Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Preserving Face

So Chief Executive Donald Tsang wants to "learn from Beijing's experience and policies in preserving its heritage and ancient buildings". Given Beijing's notorious mass destruction of its city walls and traditional hutongs in past decades, this is a little like taking lessons in peacemaking from George W. Bush.

Tsang would do better closer to home by looking at our neighbour Macau, which has done an excellent job in recent years of preserving its core Portuguese architectural heritage among a tidal wave of new building. Meanwhile Singapore provides good examples of how old Chinese shop-houses can be renovated and reused imaginatively, something our own Urban Renewal Authority could learn from as an alternative to its heavy-handed approach in areas like Wanchai and Mongkok.

Incidentally, am I the only one who thought Tsang exhibited slightly indecent haste in practically running off the plane to greet the Mainland officials awaiting him on his arrival in Beijing?

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