Each year on the third Sunday of Feburary there is a marathon in Hong Kong. Several years ago Standard Chartered Bank took over as the primary sponsor of this marathon. Such that it is now called the “Standard Chartered Marathon”.
Like any other marathon this is a charity event, but to which charity it is raising money for, very few people know or remember. One of the direct results of the heavy emphasis on Standard Chartered the company, bank and what it brings to Hong Kong.
This commercialization has caused it to route the marathon through the heart of the city. Going through the heaviest trafficed areas. Closing down roads to vehicles and pedestrians. Causing thousands of stores to shut their doors until the marathon has passed, which took hours. Cutting into the primary business hours for this location; even on a Sunday.
In Causeway Bay, one of the world’s busiest location, has its major artery closed down. Delivery trucks could not get to make their deliveries. Hundreds of bus routes have to be rerouted. Even pedestrians are forced to go through a round about way, into the mazed of MTR’s (Hong Kong subway) Causeway Bay station, just to cross the street. Along the way no signage of any kind to inform the pedestrians how they can get to where they need to go.
The lack of the organizer’s, Standard Chartered, care for the citizens of Hong Kong is further evidence, by the lack of prepareness of Hong Kong Police and the MTR to deal with the confusion and congestion this closures would cause.
Eventually MTR had to invoke crowd control and ask the police to manage the crowds at the affected MTR exits.
If it wasn’t for the heavy commercialization there would not be a need to route the marathon into the heart on the city. Is this the only way for a city to organize events like this? The answer may be obvious, but I am not sinical, as events like the Olympic and Soccer World Cup can be evidence.
Are there really no more desire for corporations to be caring citizens of their communities? Does it always have to come down to money and what this participating entities will get out of their effort?
I hope all parties concern will see this post and reconsider their plans in future events.