February 17, 2005

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What to wear when visiting Hong Kong

Planning to come to Hong Kong in December? Not sure what to wear? You could follow the constantly good advice over at Spirit Fingers, or you can take mine: flak jackets, gas masks and a thick hide.

Hong Kong will host the World Trade Organisation's gab-fest from December 13th to 18th this year. This means 10,000 politicians, public servants and media will descend upon the Big Lychee. It also means the anti-globalisation crowd are headed this way. Despite wearing their Nikes and Levis, despite being rich enough to be critical of globalisation, despite being patronising in knowing what's best for "the world's poor", the typical ragtag crew will do their best to disrupt the meeting. Ironically the meeting is being held in China, the world's greatest beneficiary of globalisation and a major factor in raising literally millions out of poverty.

If you intend to engage with the protesters, please don't bring logic, facts or rationality. For example check this picture from a small protest in HK yesterday.

From the SCMP: Taxing tactics: A passer-by watches protesters from the United Filipinos in Hong Kong as they denounce moves by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to raise value-added tax by 20 per cent. Rallying at the Philippine consulate-general in Admiralty, the group branded the Philippine president a "reverse Robin Hood for stealing from the poor and giving to the rich".


The sign on the left reads "Globalization = Low Wages and Taxation". I would have thought low taxes were a good thing, especially if wages were low. Does it not strike the young lady holding the "No to Neoliberal Globalization" sign that she is actually a beneficiary of globalisation by her being and working in Hong Kong? And what the hell does "neoliberal globalization" mean anyway? Are there different political types of globalisation.

Oh, I forgot. I tried to use reason to understand. We should all retreat to our native lands and barricade ourselves against the evils of the rest of the world. Although that could cost the Philippines quite a bit: overseas remittances were US$8.5 billion last year, or 10% of GDP.

If you don't want to enjoy the many benefits of globalisaiton, that's up to you. But don't foist your idiotic views on the rest of us.

Update: From Hemlock:

A PHONE conversation with Morris, the greatest living Scotsman in the Hong Kong Police. I ask him about the space-age crowd control materiel Asia’s finest are acquiring ahead of the World Trade Organization’s ministerial conference next December. “Oh aye,” he replies. “We’re tooling up big time. The first anti-globalization protestor to step over the line gets it – Pooof!” So what’s the story behind the rubber bullets? “Och – forget ‘rubber’. We call them baton rounds. They’re made of depleted uranium. The first hairy European anarchist with an Arab scarf and a ‘save the whales’ T-shirt to stick his ugly head over the barricade – Zap! Don’t mess with the HKP, Jimmy! And we got tons of tear gas, too.” I wonder aloud whether it might be better to give the protestors economics lessons. Morris considers this. “Erm…” I hear him scratch his head. “No,” he concludes. “Tear gas.” Fine. We’re in capable hands. There are times when it’s a privilege to pay tax in this town.

posted by Simon on 02.17.05 at 09:44 AM in the WTO category.


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Tracked: February 17, 2005 02:18 PM


Am I wrong, or is the gentleman on the right in that picture looking at the protestors with roughly as much respect for their views as you have? Because I'm with him.

posted by: ilyka on 02.17.05 at 11:25 AM [permalink]

Or has he been caught having a p1ss?

posted by: shaky on 02.17.05 at 11:46 AM [permalink]

I thought he was looking at the press with disgust actually.

posted by: Mia on 02.17.05 at 05:48 PM [permalink]

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