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Things to look forward to in 2018

Written by
Douglas Parkes

The last 12 months were meant to be something of a reset year for Hong Kong. We were supposed to celebrate 20 years of joyful reunion with the Mainland and draw a thick line under the (some would say) divisive leadership of Chief Executive CY Leung by welcoming in someone new to fill his position.

Only, 2017 didn’t really work out like that. When July 1 arrived and President Xi rolled into town, the response was lukewarm. And yes, there was a great sigh of relief when CY finally exited the stage to take up a plump new role on the Mainland but no sooner had Carrie Lam succeeded him, she found herself on the end of pejorative insults for the 777 votes she received in her election (the pronunciation of the word ‘seven’ in Cantonese matches the slang for a man’s, well, you know...).

But Hong Kong is ever an upbeat, get-on-with-the-job kind of city. So putting the relative disappointments of the past year behind us – and forgetting other geopolitical worries – what’s there to look forward to in 2018? Is it a time to party across our SAR? We reckon it is. Here’s our predictions for the Year of the Dog...

More music
There’s often a lot of mumbling and grumbling about our local music scene, like it’s a shock that it doesn’t match up to the likes of London and New York despite our city’s size, relative youth and different cultural focus. Still, with shows from the likes of Bruno Mars, The XX and Harry Styles scheduled for early next year – plus, hopefully a continuation of new festivals like Altn8 and Creamfields – music fans already have a series of world class gigs to look forward to.

More magic
Much like our city’s music scene, Disneyland Hong Kong often gets an unfairly bad rap. Hopefully that can start to change. The Year of the Rooster already saw the attraction open Disney Parks’ first-ever Marvel-themed ride, the Iron Man Experience, and plans are in motion for six years of expansion starting from 2018. Visitors can expect new Moana, Frozen, Ant-Man and Shield- related attractions in Hong Kong. Take that, Shanghai.

More pride
Back at the end of October, Hong Kong won the right to host the 2022 Gay Games. That means we’re gonna be the first Asian city to host the games and we’re keeping our fingers crossed that, with greater awareness, the decision will encourage greater acceptance of all LGBTI individuals in our city. Expect that campaign to take hold in 2018. Expect much-needed reminders that there’s still work to be done in our city – especially when, unlike Taiwan, gay marriage remains illegal here.

More connections
In most cities, talk of mass transit options ignites a chorus of yawns but Hongkongers love the subject, if only to discuss the positive effects on property values a new MTR station brings. Fairly recent openings like the Kwun Tong Line hitting Whampoa and the launch of the South Island Line have all generated considerable buzz. The HK-Macao-Zhuhai Bridge – scheduled to open for vehicles in 2018 – and the completion of the Hong Kong section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link both promise economic opportunities for our city which, if we can all stop being snide for a moment, are genuinely nothing to be sniffed at. We welcome the Year of the Dog. May it be a howlin’ good year for all our readers.

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