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World's Busiest Cities

Preparations for the local film festival are now in full swing. We had the final organisation meeting last night, ready for it's start on Monday. While I was out though, I missed quite an interesting program on the bbc;I just caught up with it on the Iplayer. World's Busiest Cities really catches my attention: I'm interested it for a few reasons. Firstly, flaneur that I am, I find the urban landscape fascinating in itself. Cities are all microcosms, but they are all unique. The program I just saw, the first, was an exploration of Hong Kong: it looked at it's history and culture; it examined the former British colony and how it has changed since it went under Chinese control. I was fascinated, and it made me want to go and explore it for myself. I was especially interested to see that one of the program's presenters was Ade Adepitan, a wheelchair user, who gave the show a disability perspective.

I couldn't help but imagine exploring that exotic, densely packed maelstrom myself, Lyn by my side. How different would it feel to London? The city seems to try to balance ancient, traditional Chinese culture on the one hand, and the most extreme form of free-market capitalism on the other. It also negotiates a tension between the remnants of british liberal culture, where free speech is sacrosanct, and the authoritarianism of mainland China. Such contrasts intrigue me, yet I wonder, where would guys like me fit in to such a society?

The city is apparently flourishing, so I was also interested to hear how the Chinese mainland government now seems to want to develop closer ties to the city; china clearly wants to muscle in on it's success. The question is, how much independence will hong kong be able to maintain, as an ultra capitalist metropolis with an increasingly overbearing communist neighbour? China clearly wants a cut of the capitalist pie.

I'm also interested to note the timing of this program. Now that the UK is shutting itself off from the European mainland, it seems to me that the media still wants us to look outward, or at least to appear outward looking. Thus I expect we'll now see lots more shows like these, emphasising the wider world and Britain's links to it. It's all about maintaining our place in the world, and trying to present ourselves as being still part of global society. Perhaps it's telling that the beeb chose to profile a former colony in the first program of this series. The question then is, how will it present the next metropolis, Mexico City, in it's next show?


[Edited 07/09/2017 at 10:49:33 - addad a bit]
[Edited 07/09/2017 at 11:37:41 - addad a bit]

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