31 December 2011

NEWS FLASH: Website Launched! 快訊: 網頁發放!


Dear Readers,  

My personal website 
is now up and running.   

Check it out and I hope you find it informative!! 

www.jasonyng.com


(if at first the site doesn't load, hit "refresh" on your browser)



29 November 2011

The Hundredth Post 第一百篇

This month marks the third birthday of my blog As I See It, a social commentary on the trials and tribulations of living in Hong Kong. The occasion coincides with the 100th article I have written under the banner. Having reached a personal milestone, I decided to take the opportunity to reflect on my still-young writing career and wallow in, dare we say, self-congratulatory indulgence.

http://jasonyng.blogspot.com

It all started in November 2008 on the heels of the last U.S. presidential election. I was getting ready to create a personal website as a platform to consolidate my interests and pursuits. To do that I needed content. That’s how my blog – or my “online op-ed column” as I prefer to call it – came into being. Before I knew it, I was banging it out in front of my iMac every night, going on and off the tangent and in and out of my stream of consciousness about the odd things I experienced in the city, the endless parade of pink elephants I saw everyday that no one seemed to bat an eyelid at. Though singing was what I wanted to do since a child and I always thought of myself as a singer first, in the past three years writing has taken over and, in the process, taken on a life of its own. I suppose things often happen when you least expect it. If self-indulgence is my favorite pastime, then serendipity must be the story of my life.

Singing has always been my first love


Since I started writing I have picked up a few new habits along the way. Because so much of writing is about reading and learning from what you read, each time I come across an interesting expression in a book or a quotable line from a movie, I will scramble to jot it down somewhere, before my 15 seconds of short-term memory run out. That explains why my desk is peppered with random scraps of paper with scribbling understood by no one else but me. The saying that “to a man carrying a hammer, everything looks like a nail” is an apt one for writing. At times it seems that even the most mundane of my daily experiences, from window shopping in Causeway Bay to an argument with a minibus driver, is worthy of a blog entry. And because I never know when the next topic would come up or how long my creative juice would flow, I am known to get up in the middle of night and work my opposable thumbs on the Blackberry placed inches from my pillow.

Write it down or lose it forever

I regard myself a perfectionist a tattered copy of Strunk and White's The Elements of Style is never too far from my desk and perfectionism begets revisionism. In the foreword to his famous sci-fi novel Brave New World, Aldous Huxley urged writers to “resist the temptation to wallow in artistic remorse” by revising their works to correct errors and defects. If serendipity is the story of my life, then chronic remorse must be my destiny. When it comes to editing my writing, I take notes from, of all things, instructions on the back of a popcorn box: stop the microwave when popping slows to two to three seconds between pops. In other words, I would keep editing until the revisions whittle down to a half dozen changes between versions. Until then the article is deemed unfit for public consumption, for there is always a better way of saying the same thing and what seems brilliant today can look painfully tedious the next day. Famous writers have their famous writing habits: Ernest Hemingway insisted on writing 500 words a day and Truman Capote was known to write lying down. I, on the other hand, choose to write the way microwave popcorn is made. It goes to show that every writer, even the most inexperienced and unskilled, is entitled to his own quirks.

Edit like making popcorn


As much as reading has made me a better writer, writing has made me a better reader, by heightening my senses to appreciate all the hard work that goes into crafting a sentence or making a scene come alive  all the secrets to be unlocked and treasures to be hunted on a single page. Writing has also given me new found respect for those who make it their living. For the price of a single drink at a bar, the reader reaps what has taken the author years or even a lifetime to put together. Worse, half the book proceeds is kept by the bookstore and half of what remains goes to the publisher. Perhaps that’s why writer as a profession commands so little respect in Asia. In Hong Kong, where “freelance” often means “free,” whenever I tell people I am an author, they respond with anything from mild acknowledgment to complete disregard. But the moment I mention I am a lawyer by day, I am hit back with a sudden burst of interest. “So what kind of law do you practice?” he asks, while checking out the watch I am wearing. Respect and social acceptance, for what they are worth, are things I would have to give up alongside a comfortable living, if I were to quit my day job to write full-time. How many of us are brave enough to make those sacrifices?

