Unlike our tycoons, Douglas Young knows the difference between price and value
with Alex Lo
Our self-serving elite say Hong Kong people have become anti-rich. Actually, we are just tired of having the wool pulled over our eyes by the tycoons, their cronies and a subservient media. We are perfectly capable of recognising business brilliance such as that of deserving people like Douglas Young, co-founder and boss of lifestyle chain G.O.D.; individuals whose very success has contributed to society instead of ripping us off.
So I was most pleasantly surprised by this personal communication from Young (pictured). He was responding to my account last week of how he managed to dig up for his friend, broadcaster Robert Chua Wah-peng, the only vinyl record that was ever produced for TVB's Enjoy Yourself Tonight in 1968.
Young said: 'I am from a generation that was brought up with Robert's work. TV was everything for us kids in the '70s and '80s. Sometime in the 1980s, the bean-counters at the TV station wanted to save costs. They recognised one of the potential areas of saving was in their huge archive of video tapes. At the time, the cassettes were very expensive to replenish, so they decided to re-record on the existing stock. Within a short period, decades of old programmes were literally wiped out. There was little Robert could have done to save his work. He recognised that the value of the tapes is not in the price of the cassettes, but in the content itself.
'This disaster was endemic of the Hong Kong situation with regards to our cultural heritage. It's the classic obsession with price and forsaking value. Take, for example, the now demolished Star Ferry and Queen's Pier. The price of the land can be ascertained, but what about its value to our community's collective psyche? Surely, if Hong Kong is to develop into a cultural hub, it is time we realise the need to define our unique identity. This we do with the help of objects that are both physical and non-material. In our quest to build new monuments to showcase our achievements, let us not forget that it is the content that is the primary source of interest.'
And guess who are demolishing our common heritage - with active encouragement from the government - to make way for more tedious malls and humongous high-rises?