A bureaucratic sense of humour, with local characteristics

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 11 August, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 11 August, 2007, 12:00am

Billy Lam Chung-lun, managing director of the Urban Renewal Authority, may often be on the defensive as Hongkongers become heritage lovers but it seems he's still got a healthy sense of humour.

Post cartoonist Harry Harrison did a devilish take on the redevelopment of Graham Street last month with a cartoon featuring a fishmonger saying the area would be 'redeveloped into a market with local characteristics' - to which a besuited woman replied, 'oh goody ... I adore Armani and souvenir tea shops'. Mr Lam replied to Harry on official URA letterhead that he would be presenting each staff member with a version of the cartoon, coloured in by himself.

The chief mused that the juxtaposition of the fish monger and the Armani lady was 'a realistic representation of the polarity of opinion and expectations of the residents and shop owners of the redevelopment area - a very deep chasm which my staff and I are working hard to bridge'.

Mr Lam even asked for Harry's autograph on his copy, prior to lamination. When asked what he would say in gracious reply, Harry quipped: 'Something about him adding his own brand of local colour' to the area.