Monday, February 07, 2005

Annie's Song
Before going home tonight, a reporter at The Standard was idly leafing through a posh promotional booklet touting a planned upscale retail development near here when something caught his eye. The project -- bankrolled by one of Hong Kong's wealthiest developers -- has a European theme and in the "Amsterdam" sub-division map, near the Van Gogh Restaurant, and next to the Windmill City Shop and Vermeer Shop was...the Anne Frank Bar.
A portion of the awkwardly written hype reads: ''Amsterdam is widely known at the "Venice in the North" where you can get a glimpse of this maginificent city along with its canals. When the curtain of night hangs down together with the neon shade and melodious music all around, this area will be a popular night spot.''
Of course, with journalists being the cynical fucks that we are the sick jokes began flying. "Is it in the attic?" "Every night is Kristallnacht at the Anne Frank Bar!" "Where's the Mengele Massage Parlor?" "Two-for-one Zyklon B shooters for happy hour!" Jokes aside, he's already on the story, though we won't be publishing a paper on Wednesday due to the Chinese New Year holiday. But the Simon Weisenthal Center in Los Angeles, as well as the Israeli and Dutch consulates in Hong Kong can probably expect calls soon.
"Unfortunately, it's par for the course for Hong Kong," a co-worker who has lived here for many years told me. "A lot of these people just don't have a clue."
Indeed, in 2003 a Hong Kong fashion company finally removed Nazi-themed clothing from its 14 stores after receiving complaints from the Israeli and German consulates spurred by reports in The Standard.
'``We don't want to upset anybody,'' Deborah Cheng, marketing manager of the retailer, said. ``We were a bit politically insensitive. We don't wish to make any race unhappy.'' Cheng had said earlier the company did not believe many Hong Kong customers would be offended by the Nazi T-shirts and other items, but acknowledged that executives had not counted on getting such a response from foreigners.'"
I wonder if is designing the Anne Frank Bar waitstaff outfits. Something cutting edge in jackboots, perhaps?
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