An unusually provocative SCMP op-ed gets skeptical about the West Kowloon Cultural Hub-Zone…
…the idea that one can simply build a cultural district is questionable. It hardly counts as a vision to point to a location, call it “cultural” by throwing museums and theatres in the mix, then expect it to be well-developed and profitable.
Culture is born, cultivated and explored through customary or historic practices, through artistic performances and expression. Urban fabric is important and prudent city planners would study how well a new public venue knits with and enhances its surroundings.
There are preserved neighbourhoods across the world that have been named as cultural districts, with efforts to conserve their identities and offerings. But this rarely happens, if at all, with a piece of vacant real estate. A “cultural district” built from scratch is folly in itself.
This also no doubt goes for tourism, tech, green blah-blah, Chinese medicine, Islamic finance and other contrived ‘hubs’.
An illustrated HKFP piece on how the Hong Kong government makes life as unpleasant as possible for street sleepers. Even if we see homelessness primarily as an eyesore to be swept out of sight, these countermeasures are aesthetically worse than the huddled figures they are supposed to deter. Why not just put some benches in those spaces so anyone who wants to can rest?
Also from HKFP – some possible measures in tomorrow’s Policy Address. Try to induce people to have more babies, but also to push property prices back up. Fret about a shortage of manpower, but also try to cram more tourists into the city. Officials will wear green ties and scarves for the occasion.
Singapore’s CNA asks whether the NatSec and/or Covid regimes are responsible for declining numbers of teachers in Hong Kong…
Teachers will be “100 per cent safe” if they follow the [new] textbooks, [a teacher] said. “The problem is that students will ask the teachers for their views. If you can’t handle it properly, will students denounce you?”
This has created an atmosphere where teachers and students find it hard to trust one another, he feels. “Suppression and concern are growing on campuses.”
Fears of being denounced by bitchy colleagues or venomous parents are real. But are they leaving in higher numbers than other middle-class professionals? If it’s any help, student numbers are falling too.
RFA on China’s forthcoming ‘patriotic education’ law, which will also affect Hong Kong…
Analysts said it likely heralds the further development of a personality cult around Xi, whose authoritarian style and 180-degree turn away from the economic policies of the past four decades has sparked economic hardship for many, along with a mass exodus of Chinese nationals known as the “run” movement.
This push also fully rehabilitates officially authorized Confucianism, a religion/philosophy/social-hierarchy ritual-system which the CCP for decades wanted to eradicate as feudal.
A must-read from New Yorker – Evan Osnos goes back to see how China is doing these days…
At the age of seventy, Xi has removed term limits on his rule and eliminated even loyal opponents. He travels less than he used to, and reveals little of the emotion behind his thinking; there is no public ranting or tin-pot swagger. He moves so deliberately that he resembles a person underwater. Before the pandemic, China’s official news often showed him amid crowds of supporters applauding in stilted adoration. The clips circulate abroad with the mocking caption “West North Korea,” but at home censors vigilantly guard Xi’s honor; a leak from a Chinese social-media site last year revealed that it blocks no fewer than five hundred and sixty-four nicknames for him, including Caesar, the Last Emperor, and twenty-one variations of Winnie-the-Pooh.