Writing for a living is not an easy gig

Looking back on the past hundred blog posts, I see the best and also the worst. My two-part series Kowloon Complex, for instance, earned me a slew of scathing comments, with one reader calling me “prejudiced, pretentious and stupid.” Experiences such as that taught me not only to take criticisms as readily as I dish them out, but also to defend my views with solid research and listen to both supporters and critics. And listen I do. For instance, because readers are slow to take to my political commentaries, such as my responses to the express rail link saga and the five constituencies resignation (五區總辭) campaign, I try to steer away from those topics and focus on things that interest both writer and reader. Over time, I have learned that my most popular articles are also my most personal, like Ah Gah and The Hill about my childhood growing up with my sister Margaret and A Tale of Three Cities when my comparison of Hong Kong to Shenzhen and Macao prompted me to reflect on who we are and where we are heading. Both articles made it into my first book and remain my personal favorite.

One of my favorite essays


Writing satisfies my narcissistic tendencies and scratches my obsessive-compulsive itch. But it also makes me a better person. Whenever I write, I seem to take on a different persona, one that is far more reasoned and reflective than I actually am. The transformation both surprises and delights me. In time I realize that writing provides a conduit to a good side of me I didn’t know existed. And if there is one thing that I would like my reader to take away from my blog, it is reflection. Before accepting someone’s opinion or forming your own, whether it is the right of foreign domestic workers to apply for permanent residence or the decision to visit northern Japan after the radiation leaks, ask a few questions and think the issues over. You may look to a friend, a co-worker, The Apple Daily or my blog for a point of view, but ultimately it is you who must decide what position to take. Healthy skepticism and constant reflection are the stuff that separates the independent thinker from the intellectual couch potato. In a city inundated with half-truths, pseudo-science and outright lies, it is, as philosopher John Stuart Mill once said, better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied. So keep reading and keep reflecting.

Don't take anything at face value



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If you like this article, read 37 others like it in HONG KONG State of Mind, now available at major bookstores in Hong Kong, on Amazon and at Blacksmith Books..


16 November 2011

Unfaithfully Yours 愛偷吃的男人


What do Bill Clinton, Tiger Woods and Arnold Schwarzenegger have in common? They are all American icons who use their celebrity status to make our world a better place. Yawn. They all have promising young daughters who are destined to follow in daddy’s footsteps and achieve great things. Yawn again. As if the column title hasn’t already given away the answer, all three of them are powerful men who, at the pinnacle of their careers, put everything they had on the line and cheated on their wives.

Powerful men who fell from grace


For every Bill, Tiger and Arnold, there are hundreds other famous men who got caught with their hands in the cookie jar. At times it seems that the more successful a man gets, the more willing he is to throw away everything for a fleeting moment of carnal pleasure. According to a 1950s study on American men by the Kinsey Institute, there is a one in two chance of indiscretion occurring during marriage. In the Information Age where you can download free porn, order Viagra and hook up with an old flame all at the click of a mouse while the wife is asleep in the other room, that estimate seems a wee bit conservative.

The ground-breaking study on sex and the sexes

So why do famous men cheat? The notion itself seems to defy the basic principles of economics. Common sense tells us that those who have little or nothing to lose – the loser dude in a trailer park – would be more inclined to cheat. But studies suggest just the opposite. A recent New York Times article cites evidence that people who have more to lose are more prone to risky and self-destructive behavior. In much the same way best-paid executives are more likely to engage in insider trading, powerful men are more likely to stray. Is it ego, arrogance or the delusion of grandeur that makes men in high places cheat? Or does life on the fast lane demand a dose of clandestine thrill to spice things up? After all, high-stake politics and billion-dollar acquisitions can get a little stodgy if you do it day after day. We can psycho-analyze the cheating man all we want, but at the end of the day it might all come down to one word: probability.

Caught in the cookie jar

Remember your high school science? Chemical reactions occur when particles collide. We all know that. We also know that only a fraction of these collisions can cause a chemical reaction. Increasing the concentration of the reactant particles, scientists argue, leads to more collisions and therefore more successful collisions, ultimately raising the rate of reaction. This Collision Theory, first proposed by German chemist Max Trautz in 1916, is seemingly applicable today in explaining why men who have it all are more likely to lose it all. Fact: successful men meet more women of higher caliber than the average Joe. Fact: women throw themselves at these men like moths to the flame and lemmings to the cliff. Result: more collisions, more chemical reactions. It is that simple.


