Monthly Archives: December 2012

Boycott Jackie Chan’s New Movie

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jackiechan

Jackie Chan is one of the biggest movie stars in the world.  He’s made more than 100 films as actor, director, producer, writer.  Back in the 80s and 90s, Chan made some great films, iconic Hong Kong movies that will stand the test of time, movies like Drunken Master 2 and the Police Story series and he’s found success in Hollywood with films like Rush Hour.  Then again, almost every film he’s made in the past 10 or 15 years has been crap.  Robin-B-Hood? The Tuxedo? Despite a boat load of turkeys, he remains one of the most reliable box office draws in Hong Kong.

“After all those years in Asia, I don`t have to do promotion anymore. We just release a Jackie Chan movie and – Boom! – people go.” Jackie Chan

Here are some other Jackie Chan quotes:

There should be regulations on what can and cannot be protested.  Hong Kong in the British era was not so free. Did you hear so much gossipy news? Were there so many taking to the streets? No. Very well behaved. The British badly repressed us. We do not like repression. We like freedom. But you cannot do whatever you want.

I’m not sure if it’s good to have freedom or not.

I’m not sure if it’s good to have freedom or not.  I’m really confused now. If you’re too free, you’re like the way Hong Kong is now. It’s very chaotic. Taiwan is also chaotic. I’m gradually beginning to feel that we Chinese need to be controlled. If we’re not being controlled, we’ll just do what we want.

Protesting China, protesting the leaders, protesting everything, demonstrating about everything. There should be regulations on what can be demonstrated against and what can’t be demonstrated against.

We have returned to China now, how can we still be criticizing Chinese leaders all the time? Whoever amongst you has what it takes can come govern, but you guys don’t have it in you, and all you do is criticize.

Hong Kong has become a city of protest. People scold China’s leaders, or anything else they like, and protest against everything. The authorities should stipulate what issues people can protest over and on what issues it is not allowed,

I can only speculate about what motivates him to make statements like these.  The first things that come to mind are (1) sucking up to China for business purposes or (2) he’s been hit on the head too many times from doing his own stunts.

Whatever the reason, I suggest that Hong Kong protest Jackie Chan’s anti-Hong Kong diatribes by not going to see his latest film, CZ12.

 

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My Favorite Films of 2012 (& Other’s Faves Too)

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A friend in HK conducts an annual movie poll.  To assist, he sends out a link to films released theatrically in Hong Kong during the year.  Given that some films don’t open here until long after they’ve opened in the US, some films on that list have already come and gone by 2012 in the US and UK.  However, I used that list since I’m not good at keeping track of what I’ve seen.

If I wasn’t limiting myself to films released theatrically in 2012, the list would change drastically.  Probably most of the films that I watched this year that I really loved were things I watched on Blu-Ray via the Criterion Collection.

Be that as it may, here’s the list I came up with, in random order.

  • Avengers – Regardless of what you think of comic book movies, this was a terrific accomplishment.  Expertly paced and flawlessly executed.  Though in the end, it is what it is and you either like this sort of thing or you don’t.
  • Dark Knight Rises – One of the few comic movies that actually transcends its genre and is already influencing other films.  Even so, I’m glad Nolan has finished this series.  Hopefully we’ll see some more serious fare from him in the years ahead.
  • The Dictator – Well, I laughed. A lot.
  • Argo – Considered a top contender for the Oscar in 2013.  There are many levels of pleasures to be found here, not the least of which is yet another great performance from Alan Arkin.  But it’s the look of the film that really surprised me.  The hair, the costumes, the make-up, the sets, all perfect. Affleck has now directed 3 feature films and all are excellent.
  • The Muppets – There’s no way I would have predicted I would have liked this film, let alone loved it.  Credit Jason Segel’s knowing screenplay.
  • Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy – Even though they had to remove a lot of stuff to fit a reasonable running time, making the early exposition a bit confusing, Gary Oldman’s performance is one for the ages.
  • Moonrise Kingdom – A lot of people find Wes Anderson twee.  I don’t, though I really disliked Darjeeling Limited.  But I was thoroughly charmed by this.
  • Skyfall – One of those things I put in because I was having trouble coming up with 10.  It’s far too long and doesn’t have a great Bond girl but does have lots of other reasons to watch.
  • Hugo – A 2011 hold-over, I loved this from start to finish.
  • The Artist – Another 2011 hold-over.  I don’t think it deserved its best picture Oscar and I think 20 years from now it will have evaporated from memory.  But I did enjoy it.

