你想要私人小岛还是私人飞机? / Would You Prefer a Private Island, or a Private Jet?

你想要私人小岛还是私人飞机?

快四十年了,我一直都是香港主要的英文日报——《南华早报》的忠实读者。对于任何一件朝夕相处这么久的东西,特别是刊物,作为一名老读者,我是爱恨交织。

每天购买同一份刊物长达N年,或多或少都会让消费者(也就是我自己)对刊物本身、刊物的内容以及它的设计,或者至少是自己特别感兴趣、最关注的部分,比如喜欢的专栏作家、版块、特写、漫画或者其他什么产生一种类似主人翁的感觉。

最近,《南华早报》聘请了一位世界知名的设计大师,对报纸进行重新设计。为此,我要向他们脱帽致敬,感谢他们为推陈出新所作出的努力和投入。尤其是在当下,平面媒体无可非议地都在关注改头换面,从设计到经营模式无一例外。此举不仅明智而且大有必要,因为只有这样才能应对愈演愈烈、全方位冲击消费者的信息爆炸。

也许是因为上了年纪(怎么也算是“金兔”或者更年长了),我一边为定期改变设计叫好,而一边却又在心里嘀咕:

• 该死的!他们把原来的“whatsit”挪到哪儿去了?

• 新的电视节目预告简直没法看。

• 这个新栏目是个什么玩意?

• 这颜色整个一个大杂烩。

• 这么傻的文章是谁让发表的?

• 这标题真够忽悠人的。

也就是说,熟悉的产品突然大肆改动设计可以引起消费者的关注,让他们从某种程度上感谢其中的努力,但同时也伴随着不信任的抵触情绪,对某些变动的合理性还会产生质疑。但我相信所有这些都是健康的。抵触情绪一般只会持续上三两天,随后就会淡忘或者转移到别处。反正《南华早报》我现在还是照看不误。

结果我最近就从南华早报的商业版上看到一篇文章,是当天的头版头条,题目是:

《私人岛屿成大陆富豪烧钱新宠》

文章的主旨是说中国的超级富豪如今已加入比尔•盖茨和理查德•布兰森之列,开始在全球购买私人岛屿作为世外桃源。我相信确有其事,但对文章中渲染的此类现象的严重程度和广泛规模不敢苟同。

巧合的是,当天商业版末版的头条是《私人飞机欢迎您》— —通篇写的是“私人飞机将成为大陆富豪的下一个必需品”。与私人岛屿一文相比,该报道用详实的数据说明个人及企业的私人飞机热不仅真实存在,而且正在持续升温。

两篇文章的显著区别在于:私人岛屿的撰文基础是香港某专为大陆投资者提供高价岛屿买卖的地产中介的爆料,而私人飞机的报道数据则来源于航空业内的多个渠道,视角更为平衡、客观。

乍看到买岛的文章,我觉得自己虽然还有很多事都不擅长,但在岛上生活方面却相对算得上专家,毕竟我看《南华早报》有多少年就在岛上生活有多少年了。

过去大概二十五年我一直都住在香港岛。再往前推十年,我住在香港的另一座小岛上,那时岛上连公路、机动车和卡车都还没有呢。

(在这儿我就不提小岛的名字了,以防某个大陆富豪明天突然杀将过来,把小岛收入囊中。)

通过读小岛这篇文章让我感觉富裕的中国人正陷入全球收购小岛的热潮,从蛮荒的弹丸之地(价格约500万美元)到售价数千万美元、附带豪华居所、游艇码头、棕榈树、停机坪等全套设备的梦幻天堂都不放过。

对中国人全球买岛热的真实程度,我还是心存疑虑。

一个问题就是,大部分私人岛屿都没有上好的中餐,除非自备。但比起准备烧烤用的香肠、鸡翅和汉堡来说,中餐的备餐要复杂得多。

再有就是假如你有大把银子可以购买高档私人岛屿,个人和家庭的安保似乎是个大问题。除非你愿意修个堡垒要塞,否则私人岛屿的风险比较高。对超级富豪而言,绑票是个大威胁。

另外,中国女性之所以步入中年还能保持幼嫩的肌肤,是因为她们非常注重保养,除了控制饮食、选择健康的生活方式以外,还会尽量避免日晒。而小岛、沙滩则是偏“阳光”而非“荫凉”的场所,也就是说是会催生皱纹的去处。

除此种种,岛上还会有蛇(我的厨房就溜进过眼镜蛇——真的!)、耗子、蝎子、蚊子、沙蝇,生活中还会遇到晕船、台风、飓风、洪水、找不到急救医生等情况,此外,岛上完全没有购物中心,买不着奢侈品。

我要屏息静观中国富豪全球购岛的数量是否会出现飙升。

而私人飞机就另当别论了。

同时,这也说明,包括记者在内的很多人都很容易轻信最近中国富豪热衷抢购的任何传闻。

Would You Prefer a Private Island, or a Private Jet?

I’ve been a loyal reader of the South China Morning Post (SCMP), Hong Kong’s leading English language daily, for nearly 40 years. Like almost anything we interact with on a daily basis for that long, especially a media product, my experience as a long-term reader sometimes has elements of a love-hate relationship.

