I come to you as an emissary, reaching down to you – whom I believe I may call the man or woman on the street, or even in the dai pai dong – with a message from a group of us who are a much misunderstood, sometimes sadly neglected minority. We are the ones who built Hong Kong, we created this Asia’s World City of Life, and yet now our very value system is being undermined, by a handful of eco-zealots and greenie groups who are hell-bent on rolling back economic development, stopping all futher progress, turning back time – and for what reason? Just to make Hong Kong a home for frogs.
This madness must stop! Because while we all realise that it’s important to have fresh air, clean water, and even frogs and dolphins, we have to look at Hong Kong’s reality, we can’t just be woolly-headed modern-day Luddite dreamers.
When we look at this reality, we have to look at history. Hong Kong’s early success was built on a special white powder, opium, and now our success is based on another special white powder – concrete powder. Look around, to see how true this is, and you’ll see gleaming high-rises, towering apartment blocks, ribbons of highways, reclamations, tunnels. It’s a wonderful sight, that makes you want to fall down on your knees and give thanks for concrete, and the endless wealth it brings.
A wise man in a movie once said, “Greed is good.” That’s as true here in Hong Kong as anywhere, but here we can say, “Greed is good … and concrete is great.” Because fresh air and frogs are all very well, but I have to ask you, when did fresh air buy you a Lexus, or has a frog helped you own apartments on three continents? Has breathing fresh air ever made you capable of supporting wife number two, or three? Of course, the answer is never! No way, no how.
Forgive me if I’ve become too passionate here. Perhaps it’s
something you wouldn’t understand, for who are you anyway? Were you
among us when we elected the Chief Executive, did I see you voting that
day? I don’t think so. No, when you feel unhappy here, you go out for
fun days, standing around in parks, walking through streets, disrupting
You’re part of the reason Hong Kong isn’t ready for universal suffrage, with your blinkered, narrow-minded view of the world, your ideas it’s important to raise families without worrying about pollution, your notions that you have the right to enjoy some relatively untouched countryside, scenery without giant buildings.
Hong Kong needs highways, and a tunnel to Antarctica
But I didn’t come here to argue, for confrontation. All we want is your compliant acquiescence, as we do what’s best for you, for Hong Kong, and for us. For Hong Kong to continue thriving, we need more visionary schemes, like prisons built on expansive reclamations by small islands and joined to the rest of the world by wonderfully long bridges; we need science and arts parks with associated packed apartment blocks, great new stretches of highway, some of them running parallel with existing highways that carry little traffic (you didn’t really think we build highways because of traffic demands, did you?); we need theme parks, container terminals, giant new bridges to shave minutes off travel times.
We need innovative projects, big ideas. Some journalist has suggested digging a tunnel from Lamma to Australia, to boost economic growth. We say, Great idea, but why stop at Australia? – we should have bigger dreams, and we plan to build a tunnel to Antarctica. Think of the jobs created, the work, the contracts; think of the money!
What we don’t need is bleeding heart liberal hand holders standing around the waterfront trying to protect the harbour. Have you looked in the harbour, seen what’s in it? Sea water, that’s all, and there’s lots more sea water in this world.
Of course, you can go on complaining if you must, you can keep on walking about telling everyone you’re a frog loving dolphin hugging fresh air fanatic. Just don’t you make too much noise.
And don’t become too successful in your campaigning, don’t push things so far that you might actually win. Because we know where you live.
We know where your mother lives.