Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Pathetic Appreciation of Hong Kong

The campaign sounds like the government is giving itself a pat on the back
Yay! It's time to "Appreciate Hong Kong"!

The Hong Kong government has decided to spend our taxpayer dollars to try to rebuild relationships with the public after the 79-day Occupy protests last year.

The "Appreciate Hong Kong" campaign is also backed by the business sector and others to basically allow low-income families to go to amusement parks and visit museums free of charge, or attend new events or enjoy discounts.

The promotion officially starts December 1 and runs until the end of April. This is the third city-wide campaign the Leung Chun-ying administration has organized since 2013, following "Hong Kong: My Home", and "Bless Hong Kong".

"The political reform I worked on for the past 20 months has triggered huge disputes in society," said Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor. "Many people think society has seemingly been radicalized and divided, with some worried that Hong Kong will stagnate."

Free tickets for the poor! Come and get them!
Rather than be pessimistic, she said Hong Kong people should take the opportunity to appreciate and "do something for" the city.

Some of the initiatives: 10,000 free tickets to Ocean Park for low-income families; Hong Kong Disneyland Resort donates 13,000 tickets for students with special needs to visit the park; all public museums are free to the public in January; and the Hong Kong Amateur Athletic Association will organize a marathon carnival three times in January.

As expected, lawmakers were not impressed by the campaign. 

"The deep-rooted conflicts in Hong Kong cannot be resolved simply by offering free visits to Ocean Park and asking conglomerates to donate millions," said Civic Party lawmaker Dennis Kwok.

He said the government should do more substantial things like offer more job opportunities for young people, reform the political system and uphold the rule of law.

Chinese University political scientist Ivan Choy Chi-keung agreed the campaign would not do much, but hinted the government was under pressure from Beijing to ease tensions.

Other families can visit Disneyland on Lantau Island...
With the district council elections coming up this weekend, DAB lawmaker Ip Kwok-him denied the campaign was meant to give a boost to pro-Beijing candidates.

The campaign "Appreciate Hong Kong" sounds like an ill-conceived idea that was executed in a rush and the result is pathetic.

So 10,000 families get to visit Ocean Park, but that's not going to help them put food on the table in the long run. And giving them what are promoted as discounts for products sounds like a chance for companies to get rid of their stock and still make a profit.

This just demonstrates yet again how the Hong Kong government is in denial about the real cause of last year's protests -- that it affected a whole range of people, not just low-income families.

Young people are concerned about the yawning wealth gap and not being able to afford a flat, not enough job opportunities, and the mainland encroaching on Hong Kong and its unique culture and language.

And the poor -- how about building low-income housing, or regulating these subdivided flats, or forcing developers who build luxury housing to build low-income ones as well?

How difficult is that to figure out?

And yet our taxpayer dollars are being spent on these frivolous activities that are token gestures that are borderline condescending.

The government really doesn't understand what's going on in the city, or it is denial about actually tackling the real issues that affect us.


  1. This campaign calls to mind Marie Antoinette's "Let them eat cake" remark -- as in it shows Hong Kong's ruling class to be out of touch, uncaring, or both with regards to the rest of Hong Kong society.

    1. Either they are really clueless, or they are blindly doing whatever Beijing tells them to do...

    2. Hi The Fragrant Harbour --

      ...or it could be both. E.g., because they are so clueless, they don't see how blindly doing whatever Beijing tells them can be wrong. Or even worse, they could be trying to do what Beijing tells them to but badly? In any case, clearly they are not the right people to be ruling Hong Kong -- but, unfortunately for Hong Kong at large, they are.