Recently Hong Kong had a visitor who became quite a celebrity. I don’t think anyone expected the media and tourism frenzy it caused as a result of its visit. I am of course talking about this yellow fellow:
I have to admit even I was awestruck when I saw the sheer size of Mr Duck in real life, sitting silently next to the Star Ferry Pier in Tsim Sha Tsui. It made the Ocean Terminal Shopping Centre and Port behind it look deceptively smaller than it truly is.
In the background of this picture you can see ICC (The International Commerce Centre). It happens to be the tallest building in Hong Kong (over 480 metres tall and 118 floors) but ol’ rubber blows it out of the water when viewed from this perspective.
Speaking of coming to blows, rubber duck had a bit of an incident while in Hong Kong. Some say he (I’m going to assume he’s a male duck until I see a trail of babies floating behind him) succumb to the pollution, others claim it was sabotage, but whatever the case, he developed a leak and deflated for the first time on his global tour; much to the devastation of those who travelled near and far to see him. During that period the papers in Hong Kong exploded with complaints and disappointment that he was not on display. He had to be taken away for a few days to have his puncture attended to before returning his bright yellow self.
Upon his return the crowds swelled every day to see the novelty. On the incredibly hot day we ventured over to see Mr Duck there were throngs of people jostling for prime positions to get their photos with him, or try to take the ‘illusion’ photo of the duck in the palm of their hands.
Duck-mania overtook Hong Kong with street vendors selling anything and everything rubber duck themed. From the simple toy to pencils, notebooks and other trinkets locals and tourists alike leapt at the opportunity to purchase a little quacker to remind them of Mr Duck’s time in Hong Kong. I read in the SCMP that some vendors made over HK$30,000 extra in sales a month while Rubber Duck was in town.
He also brought a few friends with him, most of whom mulled around in the area between the shopping mall and the Star Ferry & Bus Terminal allowing everyone to fight for the right for a photo with the little guys as well.
Ok – so maybe his friends weren’t all that little either…
Viewed from a different vantage point atop The Peak on Hong Kong island, Rubber Duck finally looked like he was the right scale to float peacefully on the bathtub of Hong Kong Harbour. I should point out I was a good 2 kilometres away and just over 550 metres above sea level when I took this photo …
Rubber Duck has moved on from Hong Kong to wow another destination around the world, but his popularity in Hong Kong hasn’t dampened yet and I am certain the crowds would flock once more should he happen to float on back one day.