Yo, I know it's a bit late since that bombastic 24 Herbs launch concert at Delay No Mall, but I wanted to talk a little about the mall itself.
Or about Douglas Young - the G.O.D founder who seems to enjoy getting into trouble with the law. A few months ago dude got banged up because of some T-shirts that may have broken some laws about representing triads. I'd had the opportunity to interview him not long before that, so managed to contact him soon after his arrest. He was, as usual, pretty cool about the whole thing - and why not? Not saying that he was right, but the little incident got his label onto newspaper front pages everywhere. Good PR is cheap.
A few weeks later, he dropped us this letter, which was published in
Media magazine. I think it makes some worthwhile points. Would be interested to hear what you lot think...
Hong Kongstill has a long way to go to be a creative city
It is the duty of creative people to challenge taboos. The developmentof art and science has always been about pushing the limits of convention. Scientists challenge the limits of technology in order tobring about the next breakthrough. Artists question the status quo inrelation to today’s worldview and break conventions that are out dated.What is acceptable to future generations may be taboo in the past andconversely, that which is acceptable by previous generations may becomeintolerable for the future.
Moralists fear that we are moving towards a society with increasinglylax morals and standards. This is not true. We cannot artificiallyrestrict the process of social change. Future standards of morality willbe different from that of the present, but it does not necessarily meanthat it will be broader than that of today’s. It will just be over adifferent spectrum of social practices.
For example racial and sexual discrimination was tolerated in the past,and that is now rightly restricted. Whereas the use of the F word hasnow become so commonplace that social acceptability can be arguablyjustifiable. After all, the use of swear words is frequently devoid ofits literal meaning. This is a process where the spectrum ofacceptability shifts to accommodate new values and at the same timediscarding archaic ones. The overall level of tolerability may not haveincreased or decreased, therefore moralist have nothing to fear.
A modern society should revise its standards in order to take intoaccount changing social phenomena. This is why important debates shouldbe taking place across the community to establish up to date codes ofsocial practices.
We should be pushing the limits of social conventions and the law shouldnot be obstructing meaningful debates. It would hinder the developmentof social change.
Creativity has always been fraught with restrictions and limitations.For me, such limitations involve ethical issues concerning religion, sexand race, but from a business point of view, it also includes commercialviability. Creativity and freedom of expression, in reality, can never
be unrestricted. To call for this would be naïve and unrealistic.
The government has an obligation to revise its statutory limitationsaccording to changing social conventions in line with the rest of theworld.
The arrest of my company members over a T shirt print has shown a lackof communication and coordination between various governmentdepartments. If this city purports to be a creative hub forAsia(afulfillable potential given its advantages), it must first be prepared
Before such an ambition can be realized, all government departmentsshould work in line towards a shared vision that is set out by thehighest authourity. It needs to be clear, precise and comprehensive. Alldepartments should fall in line with it. It also requires constant
updating of established rules of conduct so that conflicts andcontradictions between individual departments can be eliminated. Theresult should be a consistent set of policies enabling HK to realize itsambition.
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