Venetian Macao places Sheldon Adelson atop Asian Gaming 50 again this year

September 29, 2014

Venetian Macao is overwhelming, not necessarily in a good way. Check in and they expect you to drag your own bags to your room, most easily reached through the casino. Due to the resort’s huge size – it’s bigger than the Pentagon – getting anywhere is a pain, frequently starting with the walk from the elevator to your room. Rooms are generously sized and furnished, but there’s a step between the sleeping and sitting area that’s a broken toe or ankle waiting to happen. Despite those issues and many others, Venetian Macao is the main reason that Sheldon Adelson tops the Asian Gaming 50 from Inside Asian Gaming magazine again this year.

Totally globalized native New Yorker and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is a blogger for Forbes and author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, high finance, and cheap lingerie. See his bio, online archive and more at www.muhammadcohen.com; follow him on Facebook and Twitter @MuhammadCohen.

Activist/author Pisani sees a place for corruption

September 17, 2014

At TEDx Ubud earlier this month, author and activist Elizabeth Pisani highlighted how corruption fits into social and political contexts, a vexing issue for US companies doing business overseas. Pisani, who will also appear next month’s Ubud Writers and Readers Festival, also noted that corruption isn’t always about self-enrichment.

Totally globalized native New Yorker and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is a blogger for Forbes and author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, high finance, and cheap lingerie. See his bio, online archive and more at www.muhammadcohen.com; follow him on Facebook and Twitter @MuhammadCohen.

Hong Kong needs democracy; ‘Occupy the Process’ to get it

September 13, 2014

Like most other Hong Kongers, I’m appalled by Beijing’s phony version of universal suffrage to choose the city’s chief executive. Beijing’s attempt to seize the nominating process undermines the principle of one country-two systems and Hong Kong’s promised high degree of autonomy.

The current system has produced ineffective chief executives who do not represent Hong Kong. Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying (or CY Leung), like his predecessors, owes his position to Beijing and its Hong Kong loyalists, many of them business tycoons that benefit hugely from government largesse in Hong Kong and the mainland. (Macau’s chief executive is selected by an almost identical method, featuring an even smaller circle of voters.) As a result, Leung is far more intent on protecting their prerogatives than defending Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy that was promised when China regained sovereignty in 1997, a time I chronicle in my novel of Hong Kong On Air.

I’ve commented on two fine perspectives on the situation Beijing has created in Hong Kong on Forbes.com, one by Gordon Chang and one by Kandy Wong. I urge you to read both articles to understand why freedom loving people around the world should stand up and say, paraphrasing John F Kennedy in Berlin: “Ngo haih Heung Gong yahn.”

I’ve reposted my comments, with some annotations below:

[On Gordon Chang’s piece]
“As a Hong Konger, the issue is simple: Hong Kong people, not Beijing, should choose who rules Hong Kong.

I used to believe the great barrier to democracy was Hong Kong’s business community. But now Beijing has asserted its power over Hong Kong and trashed the principle of one country-two systems. Hong Kong deserves better, and I hope we can convince Beijing to do what’s right.”

[On Kandy Wong’s piece]
“As someone else who has chosen to call Hong Kong home, I agree that we deserve the right to choose our leadership without the heavy hand of Beijing. While Beijing talks about loyalty to the one country, that is really a fig leaf for its fear of real representative government on Chinese soil. The goal of universal suffrage in Hong Kong cannot be to overthrow the government of China, but to bring truly representative and effective government to Hong Kong. What happens in the mainland should be decided by the people of the mainland, and what happens in Hong Kong should be decided by the people of Hong Kong.

I’m not enthusiastic about Occupy Central [the plan for civil disobedience to disrupt Hong Kong’s business center to press for democracy]; instead I believe energies should be directed to Occupy the Process. The electoral system, as Beijing wants it, will be rigged, but Hong Kong people should do all we can, beginning today, to try to make it present a real choice. Identify the members of the nominating committee and build public pressure on them to nominate candidates that are endorsed by Hong Kong people. Boycott their businesses and challenge them publicly if they won’t comply. But first, I hope LegCo [the Legislative Council] will reject the current offer and make Beijing come back to the negotiating table. Shame on Britain and Margaret Thatcher for leaving this question up in the air and putting Hong Kong in this position.”

