Good health and a wage rise on wish list for 2012
Maybe it was the chilly weather, or perhaps a collective sigh of relief at an economically challenging year coming to an end, but Hongkongers last night turned to the comfort of their loved ones to ring in the New Year.
Tammy Chan, a 20-year-old clerk, soaked up the atmosphere with friends at Times Square in Causeway Bay. She was optimistic about 2012 for Hong Kong.
'I hope the new chief executive will really help Hongkongers, especially the poor. The government can do more than HK$6,000 giveaways,' she said. 'The city is rife with illnesses like the bird flu, so I hope it will go away in the new year so we can all enjoy good health.'
As for herself, Chan wished for a clean bill of health, and a pay rise at work. In fact, a wage rise was the most popular New Year's wish of merrymakers in Times Square, many having grown tired of climbing inflation.
One 23-year-old engineer, aside from wanting good health, said: 'My biggest New Year's wish is a raise.'
By early evening, the city seemed to be swarming with more hand-holding lovebirds than usual, all beaming and excited to share a midnight kiss.
Kanika, 24, was on her way home with her family to celebrate. She thought long and hard when asked what would be her New Year's wish, until her mother whispered in her ear that maybe a boyfriend would be a good wish, and she agreed with a chuckle.
The roof of the IFC Mall in Central was a popular spot last night for those trying to catch the midnight fireworks and to enjoy the spectacle over the harbour. The Tsim Sha Tsui promenade was chock-full of people hours before midnight.
The New Year fireworks show was under a cloud when property giants Sun Hung Kai Properties and Henderson Land pulled their sponsorship for the event, leaving taxpayers to foot the bill.
But the Jockey Club then stepped in at the last minute with a HK$15 million donation.