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August 19, 2005
Hello Kitty riots
Don't get between Hong Kongers and the latest Hello Kitty toy. That's the moral of today's sordid tale from the SCMP:
The opening of an art exhibition of Japan's most famous cartoon character degenerated into farce at the Arts Centre yesterday as more than 1,000 outraged fans complained about unfair arrangements preventing them from getting a limited edition Hello Kitty toy. After hours of heated discussion, manufacturers Sanrio Hong Kong vowed to produce another set of the toys to calm the crowd.Asia has seen this kind of thing before, for example via McDonald's in both Singapore and Hong Kong. It will always remain a mystery to me why Hello Kitty holds such appeal, why it drives people to such desperate measures. No doubt there's a sociologist or two researching the phenomena.
But let's not miss the bigger issue here. An art exhibition for a mouthless cat, a cartoon character? I'd rather see a Disney based exhibition to help promote Hong Kong's majority interest in HK Disneyland. Japan might have the Hello Kitty bus. We've got the world's only Mickey Mouse train.posted by Simon on 08.19.05 at 09:33 AM in the Hong Kong people category.
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more evil from sanrio
Excerpt: Hong Kongers remain under the spell of the mouthless one from Sanrio. Simon cites an SCMP item on a promotional event that went sour.:The opening of an art exhibition of Japan's most famous cartoon character degenerated into farce at the
Tracked: August 19, 2005 09:44 PM
More interesting for me is whether it's a free hat or a free fake mahjong set, people herd and riot to get one. I think that this kind of thing in other countries doesn't produce such mass behaviour, in this way.
Is it a culture thing to have what other people have?
A reflection of desperate materialism?
Doug, I can feel an article coming on... interview a sociologist, a pschycologist, fill in with background, add this in for topicality....it's ready made!posted by: Simon on 08.19.05 at 11:06 AM [permalink]
They just had a riot like this is Henrico County, VA because they were selling used iBooks for $50. In both cases, the price is simply way too low. Raise the price. People will still bitch but they won't waste their whole day.posted by: Matt on 08.19.05 at 11:54 AM [permalink]
And I bet you a good number of those disgruntled fans were boys as well! Weirdos.posted by: Fabian on 08.19.05 at 11:59 AM [permalink]
Matt, you'll find demand for Hello Kitty toys is relatively inelastic.
Fabian - there was a photo in the paper to back up your theory.posted by: Simon on 08.19.05 at 12:00 PM [permalink]
It seems that the Japanese have no worries on the 60th anniversary of Rising Sun imperialism front, if such is the cultural influence of Japanese iconography... if you go to Singapore any time soon, by the way, check out the temporary exhibit of the Singapore History Museum at Riverside Point. Not only do they have a compelling exhibit about the history of the Singapore River, and a retrospective of Singapore Airlines' 'Singapore Girl' ads, but they've also got a huge private collection on display of Hello Kitty Memorabilia by one particular lady. Interesting, but also creepy - I will never forget the murdered woman here in Hong Kong who was skull, I believe, was stuffed into a life-sized Hello Kitty doll...posted by: HK Dave on 08.19.05 at 12:04 PM [permalink]
Simon said: Matt, you'll find demand for Hello Kitty toys is relatively inelastic.
posted by: Matt on 08.20.05 at 12:25 AM [permalink]
I have been in HK for close to 12 years and the sort of stuff i have seen around here still amazes me. Simon mentioned the mcdonald snoopy farce a few years back, that was incredible, ques stretching blocks around all mc'd in town, riots, fights, people sleeping in the streets and camping on sidewalks and even riot police deployed!!