There are too many 2012 films that might make this list that I haven’t seen yet that I am really anticipating – Lincoln, Django Unchained, Life of Pi, The Master, Zero Dark Thirty, Holy Motors top amongst them.

My friend also asked for a worst picture nominee.  I went with the highest grossing one – Battleship.

A few lists from other people.

A.O.Scott – NY Times (I’ve only seen 1 from this list!)

  1. Amour
  2. Lincoln
  3. Beasts of the Southern Wild
  4. Footnote
  5. The Master
  6. Zero Dark Thirty
  7. Django Unchained
  8. Goodbye First Love
  9. Nieghboring Sounds
  10. The Grey

Manohla Dargis – NY Times (alphabetical order)

  • Amour
  • Deep Blue Sea
  • Gatekeepers
  • Holy Motors
  • The Master
  • Moonrise Kingdom
  • Once Upon a Time in Anatolia
  • Searching for Sugar Man
  • Silver Linings Playbook
  • Zero Dark Thirty

Stephen Holden – NY Times (yes, he has a top 11)

  1. Lincoln
  2. Amour
  3. Zero Dark Thirty
  4. Beasts of the Southern Wild
  5. Argo
  6. Once Upon a Time in Anatolia
  7. Elena
  8. How to Survive a Plague
  9. The Invisible War
  10. The Sessions
  11. Rust and Bone

Roger Ebert

  1. Argo
  2. Life of Pi
  3. Lincoln
  4. End of Watch
  5. Arbitrage
  6. Flight
  7. The Sessions
  8. Beasts of the Southern Wild
  9. Oslo, August 31
  10. A Simple Life

So, what were your favorites? Which movies did you love in 2012 that don’t appear on any of the lists above?

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Hong Kong Christmas Lights

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We see those lights that adorn Hong Kong harbor-front buildings every Christmas and Lunar New Year.  But did you ever wonder about them – who makes them, how they’re done and all that?  The NY Times has an article on them today.  It turns out many of them are the work of one man, who has been doing it since 1976.

The man behind many of these images is Terence Wong, who trained as an electrician and once did stage lighting work for theaters. Thirty years ago, Mr. Wong was asked by a Hong Kong property developer to add a bit of seasonal pizazz to a new complex of office buildings in Tsim Sha Tui East, an area that was then off the beaten track. He has not looked back.

The first job involved simple stars suspended from the tops of buildings. Over the years, Mr. Wong has made the displays ever more complex, as he and his workers have learned how to affix strings of light bulbs to the glass facades of buildings using window-cleaning platforms.

The displays, Mr. Wong said, typically cost anywhere between 20,000 and 100,000 Hong Kong dollars, or about $2,600 to $13,000, depending on the size and intricacy of the image. But for many building owners, sprucing up exteriors is as much a part of the holiday season as tree lights are for operators of shopping centers or private citizens in Western cultures.

Here’s the one illogical bit in that article:

Downturns in the economy, Mr. Wong said, do not prompt building owners to hold back on this expenditure. When an epidemic of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, hit Hong Kong in 2003, causing tourism to evaporate and the economy to buckle, building owners actually spent more on the displays, Mr. Wong said.

Likewise, spending this year has not changed, even though the Hong Kong economy, hit by the global downturn and slower growth in China, is expected to have grown just 1.2 percent in 2012. That is down from 4.9 percent last year and 6.8 percent the year before that. The displays are typical of the resilience in consumer spending in Hong Kong, where unemployment remains low — 3.4 percent, according to the latest government figures.

