J'aime Hong Kong
What does it mean when groups of people clad in blue, white or red come together to form cute messages that can be seen from the sky? It means that French Culture Year in China has arrived, a 10 month long program of performances and exhibitions designed to imbue China with a little equality and fraternity (because liberty is entirely irrelevant).
People from both countries have long suffered jokes at their expense about being smelly, dirty and rude, so it is only fitting that their leaders have bonded over their negative stereotypes. This cultural exchange program aims to be the biggest step forward in Sino-French relations since famous Hong Kong actress Maggie Cheung married a French man then divorced him to take up with another French guy.
For weeks, it seemed that the IFC Mall in Hong Kong was planning something huge to mark this occasion and I had high hopes after seeing this temporary signboard:
That Bo Derek. Underneath the beaded corn row braids, lies a very perceptive mind. My own less perceptive mind boggled with the possibilities of what French-sponsored shopping extravaganzas would be unfurled with a theatrical flourish. A Balenciaga boutique? A Colette department store? An entire shop of Christian Louboutin and Rodolphe Menudier shoes? *swoon*
Colour me disappointed when I found out that all fuss behind the construction, security barricades and cordonned off areas was for a huge-ass Picasso work on loan from the Pompidou Centre. It would have been so much better if they had just lent Olivier Martinez to us for a year. Rowrrrr. If you are interested in viewing Picasso's Parade, details are here. The Pompidou Centre likes us so much that it is bidding for a modern art museum project in West Kowloon. Culture! In Hong Kong! That isn't grown from a petri dish or from rotting garbage flowing out of an up-ended dustbin in a dirty back alley into an open sewer.
Since Jacques Chirac is stopping over in Hong Kong for 1 day, I urge fellow Hong Kongers to please get your acts together and make him feel appreciated. He's been touring the mainland over the past week and his schedule has been extremely demanding. Like having to inspect the proposed France-China Centre and thinking, in the style of Derek Zoolander, "Sacre bleu! What is zis, a centre for antz?!?". Or having to feign surprise at the unveiling of a big rock and thinking "Merde! Ze Engleesh haff ze Rock of Gibraltar and all I haff is zis. It zis not even fit to be a pumice stone for my aching, bunioned feet."
Unfortunately I cannot teach you how to project the legendary French nonchalance needed to impress Chirac. However I have found some Realaudio sound files which can teach you how to pronounce French fashion brands properly so you don't fall the usual traps of thinking that Hermes rhymes with herpes and Chanel sounds just like channel. Oh, and mes petits cheris mignons there is no culture in the entire world that considers it cute when you shorten Louis Vuitton to LV and pronounce it as Ell-wee.