Saturday, October 12, 2013

The harshest lesson I learned in my almost 6 months of living in Hong Kong is the one of how weak and powerless the media is….

I start with my usual disclaimers: I’m getting to be an old woman, close to have lived a half of a century. Grown up in the highly controlled media environment of the quasi ‘open looking’ -yet closely overseen-by officials  of the ex-YU government.
Following immigration to NZ in my late twenties , I finally  met the ‘truly’ democratic media where all types of mud could be thrown at politicians as long as the big, ‘country feeding corporates’ and the pristine image of  the clean-green country were kept intact.
Manipulation of the different sort.

Again, take note: I’m not naive, not a spring chicken by any means.
By now, I know what allegations one can make, what homework needs to be done before anything gets into print. How hard is to get any media attention unless it is a stupid, harmless subject and a story with no threat of a lawsuit.
Media is a safe business, a mundane churning out of stories where no one gets hurt, let alone truly questioned on integrity or any other ‘difficult’ subject.
 The best stories are when a husband kills his wife in a jealous rage. Or a global celebrity turns up in the local café unexpectedly.

Just don’t mention the war! (Cue John Cleese) ;
Or Gammon, or MTR, or BIM, or the Hong Kong Institute of BIM or CIC or anything that has to do with this difficult subject….

I did try. I had the personal story on offer.
It was not good enough;   a 48 old highly respected, well qualified professional brings her family to Hong Kong. She spends over 300K HK $ to settle, sets up home. She is serious, committed, naive, easy to be fooled into a weak Gammon director’s personal game and kicked out. Too bad. Not good enough for the South China Morning Post’s readership. Too white, too elite, stupid even; She should have known better than fall for that one.

Then, there was the MTR story, a lot to it, hard to explain. Or maybe not that hard, just in need of a bit of focus that so few people seem to be prepared to commit to these days.
 Someone manipulated someone else. The results could have been good for the public had anyone understood what this game was about. But no such luck, one party manipulating another, then another and at the end who cares if the MTR gets its facilities for 3 times the price that otherwise should be getting it when it requires too much maths to understand the subtleties’? 10 dollars for a train drive or 8, who cares?
MTR wins, the game goes on…

Yep, it’s all good. I understand you ….
But then why kid anyone with some ‘feel good stories;? Why tell me, ’we’re different’ we are no mainland China!’… ‘ we have English law, freedom of speech… we are a democracy!’
You sure fooled me on that one! But not for long;

1 comment: