Hong Kong T-shirt crisis really hits home

Central Station | Nury Vittachi 19 Aug 2019

So there we were, discussing the T-shirt crisis.

Many international brands (Coach, Givenchy, Calvin Klein, Swarovski, Versace, Samsung, etc) used the name "Hong Kong" on T-shirts or other products as if it was an independent place, without mentioning that it is part of China.

Millions of Chinese netizens are upset and corporations are groveling.

How could they make such a mistake?

More easily than one might think.

At that point, I noticed that my son was wearing his Ed Sheeran World Tour T-shirt, purchased this year at Hong Kong Disneyland for a large chunk of this writer's life savings.

"Just turn around for a second," I said.

And there on his back (pictured) was yet another example!

The cities on Ed's tour have countries mentioned, but next to "Hong Kong," the word "China" is missing.

I told my son that if he finds himself wearing his Ed Sheeran t-shirt in mainland China, he should slip it off and "keep it/inside the pocket of your/ripped jeans."

* * *

A reader who witnessed the brick-hurling in Mong Kok on Saturday was handed a leaflet of demands as he ran to safety. "They are literally rioting to protest against being defined as rioters," he said, amazed. "You can't make this stuff up."

* * *

It was no surprise that protesters, who have a strong anti-China streak, chose to focus on To Kwa Wan on Saturday: that's the district where mainland tourists like to disembark.

Blasted tourists! They come here and support our retailers and pump billions of dollars into our economy. It's disgusting. We won't stand for it any more!

* * *

Protesters tried to cause an economic crisis in Hong Kong by calling on everyone to withdraw all their money in cash this weekend.

"It was a cunning plan," said a banker named Chiu who works at the ICC building in West Kowloon. "Except for the fact that they tried to do it by ATM, as if all the cash machines were connected by tubes to a huge underground bunker where all Hong Kong's money was kept."

* * *

This writer is baffled as to how the idiotic Western media can continue to believe that protesters, who are openly trying to destroy Hong Kong's economy, can somehow represent all or even most of the Hong Kong people.

* * *

They're succeeding, too. Nervous insurance firms are canceling policies covering multinational staff based in Hong Kong, I hear from the corridors of Central skyscrapers.

Meanwhile, the world's richest money management firm, BlackRock, has postponed a wealth conference due to be held in Hong Kong in September. It would have pulled in the planet's top money managers and 100 mega-rich clients.

That's a shame.

When those guys are in town, it's worth hanging around the fancy hotels in a suit for the moments they shower everyone in the vicinity with US$100 (HK$780) tips.

* * *

The protests are causing nightmares at Invest Hong Kong, the team charged with enticing corporations to this city.

When British rule ended in 1997, an impressive 744 multinationals had chosen Hong Kong for their regional headquarters.

Post-colonial Hongkongers managed to raise that number to 1,333.

Oh well, it was nice while it lasted.

* * *

If you open your window to the south you can actually hear Singaporeans gloating:

"Alamak! You foreigner come-come plenty office many Starbuck no riot okay-lah."

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