Hong Kong Hotspot: A Comedy of Celebrities

 

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WITH THE RECENT G20 and APEC summits, I take a brief glance at politics again. As I’ve explored before, political debate is front and centre in Hong Kong society, and it’s natural that satire plays a part.

My friends and I came across this mural in Yau Ma Tei, near the end of the Ladies’ Market. The Ladies’ Market is, in many ways, a comedy on its own – but that’s for another post. I’m assuming that this joint is, by the writing and the picture, a place to gamble – which is ironic, considering that it’s technically illegal in Hong Kong besides specific establishments like the Jockey Club’s Happy Valley. But it is definitely and undoubtedly a playground for the wealthy inside.

Particularly interesting about this mural is how many boxes it ticks. Gaudy? Yes. Clever? That too. Two words I’d rarely put together. Which, in some ways, defines Yau Ma Tei. The lower end of Kowloon approaching the harbour is where the real estate surely gets steeper – but at the same time, the institutions such as the Ladies’ Market sure give it a feeling of kitsch and tongue-in-cheek character. After all, you’d never find a mural like this in the bland and classy architecture of Admiralty or Central.

In the meantime, we couldn’t agree on who some of these people were. While some were obvious, we couldn’t figure out whether the ghost of Stalin or Saddam was haunting the table. But go ahead, see how many you can spot.

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