Yeah, the economy may be down, but that’s not including the numbers for the people who own these buildings, who are making more money than ever from ridiculous rents.  The high rents they charge are passed along to everyone in Hong Kong in the form of higher prices on goods and services, a hidden tax that we all pay.  One might even argue that the price gouging these companies engage in is at least in part responsible for the economic downturn – charge more rent, people charge higher prices to cover the rent, goods and services cost more, people buy less, economic growth slows.  It’s not as if these people collecting these fat rents were passing them along to their staff, is it?  These are the same people who protested Hong Kong’s minimal minimum wage law.

Anyway, thanks Mr. Wong for brightening our view a few months every year.

 

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I’m Back – And Happy Holidays

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Hongkie Town was hacked last week.  It was subtle and odds are you didn’t see it – I certainly didn’t.  And then I received an email from Google, “Notice of Suspected Hacking,” and that “some of my pages” would be listed as “potentially compromised” in Google’s search results.

Fortunately I have someone to assist me when it comes to web mastering tasks and that someone is far more hands-on technical than I am.  Without going into all the nasty details, all of my stuff has been transferred to a new server, clean re-install of WordPress and plugins and so on.  It also gave me an opportunity to dump the previous theme, something I’d gotten sick of a long time ago but was too lazy to change until now.

Although I haven’t been out much the past few days, I was unable to write any new posts.  My series of notable albums of 2012 will continue in a day or two.

In the meantime, my best wishes to all of my readers for a happy Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, Festivus or whatever else you take note of at this time of year.

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Notable Albums 2012 – Part 1

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I don’t like doing a top ten list so here’s my list of what I consider the notable albums of 2012.  I’m less and less able to use music merely as background noise; I need to concentrate on what’s playing.  Somehow in the past year this has meant that I’ve tended to stick with what’s old and familiar rather than putting in a lot of effort to digest new stuff.  I might say that if I see it as effort, why should I bother?  Though sometimes that effort does yield it’s share of rewards.  There were a lot of albums released in the past year that I should have listened to more but there just wasn’t time.

That being said, here’s my list.  (If you click on the Amazon links below and buy anything at all, it will help me out a lot, thanks!)

alabama shakes

Alabama Shakes – Boys and Girls.  One of the groups that seemed to get massive critical acclaim but the charms of this record mostly eluded me. People rave about Brittany Howard’s voice but to me she sounds like she’s singing with a mouthful of chewing gum.

alejandro

Alejandro Escovedo – Big Station. In my book, Escovedo rarely goes wrong.  This is his third collaboration with producer Tony Visconti. I don’t think it’s as good as Real Animal but it’s pretty darned far from bad.

allah-las

Allah-Las – Allah-Las.  This L.A. group is doing an expert version of sounding like a 60s garage-surf-punk band.  On some days it hits the spots for me, on others I stop playing it and dig out my Seeds records.

amanda palmer

Amanda Palmer – Theatre is Evil.  I haven’t spent much time listening to this Kickstarter-funded album.  The Palmer release from 2012 that I really like is her “Several Attempts to Cover Songs by The Velvet Underground & Lou Reed for Neil Gaiman as His Birthday Approaches” which is every bit as goofy and fun as the title suggests.

andre williams

Andre Williams & The Sadies – Night & Day. Wikipedia says his 1998 album Silky may be the sleaziest album ever.  This one isn’t far off the mark. “I drink my rum right out da bottle so I can hear the witch when she hollers, I like my rum cause I ain’t got no teeth, I let it flow over my gums.”

antony

Antony and the Johnsons – Cut the World. I’m almost starting to get him.  Almost.

arturo

Arturo Sandoval – Dear Diz (Every Day I Think of You). This live album features Gary Burton, Bob Mintzer, Joey DeFrancesco, Eddie Daniels and others and may not be a “great” album but it’s pure pleasure.

bbking

B.B. King – The Life of Riley – The Soundtrack.  There’s a million B.B. King compilations out there.  This one, the soundtrack to a new documentary film, may be the best.

