By Hans Ebert

It’s Groundhog Day, but without Bill Murray and Andie McDowell and a very clever storyline that made one think and inspire enough to change- not try to change everyone’s life because that is none of our business- and face some home truths. It was like Scrooge finally believing in Christmas.

As mentioned to a longtime friend, we have been part of a generation that enjoyed a fabulous Made In Hong Kong lifestyle. We had the best of everything and getting to the top of the tree really wasn’t that difficult. And if a branch broke, another lifeline was thrown. Life was almost too easy and many of us believed that the world’s longest cocktail party would never end.

We were the Great Gatsby and the Wolf Of Wall Street. We traded in different types of “commodities” and ended up on the right side of the ledger even when we shouldn’t have. There was always a fairy godmother to bail us out.

This was an untouchable Hong Kong- arrogant, rich, superficial, hypocritical and with no velvet rope. There was access to anywhere, free rides galore and never thinking anywhere else was as good. It was like the reverse of of that Adele song. We DID have it all. And more. Or so we thought. Or were taught to believe. After all, we were from planet Hong Kong.

We were blinded by materialism and happy to turn a deaf ear to truisms. Many of us led fake lives to keep up pretences. Many are still trying to lead these lives though the truth caught up with them decades ago.

We were too self absorbed to see the cracks appearing. But when in the company of others swapping the same billion dollar business plans, dreams and schemes with angel investors and fund managers, hanging out with Rock stars and not thinking twice about travelling halfway around the world for a dinner, the truth was always clouded. Honesty was numbed by whoever and whatever was around.

Today, while those without any exit plans panic and worry about what happens next and how the future is out of their hands, those who can leave- and with time having caught up with them- are looking at new opportunities, and what they might have to offer so that new lives can be started in places previously never considered good enough.

Today, waking up everyday in a very tired Hong Kong and a city in lockdown mode with nothing much going on- businesses either closed or closing down, monies being moved out, a smattering of nightlife without a pulse and a blanket of depression hanging over the city- it’s all about looking for greener pastures. There’s not enough going on to take up twenty four hours of living. We’re prisoners here of our own device. It’s Groundhog Day.

And in an entire world going through change and suddenly very visible generation gaps, one of the easiest place to run and hide is the online world that has sprung up- a world where many go looking for answers, for love, for friendship, for fame and for propping up fragile egos.

As for Hong Kong, it’s been angry with itself for a number of years for very different reasons. But in the past year, this anger has spilled over into a war between the Haves and the Have Nots along with 2-3 different generations that don’t see eye to eye and with totally different priorities.

To some or many, the future snuck up on us when we weren’t looking and least expected it. This future has changed the world so radically and in an almost maniacal, dysfunctional and defensive way that it’s developed a personality disorder.

Hong Kong today has internal and external evils and roadblocks to stop it outrunning or manoeuvring jts way through the mist and haze and somehow finding a new comfort zone.

Life’s past is exactly that- a past with no place in the present and the future. Gone are the people, the adventures, the problems, solutions, mistakes, good times, bad times and how things might have been.

The more one speaks to many is the feeling that few understands what each other is saying. Again, it comes down to different priorities and, more and more, the realisation that you come into this world alone and leave alone. No one else matters.

What those of us in Hong Kong have to face is that this city will never ever be what it was- basically, a long good time we thought would never end. And how the bar would never close while Happily Ever Afters continued despite the lies.

“Closing Time” was playing in the background for over a decade. We heard it, but never bothered to listen to the words.

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