Modern chemistry explains it all

If an eighth-grader understands this, so do politicians. That's why the sex snare remains the weapon of choice for politicians on the look-out for ways to destroy their opponents. Better still, the smarter the target is, the harder he falls. When the scandal of former chief of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Dominique Strauss-Kahn first broke in May this year, many in France suspected that the hoopla with the hotel maid was but an elaborate set-up to sabotage Strauss-Kahn’s bid for the French presidency. Within a week after his arrest, the disgraced 62-year-old bowed to mounting political pressure and resigned from the IMF. Even after he was cleared of all criminal charges five months later, he threw in the towel and walked away from the presidential race. Whether he was guilty or not, the damage was already done. The trap of infidelity did it again.

Strauss-Kahn arrested by police, convicted by the public

The epic fall of tragic heroes in the likes of Strauss-Kahn is not limited to the West. Here in Hong Kong, there is no shortage of public figures who have rolled the dice in the underworld of adultery and lost. From actor-comedian Jackie Chan to property tycoon Walter Kwok and even our chief executive heir-apparent Henry Tang, these powerful men have been known to keep mistresses, fornicate with movie starlets, impregnate domestic caregivers, and, in the case of one Stanley Ho, did all of the above. In truth, men looking for a booty call in Hong Kong are spoiled for choice, whether it is a guys' night out on Lockhart Road or a day-trip to nearby Macau or Shenzhen. For those who prefer to go off the grid, there is that three-day golf trip to Hainan Island where a visit to the massage parlor gets them much more than a back rub.

Henry Tang mobbed by reporters 

In a city known for materialism, even torrid affairs can’t escape a bit of commercialization. In Hong Kong, money is always part of the equation, even – or perhaps especially – when it comes to love and lust. Just a few weeks ago, a bar hostess was sentenced to seven years in jail for blackmailing a wealthy businessman, referred to as Mr. X by the local press. When their four-month affair ended on a bitter note, the accused demanded a whopping HKD140 million (USD18 million) in “break-up fees” and threatened to murder Mr. X and his family if he didn’t pay up. After the 1987 thriller Fatal Attraction scared the pants off male movie-goers around the world, random men reportedly went up to Glenn Close, who starred as the bunny-killing mistress Alex Forrester, and thanked her for saving their marriage. It looks like Hong Kong has just found its very own Alex Forrester to keep married men in line.

Glen Close in the final scene of Fatal Attraction


Male infidelity is a phenomenon that transcends time and culture. The question of why-men-cheat is a horse that has been beaten to death by psychologists, feminists and day-time talk show hosts. Entire shelves of books have been written about it. Ah yes, women are from Venus and men are, well, just pigs. Biologists tell us that male primates are hunter-gatherers biologically programmed to maximize sexual partners. Female primates, on the other hand, are nurturers who stay in the cave and raise the young. That’s why men and women behave so differently when it comes to sex. But does it excuse us or condemn us? And when the seven year itch creeps up, are men supposed to scratch it or ignore it until it festers into a flesh-eating ulcer? To all of that, America’s leading sex columnist Dan Savage offers yet another perspective and a badly-needed glimmer of hope. The writer urges all of us to re-examine the institution of marriage and stop pretending to be something we are not: monogamous. Couples should be upfront about their sexual needs, Savage argues, and once in a while they should let a bit of air out. That means an occasional stray by either spouse, if handled with honesty and an open mind, can be a good thing. Perhaps the guy has a point. Perhaps marriage is more than strict rules and prohibitions.

John Gray's new book

If all of that sounds a bit radical to you, that’s because it is. So before you rush home tonight and suggest an open relationship to your girlfriend at the dinner table like the characters in the Farrelly brothers’ comedy Hall Pass, you are well advised to take Savage’s advice with a pinch of salt and keep that wishful thinking to yourself. When it comes to the “M” word – be it marriage or monogamy – remember what a wise man once said: freedom comes not from the absence of restraint but the presence of discipline. Or was it a woman who said that?

Wishful thinking in the Farrelly brothers' comedy Hall Pass

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This article previously appeared in the November/December 2011 issue of MANIFESTO magazine under Jason Y. Ng's column "The Urban Confessional."


