Where's the fun to keep Hongkongers at home?
Do you get the feeling that we are missing something this weekend? It cannot be that we have forgotten that tomorrow is the 10th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to China. You would have to be living somewhere else to be unaware of that. It has generated enough publicity to launch a big-budget Hollywood movie.
But there is something missing nonetheless. Handover day is just not looking like good box office. Why else would a lot of people be leaving town? That is what many Hongkongers do on a holiday weekend when there is nothing to keep them here. They take off for somewhere else for a change of scene and a break from the treadmill.
Because handover day, July 1, falls this year on a Sunday, we get to take the public holiday on Monday, creating the long weekend. But tomorrow is supposed to be our day of days. The government and other organisations have organised hundreds of activities to mark it.
For all their efforts, however, they have been unable to create the magic of a carnival atmosphere that the day deserves. The reliable old family favourite of fireworks and the true believers' choice of a pro-democracy march or pro-Beijing activities just don't make the grade. The fireworks organisers can rely on the usual crowd because, well, it is a fun thing to do with the kids. But in the absence of an issue to galvanise supporters into taking to the streets, the democracy and patriotism organisers are not holding their breaths for big turnouts. Most of us are not politically inclined. We just want a good holiday.
July 1 is a special day for Hong Kong that ranks in its own way with the national day of the sovereign power with which it was reunited 10 years ago tomorrow.
It cries out to be transformed into a joyous celebration of the uniqueness that sets Hong Kong apart. The government should be thinking outside the box to make it so. It needs some big-picture imagination. What about, for example, a rock concert at the West Kowloon reclamation, or transforming the Central-Wan Chai waterfront into a street carnival?
Let's make the 11th anniversary celebration and every one after that a day to remember, not one on which to entertain ourselves.