By Hans Ebert

THE DARK SIDE OF HONG KONG NIGHT LIFE 1

Before trying to attract tourists to Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Tourism Board better put on their thinking caps and find ways to convince many in this city why they should remain here.

Not since the lead up to 1997 have the local natives become so restless, and not exactly brimming with optimism about continuing to be Hong Kong Belongers.

WE HAVE A PROBLEM 1

While Singapore, once Hong Kong’s poor cousin, looking vibrant and offering a great lifestyle, is making huge overtures to attract young and the more entrepreneurial-minded to leave here for there, those who can’t afford to continue living in this city are looking to pull up stumps and move to places like Auckland, Cambodia, Vietnam, Melbourne, Perth, and even Colombo, where there might not be the “pace” and safety of Hong Kong, but where there are far more business opportunities, and the chance to buy into a far more affordable lifestyle- enough to say, look, mama, we have our own house.

WE HAVE A PROBLEM 2

But what’s there for an organisation like the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) to work with? Where and what’s the “content” to convince an increasingly cynical public that it’s not just another “ad” campaign, and more government propaganda packaged in an ineffective and irrelevant box with a nice little Donald Tsang bow tie? Lift the lid and there is nothing there. Knock as hard as you want, but no one is home.

As written here before, no one can even put Humpty Dumpty together again and give Hong Kong a music scene worth singing about. Worse, despite its revenue from gaming having been hit hard, there are concrete steps being put in order to change the face of Macau. It’s enough to give hope to all those who invested in the former Portuguese enclave when it looked as if it would be the new Vegas and how whatever happened in Vegas stayed in Vegas and Macau’s streets would be paved with gold.

WE HAVE A PROBLEM 4

Macau might be showing Hope. Hong Kong is looking increasingly Hopeless- something extremely tough to say, but it must be said and the government better tune in, put the Kool-Aid down and stop playing with the fairies.

WE HAVE A PROBLEM 5

The recent furious back-pedalling by government officials when faced with angry tenants from PMQ- the old Police Married Headquarters heritage building- claiming that the goalposts have changed, and what exists there today is a mish-mash of everything and nothing to attract anyone, and concerns that the still-to-be-opened Central Police Station Revitalisation Project might even be DOA, is proof positive that no one is in charge of a runaway train heading nowhere.

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Surely, it’s more than reasonable to question the role of the HKTB- and InvestHK and CreateHK and all the other HK organisations started up with little or no consultation from those who matter: The people of Hong Kong. Sorry, but more and more, the efforts of these organisations look like flim flam schemes to give the usual bureaucratic suspects new retirement options attached to golden parachutes and golden handshakes at the end of their rainbows.

Cronyism is alive and well.

WE HAVE A PROBLEM 7

It’s an insult to the intelligence of those of us footing these bills that the government muppets and naked civil servants- and let’s not names here other than to say the words “Duncan Pescod”- don’t think that, like Houston, we can very plainly see that Hong Kong has a problem. Many problems and these are not going to go away by huffing and puffing and trying to blow the house down. The solutions cannot happen overnight, but what’s desperately needed is just a glimmer of hope that we’re heading down the right path to seeing this.

WE HAVE A PROBLEM 8

But let’s also not fool ourselves or try to be fooled that this will ever happen with the clowns currently in office and in seats of power. They’ve fiddled while Hong Kong’s burned and have their parachutes strapped on to bail with the hundreds of millions they’ve made by promising much and delivering nothing. Compared to them, Hong Kong’s lunatic fringe is looking extremely sane- and smart enough to make the circus of madness and tedious interviews with bureaucrats and autocrats conducted by old friend Michael Chugani look and sound like vapid exercises in self-promotion and playing for time. Let’s stop this crap.

WE HAVE A PROBLEM 9