I asked them what they thought of her they fell about the place
And they said nice legs shame about her face
Lyrics: "The Monks"
In a reprise of previous articles I have written about the "headline effect" on news stories, I am only too familiar with the impact that a random and potentially misleading headline can make, hence the heading to start this particular Blog. Therefore if you came across this site hoping to read something sllghtly risqué or naughty, or perhaps even where The Monks were playing next, (actually they disbanded in 1982) move on!!
One of the rather impolite, and now probably considered politically incorrect, sayings when I was a teenager would be to refer to a member of the opposite sex who possessed a beautifully sculpted body but who had a face much better suited to radio than television, as someone having "nice legs, but shame about etc ...".
The phrase rather bizarrely came to mind towards the end of a recent three week long business trip as I have traveled literally more than once around the world, to America, Europe, the Middle East back to Europe, the Middle East again and now home this weekend, during which the subject of Hong Kong came up from time to time. Why? People had seen a few pictures and read a few stories and wanted an "unmedia" related overview of events.
Those of you who know me will of course understand that amongst my many failings is a desire to investigate both sides of a situation or story. By way of illustration, when I left the Mongkok District of Hong Kong where I worked over 30 years ago, my colleagues gave me a painting of some scales of justice that they had titled "The Judge". Today it sits in my study at home. It must be something to do with the Western birth sign under which I was born, Libra. The common traits of a Libran are, apparently as they suit my purpose "... a strong sense of justice and fair play. They will never resort to cunning methods to get what they want. They are well-known for their diplomatic skills and have the ability to listen to differing points of view with a great deal of patience."
I am very comfortable, therefore, in giving an overview of what I see as the principal points in a situation, even if my concluding views would not suit everyone. They can't. You cannot please all of the people all of the time - and if you do, then something is wrong somewhere.
What was interesting to me, with all the questions and the comments? The impression created overseas by the current pictures and stories that were all negative towards Hong Kong. But the follow-on questions I received were all about the long-term future of Hong Kong, and why Hong Kong was apparently giving a boost to cities like Shanghai and Singapore with these distractions.
I have, even before I returned but particularly now since returning, been approached by the media asking if I will give them my views on the long term damage being done to Hong Kong by the current protests. And those views will have to wait.
Even more interesting to me though on my overseas conversations was how short they were on the subject of Hong Kong.
"Ah, okay" they would say after a few minutes, "But what is going to be the impact of the Ebola virus on the world if it spreads out of control, and is ISIS really a major threat to cities as fighters return to their home countries willing to carry out wanton acts of violence, and what is really happening in the Ukraine, and the Japanese economy, and Europe". The point is, while in Hong Kong people think that "Occupy Central" is the most important thing in our lives - to the world outside it is kind of interesting, but not that important. It reminded me of the quote attributed to Lyndon Johnson the US President who once said ".....it's a lot like pi**ing down your leg. It seems hot to you, but it never does to anyone else". I was also talking to someone a couple of days from the New Territories (in Hong Kong), where the view of the protests over in Central seems to be one of "Oh, really. Are they still there?" Complete disinterest.
Actually, I do want to come back to the long-term future for a second.
I have seen a variety of comments in the media (where else), about the damage that is being caused to people by this continuation of the protests, and alternative comments about the fact that business is generally unfazed by the situation. The truth undoubtedly lies somewhere between the two. A retailer who operates in Causeway Bay but not in Central will see the situation quite differently. But that is now. What of the future?
As I have said consistently on these pages, no one has ever really made a profit by betting against Hong Kong. But that was then. The long term future, frankly, is Hong Kong's to lose. In other words if we continue to innovate, keep pace with change, retain a fair and lawful infrastructure where legal judgments are respected and businesses are allowed to generate profits to keep people employed and to prosper, Hong Kong will survive.
I know this is a generalisation but as I have had to point out before - this is a Blog, not a book. A full discussion would take too many words. But in summary of today's situation Hong Kong still has nice legs - it's just a shame about the face!