bettye

Bettye LaVette – Thankful N’ Thoughtful. LaVette’s late career resurgence continues with yet another collection of unexpected covers – songs by Dylan, Neil Young, Tom Waits and The Black Keys.

billfay

Bill Fay – Life is People. If I have this right, Fay made a few albums in the late 60s and early 70s and then disappeared for 40 years.  This is so good it makes me want to go back and find his older stuff.

blasters

The Blasters – Fun on Saturday Night.  For me, primo Blasters means both Phil and Dave Alvin, but I suppose Dave’s not going to rejoin them any time soon.  Their first album in 7 years is good fun.

bobdylan

Bob Dylan – Tempest.  I knew I was going to love this as soon as I hear Duquesne Whistle.  Dylan’s been remarkably consistent in the past decade and a half and if his body of work only consisted of his albums since ’97, he’d still be one of the all time great artists.

bonnie

Bonnie Raitt – Slipstream.  A terrific return to form after a couple of blah albums. This is Bonnie’s best in at least 10 years if not longer.

bruce

Bruce Springsteen – Wrecking Ball. Bruce’s first post-Clarence album featured some songs that have been around for awhile but never made it onto a studio album before.  These were by no means mere filler though; I love the studio version of Land of Hope and Dreams.

bryanferry

The Bryan Ferry Orchestra – The Jazz Age. This may be one of the stupidest concepts for an album of all time – classic Roxy Music songs re-imagined as 1930s jazz instrumentals. Seriously.  Do the Strand. Virginia Plain. The Bogus Man.  I wanted to name this as worst album of 2012 but somehow it actually works.

chemicalbrothers

The Chemical Brothers – Don’t Think. I didn’t even realize the Chemical Brothers were still around.  Then they released this amazing concert film, available in Blu-Ray/CD and DVD/CD packages.  The CD is good, the film is even better.

csn

Crosby Stills & Nash – CSN 2012. Horrible.

davidbyrne

David Byrne & St. Vincent – Love This Giant.  St. Vincent is one of those current artists whom I just don’t get and I also have no idea why this record even exists.  But there’s some stuff on it that I like, go figure.

dexys

Dexys – One Day I’m Going to Soar. After a very long time and a very disappointing solo career, Kevin Rowland is recording as “Dexys”, dropping the “Midnight Runners” bit.  The British press went crazy over this album and as I was listening to it I was thinking, “What the fuck?”  Then came track 4, the Al Green-ish yet very Kevin Rowland-ish “She Got a Wiggle” came on and it all came together for me.  It’s very strange but very compelling.

dianakrall

Diana Krall – Glad Rag Doll. Krall continues to impress me, and for more than just her cover photos.

fagen

Donald Fagen – Sunken Condos.  This may not be Fagen’s best album but for reasons that I can’t quite explain I’ve played this more than any of his other solo albums and more than any of the recent Steely Dan records.

drjohn

Dr. John – Locked Down. On first listen, I thought that this collaboration with Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys got everything wrong.  On second listen, I realized that I was wrong.

To be continued …

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R.I.P. Neptune 2?

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Believe it or not, I haven’t been around the bar area in Wanchai in almost a month.  (I’ll probably make up for that this coming week.)  I’d heard that Neptune 2 had closed, the reason being that their liquor license wasn’t renewed.  Today the closing was mentioned in the SCMP.

Legendary Wan Chai haunt Neptune II has been shut down, with the Liquor Licensing Board refusing to issue it a new licence.

The basement club in Jaffe Road, established in 1993, was one of the most popular dance clubs in the city. However, for the past two weeks its shutters have been pulled down and its doors closed.

Okay, I suppose this isn’t a huge news story (though I do know a lot of people who will consider this massive) but it took them two weeks to notice?

Staff at its sister bar – Neptune III in Lockhart Road – said Neptune II was closed for renovation, but considering that it is the busiest time of the year for the city’s nightspots, this seemed unlikely.

