Thursday, February 22, 2007

Kung Hei Fat Choi! and other New Year stuff

Wishing a happy, peaceful and prosperous Chinese New Year of the Pig (not the Golden Pig, that's a load of PR hype) to all my 11 readers.

I noticed that Hong Kong's Chief Executive Donald Tsang was unable to resist turning his traditional New Year message into a propaganda plug for "family values". He must be under the delusion that he's Lee Kuan Yew rather than a jumped-up civil servant.

If the Hong Kong government is really concerned about preserving traditional values, they could start by squashing the stupid proposal to use plastic buns for this year's Cheung Chau Bun Festival. This is turning a living tradition into a Disneyland pastiche of the real thing. What idiot came up with this idea? And they even have the cheek to cite "environmental concerns"! Simple environmental lesson that even civil servants should be able to understand:
  1. real buns are biodegradable if not eaten;
  2. plastic ones will end up as litter, either in a landfill, or worse, in the sea.

Probably this idea came from the same twit who decided to direct vehicles to the car park near the Wishing Tree in the Lam Tsuen Valley on Chinese New Year's Day, only for them to find on arrival that the entire spacious car park was unnecessarily cordoned off and closed to cars on the one day of the year when it was most needed. (Part of it was marked as being reserved for tour buses, of which there were none at all present when I arrived.) The only alternative was to park wherever one could find a space in the nearby villages, risking a ticket or blocking access to someone's property (not to mention that, as any New Territories village resident will tell you, nasty "accidents" can happen to cars - and sometimes even their drivers - when they encroach on what some villager considers his private parking space, even if it's marked as public).

As for the poor old Wishing Tree itself, I appreciate that it's now protected because of its fragile state of preservation. But what's with the ugly and pointless metal cage around the shrine at the base of the tree? Ot the weird little structure next to it that looks like a pyramid-roofed Portaloo?

Does anyone in the Hong Kong government have even half a brain any more? Or care?

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