As printed in MANIFESTO



25 October 2011

Still Work to Be Done 同志仍須努力


This past October 10 marked the centennial anniversary of the Xinhai Revolution (辛亥革命). Exactly a hundred years ago, rebels led a successful uprising against the Qing Court and toppled millennia of imperial rule in China. It was arguably the most pivotal moment in all of Chinese history. But pivotal as it was, the 100th anniversary went by in Hong Kong just like any other day. I asked some of my gweilo friends about it and none of them had heard of Xinhai. Even among the local Chinese, the word was little more than a vapid factoid they once memorized for history class but bears no relevance to their lives. Worse, the anniversary was upstaged by Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who had died just a few days earlier. When it comes to vying for attention, our Founding Fathers, for all the sacrifices they made and all the blood spilled, were no match against a gadget wizard in a black turtleneck.




To set things right, we start with a quick refresher on modern Chinese history. We go back to the turn of the 20th Century, a time when Qing Dynasty was dying a slow death from a double dose of domestic decline and foreign invasions, resulting in a series of humiliating and extremely costly military defeats. Across China, rebels and patriots in the likes of Dr. Sun Yat-sen (孫中山) turned their frustration into action and organized underground militias against the Manchurian establishment. After a dozen failed campaigns in Canton and Sichuan, the revolutionaries recovered and regrouped, and the movement began to gain traction. On October 10, 1911 (the Year of Xinhai under the lunar calendar), while Dr. Sun was still in exile in Denver, Colorado, rebels successfully overran the Qing army in Wuchang (武昌). A few weeks later on Christmas Day, Dr. Sun returned to China and was elected provisional president of the Republic of China. As is the case for all revolutions, toppling the corrupt regime was the easy part, while that far more critical question of “what happens the day after?” loomed large. Surely enough, the fledgling republic quickly plunged into an era of bloody warlord struggles, followed by an even bloodier civil war between the two dominant parties: the Communists and the Kuomintang (KMT). The Reds eventually prevailed and founded the People’s Republic on the Mainland in 1949, sending the KMT fleeing to Taiwan. Although Xinhai was every bit as momentous as the French Revolution and the American War of Independence, it wasn’t nearly as successful in establishing a new, sustainable regime. Ultimately Xinhai failed to deliver what Dr. Sun had intended for the New China: democracy and constitutional reform.



* * *

I spent this past weekend in Taipei, a city where the red-and-blue republic flag still flies high and the portrait of Dr. Sun hangs proudly in every classroom and government office. Taiwan might have been a renegade island in the eyes of communist China, but the country saw its first democratically elected president some 27 years ago and enjoyed decades of political modernization and economic prosperity. The island state is as close as it gets to the kind of republic envisaged by the Founding Fathers, albeit on a much smaller scale. Being in the capital city in October 2011, exactly a century after the birth of the republic, and seeing street signs with such names as Minzu (民族; nationalism), Minquan (民權; democracy) and Minsheng (民生; welfare) – pillars of Dr. Sun’s famous Three Principle of the People (三民主義) political philosophy – ignited a sort of renaissance in me and compelled me to raid the history section of the enormous Eslite Bookstore (誠品書店) with revolutionary fervor. It also inspired a few personal thoughts along the way.



First off, I was struck by how prominently Hong Kong figured during the revolution. Our city, geographically miniscule and historically insignificant, played an indispensible role in everything from fund-raising for firearms to recruitment of new members and harboring fugitives wanted by Qing police. Dr. Sun, a native Cantonese speaker himself, attended the Hong Kong College of Medicine on Hollywood Road and held secret meetings in SoHo and Sheung Wan with fellow revolutionaries. The faraway British colony provided a kind of catalyst for the movement no other Chinese city could provide. I realized that every day I get to walk on the same streets and climb up and down the same slopes once frequented by heroes and martyrs, as Hong Kong took its place in history as the Cradle of Xinhai. It made me very proud.



But my pride for Hong Kong was quickly replaced by a deep sense of bewilderment. On the evening news, I saw all levels of the Mainland government putting on great fanfare to celebrate the centennial anniversary. The city of Wuhan (武漢) alone reportedly spent RMB130 million (USD14 million) to build a brand new museum to commemorate the Wuchang Uprising. Why China would go through all that trouble, when everything that Dr. Sun and the revolution stood for – political reform, civil disobedience and popular uprisings – is precisely what authorities are busy snuffing out today. Perhaps Beijing too recognized the irony and in an attempt to cure the contradiction, they did what any autocrat would have done: rewrite history to suit their need. Overnight, Dr. Sun was rebranded as the avatar of economic growth and social harmony, a cult figure somewhere between Deng Xiao-ping and Confucius. His distinctly Western political values were stripped and handily replaced with the usual Communist refrain. Dr. Sun would have rolled over in his grave. It made me very sad.