 

These were sisters who did not get along that well.

The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department later confirmed that Neptune II’s bar licence had not been renewed, but did not give a reason.

Did the reporter bother to ask?

The real reason for its closure is understood to be much less controversial, with an industry source revealing that its liquor licence was turned down because of overcrowding.

“The Buildings Department and Fire Services Department would have put a capacity limit on it for its bar licence, as it is in the basement and not on a ground floor. Anything that is upstairs or in a basement has a capacity limit put on it, for safety reasons, and this is what happened here,” the source revealed. “They consistently flouted this capacity limit over the years, and the Liquor Licensing Board was left with no other option but to close it.”

It doesn’t sound as if it’s going to return, does it?  Of course one of many things could happen, including someone else renting out the space and continuing the tradition (or not) or perhaps the current owners forming a new company, changing the name of the bar and applying for a new liquor license.

I don’t like to think about how many hours (or dollars) I spent there back in the day.  Nothing is forever.

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The Hobbit Is Here

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J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, if you’re not familiar with it, was written before The Lord of The Rings.  I haven’t read it in 30 or 40 years but I recall it as a fairly light-hearted book, aimed more at teens (Tolkien’s kids, specifically) than adults.  When Tolkien wrote Lord of the Rings, during World War II and heavily influenced by his own experiences in World War I, he continued the world that he’d started in that earlier book.  The Hobbit has had a long and twisted cinematic history.

There was a short animated version done in 1966 as a Czech/US coproduction.

1977 brought a 77 minute animated version made for TV by the Rankin-Bass group, featuring the voices of John Huston as Gandalf, Orson Bean as Bilbo, Richard Boone as the dragon and my late, lamented friend Brother Theodore as the voice of Gollum.

Both were relatively low key, modest affairs of interest to very few outside of Tolkien fans.

Then came Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, a massive global success, and it became a given that there would be a big screen big budget version of The Hobbit.  There was massive arguing over who actually had the rights to do it.  Once those were securely in Jackson’s hands, his idea was that he would produce it while directing chores would fall to Guillermo Del Toro.  Del Toro and Jackson had some sort of falling out during pre-production and Jackson ended up taking over as director.

Jackson announced that the 319 page (with illustrations by the author) book was going to be expanded into two movies.  And then three.  Depending on who you want to believe, this is either a desperate grab for money by a starving studio and a director who has had little commercial success outside of Tolkien or the logical expansion of the original story (drawing upon subsequent writings by Tolkien).

Now, just to stir up the shit a little bit more, Jackson decided to shoot the film not just in 3D but also at 48 frames per second.  24 fps has been the standard since 1927, but Jackson said that with the advent of digital there was no reason to stick to that old standard anymore.  Some preview audiences reportedly found the 48 fps projection rate induced dizziness and nausea, others said it was just fine and dandy.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, aka part 1 of the new trilogy opened in Hong Kong yesterday, in the U.S. today.  Reviews have been decidedly mixed, with a score of 68% over at Rotten Tomatoes (just 49% from “top critics”).

We went to see it yesterday, 3D and IMAX but not at 48 fps – that’s only available at iSquare and I decided that I’d sacrifice the exposure to new technology and possibly 3 hours of feeling sick to convenience, as the UA cinema at Megabox is just 20 minutes from where I live.

What did I think of the movie?  I rather liked it.  For something with a running time of 169 minutes, it moved along rather nicely.  It is bombastic and excessive and I’m crossing my fingers that this doesn’t mean the entire trilogy will run 9 hours and perhaps run 12 hours in some future home video director’s cut edition.  There are no surprises – but that also translates to pretty solid production design and effects.

Ian McKellan, Iam Holm, Elijah Wood, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving, Cate Blanchett and Andy Serkis all reprise their roles from LOTR while Martin Freeman does a terrific job as Bilbo. Benedict Cumberbatch is also there, very briefly and unrecognizably – presumably his role gets expanded in the next film. The riddle scene between Bilbo and Gollum is exceptionally well done.  I enjoyed the film, I’m glad I went to see it, I feel no particular urge to rush out and see it again but I will see the two sequels when they come out should I live that long.

