THE DARK SIDE OF HONG KONG NIGHT LIFE 1

There was a very long and also very confusing piece in the SCMP yesterday on foodie consumer-generated site Openrice which went up, down and sideways like a manic yo-yo with no real “closure” and, in the end, dollops of drivel- lots words, lotsa quotes and none of it nattering at the end.

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In fact, at the end of some mind-numbing twists and turns and still wondering if the writer was pro or against the site, I needed to lie down.

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A full page devoted to writing about a site that publishes the “reviews” of restaurants and bars often by a disgruntled customer with an axe to grind against staff or sophomoric rants on the food- or a plant from a competing restaurant.

Openrice is Hong Kong’s Rotten Tomatoes for foodies- but without the film site’s knowledge and intelligence.

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Right now in Hong Kong, what’s dangerous and also boring is that like the city’s restaurant scene where over-supply continues regardless despite lack of demand and where the words “money laundering” have been laid against many high-profile restaurants and clubs, everyone is a food blogger- or thinks they are- and, mainly, pretend they are as, more often than not, these foodie writers are young things, usually without a full-time job, who have found a good way to grab a free meal for themselves and their friends by writing a few paragraphs on a restaurant and building a “network” where freebies are to be had.

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The other problem is having very few good restaurant critics which results in what I call Susan Jungism.

Susan Jung is a fine writer- knowledgable and intelligent- but seeing her byline on every page of the SCMP magazine 48 Hrs is just too much of a good thing- and makes even the good things read as if they’ve been written based on a quantity versus quality strategy.

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Susan Jung reviews every type of restaurant- and, incredibly, is an expert on all- plus an expert on cakes, chocolates, wines, curry puffs, McNuggets, burgers, coffee, cashew nuts, Jack’Jill Potato Chips, Cinta J’s brilliant Beef Rendang etc.

Well, you get the drift.

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As those who have lived in Hong Kong for more than a nanu second know, what exists everywhere is a monkey-see, monkey-do approach to everything and which creates a very bland landscape made out of lemmings

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With all these new restaurants and bars and clubs springing up- all looking and sounding the same- where, ironically, the cuisine is slap-dash copies of copies, unless a “less is more” business strategy is adopted, Hong Kong will be overrun with mediocrity and failing businesses coming up with daft and desperate ideas to try and resurrect what died years ago.

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It’s all very sad as it’s good money chasing after bad and desperate marketing gimmicks that will not improve losing businesses- but only put a bigger dent in the bottom line.

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Meanwhile on the other side of the street where those with money to burn live, don’t even get me started on that monolithic white elephant called Tonno, below, in Wanchai and owned by Hong Kong businessman Stephen Lo who was found guilty of fraud, bribery and money laundering on Saturday.

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