Hey – let’s put a hub there!

Covid isolation facilities that could provide housing for thousands of people are sitting idle, and the government seems at a loss about what to do with them. The DAB suggests that the one at Kai Tak, with 3,000 units, should be a ‘cultural and creative hub for international exchanges’. It was previously supposed to be a park. Quoted in the Standard op-ed, Sing Tao notes that it is an eyesore for cruise passengers and residents in nearby luxury apartments – so there is that, at least.

Two possibilities: civil servants are too idle to make transport and other arrangements to enable these sites to be used by people who need affordable homes; or someone somewhere doesn’t want additional housing supply that would weaken private-sector rents. Or both, of course.

(Is there any location in Hong Kong that looks less like it could be a ‘cultural and creative hub for international exchanges’?)

From HKFP – Deputy Security Secretary Appollonia Liu will take over the Government Information Services Department…

Liu does not have a background in media, communications or PR. She has been serving as a deputy security chief since 2018, following a seven-year stint as the deputy director of administration and development at the Department of Justice.

She joined the Administrative Service in August 1990, rising through the ranks and becoming an Administrative Officer in April 1990 [sic], according to a government press release on Friday.

On the face of it, this transfer to a far smaller department looks like a demotion. But some might wonder whether, as a current Chris Tang deputy, her new job might involve moving GIS closer to the Security Bureau. 

Connoisseurs of government press releases’ style and content will eagerly await to see whether and how official PR activities become (yet) more overtly NatSec-oriented.

A message from David Webb, looking for volunteers to help maintain his corporate database – specifically concerning directors’ pay – in the long term.

Some other things…

SCMP op-ed on Xi Jinping’s friendship with Europe’s nastier leaders…

To most European leaders, being endorsed by Orban is not a badge of honour. Indeed, it is seen as something to be avoided as much as possible. By associating closely with Orban, Xi runs the risk of the Hungarian leader’s very poor reputation negatively affecting China’s image in the rest of Europe.

…As for Belgrade, the leverage it has with other European capitals will remain extraordinarily limited until Serbia is allowed to join the EU. And that is very unlikely to happen as long as Vucic remains in power.

…by becoming so friendly with the two leaders with possibly the worst reputations in Europe, China risks tarnishing its image in the eyes of the rest of Europe, while reaping economic and political gains that are merely superficial and for the short term.

In Asian Review of Books – an introduction by author Andreas von Buddenbrock to The Ink Trail: Hong Kong, a book of pen-and-ink pictures of Hong Kong.

China Books Review on how China’s ‘New Left’ socialist purists accepted state capitalism

The root of the problem, by his analysis, was China’s success in surviving the 2008 financial crisis, which led many on the left to believe that Chinese socialism had moved from a “primitive” to an “advanced” stage — terms commonly used internally by the regime. These New Leftists, who had previously been critical of inequality in China’s society and economy, gradually became out-and-out statists, and their position was increasingly mainstream as China itself pivoted left under Xi Jinping. Convinced that China had become the true incarnation of socialism, many of them felt that their task was to explain the superiority of the Chinese system to the world, and to those who doubted it inside China.

Yet whatever “stage of socialism” China might be in, according to Party theorists, much of life in China is devoted to making money, and workers have little power against bosses and platforms. For all of the lip service paid to them, “the People” have few real champions on either China’s left or its right, and are a largely forgotten theme in its intellectual discourse, which has moved on from proletarian rights to state power. At some point over the last decade or two, their previous engagement on behalf of the people became part of Great Power politics and a critique of American hegemony.

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15 Responses to Hey – let’s put a hub there!

  1. Young Winston says:

    “She joined the Administrative Service in August 1990, rising through the ranks and becoming an Administrative Officer in April 1990, according to a government press release on Friday.”

    Govt or HKFP typo here? I’m thinking the latter, as they seem in dire need of a decent proofreader.

