December 12, 2005

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Living with the WTO

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My office is about 1 kilometre from the Wan Chai Convention Centre, where this week's WTO meeting is being held. Here's some observations of what life is like at the moment:

* Security is incredibly tight. Our office building foyer is swarming with security staff, who have established a single checkpoint for staff and a seperate one for visitors. Lunchtime was chaos, with multitudes of deliveries going cold as delivery people registered. Each elevator has a security guard in it, an impressive feat in a building with 8 banks of 4 lifts each. Then there's the regular patrols of security throughout the building.
* On top of that, half our staff have been moved to the contingency/backup site, just in case, to allow the smooth functioning of operations. And we had a full fire drill late last week as a pre-WTO test.
* The Coke machine won't be refilled all week.
* On the streets of Central I counted 5 sets of police patrols in the space of 10 minutes this afternoon.
* The b@st@rds at the Cheung Kong Centre have closed the small park behind their building, forcing everyone up and down Battery Path instead, and 8 guards were protecting the blocked off park. Why? Are trees anti-WTO?
* The Christmas marketplace in Chater Square is going strong.
* Many schools are closing tomorrow, including JC's - even though it's in Aberdeen, on the other side of the island. Don't ask me why.
* While yesterday was a glorious, clear and warm sunny day, today is grey, overcast and cold. This anti-WTO mob brought the gloomy weather to suit their gloomy mood.
* Hosting this thing is costing Hong Kong north of HK$150 million. There's they typical newspaper blather of what a waste and why would anyone want to hold such a meeting. Don't believe it - Hong Kong's loving this. It gives us a precursor to life when the PLA leave the barracks to suppress the pro-democracy movement.
* Here's an idea of security around the convention centre.

Feel free to add your own observations.

posted by Simon on 12.12.05 at 04:23 PM in the WTO category.


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At HKUST they sent us a series of guidelines for the week which include: Avoid the MTR and all public transit, avoid TST, avoid Wanchai, avoid Starbycks, avoid driving on roads (walk instead), avoid Victoria Park, and finally if you didn't get the point "STAY HOME".

posted by: Beau on 12.12.05 at 04:37 PM [permalink]

So where is your building getting all these extra security guards from? Have they always had a surplus? If so, where do they keep them when there isn't a WTO conference in the area?

Or have they perhaps hired in extra security staff for the occasion, maybe on temporary contracts, possibly without full knowledge of their background ...

posted by: Argleblaster on 12.12.05 at 05:21 PM [permalink]

I hope the former but fear the latter. The Ghurkas are all right, but who can tell which of the others are fifth columnists?

posted by: Simon on 12.12.05 at 05:38 PM [permalink]

You better hope none of them are wearing the stolen security uniforms.

posted by: flagrent on 12.12.05 at 08:28 PM [permalink]

what a laugh. i'm sad i'm missing it. fortunately your compatriots here in sydney have organised a few riots to make those of us who unfortunately missed the WTO meetings by a few weeks feel like we're still in hk but somehow it's not quite the same.

posted by: giles on 12.13.05 at 09:14 AM [permalink]

"North of" HK$150 million. You should be shot for writing that.

posted by: fumier on 12.13.05 at 09:38 AM [permalink]

Why, Fumie? Sure in Singapore I could be hung, but shot?

posted by: Simon on 12.13.05 at 09:40 AM [permalink]

Writing "north of" (or "south of"), followed by a figure, should be extraditable, _from_ anywhere and _to_ anywhere. There should be international courts for that sort of thing. On reflection, shooting's too good.

posted by: fumier on 12.13.05 at 09:57 AM [permalink]

It's acceptable useage. Would you prefer "upwards of" instead? Perhaps I should revert to using "thee" and "hither" as well? Ye Olde English etc. etc.?

posted by: Simon on 12.13.05 at 10:02 AM [permalink]

It's about as acceptable as writing "useage" instead of "usage", although it is probably acceptable in the banking world.

I think what we have here is a disconnect on our front end deliverables which, if we ask the right question, we can get clarity around so we can pull the right levers on the roadmap and slam-dunk our way to nirvana and/or granularity, with a clear steer to the low-lying fruit.

Or, how about "more than"?

posted by: fumier on 12.13.05 at 10:38 AM [permalink]

Can I circle back on this once I've got my core key deliverables in order?

I'm sure you can find a Korean peasant or two who'd be interested in all this.

posted by: Simon on 12.13.05 at 10:41 AM [permalink]

I'm doing my bit for the Korean peasants by eating McDonalds's Korean beef flatbread meals.

posted by: fumier on 12.13.05 at 12:47 PM [permalink]

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