By ‘mess’, we mean ‘pointless and vile crap’

Still enough of the week left to squeeze in a few more NatSec horrors…

The HK Alliance deletes its Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram material on orders from the police. 

The government rejects seven pan-dem district council members for making ‘invalid’ loyalty oaths. The affected pan-dems say they don’t know why they are being ejected, but the government says they do too so there yah boo. 

That person sitting opposite you on the MTR might look like a nobody, but did you know anyone could turn out to be a designated NatSec judge – even prosecutors don’t know who is one…

During a District Court hearing for a sedition case, the prosecution asked that the proceedings be transferred to a judge designated to hear national security cases.

Presiding judge Kwok Wai-kin then announced that he himself was designated and had the right to hear the case.

In news-you-probably-didn’t-miss-but-here-it-is-anyway: Macau reports a record low 42% turnout at its little legislative quasi-election. Mainland immigrants account for around half the Macau population versus maybe 15% of Hongkongers (forget the exact figures – but it’s roughly like that), and the place never had more than a small democracy movement. Plenty of scope for Hong Kong to deliver an even more decisively and impressively underwhelming turnout in December. 

HK Free Press visits Hong Kong’s latest attempt at heritage conservation and rather politely declares it a ‘gentrified mess’

I can think of two things to say in the project’s defence. First, it’s brighter, airier and much better-smelling than it was when it was an actual market (I used to buy veggies there, back in the days when were poor but happy). Second, it is so tacky that you save valuable time in your busy day – and get some exercise – by rushing through it in your haste to enter the relatively authentic and traditional ambience of IFC Mall. Otherwise – yes, it’s nasty.

Antiquary types are complaining loudly about the hand-rails bolted onto the original stone ones on the stairs, which are indeed weird (why not put new stairs on the stairs too?). But the really sad thing about this renovation is that the bureaucrats could easily have created a great indoor park-cum-food court themed zone, with just tons of no-frills seating, whatever potted plants the public dumped, stalls selling curried squid balls, a kids play area, and basic stores like newsstands, book shops, groceries, whatever). Indeed, with the Mid-Levels Escalator on one side and major ferry/bus terminals on the other, it would – ironically – be an ideal location for a plain old food market where commuters could buy fresh produce on the way home after work.

Instead, the Make Everything Shit Dept has to do this almost-pastiche oh-so high-class exclusive luxury sophisticated thing, probably designed by a developer’s daughter, where the outlets are not merely pretentious and pricy, but selling carefully selected crap nobody wants – ugly or boring fashion stuff, peculiar glitzy household goods no-one needs, artisanal herbal aromatic blah-blah, trendy hand-crafted trinkets and so on. As I say, I hurry through to avoid looking at it. 

And then, of course, there’s the barrier tape. They spend zillions on making the place shiny and perfect – and then put red tape everywhere to keep the humans in line… 

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22 Responses to By ‘mess’, we mean ‘pointless and vile crap’

  1. Chinese Netizen says:

    You mean the crotch dribble of tycoons/heavyweights weren’t given marching orders to open little tchotchke shops in the market in order to show what a great success the renewal was?

    Maybe the Central Market is, in fact, a tacit government reach out to the plebs that saw their businesses shut down by 1,000% rent increases during the heyday of the late 2000s and early 2010s when all those foreign brands came swooping into HK eagerly signing whatever the landlord put in front of them to “have a presence” in a place that was touted as THE shopping paradise for mainland Chinese?

    Oh Tommy…Ralph…Gucci…GAP….where art thou??

  2. Load Toad says:

    It’s worth a watch on Evergrandgashup if you have 10 minutes.

  3. Toph says:

    The reason for the extra handrails is that the ones in most historical buildings are too low to comply with modern buildings regulations. And the po-faced Buildings Department won’t grant an exemption for any building that expects to be visited by large numbers of people.

    So building preservationists have had to come up with all sorts of strategies. In some buildings you will see a glass panel stuck on behind the original banister. You’ll see tall display cabinets or potted plants placed strategically along landings.

    ChinaChem bolted on a big metal railing which makes a vague gesture towards some sort of Bauhaus aesthetic. What, you expected subtlety from these people?

    The URA being a profit-making entity/ predatory acquisition vehicle for developers, you were never going to get a revived wet market. At Central rents, it was either going to be overpriced artsy junk or the usual gold-and-handbags shops for Mainland tourists, whenever they come back.

  4. Knownot says:

    “Last weekend, Hong Kong’s billionaires stood in the street in the sweltering heat and visited low-income families to help publicize the new electoral system. It was a beautiful sight to behold billionaires showing care for poorer people . . .”

    A Confession

    The rows of patriots, pure at heart,
    One there is who stands apart;
    And though,
    Like all compliant knaves and fools,
    She properly obeys the rules,
    She is bold, and dares to stray
    From the verbiage of the day.

    And when
    Billionaires are in the street
    Friendly in the sweltering heat,
    Helping people, and explaining
    The election, and why they are campaigning –
    And she
    Tweets that it’s a beautiful sight,
    I feel a strange, impure delight.

    She has
    A spirit, a distinctive style;
    The others are just rank and file.
    No others
    Would think of saying a single word
    So original, and so absurd.
    I confess
    In secret, with regret and shame,
    I like this lady, whom I shall not name.

  5. YTSL says:

    I don’t care for what’s at PMQ and Tai Kwun, and figure I won’t like what been done to Central Market. It’s so obvious that the people who’ve worked on “revitalizing” those sites don’t have the local community in mind — and have placed its priorities below that of (Mainland) tourists and (Western) expats. (Interestingly, many Western tourists I’ve encountered over the years dislike these places because they actually want to see “authentic Hong Kong” like what remains of the Graham Street market and dai pai dongs on Stanley Street or, even better, the outdoor market in Shau Kei Wan and the de facto food court that exists in the ground floor arcade of the Tai On Building in Sai Wan Ho.)

