Hong Kong’s law and order is restored, and residents can resume their normal daily lives.

    In the second half of 2019, due to the civil unrest properties and facilities had been damaged, citizens arbitrarily attacked, the functioning of the legislature and government seriously disrupted, and many citizens and police officers were injured.

    To suppress these violent, subversive and terrorist activities which posed a serious threat to our national security, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress adopted the National Security Law in June 2020.

    Like the national security laws of many countries, it makes secession, subversion, terrorist activity, and collusion with foreign forces to endanger national security a crime. The civil unrest has since subsided and the residents can enjoy their lawful rights and freedoms.

    People are now free to travel without fearing for their personal safety; vigilantism are no longer prevalent and people are free to express different views openly; and people are more respectful of the rights of others whilst exercising their own.

    In short, Hong Kong has reverted to a safe, rational, inclusive and vibrant society.

    The National Security Law expressly provides that human rights such as freedom of speech and assembly, be protected, and legal principles such as presumption of innocence be respected and observed. The law enforcement agencies and courts of HKSAR have been entrusted by the Central Authorities to exercise jurisdiction over cases concerning national security offences. When adjudicating cases, the judges in Hong Kong remain independent and impartial in discharging their judicial duties, free from any interference.

    The National Security Law has been effective in restoring law and order and safeguarding national security. It has provided the necessary conditions for maintaining the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong, and enables Hong Kong residents to enjoy their rights and freedoms in a safe and peaceful environment.

    The measures are conducive to the rule of law, the protection of human rights, and the successful implementation of the “one country, two systems” policy. This is in the long-term interests of both the country and the two systems. Thank you.

    Ends/Friday, February 26, 2021
    Issued at HKT 23:06

  14. Reactor #4 says:

    @MM:

    This is the bit I most like about the message: “The civil unrest has since subsided and the residents can enjoy their lawful rights and freedoms.”

    Thankfully, huge numbers of our young people now don’t feel pressurized into supporting the rioters and having to participate in criminal activities (setting fire to people, smashing up MTR stations, hurling bricks off bridges on to passing traffic etc.). Personally, I like being able to once again wear black clothing. Actually, the only thing I miss about the disturbances is Rupert Dover bossing it.

  15. Penny says:

    @Mary Melville
    Methinks the secretary for injustice doth protest too much – the usual quisling government minister practice when responding to criticism and defending the indefensible.

  16. Tofu says:

    Surprised that anyone would prefer the Yuu song to the Donki one

  17. Gromit says:

    @MM: you have to give the SoJ credit: it is an admirably straight-faced delivery. I wonder how many takes were required.
    I particularly liked:
    “people are free to express different views openly”;
    – “that human rights such as freedom of speech and assembly, be protected, and legal principles such as presumption of innocence be respected and observed”.
    And you have to admire the careful wordcraft of
    “When adjudicating cases, the judges in Hong Kong remain independent and impartial in discharging their judicial duties, free from any interference.”

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