Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Plans to Resurrect Queen's Pier?

Remember this? Queen's Pier in Central before it was dismantled in 2008
I still miss Queen's Pier in Central. It used to be so convenient to take the Star Ferry from there to Tsim Sha Tsui and back.

But when I happened to visit Hong Kong in 2008, there were signs all over the pier area, and people protesting its demolition. It was surprising the government would move such an important landmark.

When I moved back two years later, the pier was long gone and you now have to schlep across a long blue walkway all the way to where all the outlying island ferries are just to catch a short Star Ferry ride to Tsim Sha Tsui.

People passionately protested the demolition but to no avail
You really do weigh if it's worth going all the way and take the MTR instead, and so it's not surprising why the Star Ferry keeps losing money. The government seems to want to make it more difficult for people to take cheap transportation that is a part of the local culture.

But wait -- the government hasn't completely killed it -- there are plans to resurrect Queen's Pier and place it somewhere around where piers 9 and 10 are now, which currently aren't being used for anything, except by photographers and anglers.

Yes -- it will not be an actual functioning pier, but a shrine to its former existence.

Why dredge up the past? It wasn't even a nice-looking structure. And more importantly why waste up to HK$305 million taxpayer dollars doing this when the money could be used elsewhere like helping the poor?

Several activists opposed the proposed plan and are calling for the pier to be restored in its original spot, though that could be costly too.

A drawing to show where Queen's Pier would be relocated
"If you put it closer to the original location, it has a much higher heritage value because Edinburgh Place will be complete. And, you have it closer to the old waterfront for tourists, students and children to come back here and realize the waterfront used to be here," says Southern District Councillor and co-founder of Designing Hong Kong's Paul Zimmerman.

Queen's Pier was opened in 1953 as a public pier, and the ceremonial location where Hong Kong governors would arrive and depart before 1997.

And now the structure is being stored in a warehouse...

First of all, why didn't the government listen to the people? And then second, why does it think that everything will be rectified by reassembling the structure for no good reason?

The Star Ferry Terminal has moved a much further distance
The government seems so completely out of touch with what is going on in the city, and thinks that it can spend taxpayer money on frivolous projects, when one in five people in Hong Kong are living below the poverty line and so many people are in need?

Even worse is that we residents have no recourse to vote them out.

After having watched Ten Years, I now see why the movie resonates with people so much. It really does capture the pessimistic mood, the sense of helplessness and frustration people have. Just like in the film, people feel the government is in cahoots with Beijing, and no one is looking out for them, so they have to defend themselves.

That's just a movie, but that's the sentiment people have in reality.

Reassembling Queen's Pier is the most absurd proposal I've heard since Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah's suggestion to bring in food trucks to Hong Kong.

Do they not care about the future of this city and what its residents want it to be?


  1. I am shaking my head too - why waste money on something so useless? There must be hundreds of better ways to improve the life of the average person in HK...

    1. Hi blue_balu! Yes... which is why people are so frustrated/disillusioned/angry that the government doesn't listen to them...