Then there is Taiwan, poor Taiwan. 60 years after the KMT’s defeat, the island state is still denied its sovereign status, joining Palestine and Vatican City as countries perennially snubbed by the United Nations. Plans for China and Taiwan to organize joint celebration of the anniversary were scrapped last minute because officials on both sides failed to agree on one simple fact: does the Republic of China still exist today? The Mainlanders argue that the republic died in 1949 when the renegades retreated to Taiwan, while the Taiwanese insist that it is alive and kicking (and hence the initials R.O.C. in the country’s long form name). Both states now claim Dr. Sun to be their founding father and both consider themselves the rightful successors to the Xinhai Revolution. So who is right and who is the schoolyard bully? All we need to do is ask ourselves, were Dr. Sun to be around today, which side of the strait would he have picked to represent his vision of the New China? And the answer is pretty obvious. But just the same, the bully stumps his feet and waves his fist, for reasoned debate is not his thing. And so Taiwan's identity crisis continues. It made me feel very sorry for them.




A lot has happened this October. Muammar Gaddafi, the man who wrote the instruction manual on how to rule with an iron fist, was killed by his subjects emboldened by the Arab Spring. The 69-year-old dictator was captured like a common cur and died the death of a street rat. As history is being written in the Middle East, half way around the world the “Occupy Wall Street” movement against the growing wealth gap in America took the nation by surprise and sparked similar protests in over 900 cities worldwide. In Hong Kong, the “Occupy Central” campaign provided the post-80s generation with a welcome outlet to vent their frustration toward corporatocracy and social injustice. Revolutions are in vogue, and the people’s power is on the rise. In his will, Dr. Sun wrote his famous last words: the revolution has yet to succeed, there’s still work to be done. A century after the day that changed China forever, the twin political goals of democracy and constitutional reform still elude our country. In this global climate ripe with revolutionary zeal, I have a dream that when history calls, Hong Kong will answer it the same way it did a hundred years ago and do us proud once again.



23 September 2011

The Moose, The Gap and the Apple 麋 、溝、蘋

Determined to reclaim Hong Kong from European powers, the Americans are sounding their battle cry and marching into the city to pomp and circumstance. I am not talking about the type of invasion unleashed on Qing China by the Imperial West; I am referring to the almost contemporaneous arrivals of heavyweight American retailers in our city beginning this fall. Abercrombie & Fitch, Gap and the Apple Store are all set to squeeze into the city’s already crowded retail space, promising to shake up our cityscape and transform our shopping routine. The good news is that we no longer need to travel to Tokyo or New York to get our hands on anything with a moose logo. The bad news is, any Joe Blow – make that Joe Ho – in Hong Kong will soon be able to walk into these new stores and walk out with the same pair of jeans you had once begged a co-worker to bring back from the States. Globalism can be such sweet sorrow.



Not since the coming of European apparel giants Zara in 2004 and H&M in 2007 has there been so much buzz about casual wear. Earlier this year, Abercrombie & Fitch (A&F) broke commercial real estate records by agreeing to pay a whopping HK$7 million (US$900,000) per month to rent four floors at the iconic Pedder Building, replacing long-time tenant Shanghai Tang. The store is slated to open early 2012, but A&F’s first foray into the Greater China region has already roused local shoppers into a tizzy. And for good reason. Visiting an A&F store is like walking into the middle of a rave party, where head-bobbing, hip-swaying sales clerks blur the line between runway models and Greek gods; where the good, the bad and the narcissistic succumb to the deafening dance beat and empty their wallets willingly at the under-lit cash registers. During my New York years, I would make regular pilgrimages to the retail temple on Fifth Avenue just to soak up the other-worldly shopping experience. I would buy something, anything, just to get my hands on a shopping bag racier that most soft porn.

But for all its glamour and godliness, A&F has had more than a few brushes with the Asian community. Under the guise of a so-called “Look Policy,” the all-American, lily-white label was accused of workplace discrimination by banishing minority store clerks to non-customer facing tasks. In 2002, a serious lapse in judgment landed A&F in the center of a nationwide controversy, when they put out a t-shirt design featuring Chinese cartoon characters with stereotypical slanted eyes emblazoned with the slogan “Two Wongs Don’t Make It White.” The t-shirts were quickly pulled from the shelves but the damage was done; and the label became a perennial stable for Saturday night sketch comedy on American television. It remains to be seen, however, whether Hong Kong shoppers will be more forgiving and forgetful, and take the label’s checkered past in stride.


