Time to stop the official fun and games in Hong Kong

The less than enthusiastic reaction from the government and sports chiefs to the city winning the Gay Games shows they should worry less about their own morality

PUBLISHED : Friday, 03 November, 2017, 1:01am
UPDATED : Friday, 03 November, 2017, 1:01am

Hong Kong has a rare opportunity to showcase our being socially progressive – and make a few bucks along the way.

The city has successfully fought off rivals Washington and Guadalajara, Mexico, to host the Gay Games in 2022. Our bid organisers are to be congratulated for their efforts, not only by the local gay community, but the whole city.

Alas, the official reactions have been less than enthusiastic. Not a word of congratulations from our sports chiefs such as Timothy Fok Tsun-ting and his son, Kenneth Fok Kai-kong. When asked for her response, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor merely said she had “noted” the event.

Come on, Carrie, we are not talking about legalising same-sex marriage, just promoting an international sporting event.

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It will be a boost to tourism; the so-called pink dollar is nothing to sneer at. But it will also be good for the image of the government. Jean Paul Gaultier, the fashion icon, has promised to come to show support, and have a fun time.

Hong Kong, rather unjustly, has been cast in a bad light by some segments of the world press because of the failure of democratic reforms, and our divisive politics. Hosting the event and officially embracing it will show the city is tolerant, progressive – and complicated, not to be easily categorised or dismissed as politically or socially backward.

No Asian city has hosted the Gay Games since they started in 1982.

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To be fair, the event is not devoid of official support. The Tourism Board has pledged to promote it.

The Equal Opportunities Commission also supported the bid, but then it would have to, wouldn’t it?

For its own good, the government should show greater interest and support. But that’s not likely. There are just too many conservative Christians in the top echelon, up to Lam herself.

The Immigration Department, foolishly, has decided to go to the top court to appeal against a landmark ruling regarding its refusal to grant a dependant visa to the spouse of a lesbian expatriate even though they were legally married overseas. Again, we are not talking about recognising same-sex unions, but allowing the one to join the other in Hong Kong.

Perhaps our officials need to think more about politics and worry less about their own morality and religion.