Stop wasting money on art

Stop wasting money on art

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View of Western Harbour Crossing tunnel and West Kowloon Cultural District from ICC
View of Western Harbour Crossing tunnel and West Kowloon Cultural District from ICC
Photo: Sam Tsang/SCMP

The Hong Kong Government has long been criticised for spending outrageously large sums of money on projects which contribute little or nothing to society. Quite a few months ago, the infamous “Mega Events Fund” spent HK$3.9 million to have people jump around in Dragon and Lion costumes as if they were a group of pogo-stick-wielding headless chickens for a day. Many more have been enraged by the ballooning costs and endless delays of the High-Speed Rail Project. We are all ignoring the elephant in the room – a white one at that.

The West Kowloon Cultural District authority recently extended their budget to a mind-boggling HK$47 billion Hong Kong for “design and construction costs”. As the currently empty mass of land has yet to show any real success with the temporary exhibitions, the project might well turn out to become another SciencePark – and that is not a compliment.

Thankfully, many public figures related to the project carry a rather strong sense of humour. Professor Adrian Walter, director of the Hong KongAcademy for Performing Arts, says that the issue surrounding this preposterous sum “is all boring” and that “what’s important is what we do in the space”. Perhaps he has yet to be informed about the international mockery the city received when the “space” was used to proudly display a giant inflatable pile of dung – it’s called art, apparently. Perhaps I’m just not sophisticated enough to appreciate “art”.

If the HK$47 billion sum were to be divided between the population of Hong Kong, every man, woman and child would be able to receive roughly HK$7,000. In fact, it’s such a preposterous amount that it would be enough to fund the ESF for another 166 years.

I must strongly protest against the use of taxpayer dollars to fund the project as it will only be able to benefit a very minute portion of the population. We are a service-based economy which values academic achievement and efficiency over the arts. Hence, we should spend our time solidifying our stance in the global economy and capitalise on the talents we have available. This means providing better, higher quality education and investing in local businesses. We must put an end to this tomfoolery. 

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Stop wasting money on art

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