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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Robots Rising (still)

The Kowloon District of Hong Kong
 Marcus T Anthony's new web site and blog can be found at:

This just in from the robot brigade here in Hong Kong. Regular readers of 22C+ will recall that I submitted a programme to the Love Idea Love Hong Kong campaign. Called Urban Enlightenment, it is designed to help people slow down, connect with the present moment and with other people in the community. It is a direct attempt to help the problem of personal and social alienation in a city dominated by a bureaucratic and financial mindset that extracts much of the joy from human experience. Here is the response to my application, which I received this morning:

Dear Marcus Anthony,

Thank you for supporting the “Love Ideas ♥ HK” project, regretfully your application (application no. 900894 ) cannot proceed for listing due to one or more than one of the following reasons:

1.Execution is outside the territory of Hong Kong or its beneficiaries are not within Hong Kong’s local community.
2. Adequate and verifiable information has not been provided.
3. Project involves commercial content or promotion of products.
4. Execution period exceeds the 12 months period requirement.
5. Qualifications issues- e.g. organizations must be registered under Section 88 of the Inland Revenue Ordinance for three years or more.
6. Project does not comply with the Terms and Conditions of the programme.

Please continue to vote or submit other projects to Love Ideas ♥ HK .

Any further inquiries, please email us at and remember to quote your application number in the mail.

“Love Ideas Love HK”

And that was the email in its entirety. There was no name or signature attached to it. The precise reason for the rejection is not stated.
I can’t help but see the irony in this result, when a person takes a great deal of his personal time to try to help this pressing problem in Hong Kong, only to get a robotic, bureaucratic, impersonal response from a machine.

Looks like Hong Kong won’t be changing anytime too soon.


I just sent off a letter to the email address provided (see below). Let's see what happens.

Re: application no. 900894

Dear Sir or Madam,

I received a generic email this morning saying that my application for Love Ideas, Love Hong Kong had been rejected. There was no reason given. May I please know that reason? I suspect it was because I listed the finishing date as 2012. I did that only because that was an option provided by the software on your system (end 2012 was the latest finishing date listed), not because my application idea requires that much time. It does not. In fact this simple programme can easily be done over short periods of time, and a year is no problem.

If this is indeed the reason for the rejection, then I am disappointed that I took so much time to develop the programme. Why put the option of two years on your website if that renders the application invalid? Not meaning to be blunt, but this is an unnecessary problem caused by the system you have implemented, and would be easily avoided with a slight adjustment to your software.

I also find it ironic that my Urban Enlightenment programme, which is designed to help people overcome alienation and connect with others in society, is rejected by an impersonal, electronic, generic message with no name or signature attached to it. This is precisely the kind of thing that so many people in Hong Kong find distressing, and helps create that sense of impersonal alienation. I think applicants deserve better treatment.

If the goal of Love Ideas Love Hong Kong is really to show love and concern for Hong Kong and its people, then the least we should expect is to have a personal interaction with a human being at the end of it all, even if it is by email.


Marcus T. Anthony

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