On the other hand, there is that feeling of having seen it all before.  If I wanted to be really cynical about it, I could say it’s six movies about people who go hiking in New Zealand and get attacked by CGI a lot.  On the one hand it’s nice that Jackson has done all 6 films.  You get a nice conceptual continuity by having the same essential production design and the same actors throughout.

On the other hand, I can’t help but wonder what Guillermo del Toro had in mind.  And perhaps a different, dare I say fresher, vision might have proven more interesting.

(My girlfriend, btw, who never read the books and knew nothing of The Hobbit and had no idea it was a prequel to LOTR until I showed her the trailer right before we went, absolutely loved the film. She laughed out loud during the comedy sequences and audibly gasped several times during the action stuff.)

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Hong Kong Headed For a Crash?

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The Atlantic has an article on Hong Kong’s Jittery Housing Frenzy.  The article starts off with an extreme example, citing the apartment on The Peak that sold over the summer for US$60 million.  And then goes on to the recent IMF warning that a slowdown in the HK real estate market could have dire consequences for the local banking system because the property sector represents roughly half of all outstanding loans in the territory.

The Atlantic counters by mentioning that HKers generally don’t default on their loans as well as the fact that the majority of mortgages are on places where people have put down a greater than 50% down payment. But a downturn would obviously affect other industries, ranging from construction to retail.

But the city’s government is unlikely to allow a real estate price correction that could damage property developers or banks. The Hong Kong government tends to aggressively pursue land policies that make sure its property tycoons–such as Asia’s richest man, Li Ka-shing–and its banking system stay healthy.

Not allowing a house price crash will harm Hong Kong in the long run, as independent economist Andy Xie points out here. He says that the city has been squeezing land supply for over a decade. In Xie’s words, policies that keep property prices inflated, for the benefit of banks and developers, hurt the city overall.

Hong Kong probably isn’t heading towards a banking crisis, then. But it may be on the edge of a social crisis. Hong Kong policymakers might simply react to the IMF’s warning with new plans to restrict land supply. That could ensure that people’s homes, instead of getting cheaper, just get smaller.

The Atlantic also mentions that new HK apartments are referred to as “shoeboxes” due to their tiny size.  I think “shitboxes” might be a more appropriate name given that:

  1. Developers are legally allowed to lie about the size of the apartment, including a percentage “common areas” such as the lobby, the clubhouse and hall ways in the advertised size.
  2. Newer Hong Kong apartment buildings are constructed to look luxurious with gorgeous facades and grand lobbies while the cheapest possible materials are used in the apartments themselves.

That linked piece by Andy Xie hits the nail on the head – repeatedly.

Hong Kong’s economy is suffering. Between 1997 and 2011, nominal gross domestic product grew by 2.6per cent, per capita income by 2per cent, and the average salary by nearly 2per cent every year. Over the same period, the cost of living shot up – oil prices quintupled and food prices doubled – while China’s labour costs tripled. It’s easy to see why Hong Kong people are not happy.

More damaging is how concentrated in property and finance the Hong Kong economy has become. In 1997, aside from the property bubble, Hong Kong was leading the Pearl River Delta’s industrialisation with the attendant high-valued-added activities such as research and development, trade finance and marketing based in Hong Kong.

But the high cost of doing business due to high property prices and rent has pushed away such businesses. The only new business that has helped Hong Kong is retailing to mainland tourists. But selling European products to Chinese tourists is a low-value-added business. Only landlords benefit significantly from it.

The social cost of squeezing supply to support a high price could precipitate social turmoil. While Hong Kong is considered a high-income economy, numerous families, many with members of three generations, live in one room. More than two-thirds of Hong Kong’s land is undeveloped. And reclamation, the main source of new land for Singapore, has potential in Hong Kong. So, while popular perception attributes high property prices to a land shortage, it is utterly untrue. Hong Kong’s elite fuels this misperception because they want to keep people in the dark.

