By Hans Ebert


Every day people are allowed into Hong Kong under what’s known as a Refugee Status. Nothing really wrong with this, and live and let live and all that until one comes face to face with those in Hong Kong under this immigration law and find that, not all, but too many, have and continue to ruin businesses by selling drugs right in front of their premises.

There’s the other “wild bunch”, usually from the sub-continent and found down the now extremely untrendy and unfriendly Lan Kwai Fong area looking to engage in childish bursts of machismo.

With a sober mind, one can walk away from this play acting, but it usually has a far more negative effect on those filled with drink and looking to let off some steam.

Instead of a dance floor, the venue to do this becomes a side alley and now it’s 3am and everyone else has jumped in and the heaving and shoving and threats are hurled around like grenades.

The local constabulary walk by, and like noticing all those taxis lined up with rags over their meters and holding customers to ransom, they just keep walking. It’s like the drug dealers down Pottinger Lane.

For years now, it’s been the same old game: Keep selling everything from ice and smack to Bolivian marching powder, but once there’s a tip off that the Blue Berets are approaching, they scatter and then, like a reverse of Moses parting the Red Seas, they reappear, regroup and it’s business as usual close to the club Drop and a few steps away from the Kebab House.

What’s baffling is having these yobs allowed in, but the huge amount of protocol needed for work visas for non-Hong Kong resident musicians. Maybe they should apply for “Refugee Status” and live an uncomplicated life in Hong Kong, thanks to the local taxpayers?

Some of the Hong Kong laws and the need for restaurants and clubs to have all manner of licenses has reached a point of such dumbed down bureaucracy and the perfect example of how a little power goes to the heads of many who shouldn’t be having this power anyway, shows a city that’s on the shaky side of tripping over itself.

Where things are on hold right now is that the old business mantra of “It’s the economy, stupid” is baaaaack. Today’s consumer has a much greater choice of everything than ever before, and music is being pushed further and further back. It’s not important anymore.

Restaurants and clubs are GOOD for the image of Hong Kong. It shows that the city has a pulse.

Musicians, meanwhile, are desperately needed in Hong Kong and be able to perform free from the paranoia of being thrown out of Hong Kong. But when no one has really explained the law to them and those applying for work visas and even receiving them, there’s this nervous twitch about “breaking the law”.

It creates other problems to do with the control of those holding these work visas and a somewhat constipated city where many are scared to even pass gas.

Hong Kong was never ever like this: Paranoid and scared to move.

Maybe it’s why it’s lost its soul, why so many have no humour, why there are too many with thin skin and why “oppressive” Singapore is looking like Mr Happy on monkey glands.

#HongKong #Immigration #Musicians #LanKwaiFong