又中又英|Shuttered shops

A few weeks ago, I joined some friends for dinner in Tsim Sha Tsui. As I walked to the restaurant, I saw many shuttered shops. Most were next to one another. It surprised me because I hadn’t noticed this when I was in Hong Kong last year. My friends told me what I saw was nothing new. They said shuttered shops became common during and after Covid, but I just hadn’t paid attention. Shuttered shops are shops with closed doors because they have gone out of business.

Last week, I saw at least ten shuttered shops next to each other with their outer metal gates pulled down on King’s Road near Quarry Bay. They too had gone bust. If a business goes bust, it means it is forced to close because it has lost too much money. I now see shuttered shops everywhere because I have started to take notice. When I was last in Hong Kong, I also hadn’t paid attention to the large number of Hong Kong people going to Shenzhen every weekend for shopping and dining. I began noticing when media reports said over 1.7 million residents left Hong Kong during Easter, mostly for the mainland.

It is now clear as a bell to me why so many shops have gone bust. If something is clear as a bell, it means it is easily understood or easily heard. Businesses have gone bust due to a combination of Covid, landlords refusing to reduce rents, and residents preferring to spend money elsewhere because Hong Kong is too expensive. What is not clear as a bell to me is why the government has done so little to reverse this.

幾個星期前,我去了尖沙咀和幾個朋友吃晚飯。當我步行前往餐廳之時,見到許多倒閉了的店舖(shuttered shops),大部分都是彼此緊鄰的。這令我頗感意外,因為我上年在香港的時候,並未留意到這個情況。朋友們告訴我,我所見的並不是甚麼新鮮事兒。他們說,店舖在新冠疫情期間和之後關門大吉(shuttered shops)已成常態,只是我沒有留心注意到。Shuttered shops是關了門的店舖,因為它們已經結業。

上星期,我在英皇道近鰂魚涌那邊,亦看到至少10間緊鄰的關門結業店(shuttered shops)。它們也已經gone bust——若一門生意goes bust,意即它們蝕太多錢、破產了,被迫結業。一經開始注意,我現在見到的倒閉店舖(shuttered shops)可真比比皆是。我上次在香港的時候,也沒有留意到每個周末有大批香港人去深圳購物和吃飯;直至有傳媒報道,復活節期間有超過170萬名居民離港,主要是往內地之後,我才開始留意得到。

為何有這麼多的商舖破產倒閉(gone bust),事情現在已經再清楚不過,就如鐘聲般洪亮(clear as a bell)——若某事物是clear as a bell,意即它很清晰或很容易聽得到。商店破產結業(gone bust),結合了新冠疫情、業主拒絕減租,以及居民因為香港物價太貴,情願到別處消費等的一籃子因素。但我弄不清楚(clear as a bell)的是,政府為何做得那麼少,去扭轉這個狀況。

mickchug@gmail.com
Michael Chugani褚簡寧
中譯:七刻

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