As a matter of fact, there are numerous things in need of rejuvenation.
For example, we used to rank as an international financial center along with New York and London.
Now, it has become New York, London and Singapore.Also as a matter of fact, our Hang Seng Index is still struggling around 19,000 – roughly two thirds of the pre-pandemic levels.
Yet Japan’s Nikkei index is hitting the highest since 1990 and India’s stock market is expanding quickly.
Hong Kong’s container port was once the busiest in the world, but has now slipped to ninth. If the fall in exports and imports continues, the city could be in danger of falling further down the chart.
Note that the Poor Man’s Nightclub on Central waterfront – a major fun place back in the day – was a) primarily intended for the enjoyment of local residents and b) shut down by the government. Why do tourists like going to Japan and Taiwan so much? It’s because of the local quality and style of life, not contrived ‘attractions’ aimed at foreigners. Meanwhile, the Transport Dept is covering street furniture with garish posters ordering people not to use electric bikes or dare cross the road where they need to.
More things to boost livability/attract tourists… The Hong Kong government holds a ‘sharing session’ about Xi Jinping’s letter to Pui Kiu Middle School. And AP manages to get photos of Jimmy Lai being allowed out of solitary to exercise at Stanley Prison.
Some reading from the weekend…
Every media outlet in the world is running a column on China’s economic problems, notably looming deflation. Here’s the Guardian’s.
Those of us who remember Hong Kong’s 60-month property crash/deflation in 1998-2003 know how this can grind on. The phenomenon deters spending (in Japan at one point, policymakers considered printing currency with expiry dates to force people to spend cash). The last thing you need with rising youth unemployment. Potentially even worse, it pushes up the value of debt in real terms.
RFA reports a police raid on a major Shanghai emigration consultants, raising the prospect of a broader clampdown on people – and their assets – leaving the country.
The Diplomat on how China’s zero-Covid policy might have backfired as a way of of strengthening mass support for the CCP…
The stark contrast between the harsh living conditions and the noble ideal of “People First; Life First” subverted the party-state’s initial design.
Didn’t know TED (short for ‘tedious’) Talks were still a thing, but it seems they (or the TEDx offshoots) are thriving in China. Or were. CMP looks at how officialdom eager to manage public discourse is discouraging the events…
A new set of regulations released on Friday by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) calls into question the dismissive line from state media on the TEDxGuangzhou shutdown. Released jointly by 10 official bodies, including the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Propaganda Department, they suggest the deepening of a broader national campaign since March to curb what the CAC, the country’s top internet control body, called in Friday’s notice “forum activities run amok” (论坛活动乱象).
If it’s not public lectures, it’s rainbow stuff. LBGT striped clothing is confiscated at Chinese concerts by A-Mei. (For some context: similarly patterned watches can get you three years’ jail in Malaysia. What’s wrong with death by stoning?)
From What’s On Weibo, comments on the London Brick Lane graffiti saga…
…some users assert in the comment section that artists have the freedom to express themselves. They argue that adding English translations could enhance foreigners’ appreciation of the socialist values.
…On other social media platforms, Chinese netizens have also labeled their acts as “a shameful exhibition of self-importance.”
Back to how local lifestyle beats fake tourist attractions: a review of a book on Taiwanese music, including the tune played by municipal waste-collection vehicles…
The original music used was a piano piece called The Maiden’s Prayer by Badarzewska-Barandowsk from 1856. When garbage trucks were first imported from Japan in 1968 this melody was already pre-recorded on them. It was eventually, after much controversy, replaced by Beethoven’s Fur Elise, and then a lot later by “an English sea chantey.”
[Author Nancy] Guy sees these melodies as a form of “sonic irritant,” as well as boding the arrival of a community service. Nevertheless Taiwan boasts one of the world’s highest recycling rates, and has even been called an island of green in Asia.
Attempts to replace A Maiden’s Prayer on over 1,000 of the island’s garbage trucks, including a telephone poll of possible substitutes, failed and the excessively familiar original tune was reverted to.
Cue your instant memories of Taiwan.