  6. where's my jet plane says:

    OT but one has to laugh: Regina has no antibodies left. Further proof that Sinovacant meets the column’s headline.

  7. Goatboy says:

    The biggest shop is an upmarket rip-off of the Live Zero store on High St, SYP. The ‘eateries’ on the West side (no eating or drinking allowed) are a monument to single-use plastic

  8. reductio says:

    @Load Toad

    Great link. Really like this guy’s reasoned analysis. Here’s a quote that resonates: “Bad loans in China are never really written down.” And HKEX keeps rah-rahing about how we are becoming evermore integrated with China’s stock exchanges, allowing “pre-profit” companies (read: crap), etc etc.

    May I offer my own YT link on an unrelated topic: the use of Chinese martial arts as a tool to stoke nationalistic sentiments.

    Actually, it’s not unrelated to Evergrande: both look good on the surface but it’s all smoke and mirrors.

    And BTW. I’m offering $1000 in Reductiocoin (present exchange rate 1RC = $0.00000000001 to anyone who can explain to me why the hell wushu and karate kata is in the Olympics.

    Rant over, thanks for reading.

  9. Mjrelje says:

    Excellent at always Knownot.

    Just OT but what has happened to Backchat? Has Hugh Chiverton been disappeared? Danny Gittings? Maybe the come up for the Person-of-the-Year-gate?

  10. Chinese Netizen says:

    Who won Vag’s Rolex?

  11. justsayin says:

    Ipster love poetry, now I’ve seen it all.

  12. Toph says:

    @YTSL: When I walked through Central Market a few days ago, I encountered a gaggle of photography uncles who seemed happy to have found a new location to test out their camera gear. You can count on Hong Kongers to appropriate any available public spaces for their own purposes. Wouldn’t be surprised if the cosplayers started showing up on quiet Sundays.

    The Jockey Club former factory facility in Shek Kip Mei is a little more down to earth. The shop spaces are rented to local craft studios. It regularly hosts a craft fair selling useless trinkets, albeit useless trinkets made by and for 20-something hipsters, at commensurate prices. The kids seem to be enjoying themselves, at least.

  13. Mark Bradley says:

    Why is it that Singapore can handle something like “Central Market restoration” better than Hong Kong can?

  14. Mjrelje says:

    @Mark :

    Because Singapore caters to a global transit market and a wealthy and discerning general population and not just money laundering mainlanders and local monopoly ‘tycoons’.

  15. Joe Blow says:

    Is there a way that we can keep the Mainland tourists from coming back? Useful suggestions are most welcome. Let’s make it a community project !

  16. YTSL says:

    @Toph — Hehe re the “photography uncles”! I usually see them in more natural surroundings (country parks, the HK Wetland Park and HK Park). Wonder whether one visit to Central Market will be enough for them.

    Re the cosplayers: that would be amusing. I wouldn’t mind going and taking photographs of them at Central Market! 😀

  17. Mary Melville says:

    @Mjrelje : Messages are going out to those who inquired into the castration of Backchat:

    “RTHK reviews and updates programming strategies on different channels from time to time, which include occasional presenter reshuffles.
    Thank you for your feedback. We will take your views into account in formulating our programming strategy as appropriate.
    We look forward to your continuous support to RTHK.”

    Hugh has apparently been forbidden to go on air and Gittings is ‘taking indefinite leave’ from the programme. As per my previous request, anyone who knows what scurrilous content was aired on the Sept 3 programme, link removed, please share. I was fulfilling my civic duties elsewhere that morning.

    Like the RTHK 31 TV Channel, Backchat is regrettably no longer worth one’s time. Bland topics and only rah rah comments allowed to be aired. Goodness knows how they will fill the time when Covid recedes. The gift that keeps giving when it comes to wall paper content and excuses for community restrictions.

  18. Low Profile says:

    @reductio – the host city has the right to nominate a sport not otherwise featured in the Olympics. Naturally they tend to choose one in which their own nation excels, hence karate kata in Tokyo. Some of these remain in the Olympic calendar – taekwondo, introduced in Seoul 1988, has established itself as a regular sport – while others drop out again; baseball has been in and out several times in the Games’ history. Paris 2024 will feature breakdancing, while other “sports” which are closer to performance arts, like synchronised swimming and rhythmic gymnastics, remain in the Games, yet some genuine sports with a worldwide following, notably cricket, are omitted. See . for an explanation of the selection system.

  19. Chinese Netizen says:

    I know “wushu” was created to appease the CCP by the ever corrupt IOC in order to keep their gravy train flowing but is it really A sport?

    I always thought it was more an all encompassing phrase to mean so many different “martial” techniques/schools/”arts”?

    Knowing the Chicoms, they’ll lobby for those popular (in the mainland) PLA synchronised rolling, jumping, yelling and board breaking displays as a “sport”.

  20. reductio says:

    @Low Profile

    Ta. In that case, I hope the Paris Olympics has Parkour. Athletes leaping about the Paris skyline a al Jason Bourne. Yup, I’d watch that.

  21. Load Toad says:


    Cheers – yes I’m familiar with Serpentza (and laowai66) – both of whom have been targetted by CCP wumao & worse.

  22. Load Toad says:

    @Mark Bradley
    In my experience (I lived in Singapore for 5 years), firstly they are not ashamed of their colonial heritage and they do try to keep (and their various cultural heritages) alive. Secondly, they want the city to be attractive & interesting to all visitors and citizens – and provide jobs.

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