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Archive for June, 2007

Remember the good ol’ days? We didn’t have much money, but hell, we were happy. In those years, post SARS (OK, not that long ago), when the economy was just trying to find its feet, we were all humbled by the experience of living through dangerous times, but flush with the promise of better times possibly ahead.

We lived simply, not sure if our jobs were secure, but we enjoyed things more. A day at the beach, a hike in the park. And we could afford things too, like a family meal, a bouquet of flowers, or, I don’t know: even, school fees and rent.

Store clerks were still surly (I wouldn’t have it any other way) but more willing to provide service. Restaurants remembered their regulars, even by name, and even offered complimentary drinks after dinner to show their appreciation for your patronage. If something wasn’t right with a service or product you were buying, a genuine effort was made to ensure your satisfaction. In those times, your business was important.

Well those days are gone. Businesses that I frequent regularly, barely take notice of me. If I make a small complaint about something, they look at me blankly. They don’t care if I never come back, they are busy busy busy. cha-ching!

Landlords are raising rents by 60% or more. They dont’ care if you have to move. There are prospective tenants with bulging housing allowances waiting to pounce. (I understand that there is a supply-demand thing going on here, but its a vicious cycle: too many employers are willing to pay housing allowances that meet the escalating rent levels. It’s a landlord’s market. And while this is going on at the top end of the scale it is putting downward pressure on housing all the way down the line.)

The ESF has raised school fees, and has even asked for September fees to be paid in June. They don’t care if you can’t afford it. There are children lined up waiting for the chance to get in.

The manager at the Pizza Express that ‘lost’ my daughter’s birthday party reservation didn’t care that 10 girls had no place to go for their promised pizzas. He really couldn’t care less. He was booked up. Why would he care?
So I’ll admit it and you can verbally abuse me all you want. I liked Hong Kong better when it was scrapping itself back up (I’m talking a recovering economy here, not an economic crisis). Without the cushion of endless supplies of cash and customers, nothing could be taken for granted. With a little less cash flying around, we all had a little more value.

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How much did HKTB pay Karen Mok anyway!!The Hong Kong Tourism Board has sent out an exciting press release recently entitled “Cross-Sector Support for 2007 HK Shopping Festival on 10th Anniversary of HKSAR“. I mean, wow! they sure know how to sell themselves, don’t they?

Well believe it or not… I managed to read through the many paragraphs describing exciting offers with the MTR, special dining offers …. themed activites… Karen Mok.. blah blah blah…. a special shopping guide…. more shopping… until I hit upon this curious little piece of information:

Joining the HKTB to conjure up a citywide festive ambience will be Ocean Park Hong Kong, which will arrange its two panda mascots – Le Le and Ying Ying – to perform at shopping centres in major tourism districts on specific dates.

Sorry, What? Are they seriously suggesting that they will be bringing the pandas to the mall? to perform? I’ve been to Ocean Park several times and I’ve only seen them sit and sleep and, if i’m lucky: chew.how's this for performing?

So I can only think that the press release is misleading and what they mean is, a couple of guys in panda suits will be dancing around. I mean, what else can it mean? They will put the pandas in little cages in the middle of the mall?

Anyway you look at it, it’s pretty sad. Sorry James Tien, you’ll have to do better than that.

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