Just when you thought the clinically insane Hong Kong government couldn’t do any more damage to the already wrecked city (the demise of the Star Ferry and Queen Piers, the decision to cover the entire Central waterfront with a six lane highway AND build a monument to their, the government’s, greatness, a massive Central Government Building on the last bit of space from where one could see the other side of the dwindling harbour) up they come with another plan to fulfill their legacy: Raze everything good about Hong Kong to the ground.
This time they have cast their destruction-hungry eyes on one of the, no, THE most endearing landmark of Central: The old outdoor wetmarkets in Graham and Peel streets. These streets will be well known to anybody who’s ever watched a Hong Kong movie. Narrow and stair-filled, they symbolise everything that’s Hong Kong: Packed with people, fcovered in colourful awnings and overhung by signs with Chinese characters, full of proud artisans carrying out the dying arts of cobbling, umbrella making, soy sauce- and pastemaking, knick-knack and weird things-selling, tea-making, noodle-making and just plain old vegetable, fruit and flower-selling.
To satisfy the needs of property developers, crying for help now that almost all premium land has been taken – by them – the government has decided to tear down the last indigenous old buildings of Central and build – guess what – office and residential towers. Oh, but it will be so nice! So new and clean! No more pesky staircases to negotiate for the put-upon inhabitants; from now on they will have spanking new lifts and easy-to-clean flats. Yeah, right! As if those people will ever be able to afford living in any of the jumped-up, steel and mirror-windowed, 80 floor monsters.
Oh, but they won’t have to walk anymore, now the government is planning to open up those narrow steps for the sacred car! Forget about the locals and tourists who actually enjoyed walking up and down those charming steps, savouring the sights and smells, shopping for normal-priced items in an iconic area still untouched by disneyfication. Now they will be able to drive to Starbucks and McDonalds and take the lift straight up into their $140 000 a month flat with its two centimeter view of the harbour. Until of course another monster is erected two centimeters away from their window.
We must put an end to this! People of the world, Hong Kong needs you in its hour of death! Please visit www.savethestreetmarket.com to get involved and let your views be heard! Don’t let the vandals destroy the last little interesting thing we have left.