I live above the 20th floor in a building in Taipa, opposite Near Hengqin.
From my windows, I have quite a view overseeing HQ mountains with its vivid green at this time of the year – of course those parts of the mountain that have not (yet) been dented by the Caterpillars to give way to “civilization.”
This idyllic scenario changed dramatically of recent times as I opened the balcony doors and sat myself there in the early hours. After closing the Times in crazy-busy San Malo district and driving back home to some peace of mind, say, around 2am, I usually entertain myself there with a relaxing cigar and a beer – usually my first smoke and my first booze of the day – so sue me.
Months after I moved there, my ears had already become used to the roaring noise of sirens and engines on the seaside avenue of the Ocean Gardens, 20 odd floors below where I usually stand.
OK. If you can’t beat it, join it – live with it.
But a few months later, one day I started to hear another, more potent, unbearable noise: the noise of pile-drivers in the middle of the night!
My immediate reaction was: I’m going to call the police, this is unbelievable, these builders, they respect nothing!, thought I loudly as I was trying to locate the site where the pollution was coming from. It was then that I realized the noise was coming from the other side of the canal. Which is to say – the other side of the border, a mere 200-300 meters away.
Damn! Who do I call now? Hengqin? Beijing? Soon enough, I gave up – I don’t have that kind of guangxi.
The construction works in Near Hengqin continues non-stop, 24×7.
This sound pollution all day long builds a case enough for me. But it also raises concerns of a legal nature regarding all those plots of land HQ is offering to Macau. If a problem arises there – in the land where they can make loud noises in the middle of the night – who do you call?
PS: The build up to the casino workers’ rally yesterday around Venetian in Cotai was on the news for 5-6 days in a row in a process that we are starting to see here often: first there is a “leak” to the press, then there is an interview here and there with the “organizers”, follow-ups, and usually a press conference preceding and/or during the event. Notwithstanding the freedom of expression of the workers, everything looks utterly sophisticated, like, for instance the “show of solidarity” from other operators’ staff. They allege their own labor issues in their companies, but chose to convey them publicly in solidarity with…the competition.
I smell a rat here.
These are very sensitive times and diversion tactics are needed to keep reporters busy and front pages colorful while power-plays take place behind smoke-screens. If the companies concede to the workers’ demands because of the rallies, it may look like the power is definitely on the streets – the government kind of set the example when they dropped the retirement bill after the huge demonstrations of May 25.
My question is: who does this state of affairs benefit? Certainly not the rule of law.