Hong Kong Disneyland Update (4/4/2005)

Hong Kong Disneyland is rolling towards its grand opening on September 12, 2005, a date which has been selected by fengshui masters.

So onto the first item (Ming Pao via Yahoo! News): the "Help Wanted" section suggests that the cleaning staff at Hong Kong Disneyland can receive as much as HK$9,000 per month on a five-day work week (totally 195 hours per month).  This is fantastic when one considers that the cleaning staff at a Hong Kong government public residential estate receive as little as HK$4,000 per month, which is likely to be under subsistence level (or, if you like, the person is better off applying for social welfare by not working).  However, a Disneyland 'cleaner' is required to speak Cantonese, putonghua and English since they are required to render assistance to visitors if need be.  The recent announcement of 3,000 jobs has resulted in the Hong Kong Disneyland website being overwhelmed by attempts to apply, requiring two capacity upgrades.

So what is the actual accounting?  A footnote of that Disneyland announcement says that the maximum pay of HK$9,000 per month does not include any transportation subsidies.  Consider the case of a person living on Hong Kong island.  Presently, the fare for a one-way trip from Hong Kong Central to Tung Chung station on the MTR subway is around HK$20, with an extra transfer to Disneyland on top of that.  So a worker on Hong Kong island may expect to pay more than HK$1,000 per month on transportation, which is an immediate deduction over the top.  One must not be enticed by that fantastic HK$9,000 figure (which is maximal as opposed to 'average' anyway), expecially since a English-capable hotel cleaner makes HK$8,000 right now.  In other words, this is less than you think.

(Ming Pao via Yahoo! News)  Are all jobs open to Chinese?  No, six job positions are reserved for Caucasians.  Racial prejudice?  You can look at the list at the bottom of this post and decide for yourself.  Smile, okay?  I did.

The second item of the day is a special feature in the print edition of Sing Tao Daily (no link).  This are about the 500 cultural ambassadors who have already been doing their apprenticeships at the Disney theme parks in the United States for their training.  These ambassadors began their sojourn in January this year.  According to an ambassador named "Ah An" who was interviewed by Sing Tao, they have learned plenty about operations and merchandising.  Ah An was assigned to operate the Jungle cruise in the World of Discovery.  He said, "I learned how to operate the boat while explaining the scenes to the tourists."  At the same time, Ah An was responsible for traffic control as well as cleaning duties.  He said, "Our cultural ambassadors at Disneyland wore badges that indicate that they are trainees from Hong Kong, and many Hong Kong tourists spoke to us."

So far so good.  But here is the bottom line in dollars and cents: Ah An worked 30 hours a week, with an hourly wage of US$6.75 (=HK$52), with overtime.  If I work through the calculations, this is at most HK$7,000 per month.  I'll leave you to figure out what you can do with that kind of income in this city.  The best that I can say is that this is better than having no income at all.  Meanwhile, Ah An is looking forward to returning to Hong Kong in June and working in the Disney family.

White People Only Need Apply:  Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, Belle (in Beauty And The Beast) and Jasmine (in Aladdin).  But Mulan is open to Chinese people; in fact, it had better go to a Chinese person.