Outsider looking in has it right about Hong Kong

An Arab-Israeli travel video blogger has been criticised for praising the MTR and the city’s recovery after Mangkhut, but his warning about the crazy property market is correct

PUBLISHED : Monday, 08 October, 2018, 7:25pm
UPDATED : Monday, 08 October, 2018, 10:18pm

Most cities like to be praised and admired by foreigners; not ours, though. Many of us are xenophiles, but only if we can get outsiders to join us and dis our city. Talk about cutting off the nose (Hong Kong) to spite the face (China).

So woe to any outsiders who might show appreciation. Even Nuseir Yassin, a popular Arab-Israeli travel video blogger who creates daily clips about cities and places around the world, can’t escape derision for saying nice things about the MTR. His Nas Daily has more than 7.5 million followers on Facebook.

In one clip, he calls the MTR the best in the world, for being clean, efficient and on time, and even having free Wi-fi and air conditioning.

He is amazed that there are glass shields on platforms to prevent people falling on tracks. In another clip, he praises Hong Kong for recovering so quickly from Typhoon Mangkhut.

What he says is true, up to a point. You would only think the worst of the MTR if you live in Hong Kong and have never experienced the subway services of other cities. And after what began as a super typhoon, all we had to complain about was to be made to work the next day.

Travel vlogger steers clear of politics in Hong Kong, focuses on ‘cool stuff’

But given the backlash, you would think Yassin had insulted Hong Kong people. Here are some reactions: “Positivity BS”; “That’s not the city I live in”; “Do some homework before profiling Hong Kong”.

The yellow ribbon website Stand News ran a critical 700-word op-ed, dismissing the clips as “superficial”. For a one-minute clip?

Nas Daily did do its homework. There is another four-minute video, “The global housing crisis”, produced by Yassin’s blogging partner Agon Hare, which cited our crazy property market as a cautionary tale for other big cities.

Here are several lines: “If rent prices grow like that and salaries stay almost the same, where does it lead all of us? Unfortunately, I just got to a place that perhaps answers that question and shows the future of many countries …

“Because of its ridiculously high rent prices, thousands of people are forced to live in tiny rooms. These people are still alive yet they live in coffins. Worst of all, they need to pay quite a hefty rent … And in all of this, one out of seven people is a millionaire. This is the definition of income inequality.”

Nas Daily is more objective about Hong Kong than many of us here!