Just back from six days is Hong Kong and two days in Macao.
Hong Kong is spectacular – it is a modern, vibrant and extremely exciting city that rivals Paris, New York or London. Since my last visit nearly ten years ago, Hong Kong has leaped into the 21st century of modern architecture and world-leading westernization with not even a hint of its slightly shabby past. It is one of the most modern and exciting metropoli in Asia, just beating Singapore as one of the regions most liveable cities with not even a hint financial distress.
Thankfully environmental awareness and activity is constantly in the news, simply because Hong Kong’s population has way outgrown the island nation’s supply of sustainable natural resources. The city is constantly experimenting with switching off its famous skyline lights and building projects now have tougher greener standards. Renewable energy sources are high on the agenda as the price of coal-fired power continues to skyrocket and pollution from mainland China’s factories relentlessly blanket this magnificent city.
Macau, on the other hand is not looking so prosperous. With massive construction aimed a overtaking Las Vegas as the world’s gambling capital, Macao is truly awe-inspiring in terms of its massive amount of development solely aimed at capturing billions in gambling revenue. There is just one problem – many buildings have stopped construction and there is barely a gambler in site. Macau is currently a modern ghost town with its heart ripped out right before it was set to sparkle on the world stage. It is as if some higher power said “Stop, gambling is evil and destructive, we will have no more of that thank you.”
It is such a pity as Macao is charming as a former Portuguese colony, but now, it is expensively dressed up with nowhere or nobody to go. Billions of dollars and millions of tonnes of carbon emissions from construction and all for what? The sad gambling face of Macao now represents man’s excessiveness, greed and waste – a very expensive monument to remind us there are much more important things in life.