No flower? No, flower!

January 20, 2021 11:25
Photo: RTHK

Flower growers in Hong Kong must have felt perplexed upon knowing the Lunar New Year Fair is back this year.

Our government changed its mind and reversed its earlier decision to suspend the 15 flower market sites due to coronavirus concerns. Still, only half of the stores will open.

At yesterday’s press conference, Sophia Chan, Secretary for Food & Health said it’s not a sudden U-turn because it has already stated it’s exploring options with the farmers.

After meeting the farmers, the government took their concerns and requests into consideration and hence resumed the flower markets, she noted.

What she didn’t say was they felt really angry at the unilateral cancellations announced last week and slammed the government for the lack of financial compensation for their losses - many mentioned millions - in the once-in-a-year harvest season.

It’s sad that these farmers pinned little hopes on the weak government with some flower sellers setting up stalls across the city in different locations. Some root for home delivery operator HKTVmall, which is organising a virtual flower fair.

Now imagine those farmers who have rented another location after knowing the suspension decision would feel now that the fair is resumed.

Almost all florists agreed that the suspension was a poor decision in the first place because citizens, who have showed fatigue in fighting off the coronavirus for nearly a year, would flood the Fa Hui flower market in Mong Kok anyway.

Why the government failed to anticipate the consequence from the beginning is a mystery.

Worse still, this is not the first time the Carrie Lam administration flip-flopped on its stance.

Who would forget the lunch ban last July when people were forced to dine on the roadside because they were not allowed to eat inside restaurants?

The unforgettable scene became international news. Leaving many confused and angry, the government quickly scrapped the dine-in ban.

So much for the self-proclaimed “suppress and lift” policy that aimed to be precise and adaptable, which time and again failed to reach its original target but instead became a joke among citizens.

All hopes that the flower markets would bring along a blossom and cheerful year that would eventually make Covid-19 disappear.

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EJ Insight writer