That duck - don’t pretend you don’t know the one I’m talking about - is the talk of the town.
Hong Kong has never had trouble dreaming up new and varied ways to stay in the spotlight and this month it’s hit on a bird theme: ‘duck’. Not ‘roast duck’ or ‘Peking duck’ or ‘duck a l’orange’ but more rubber duck. A giant rubber duck has made its temporary home in the harbour at Tsim Sha Tsui near Harbour City, one of Kowloon’s biggest shopping malls.
Hong Kong has also never been slow to capitalise on a good idea, and businesses are cashing in.
The giant rubber duck may remind some readers of bathtime as a child, but has inspired others to post photos of curried duck and circulate them online. It’s inspired other bloggers to share their favourite duck recipes, while some restaurants are adding curried duck to their menus.
Some local restaurants alongside Victoria Harbour are also offering so-called “duck view” tables where you can dine in style, and watch the huge synthetic bird floating.
It’s not just about food. Swarovski, better known for crystal jewellery and accessories, is also jumping in on the action.
The luxury label is selling a yellow duck resembling a life guard, exclusively at Harbour City, which sponsored the Hong Kong leg of the 16.5 metre high art installation created by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman.
If Swarovski is too rich for your budget, cheaper options are available. I bought a duck-shape candy box in Tsim Sha Tsui where duck-shaped products abound -- mobile phone docks and even the classic soap and shampoo bottle some may remember from their childhood.
The Hong Kong government has been worried about how to boost local spending for some years, and apparently this yellow duck is doing its bit for the local economy. It’s also helping to attract the tourist dollar.
In local travel forums online in Shanghai and Beijing, commentaries abound on how to organise a so-called “duck view group trip” before the show finishes in early June in Hong Kong. Travellers come to see the duck, but have to spend money at local hotels and shops.
Travel agencies have already identified the unique business opportunity that the duck offers. One local travel company provided a one-day package for travellers to ride a ferry for a closer look at the duck. Reportedly these trips are so popular that the company has had to set up a waiting list.
Personally, I love this yellow duck. It’s visiting Hong Kong at a time when the only other avian news hitting the headlines centred on the latest bird flu outbreak. Unlike H7N9, this duck can teach us something very simple: just it doesn’t hurt to just take it easy and smile once in a while.
Life’s not that bad, is it?
George Chen is the Post's financial services editor. Like the Mr. Shangkong column about Shanghai and Hong Kong? Visit facebook.com/mrshangkong