The pictures of Ocean Park’s planned water world are impressive.
Submitted a couple of weeks ago to the Environmental Protection Department, the concept drawings show a series of indoor and outdoor wave pools, water slides and spas jutting out of the hillside at Tai Shue Wan on the south side of Hong Kong Island.
Ocean Park Corp chairman Allan Zeman is convinced it will all make a huge splash when it opens in 2017.
“It will be much different [from the old one]. Because we are on the mountains, we have different levels. We really use mountains in order to fit the design,” Zeman said.
“It’s going to be amazing. It’ll be indoors and outdoors, and we’ll have wave pools. Many great restaurants, cabanas…
“Also, we have sea view. The other ones are usually in the middle of the city. The beauty of this is it is right on the water, so it can really be very special.”
But the release of the water park’s concept drawings prompted some netizens to express worries about hygiene.
“With at least 50 percent attendance in the park by mainlanders, can you imagine the hygiene in the pools with them in it? I’m referring to how they probably will just simply pee or poo in there like they do back in mainland pools,” one netizen said.
Zeman said there will be nothing to worry about.
“The [water] system is very strong for hygiene. It’s very stringent. There’re water parks all over the world. We’re not the first one to have it. And you can’t say, ‘oh, the mainlanders’,” he said.
“No one ever has to worry because it’s not a new thing we’re experimenting [with]. We have all the professionals, the consultants, the top people…. We’ll have the best system in the world.”
Hygiene has ignited intense cross-border debate since pictures and videos of a mainland toddler relieving himself in a Mong Kok street circulated online last month.
Hongkongers accused mainlanders of poor personal hygiene, and mainland netizens threatened not to visit the city.
Even state-run Global Times and People’s Daily weighed in, telling Hongkongers to “raise their level of civilization”.
For Zeman, he said he’s tolerant about it, saying it’s all a matter of cultural differences.
“It’s really misconception about a little child [urinating] in the street. We have to understand the culture of some of the mainlanders who come to Hong Kong for the first time. In some of their small towns or cities, it may be acceptable,” he said.
“I think Hong Kong people need to be more understanding.”
Mainland tourists, he said, are merely scapegoats for Hongkongers’ anger.
“Many people are unhappy about many things… so of course, when you are not happy, you’ll always look for scapegoats… [It's] easy to blame the mainland tourists,” he said.
Main story: Allan Zeman: On thinking local and being global
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