  2. Culture Secretary Posiedonna says:

    Reading between the lines of DAB’s Kai Tak proposals, bottom line they want to open it as short-term housing for mainland “athletes” and “artists”. It’s the perfect PR ruse, plus the benefit is they don’t really need to do anything about the transport: imported mainland workers don’t really care about transport issues since they’re shuttled to their workplaces by diesel buses (on which they’re allowed to smoke, unlike public transport), win win! Call it a sport, culture, entrepreneur hub but really it’s just work camp housing to pump up the mainlander population in the city and for greasy middle-men on either side of the border to profit from these commodities.

  3. Chinese Netizen says:

    When all else fails, critique American hegemony for the win.

  4. The rent is still too damn high says:

    Re: Kai Tak, it’s not as easy as you think to turn those containers into affordable housing. There are only shared toilets and no cooking facilities whatsoever. For a two week quarantine with provided meals, it’s tolerable. Put families in there for months or years, and it will rapidly deteriorate into a slum. Shared loos in the resettlement estates of the 1960s were notorious magnets for sex offenders; women and girls were afraid to shower alone. People cooked on camp stoves in the corridors. Only the most desperate people today would be willing to live in those conditions.

    If you’re going to spend the money to retrofit the quarantine camp to acceptable standards, you may as well build some proper public housing. Which is not an excuse for letting the site sit there doing nothing for years on end. FFS, at least turn it back into a park, there’s precious little open space in Kowloon East. It’s just, there’s nuance.

  5. Mary Melville says:

    DAB is always playing catch up. Culture and creative is so passe that West Kowloon Cultural Centre is considering reducing operating hours. NS artefacts would have little attraction for cruise passengers.
    Cheap digs for techno start ups and keep our wetland intact?
    Assign one container to each family office that registers here?
    But perhaps the most prudent use is to maintain the status quo so that the facility can be trotted out as a home to …………….. the next bandwagon that rolls through town.

  6. Culture Vulture says:

    “cultural and creative hub for international exchanges”

    I thought basically that is what Hong Kong itself WAS?? Now they want to create a hub…within the hub? Oh, I get it…they meant SHOPPING MALL.

  7. Nury Versace says:

    Poor David Webb. Cancer does tend to get a lot of people in Hong Kong. Lantau for example is a kind of GET CANCER AND DIE place. I guess it is the background radiation from all that granite rock. Or the restaurants by the ferry pier. Dozens dropping dead with cancer in Mui Wo all the time I lived there. And after. Health nuts especially.

    I was given six months to live. Couldn’t pay the bill. They gave me another six months.


  8. WiKCeD thoughts says:

    “Is there any location in Hong Kong that looks less like it could be a ‘cultural and creative hub for international exchanges’?”

    The West Kowloon Cultural District immediately springs to mind.

  9. Joe Blow says:

    cultural and creative hub for international exchanges: isn’t that what Wan Chai is for?

  10. MC says:

    The Kai Tak space and others could be quite easily converted to “transitional housing” to bridge the gap between subdivided apartments and public housing. This by its nature is temporary so would not prevent an alternative use in the longer term.

  11. wmjp says:

    The rent is too high:
    If you’re going to spend the money to retrofit the quarantine camp to acceptable standards, you may as well build some proper public housing.

    No, no! First spend a gazillion dollars upgrading the quarantine prison and THEN knock it all down and build public housing. Got to keep the construction sector sweet plus securing those post-retirement jobs.

  12. steve says:

    One of the major initiatives of Orban’s government is to discourage immigration and, therefore, to discriminate primarily against non-white residents. I have a former student from China who married a Hungarian guy, and even in the relatively relaxed metropolis of Budapest the racism she encounters on a daily basis is shocking and wearying. The fish rots from the head.

    Xi knows about this stuff, and yet….

  13. The Ancient Mariner's Club says:

    Hungary, Serbia . . . any port in a storm.

  14. Eggs n Ham says:

    @ Ancient Mariner

    Was it your intention to highlight that neither of those countries actually has any .. er, ports?

  15. The Ancient Mariner's Club says:

    No, just using a popular metaphor, although both countries have busy river ports.

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