Anniversary celebrations look set to fizzle rather than sizzle

PUBLISHED : Monday, 16 April, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 16 April, 2007, 12:00am

I share John Shanahan's frustration concerning the celebrations for the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region ('Marks out of ten', April 7).

Hongkongers deserve better, but unfortunately they will only get the celebratory events that sponsors are willing to pay for.

Mr Shanahan may take a small amount of consolation from the fact that some of us worked long and very hard in preparation for a more exciting event - the SAR's 10th Anniversary Everest Expedition - which had to be abandoned after 50 of Hong Kong's largest banks and other corporations that we approached were unwilling to provide sponsorship.

Admittedly, it is much easier to foot the bill for a 100-metre egg-and-spoon race than a US$69,000 mountaineering expedition, especially if one's company has already been generous in supporting many other events. But, in reality, the US$69,000 sponsorship is just a drop in a large ocean for most of these companies.

It was especially difficult for me to end the project last November, having already climbed six of seven summits for charity and for Asia's 'world city', which I happily funded myself.

Seeing the Hong Kong flag flying on Mount Everest for the handover anniversary would have meant something to the ordinary folk of Hong Kong, but sadly that opportunity has now been lost. But there is still time to pull off something special for the handover anniversary.

Perhaps there is a chairman or chief executive officer reading this who might be spurred into donating a similar sum for an impressive event - preferably not related to the raising of flags or the setting off of fireworks over the harbour. Or perhaps some imaginative senior person in our government could pull some strings with the mainland's space programme to arrange for the city's flag to be sent into space.

Hong Kong is not short of money. It seems that the only thing missing in the city is the determination to make something really special happen.

Mark Duncan, Tung Chung