For those who are depressed and anxious about the growing number of much publicised problems in this once great city, I offer a panacea.

Take a short flight to the self-publicised "perfect modern Asian city" and relax. It is an urban democratic utopia inhabited by affluent citizens, full of praise for their government. Admire the gleaming high-rises and walk in complete safety along immaculate streets free of litter, hawkers or illegally parked cars. Feel liberated from noisy delivery trucks and enjoy being shaded by towering trees. Visit heritage buildings lovingly restored and breathe in the fresh air in public parks meticulously maintained by efficient officials in smart uniforms.

Here, there are no drunks, no drugs, no dog poo - because there are no dogs - no demonstrations (that are tolerated, anyway), no old folks pushing rusty trolleys full of cardboard and no locals burning offerings for some ancient and obscure religious festival. No beggars, no buskers, no graffiti and, perhaps most famously of all, no chewing gum.

As the faint but deathly sterile odour of complacency hangs in the air, spend a few moments pondering: why does it feel like something is missing?

What you're feeling is the desire for something, anything, which is even remotely alternative, authentic, original or even imperfect. But before you go crazy seeking out the diverse, the colourful, the cultural, the noisy, the creative, the spiritual or even the cynical … get yourself to the airport.

Thankfully, it's only four hours by plane back to the real city, where you belong.