Author Nury Vittachi offers a different view on Britain and democracy to Hong Kong. However, as Kandy Wong said in reply to my comment, it’s not important what the Brits, did or didn’t do, the issue is what can Hong Kong do now that Beijing has put the mock in democracy. Vittachi, in his piece, makes the point, “Hong Kong has a long history of pro-democracy people succeeding in getting concessions where pro-Beijing people have said it was impossible.” To channel JFK again, so let us begin anew.

Totally globalized native New Yorker and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is a blogger for Forbes and author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, high finance, and cheap lingerie. See his bio, online archive and more at www.muhammadcohen.com; follow him on Facebook and Twitter @MuhammadCohen.

Macau chief Chui faces protest, casino license challenges

September 11, 2014

Fernando Chui Sai-on has been chosen for a second term as Macau’s chief executive. Chui faces new labor and political activism, plus looming expiration of casino licenses during his next five years in office.

Totally globalized native New Yorker and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is a blogger for Forbes and author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, high finance, and cheap lingerie. See his bio, online archive and more at www.muhammadcohen.com; follow him on Facebook and Twitter @MuhammadCohen.

Macau revenue falls again, no recovery this year

September 3, 2014

For the third straight month, Macau casino revenue fell in August, local casinos’ worst performance since the dark times of 2008-09. Analysts don’t expect recovery before 2015 for the world’s biggest gaming destination.

Totally globalized native New Yorker and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is a blogger for Forbes and author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, high finance, and cheap lingerie. See his bio, online archive and more at www.muhammadcohen.com; follow him on Facebook and Twitter @MuhammadCohen.

Macau casinos harness stars’ marketing punch

September 2, 2014

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone headlined a gala screening of The Expendables 3, featuring a vast ensemble of action heroes, at Venetian Macao. Playing the entertainment card, including live shows, sporting events, location shooting in resorts and red carpet extravaganzas, helps Macau casinos market in places they can’t mention gambling, including mainland China.

Totally globalized native New Yorker and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is a blogger for Forbes and author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, high finance, and cheap lingerie. See his bio, online archive and more at www.muhammadcohen.com; follow him on Facebook and Twitter @MuhammadCohen.

Japan casino gold mine may not pan out

August 28, 2014

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government is forming a task force to rekindle enthusiasm for its integrated resort initiative. However, casinos in Japan may prove less lucrative than international gaming companies seem to believe.

Totally globalized native New Yorker and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is a blogger for Forbes and author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, high finance, and cheap lingerie. See his bio, online archive and more at www.muhammadcohen.com; follow him on Facebook and Twitter @MuhammadCohen.

Junket, hotel investor tries Ho Tram, Vietnam

August 21, 2014

Junket and budget hotel chain co-founder Chien Lee has bet on Vietnam’s Ho Tram Strip. So far, developers of the 400 acre seaside site have built only one of five planned resorts, The Grand – Ho Tram Strip, a drop dead gorgeous 541 room casino hotel designed by Paul Steelman.

Totally globalized native New Yorker and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is a blogger for Forbes and author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, high finance, and cheap lingerie. See his bio, online archive and more at www.muhammadcohen.com; follow him on Facebook and Twitter @MuhammadCohen.

Australia bets on casinos to draw Asian tourists

August 14, 2014

Queensland wants to license three new multibillion dollar casino resorts to attract Chinese tourists and revive its economy hit hard by declining mining export earnings. Not everyone is convinced integrated resorts in Australia’s sunshine state will be a smart play.

Totally globalized native New Yorker and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is a blogger for Forbes and author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, high finance, and cheap lingerie. See his bio, online archive and more at www.muhammadcohen.com; follow him on Facebook and Twitter @MuhammadCohen.

Macau casino revenue takes another dip

August 5, 2014

For a second straight month, Macau’s casino fell compared to the previous year. Analysts see more declines ahead for the world’s largest gaming destination. Get the full story on Muhammad Cohen’s blog at Forbes.com.

Totally globalized native New Yorker and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is a blogger for Forbes and author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, high finance, and cheap lingerie. See his bio, online archive and more at www.muhammadcohen.com; follow him on Facebook and Twitter @MuhammadCohen.


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