As has been said often enough, probably especially by me, if a city isn’t working, nothing in it can.

Hong Kong isn’t working in its current mode and mood though it’s still better than some other cities and countries. But, for someone who’s spent most of his adult life here, Hong Kong is no longer the vibrant gumbofest of nationalities and some fortunate enough to be living the five star vida loca never thinking that the long dim sum lunch and nights out at upmarket Lithuanian and Ukrainian fuelled escort clubs would end.

These aside, Hong Kong has always been about having that undefinable individual spirit to work with others and motivate many to rise to meet any challenges that lay ahead and reach for the elusive brass ring- and take it.

Hard luck stories were few and far between. So was living in the past and looking behind to see what was or what could have been.

As Paul Simon wrote, “Memories, they’re all that’s left you”.

No one is asking anyone to be Peter Pan and live in la la land. Facing the truth must happen, but without life constantly bitchslapping one down only to turn the other cheek.

Often the earliest copywriters wrote a load of bollocks and the sheeples followed like good flock.

If not for horse racing, Hong Kong’s favourite pastime and squeezy stress ball that’s managed to sidestep land mines and escape pot stickers and brick walls by “being like water”, this city would virtually slam on the breaks and come to a screeching banshee halt.

Horse racing has been managed through focused leadership to sidestep the bogeys and Cuban cattle cakes. This has happened through great leadership and agility by the Hong Kong Jockey Club to ensure that nothing is left to chance.

It’s not been easy with so many involved and much to be in place so that all the pieces fit and everything works as one.

Despite this being a city precariously placed right now and with a distinct lack of good vibes, man, the HKJC also continues to record all-time high turnover figures.

Last Wednesday, for example, at an average nine race card meeting at Happy Valley Racecourse, where only a limited number of people were allowed in, turnover was up over 16 percent with a figure surpassing HK$1.6 billion.

The Hong Kong government wins big by piggy backing on the success of its largest single tax payer. It takes 25 percent in betting duty and another 15 percent on HKJC lotteries. That’s millions of dim sum dollars each week if anyone bothers to do the maths.

Take horse racing away and the other hot ticket in town are the now extremely popular staycations at five star hotels.

With travel restrictions keeping everyone tied down at home base, these very affordable staycations with lunches and dinners pretty much given away, means many are able to at least tap into a much needed mental break and getaway to their own la la land for a weekend of rebooting and therapeutic banging.

There’s no better stress ball than a couple of days of five star banging. And the rooms always have free fruit baskets replenished daily.

For hotels, staycations mean seeing occupancy go up. On weekdays, with nightlife forced to end at 10pm until the city falls in line with government social distancing laws that keep changing like quicksilver and everyone having received at least one vaccination, by 9pm, lethargy has set in.

Your dinner pals had become tedious bores an hour earlier and one is left astral travelling and looking for a good place to land. Anything to get away from the mundanity of it all. It’s time to switch off and watch reruns of “Monk”.

If there’s one subject that dwarfs everything else, it’s the rabid fascination with and endless conversations about vaccinations, their possible side effects and how many are willing to follow orders which might help the city come close to some form of normalcy that’s idiot proof.

The flip side of the coin are those who have dug their heels in and have what are, quite understandably, trust issues with the demands of the most jiggly poo government in the history of Hong Kong.

This unpopularity is for good reason: without getting into every minute detail, it has to do with a team working under a weak and bumbling Chief Executive who’s kept on by the puppet masters in Beijing almost for their perverse entertainment.

Carrie Lam is a good little Hong Kong soldier who, unlike, “being like water”, will bend with the wind, make loud sucking noises and not show any skills that offer Hong Kong any reason to believe anything is going to change for the better anytime soon.

I Instead, it’s about continuing to walk on eggshells, go on daily hikes, embrace different forms of “wellness”, try to be mentally active while all the time wondering when that same old Tango starts up again where the city takes two steps forward and five steps back.

There’s always a new strain or wave or variant waiting around the corner.

There’s also always that same serial selfie queen with her empty promises as there are always the New Gullible who have not done their homework, chant “Ip Ip Hooray” without understanding where the core of the problem lies.

Before social media took over lives, these inhabitants driven by petty jealousies were shut out to play in their own sandbox. They were the two bit players that they still are today.

There’s often the feeling that the entire city is a new version of “The Truman Show” having already gone through the “Clockwork Orange” of the 2019 anti government riots that saw Hong Kong battered and bruised and left for dead. And then came that spider called COVID-19, the coronavirus that refuses to die. It just keeps mutating, or so we’re led to believe.

Hong Kong is too resilient to keel over and call it quits.

To someone, however, who has seen this city’s best days when tourism boomed louder than Led Zeppelin performing “Communication Breakdown”, it’s tough to watch Hong Kong stumble around in the dark like a drunken sailor, entertain mediocrity and keep tripping over itself looking for answers that just aren’t here.

It’s not too late to plant some smart pills. It’s not too late to switch that light on again and fight off the darkness.

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