Several Annenbergers went to China Tee Club on the past Saturday; we spent a cozy time enjoying some dim sum there and were warmly served by a waiter from Shanghai in his middle age. Inside the restaurant, it features Chinese-Malaysian décor with a vintage touch, including antique gramophone, bird cages, posters and tiles. All of these decorative items drove us back to the old Hong Kong time. But looking out through the window stands glamorously the largest Louis Vuitton store in the center of Central. However impressive the environment and the service, we are kind of disappointed with the food: 110 HKD per head for an afternoon tea set, which only includes ten little pieces of dim sum.
Then, today, I read from newspaper, knowing that the 25-year-old China Tee Club is being ousted by the trendy clothing chain Abercrombie & Fitch.
It’s a well-established fact that the big guy generally wins in business. And the story is playing out the same old way at the Pedder Building in Central. Together with the flagship stores for Shanghai Tang and 16 other clothing and jewellery businesses, China Tee Club must give way to the American chain in the coming September.
Members of the restaurant found sad and angry to see it go, yet felt they can do nothing because it is a highly commercial society, where anything has historical value has to go to make way for commercial stuff.
This story reminds me of the debate over Forbidden City Starbucks. When historical value conflicts with commercial value, what can we do to find a balance between them, or should we sacrifice one side in total just like Pedder Building? This provides me a topic to ponder over.