Being a materialistic society, Hong Kong is a place where money speaks (and so do those who have it aplenty). The people here have much faith in money, generally believing that there is not much it cannot do and not many problems it cannot solve. Being an affluent society with one of the world’s biggest reserves, Hong Kong is in a good position to put this faith to test. A good example is the quest to promote information technology in education, which began towards the end of the last millennium. Those who have been put in charge of the initiative have always focused predominantly on procuring the hardware and the software, as though setting up the IT infrastructure alone is enough to enhance of quality of education. Little thought is ever given to how IT may add value to teaching and learning and may be used to motivate or inspire students. "The sad truth is that students can learn just as badly with a class full of computers, interactive whiteboards and mobile technology as they can with wooden desks and a chalkboard," an education consultant in the UK was quoted by a BBC article as saying. Unfortunately, this is something that the promoters of IT in education here are unaware of. That is a clear manifestation of GAS (the Gear Acquisition Syndrome).
The general public have this belief, too. They believe in buying gear and services to help improve their mastery of certain skills and knowledge. Parents who can afford it, and there are many who actually can, are more than happy to splash out on tuition and equipment just to get their children to excel in their academic or non-academic pursuits.
More significantly, the syndrome has a wider range of symptoms here, to the extent that GAS may be re-defined Gadget Acquisition Syndrome. According to a recent survey on the affluent consumers of the Asia Pacific region, the rich consumers of Hong Kong own far more HD TVs, digital SLR cameras and expensive watches than those in the other ten countries or regions being studied. So long as the rich Hong Kong people have the means, they do not hesitate with their shopping. Obviously, they believe that acquiring gear and gadgets not only improves their mastery of something, it also enhances their status.