No great city can thrive just on dodgy businesses like property speculation, arbitrage exploiting someone else’s loopholes, or helping powerful people rob their countries. True, such businesses also exist in London and New York. But those cities have diversified activities to provide a decent living for the local populations, even as the elite profit from the dodgy activities. If Hong Kong’s economy is to thrive, it must make Hong Kong people competitive.

Unless Hong Kong cuts property from its economic centre, it doesn’t have a good future. Property isn’t a productive asset. It is worth money only because the people who use properties are competitive. When policy squeezes up property prices by restricting supply, it just prices more and more people out of the modern economy. As their numbers accumulate, discontent will grow.

Hong Kong must control land supply according to its development needs, not to set prices. The city should first set targets for the size of its population and housing conditions – say, a minimum living space of 200 square feet per person – and land supply should follow. The current property bubble will eventually burst, like the ones before, when the US Fed raises the interest rate. And when it does, the government must resist manipulating supply to support prices. It should be viewed as an opportunity to restructure the economy.

So there you have what you should have known all along.  The prices of Hong Kong real estate are manipulated by the government to benefit the billionaire cartels to the detriment of the millions of people who live here.

At the same time, we’re going through this idiotic protest against Hong Kong Chief Executive C.Y Leung over some illegal additions he made to his home.  Ole C.Y. has handled this poorly.  He should have made a speech in which he said, “So, what the fuck?  Everyone does it.  How does this impact my qualifications to govern?”  Instead he hemmed and hawwed and issued a bunch of half-hearted denials and dismissals, acting as if he was trying to deny getting a blow job from a hooker rather than putting up a trellis to have a bit of green covering his house. There was even a vote of no confidence held in the Legislative Council, though the motion didn’t pass.

What’s the point of all this?  Here’s my opinion.  The billionaires control the government, with an out-sized representation in LegCo as well as in most government advisory bodies.

Meanwhile, C.Y. Leung’s policies in his six months in office are being seen as anti-tycoon, to at least some degree.  Had Henry Tang been appointed, he undoubtedly would have continued Donald Tsang’s disastrous pro-billionaire slant.

So while it’s not logical to suspect that a no confidence vote might have been anything other than symbolic (does anyone think that if this had passed, China would suddenly go, “Oh, right, C.Y., you gotta go”?) what’s clear to me is that if Hong Kong’s billionaires hate C.Y. Leung, that automatically puts him on my top ten list of good people.

Always on my top ten list of shit heads is Jackie Chan.  This billionaire actor was quoted in 2009 as saying, “I’m gradually beginning to feel that we Chinese need to be controlled. If we are not being controlled, we’ll just do what we want.”

Now he’s said, “Hong Kong has become a city of protest. The whole world used to say it was South Korea. It is now Hong Kong…  People scold China’s leaders, or anything else they like, and protest against everything… The authorities should stipulate what issues people can protest over and on what issues it is not allowed.”

Chan, who famously does his own stunts, has probably been dropped on his head a few times too many.

 

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Hong Kong 7’s 2013 Tickets

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(Note that I’ve disabled my usual WordPress theme and put in this temporary very plain theme until I get some issues sorted out.)

If you’re looking for tickets for 2013’s Hong Kong Rugby 7’s, always an instant sell-out, there’s a new lottery system in place for HK Residents.  Go to the Hong Kong 7’s web site and you can register your details between December 13th 2012 and February 4 2013 for a “public ballot”, aka lottery, to be held on February 7th.  There are 4,000 seats available via this system.

Note that you can only register once and if you “win” you are only entitled to buy 2 tickets.  You’ll then have from February 8th to February 22nd to confirm and pay for your tickets.  A second drawing will be held on February 25th for any tickets unclaimed from the original drawing.

Perhaps this will be an improvement on previous years when the web site collapsed under the weight of all the people trying to buy tickets online the moment they went on sale.  Or perhaps not.

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