Consuming a media product nearly every day for so many years somehow gives the consumer (in this case, me) a sense of quasi-ownership, of the product, its contents, its design, etc., or at least the parts of it which they are especially fond of and thus follow most closely: favorite columnists, sections, features, cartoons, or whatever.

The SCMP recently brought in a world-renowned design guru for a complete redesign. Hats off to them for taking the initiative to invest in an improved, fresh look. Especially nowadays, print media are justifiably focused on reinvention of everything from their design to their business models. This is smart, and necessary to keep up with the competitive explosion of information bombarding consumers from all angles.

Maybe it’s an age thing (ie reserved for Golden Rabbits and above), but while I applaud the need for occasional redesign, there’s also the cranky voice inside me which says things like:

• Where in the hell have they moved old ‘whatsit’ to?

• The new TV program guide is unreadable.

• What’s this new column?

• Those colors look like a dog’s breakfast.

• Who signed off on this dopey article?

• That headline is so big it just punched me in the nose.

Which means that, as a consumer, dramatic redesign of a familiar product gets my clear attention, plus a certain degree of appreciation for the effort, accompanied by a release of somewhat cynical push-back and questioning of the rationale for some of the changes. All of which is a healthy dynamic, I think. The push-back usually only lasts a few days and then we tend to forget about it, or go elsewhere. Anyway, I’m still reading the paper.

Which brings me to a recent lead article in the SCMP Business Post, the SCMP’s business section. On this particular day, the lead story on the front page carried this sub-headline:

“Mainlanders are going big in their hunt for more luxury as private islands around the world emerge as sound opportunities to put down their money.”

The thrust of this article is that China’s super-rich are now joining the ranks of Bill Gates and Richard Branson in buying private get-away islands around the world. I’m sure it’s true, but I’m not convinced it’s quite that big a story or a very widespread phenomenon.

By coincidence, the top story on the back page of the same day’s Business Post is headlined “Welcome to the Private Jet Set” — all about how “private planes are becoming the next ‘must have’ for mainland moguls.” Compared with the private islands story, there’s clear evidence that the private jet ownership trend is real and growing, for individuals as well as companies.

One salient difference between the two articles is that the “private islands” piece was essentially based on inputs from one Hong Kong-based property agency specializing in selling high-priced islands to mainland Chinese investors, whereas the “private jets” piece sourced data from a variety of aviation industry sources, offering the probability of a more balanced, more objective perspective.

When I read the islands article it suddenly occurred to me that while I am not an expert on many things, I am relatively expert on island living, since I have been living on an island for as long as I have been reading the South China Morning Post.

For the past 25 years or so, I’ve lived on Hong Kong Island. For ten years before that, I lived on another island within Hong Kong, which at the time had no paved roads, automobiles or trucks.

(I prefer not to reveal the name of the island here in case some wealthy mainland tycoon swoops down and buys it tomorrow.)

The impression I got from reading the “islands” article is that wealthier mainland Chinese are engaged in a huge feeding frenzy of buying up islands around the globe, ranging in price from a tiny, undeveloped postage stamp of a place (about US$5 million), to those much fancier, sexier locations with luxury homes, boat docks, palm trees, helicopter landing pads, etc. selling for tens of millions of US dollars or much more.

I have my doubts about the real extent of this frenzy of global Chinese island buying.

For one thing, most private islands do not offer good Chinese food unless you bring and prepare your own, which in the case of Chinese food, is much more complex than preparing wieners, chicken wings and burgers for BBQ.

For another, if you have the kind of moolah required to buy an upscale private island, personal and family security is likely to be a big concern. Unless you want to build a small fortress, private islands are risky spots. Kidnapping is a big threat in the minds of super wealthy tycoons.

And another: one reason why Chinese women generally have such lovely skin even into middle age is that they take very good care of it, through diet and lifestyle. choices as well as mostly staying out of the sun. Islands and their beaches are generally more “in the sun” than “in the shade” places to hang out. In other words, wrinkle city.

Apart from these factors there are the snakes (I once had a cobra in my kitchen — honest), the rats, bats, scorpions, mosquitoes, sand flies, seasickness, typhoons, hurricanes, flooding, inaccessibility to urgent medical care, and total lack of shopping malls with luxury brand retailers.

I’ll hold my breath with regard to the forecast of a big surge in numbers of wealthy mainland Chinese buying up private islands around the world.

Private jets is another story.

It also goes to show that lots of people, journalists included, are very susceptible to believing almost anything about what wealthy mainland Chinese are rushing to buy these days.


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你想要私人小岛还是私人飞机? / Would You Prefer a Private Island, or a Private Jet?》上有 14 条评论

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    评 5 分

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    评 5 分

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    评 5 分

  5. 吴正果 说道:

    :handshake

  6. 匿名 说道:

    评 3 分

  7. 匿名 说道:

    评 5 分

  8. 匿名 说道:

    有钱的大佬们,去南沙买岛屿吧。

  9. chinafortuneNO1 说道:

    有钱人,是那些真正的有钱人.除了炒楼的目的一般的炒岛外,买一座岛的实际意义是给自己一个独立的王国,在岛上任意的发挥想象力来建一个自己的岛国,然后向亲朋与合作者甚至于社会大为推介自己这一独创的主权独享的王国,让自己和自己看重的人们一起在岛国享受自我的主权与独创.

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