THE DARK SIDE OF HONG KONG NIGHT LIFE 1

Chivalry stops me mentioning her name, but listen up General Managers and Food &Beverage Managers- all you suits with starched shirts and one dimensional minds in every five star hotel in Hong Kong: By booking mediocre talent purely because they’re Caucasian is doing a disservice to real singers of all nationalities. All. And it’s an insult to the intelligence of your customers.

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You people have, over the years, promoted incompetence and elevated singers who wouldn’t make it past the lobby of a fifth rate Vegas casino into an area of warped entitlement that is a weird combination of being laughable and racist. And with everything else going on in this city with its Angry Birds politics, what Hong Kong doesn’t need is something else to create a new great divide. Wait: It already exists.

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To have a woman lecture me that she’s not a “Philipina” (sic) and should be “respected for being a Western performer”, and therefore paid more as a singer is numbingly stupid. And she takes exception to being called a “lounge singer”? Why, when that’s all she’s ever been in Hong Kong?

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“Lounge singer” is not a dirty term if you happen to make your living performing in a hotel lounge. You’re not a Rock Star. You’re not a Rihanna. You’re a singer who sings requests and covers of other people’s songs. That’s it. You’re nothing more and nothing less. And dear, if reading this, I have certainly been with my share of “Western” women. I even married one. But you, hoteliers, wake up and smell the dim sum. You’re still working with the same booking agents the hotel has used for decades. They peddle the same acts. It’s part of the “circuit”, and Hong Kong is the biggest dumping ground for the usual suspects who stump up every few months because- read this next bit carefully- they’re not good enough to get a gig anywhere else.

The Blue Bar at the Four Seasons, the Lobster Bar at the Island Shangrila, the Champagne Bar at the Grand Hyatt etc etc, you’re supposedly five-star hotels charging six star prices in hotel lounges where mostly- mostly- two bit “Western” talent warble some covers of recent hits backed by musicians who’ve been playing in these venues since when Methuselah was a bon vivant.

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Do you seriously believe that those who frequent your lounges don’t travel? Do you not think we look at the exorbitant prices you charge for a crappy Chardonnay? Do you not think we don’t know good from mediocre when it comes to singers?

Do you think we’re impressed because the singer is “Western” and is wearing a sequinned dress that looks like it once belonged to Liza Minelli and is crooning “Come Away With Me” in 2017?

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Give us some five-star entertainment and we’ll stay in your venues for hours and rack up a huge drink bill and be back for more. Give us mediocrity and we’re out of there after a lime soda and some peanuts.

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You hoteliers should get out more- to Stockholm, Melbourne, Perth, London, Nebraska, Shanghai- and hear the quality of the lounge singers- lounge singers who are original and good enough to make records and perform outside the confines of a hotel. And guess what? Many of these artists are Asians. And even “Philipinas”. Even Chinese. Whoa! What a concept!

Music doesn’t discriminate. It’s offensive to this Asian that some “Western” performer with a zero track record believes she’s entitled to special treatment and payment because of the colour of her skin. And who’s to blame for this? Very often, you hoteliers, who are clueless about even trying to understand your customers- and retain them.