Bangkok is only a few hours away by plane; it has been one of my favorite destination.
The atmosphere is relaxing, the people are friendly and the Thai food is to my liking.
However, things seem to have changed in recent years.
Nevertheless, I can think of the more peaceful time when we hopped on and off the boat alongside the bank of Bangkok.
If I have to choose a photo of Bangkok, this is the one!
The momentum and determination started in the 1970s for creating new towns to house millions of people in this city have gone. People still live in the “urban” areas under very crowded conditions. Basically, the Government has failed to come up with a land / development policy, making more use of the space in the New Territories. According to some senior officials, there was an unknown but deliberate policy not to fully develop the NT pre-1997 as UK wishfully thought that they may just hang on to Hong Kong Island and Kowloon post 1997; but have we done anything after 1997 when we are supposed to be the master of our own destiny?
Only 20% of the land is developed and 7% allocated for residential purposes. The HKSAR Government is worried about antagonizing the villagers in the NT over land issues. They have also failed to decentralize the business areas to other locations; the recent decision on making the Kai Tak area into a “business” area, ranking only next to Central, should be applauded. However, this decision comes quite late, the Kai Tak area has been left abandoned since 1998 when the airport was moved to Chek Lap Kok. Can any responsive government left such an important and valuable capital resource for so long when land is considered scarce in the territory. The fact that we are unable to supply enough land for commercial and residential use meant that the prices and rentals of properties have escalated sharply, decreasing our competitive edge.
In some respects, this city is dying, although not for the reasons given on the local TV soap opera (Tian & Di). The city is dying because we have no vision nor strategy for growth. The mediocre government is too worried about making real decisions that will antagonize villagers and pressure groups and having to actually implement the strategies. They are just doing the minimum so as not to get themselves into trouble, so that they can claim to be successful in Getting the Job Done ( re the CE’s slogan). The city is dying because people in this city are more interested in dividing up the pie instead of growing the economic pie. The city is dying because we are not sufficiently forward looking and implementing the much needed infrastructure in the last decade.
I am sure, you will have more reasons why our city is dying and I will be pleased to hear your views.
This is a city where I was born, raised and will be spending my retirement life. We shouldn’t allow this city to be dying …………otherwise, we will all be crying!