We arrived at
the Hong Kong airport at high noon in a very
good mode. For the last several months we had prepared for this week’s WTO meeting.
More than one month ago we had sent a 28 feet container to Hong
Kong with the three sculptures ‘Mad Cow Disease’, ‘Survival of the
Fattest’ and ‘The Hunger March’. The sculptures are supposed to be placed in The
Victoria Park in the center of Hong Kong, where
the rest of the alternative WTO meeting will be held. We are working together
with the local organization called ‘Hong Kong People’s Alliance’, the prime mover of the alternative
activities during the WTO summit. They too have prepared the coming and
erection of the sculptures, so we had not made plans for anything but dinner, a
nice cup of coffee and an early bedtime, to get us through the jetlag.
But soon after checking
in at our hotel, we found ourselves sitting in front of the park manager of
Victoria Park Mr Hing-keung
Yuen. He had, it appeared, a problem accepting the erection of the sculptures
even though our Hong Kong contacts had, for
several weeks, fed him with detailed information about them. It appeared that
his problem was, for the time being, that he needed extremely specific
descriptions of all constructions exceeding 1.7 meters and how they
were put together, along with declarations from some kind of professional firm,
that the structures were safe. Our arguments that we had on several occasions erected
the sculptures in main squares of European capitals didn’t bite on him at all.
discussed his high demands, he claimed it to be normal Hong
Kong bureaucratic procedures, we claimed it to be political
obstruction, we settled peace and left the office to get the new declarations
and make the even more precise descriptions of the sculptures.
It came to be, that in stead of early
sleep, Chinese dinner and a nice cup of coffee, we had fast food, cold tee, and
a very late sleep. We had to use the whole evening getting extra technical
descriptions from Denmark,
contacting the Danish construction firm and informing the press, in case our
problems could not be solved in a reasonable way.
After a good
(and deserved I might ad) night’s sleep, we got up, more used to the Hong Kong time and ready for another day of unpredicted
complications. We turned up at the People’s Alliance’, and soon found out that the Park
manager, was not yet at peace with the erection of the sculptures. Having
yesterday received specific descriptions of the sculptures and official declarations
about the safety of the sculptures from a big Danish construction firm, his
problem was now (opposite to yesterday) that it was not a Hong Kong firm that
had signed the declaration as it could have been any Danish firm making those
documents (apparently phoning the number or looking at the webpage of the firm,
was not part of his capabilities). In the end we followed his bids and had a Hong Kong firm make that same declaration, costing us 2,000
Hong Kong Dollars. This should be the last work we have done to please his ever
changing demands, though honestly we have our doubts.
On top of the
problems described above we got to use a large part of the day dealing with the
problem of our server refusing to send or receive any of our mails. As for now
we have not yet found a solution to this problem, but we have found a couple of
makeshift ways to send out our press release with the outer world.
writing this, we are again looking forward to a good Chinese dinner and early bedtime,
ahead of the first of three demonstrations.