HONG KONG – It is said that success has many fathers, failure is an orphan. Who can be held responsible when the fathers of a scheme that starts to go sour leave office? I thought about this as news came through that a second food truck operator had dropped out without even getting on the road. Moreover, the minister responsible conceded that some of the locations selected by the government were less than ideal.
Hong Kong’s food truck scheme was launched by then financial secretary John Tsang Chun-wah in his 2015 budget speech; he had seen such arrangements working well in other countries. Tsang stepped down in November to run for chief executive. As the food truck idea had been presented as a tourism promotion item, the minister responsible for that sector, Gregory So Kam-leung, was put in charge of implementation. His term of office as commerce and economic development secretary expires at the end of this month, and he has indicated he will not stay on.
The scheme was pretty cack-handed from the outset. Where Bangkok and other Asian cities are famous for their street food scene, as Hong Kong used to be, the government here did its best to drive hawkers out of business on health and hygiene grounds. If they wished to survive they had to move into proper cooked food centres. This was based on the premise that health concerns should trump “atmosphere” in a crowded city like ours, which is a legitimate point.
Find the entire article at scmp.com [here]