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DB Lampoon! Water is Waste

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A man-made island for a million people off Lantau? How brilliantly beautifully bonkers, says Peter Sherwood
Photo Courtesy of Pexels

One of my other favourite magazines, Stupid Ideas of the Century, asked me to research local input. First stop the Government Directorate of Dumb Deals and the office of the CEO Mr Ignatius Diot with his name on the door: I. Diot.

“How can I help you? We can talk about the Macau Bridge – that’s a good one!” Thanks, but we covered that. “Oh, indeed. A fabulous waste of taxpayer money. Nothing like a white elephant to bring in the tourists.”

I’d like to talk about your man-made island for a million people off Lantau. “Ah, yes, that’s a little beauty.” Why, and in the middle of a marine park and offshore from a nature reserve? We don’t need it. “Build it and they will come, Mr Sherwood. Remember the movie?” Field of Dreams was about a baseball pitch. “Baseball, housing; it’s all the same.” The birth rate here is almost zero. “Yes, but China is expanding and they don’t just need more space, they need more pretty space and lower tax space. All its other coastal cities are flat and dreary. Big Hills, Low Taxes: That’s our motto.”

What about the land we’ve already got? “What about it? There is also lots of water ripe for development. Water is Waste: That’s our motto. Lots of connecting tunnels and bridges, and close to our magnificently conceived and massive island incinerator. Not far to ship its millions of tons of waste. It will cost trillions. Such a ridiculous project will bring our city international headlines for years.” I hear there’s a group fighting against it. “Of course. We started it ourselves! Stunning, don’t you think? Gives us a platform to keep repeating our marvellous story. And gives the liberal yokels a little hope.

“One million people imported from China, all paying top dollar for an exclusive harbour view.” And a country park view. “Certainly. At least till we’ve finished the logging.” What?! “Timber, for construction. Our motto: Wood is Good.” You mean strip Lantau of trees? “Absolutely. They’re useless. What do you notice about Tokyo? Hardly any trees and the city is very successful. I mean, New York is dynamic, I agree, but imagine how much more prosperous it would be if high-rises were jammed into Central Park. Critical mass, Mr Sherwood. Surely you studied that in your marketing class at school.

“More people means more people to buy things and buy flats and pay rent… that’s progress and it’s why our uniquely conceived island project will ultimately be profitable.” When? “I have no idea. We’re not a profit centre, we just invent new and exciting ways to extravagantly waste money and be the focus of world attention. For the profit side of things, you’ll need to speak with the Department of Profit and Loss, Mostly Loss. Ask for Mr Blownitall on the penthouse floor.” The entire floor of about 25,000 square feet was open plan, with just one large desk in a window corner with views to Antarctica. A sign on the desk read: ‘Out to lunch. Back in about a week.’

Peter Sherwood has lived in DB for 20+ years. The former head of an international public relations firm, he is the author of 15 books and has written around 400 satirical columns for the South China Morning Post.

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