Money too dirty for next-gen HK shops

Central Station | Nury Vittachi 12 Oct 2020

"Money? Ewww, no thank you!" Can you imagine Hong Kong businesses saying that?

It's happening. The city's tourism board is creating a network of super-clean shops - and are telling shopkeepers to discourage the use of actual money to favor contactless payments only.

Subtext: "We want your cash but don't want to touch your filthy fingers, you slimy touroid."

I think they should just have an electronic doorway in ParknShop that empties shoppers' bank accounts the moment we enter the store. Saves time all round.

* * *

No surprise to see the Ha Ha Bar and Restaurant in Causeway Bay had its shutters down. Running a bar in the Covid era is no laughing matter.

* * *

Customs officers caught more "dad bod" smugglers in recent days, all males between 32 and 64. The truck drivers waddle around as if they have chubby tummies, though they're really wearing special jeans that hold multiple gold bars around the waistline. One guy last week had 12 kilograms of metal around his middle, which is how I feel after eating a quarter of a traditional mooncake.

* * *

Opposition politicians want to halt plans to let Hong Kong people vote from outside the city.

This is odd, because voting from a distance is a pro-democracy trend which started in the UK 100 years ago and has spread around the world.

The opposition's worry is that the 600,000-plus Hongkongers living on the mainland know that China isn't the nightmare hellhole they paint it as.

* * *

Some of the 30,000 Hong Kong people who usually enter America's annual green card lottery every year are likely furious with pan-dem politicians, who flew to the US to demand sanctions on this city. As a direct result, America has banned all Hongkongers from the lottery. Maybe people wanting to leave can go to an immigration consultant instead and send the bill to the politicians.

* * *

Continuing our series on the randomness of building names in Hong Kong, we see that New World Development's fancy new construction in Tai Wai is called "Pavilia Farm." I have no idea how a set of massive residential towers can be a farm, but what do I know?

* * *

Incidentally, it's hard to tell how tall Hong Kong buildings are these days. For example, Pavila Farm's brochure reveals that the top floor is numbered 48, but unlucky floors 13, 14, 24, 34, and 44 are missing, there are at least four uncounted levels of floors below ground, plus there's "the roof, the upper roof and the top roof."

* * *

Workers from China are digging foundations at a site on Lantau, pledging to complete an entire 800-bed hospital for Hong Kong in just 16 weeks, of which they have already had three. Given that they built one in Wuhan in just 10 days, this must seem like a holiday for them.

* * *

A Hong Kong Twitter user called Nigel has been experimenting with VPNs. "When I use a UK IP address I get a lot of adverts for crisps and snacks," he said. "But a US one gives me adverts for body armor and a four week supply of emergency rations."

* * *

My friend had a Covid scare because she couldn't taste a thing. Luckily it turned out that she was eating at one of those vegetarian tofu restaurants.

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