Another American household name in casual wear is expected to open in Hong Kong this November. After Queen’s Theatre closed in 2007, Luk Hoi Tung Building (陸海通大廈) in the heart of Central has been boarded up for an overhaul. The redevelopment was barely finished when Gap swooped in and snatched up two floors of retail space. Next to Calvin Klein and across the street from Coach, the new location promises to make the American retail royalty feel right at home.

For half a century, Gap Inc. – which also owns Banana Republic and Old Navy – dominated all segments of the American apparel market. In the U.S., Gap stores are more than just a place for ringed tees and khaki slacks. They are urban oases where citizens take a breather from the daily grind and blow off steam with a healthy dose of retail therapy. Walking on the oak hardwood floor, rummaging through the piles of feel-good fashion designed to hide the imperfect body, and invariably ending up at the discount rack where prices are slashed by up to 60%, can really hit the spot. I still miss those lazy Sunday afternoons browsing in the midtown store on 42nd Street and Broadway the way I would drop in to see an old friend. But my long wait is finally over.

2011 will mark the year when Gap re-enters Hong Kong, after an unsuccessful stint in the 1990s that left the retailer with red ink and injured pride. Vanity sizing might have something to do with Gap’s failure to connect with Hong Kongers, for its catalogue was catered primarily to the ever-expanding waistline in America, callously snubbing the petite Asians and ignoring our insatiable appetite for all things slim-fit. This time around, however, with the influx of Mainland Chinese visitors willing to drop serious dough in exchange for a piece of Americana, Gap’s second act is shaping up to be a big hit, enough to make up for slumping sales back home.



From fashion to nifty gadgets, the American retail invasion knows no bounds. Apple, that lovable maker of all things cool, whose very name is a term of endearment, is scheduled to make an official landfall in Hong Kong at the upscale IFC Mall this month and at the spanking new Hysan Place in Causeway Bay by mid-2012. Because their stores are designed with every bit the same perfectionism that goes into their electronic products, it is not surprising that the bill for the renovation alone is running up to HK$160 million (US$20 million) per store.

For years, Apple products have been the birthday gift de rigueur for all ages, and the Apple Store has become the 21st Century version of the candy store with walls of life-changing gadgets. That’s why every holiday season, shoppers and staff (called “Geniuses” and “Creatives”) pack the flagship store on Fifth Avenue, turning the famous glass cube into a man-trapping fish tank. Today, Apple boasts four locations in Beijing and Shanghai, all of them among the highest grossing stores worldwide. The two new stores in bustling Hong Kong are certain to earn new superlatives by luring local iPhanatics and the growing middle class from nearby Chinese cities. What is uncertain, however, is the fate of those authorized Apple dealers scattered around the city after the real deal comes to town.


The Hong Kong retail market is not for the faint of heart. Savvy and deep-pocketed as these first-rate American retailers are, they will eat humble pie as they come face to face with the city’s twin evils: sky-high rents and rampant piracy. According to a recent survey by CB Richard Ellis, retail rents in Hong Kong rose nearly 50% compared to last year, placing the city in second place -- ahead of Sydney and London -- among the world’s most expensive retail bases. It makes you wonder how many tight-fit Henley sweatshirts and vintage straight-leg chinos they would have to sell to turn a profit. And what happens when greedy landlords jack up the rent in a couple of years?

And that’s not all. These foreign labels, despite their best efforts in brand protection, will bear the full brunt of China’s lax copyright enforcement. With Shenzhen just a 45-minute truck ride away, new designs and the latest innovations can be replicated and distributed in a matter of days, from the products themselves right down to the shopping bags and authenticity cards. Even an entire Apple Store can be cloned, as bloggers exposed one particularly uncanny replica in the Chinese city of Kunming a few weeks ago. All the media fanfare resulting from the store openings in Hong Kong will only rekindle demand for knock-offs and copycats in the region. When that happens, it will bring international attention to one of Hong Kong’s many contradictions: the co-existence of the first world problem of over-valued real property and the third world problem of undermined intellectual property.




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This article previously appeared in the September/October 2011 issue of MANIFESTO magazine.


As printed in MANIFESTO