July 07, 2006

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Gweilos in their Paddies

Have any of you seen this ridiculous ad being shown on English-language TV: "Stop illegal cultivation" because illegal cultivation erodes hillside slopes.

While this is a perfectly valid message, the fact that government funds were being spent on English language television ads is ridiculous. I can't imagine the 2% of English speakers are major culprits in the illegal cultivation racket.

Are we talking about Lamma Island hippies growing their weed on hiking trails?

posted by HK Dave on 07.07.06 at 12:29 PM in the Hong Kong people category.


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I am growing some very fine oregano and basil on a plot in front of my flat on Lamma, I'll have you know! Very tasty too!

posted by: HKMacs on 07.07.06 at 01:08 PM [permalink]

Some strict rules and laws must be passed against the ones destroying the god's most beautiful creation, Nature. Not only theft and decoits, but illegal cultivation is also an offence, and a severe punishment for the violators is must.

posted by: ernestevans on 07.07.06 at 07:23 PM [permalink]

Conversely, legal development has absolutely *no* effect on hillsides. Nor does setting fire to the vegetation.

posted by: Argleblaster on 07.07.06 at 09:52 PM [permalink]

But if you're to criticise the government for effectively carrying through the bi-lingual requirements to serve a 2% minority on financial grounds, then the truly logical step would be to stop forcing over-the-air for-profit TV broadcasters to do English-language broadcasting altogether.

posted by: Tom - Daai Tou Laam on 07.07.06 at 11:21 PM [permalink]

Might it be the case that this ad is being run more to impress English speakers than to bring them into line?

posted by: China Law Blog on 07.08.06 at 07:02 AM [permalink]

It just seems rather unnecessary to remind Hong Kong's english-speakers about the evils of illegal cultivation and how it can cause landslides in wet weather. Surely some sort of litmus test can be applied (if not a common-sense one); if there have been no instances of English speakers infringing on one of these vices that the government wants to educate the public about (e.g. illegal hawking, wearing protective ear-guards when using jackhammers), just don't bother with the english version.

I think the matter of having English language TV is a different matter altogether. It serves an educational purpose for the other 98%, especially during the day when it broadcasts programming clearly meant for ESL students. Also, most prime-time programming is in NICAM and is therefore available on Pearl and World in Cantonese anyway...a small price to pay for ATV and TVB for their duopoly.

posted by: HK Dave on 07.08.06 at 10:23 AM [permalink]

My favorite English language HK TV public service ad is the one that warns us not to set the hillsides ablaze when we're honoring our ancestors.
This idiocy isn't just confined to Hong Kong or English, however. While on the Shenzhen MTR this weekend, my girlfriend noted two nw Chinese language anti-corruption posters aimed at government officials.
As she put it: "Who are those for? No Shenzhen government official would be caught dead riding the MTR."

posted by: Justin on 07.10.06 at 12:29 PM [permalink]

That's very good, Justin, very good!

posted by: HK Dave on 07.10.06 at 12:35 PM [permalink]

I recall seeing a poster in English on the KCR once telling me not to spit or throw up on the train. A Cantonese colleague suggested that they should have just written it in simplified Chinese and left it at that.

posted by: Hugh on 07.10.06 at 02:04 PM [permalink]

Then there are also the moldering English language posters at the Lok Mah Chau border warning people like me not to smuggle dead chickens into Hong Kong.
The photo alone is priceless. A smiling, chubby customs dork triumphantly holding up a plucked purple-black chicken carcass by the neck which he's seized unwrapped from suddenly shamed Elder Auntie's otherwise packed-with-clothes suitcase.

posted by: Justin on 07.10.06 at 03:04 PM [permalink]

My Cantonese in-laws and their relatives love trying to take all manner of Chinese "specialities" back home to Australia through customs. They see it as a challenge with no downside. They are well practised in their "What, we can't bring foetid eggs and thousand year bean curd back into Australia? Ah, we never knew!" act. I think Australian customs has a specially trained Chinese foods beagle squad for when flights from Hong Kong arrive.

posted by: Hugh on 07.10.06 at 04:56 PM [permalink]

"It is not my business to pass judgment on these government departments and their laws..."

That's ridiculous. Every time we make laws and we are its biggest violators.

posted by: vincentdamon on 07.11.06 at 01:38 PM [permalink]

I think that illegal cultivation is nothing but another way to encroach the land and destroying the mother nature. One has to be careful while doing this otherwise that can lead to problems!

posted by: Robby Thompson on 07.12.06 at 12:58 PM [permalink]

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