Following is the speech by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Donald Tsang, at the launch of the Brand Hong Kong Star Ferry today (September 19) in Tsim Sha Tsui:
Mr Li, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
Good morning everyone and 'Welcome Aboard' for the launch of the Brand Hong Kong Star Ferry. It is a great pleasure to see you all here today for this very special occasion.
For more than 100 years, the Star Ferry Company has carried millions of passengers across the harbour on what has to be one of the best sight-seeing trips in the world. Today, you would be hard-pressed to find better value for money than the $2.20 Upper Deck fare for the leisurely journey from Hong Kong to Tsim Sha Tsui. The breath-taking views of our magnificent skyline are difficult to match from any other vantage point.
I can still remember the excitement of my first trip on the Star Ferry. I was six years old and my mother took me and my brothers to cross the harbour to Tsim Sha Tsui to visit our great aunt who lived on Kowloon side. In those days, for a young boy in Primary One, the trip across the harbour was a great adventure matched only probably by a trip or field trips to the New Territories.
Nowadays, sad to say, I seldom get the chance to cross the harbour 'the old-fashioned way'. But when I do, I thoroughly enjoy it. For the five minutes it takes to cross the harbour, the fast-paced world in which we live disappears. For those few minutes we step back in time to a more relaxed environment, where the minutes pass in rhythm with the gentle chug-chug of the Star Ferry engines. You can't but help feel a twinge of nostalgia every time you step aboard.
The Star Ferry provides us with a highly-visible and prime opportunity to promote Brand Hong Kong. There is no doubt that the striking Brand colours will be photographed by thousands of visitors and seen by tens of thousands of people each day. It is our hope that in the years ahead Brand Hong Kong becomes an instantly recognisable symbol of our city, in just the same way that the Star Ferry is already a Hong Kong icon.
As many of you know, Brand Hong Kong was launched in May at the FORTUNE Global Forum. It is a strategic, long-term programme to promote Hong Kong's strengths in a more consistent and focused way. By doing so we hope to generate greater international attention in Hong Kong and all that we offer as the best place in Asia to live and work. The Brand Hong Kong Star Ferry is just one of a series of events to increase awareness of our brand here and abroad. During my recent trip to the United States we held two very successful Brand Hong Kong promotions. The overwhelming response is that Brand Hong Kong had had a positive impact on perceptions about Hong Kong, what we stand for, and the advantages we offer as Asia's only true world city.
The programme has already entered the consciousness of the local population. Hardly a day goes by when we don't read in the newspaper or hear on the radio some reference to our goal to become a world city. So, it is clear that the programme has set the standard by which Hong Kong will be judged.
All that we hope to achieve as an economy, as a hub for business and finance, as a tourism destination, as a free and open society, is focused on making the grade as a world city. This is the goal we have set for ourselves. It is a tall order. But if we don't make the grade we want to know about it so we can address and overcome those concerns as quickly as possible.
As Brand Hong Kong's chief spokesman, I can tell you we are determined to live up to the standards of excellence that we have set for ourselves. These are best defined in the Brand's core values: progressive, free, stable, opportunity and high quality. These are the guiding principles that underpin Hong Kong's success.
And now distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, it is really my honor to be officially christening the Brand Hong Kong Star Ferry. Long may she sail and carry her passengers in safety.
Thank you very much.
End/Wednesday, September 19, 2001