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Distancing protocol forgotten as crowds close in on North Point flower tunnel

24 August 2020

By Vir B. Lumicao

The main attraction in the North Mall display is this 20-meter long wisteria tunnel

It was just a miniature of the Japanese wisteria gardens in Fukuoka, but for the mostly foreign domestic helpers fortunate to be having their day out today, Aug 23, the new attraction at Harbour North Mall in North Point was still a gorgeous photo opportunity.

The FDHs joined hundreds of other people in descending on the “Summer Watterfly” spectacle along the mall’s promenade, causing a big problem for security officers enforcing the social distancing protocol in the area.


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Whenever the crowd thickened, a lone mall guard went around the garden raising a poster that reminded the public to wear masks and observe 1.5-meter distancing.
 
No one paid heed to the staff holding up a sign telling people to maintain distance 

Dalian mo, dalian mo! Nandiyan na naman ang bantay,” a Filipina visitor told her companion as she posed for a photo with the tunnel’s mid-section as a backdrop.
No one seemed to bother about the guard, as they parted just a little when he came near, then pressed again towards the hydrangea forest as soon as he turned his back.

At 3pm, mall staff had to block the opening and exit of the 20-meter long tunnel with blue plastic boards to keep the crowd at bay.
But all that effort was put paid by everyone with a cell phone, intent on having their pictures taken in front of the blue, pink, purple and white wisteria tunnel hedged by a matching variety of hydrangeas.
 
Among the early visitors were the administrators of the online group, Domestic Workers Corner 
The display, which is over 3,000 feet wide, also features a gigantic butterfly installation, as well as a wisteria wishing tree and many purple flower-themed installations inside the mall.

Just before the display opened at 10am today, scores of people, many of them FDHs, gathered at the promenade near the North Point Ferry Pier, each one eager to be the first to walk in pairs through the tunnel, or to simply snap a few shots.
Walking through the flower tunnel is free, but you must sign up for membership in The Point by SHKP. A lady staff at a booth by the passage to the tunnel signed up guests who wanted to try the five-minute walk.

The display, which was meticulously patterned after the Kawachi Fujien Wisteria Gardens in Kitakyushu, will be a daily feature of the mall until Oct 4. It follows the success of an earlier event, the Spring Sakura display.
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