Lots of noise, but nothing’s actually happening

It’s as if the Gods of News have all fallen ill or maybe gone on strike.  Developing stories have been abandoned to sag and fall in on themselves, like mushy, failed soufflés.  The meticulously intertwined threads of current events have been left to loosen and come apart like strands of DNA in a diseased cell.   The tide in the affairs of man has mysteriously failed, leaving the waters still and stagnant.  That sort of thing.

To no-one’s great surprise, a court declares that the signatures on the will leaving late tycoon Nina Wang’s entire estate to grinning feng-shui toy-boy Tony Chan Chun-chuen were forgeries.  The tax officials are circling around Chan like vultures, and his new hairstyle seems to have been designed to save the Correctional Services Department the bother of doing it.

But the saga is unresolved and unsatisfying.  The towering pile of unctuous audacity that is Tony Chan* is perhaps looking for a new lawyer to appeal the ruling.  We have no idea how much the estate is worth (HK$10 billion?  HK$100 billion?).  The charity Nina’s family want the money for is a cipher of a chimera of a known unknown.  And then we have what the Standard calls ‘flamboyant’ property tycoon Cecil Chao congratulating the family, and reminding us that Wang’s fortune was simply shoveled into her lap courtesy of the Hong Kong government’s high land-price policy, at the expense of the city’s home-dwellers.

Similarly, to no-one’s surprise at all, the Democratic Alliance for the Blah-Blah of Hong Kong has ‘decided’, after putting on a show of not instantly obeying orders from Beijing, to boycott the forthcoming by-election.  Again, this is a non-story.  Where is the crunchy, chewy substance here?  The only prospect of a worthwhile sound-bite comes from the mainland officials with their mental hair-triggers poised to detonate an explosion of mouth-frothing, screeching rage at any moment about how referendums that aren’t taking place are forbidden by Basic Law clauses that apparently don’t exist.

Other than that, it has all the makings of a big flop.  The government and its supporters are mumbling words that sound vaguely similar to Beijing’s about how the pro-democrats’ actions are sort of, well, un- (da-dee-da) -consti- (dum-dee-dum) -tutional.  Legislator Emily Lau will ask the increasingly tragic Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Secretary Stephen Lam today (Item 5) to make it clear.  “Spit it out, you smarmy, weasel-faced, born-again dog-dropping,” she’ll scream –  “legal or illegal?” 

The pro-democrats who have resigned from the Legislative Council would, if they had an ounce of wit, produce handcuffs at a press conference and dare the authorities to arrest them or shut up.  If they had half a pound of wit, they would declare the by-elections to be nothing other than (say) a vote on the property tycoons.  If you think they’re evil exploitative scumbags undermining our economy and society – come out and vote (for any candidate!).  If you think they’re upstanding pillars of the community creating jobs and prosperity – stay at home.  But that would be too simple, too attention-grabbing and too irresistible.  We can’t have that.

Then, a final, depressing, lumpy, grey mass of gruel-like reportage: sex-offenders name-shame background checks shock trauma outrage horror!!! You’ve read the story everywhere else on the planet, now it’s our turn.  My eyes glaze over.  I suppose I should read the article, but just a quick skim is all I can bear.  I don’t have kids.  I don’t molest kids.  I have no idea whether the sex-beast phenomenon is an ever-present evil, a recently erupted threat due to plastics in the food chain, or a big scare created by the media.  I am fairly certain that, if someone is a danger to anyone else, they should be locked up, and if they’re not, they shouldn’t be – in which case they should not have any past crime tattooed on their forehead, be fire-bombed or be used for modern-day bear-baiting.

I don’t hire people for childcare positions, so I am clueless.  But is a workplace or neighbourhood safer accommodating an ex-offender with a criminal record for burglary, or knifing old ladies for spare change, or pyromania, or racist murder?  For any of them: if they’re still a threat to us, put them back in detention.

The Gods of News are helpless with this one.  It is, if my skimming is correct, a modest scheme to enable various people to check various things about various other people in a well-intentioned attempt to reduce an unquantifiable risk of something bad or maybe very bad, but in such a way that nothing serious will happen as a result in practice, give or take a small mountain of paperwork.  Maybe that’s reading too much into it.

The South China Morning Post mentions that background checks will include foreign workers, such as Southeast Asian maids who look after people’s kids.  So every middle-class Hong Kong family will be trying to contact whatever authorities exist in some dirt-track village in Indonesia to ask if the 23-year-old girl they’ve just hired is a weenie-wiggler.  There might just be a news story there.

*Yes, I would have serviced the old girl for a few million bucks a time, too – no-one’s saying they wouldn’t have.

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8 Responses to Lots of noise, but nothing’s actually happening

  1. Henry C. says:

    Great one!

    Think we had a hard time keeping our blog updated as well…HK’s just…well, nothing happens here that really matters…

  2. Kelvin says:

    It’s good to see that the mouth-frothing geniuses who ran ARATS back in the 1990s and practically delivered the ROC presidency to Lee Teng-hui and A-Bian have found new jobs in the HK Liaison Office and miscellaneous Grandpa-friendly organizations. All we need now are missile tests in the Pearl River Estuary.

    That is their plan, right? Let the Trotskyists run the place for two terms, and then the people will rush back to the DAB’s and Liberals’ loving arms…?

  3. gunlaw says:

    This is rich: the gift to the Chinachem Foundation could itself be invalid because the Foundation itself is not exclusively charitable – read the following extract from the judgment:

    36. Apart from naming the Plaintiff as beneficiary, the 2002 Will also expressed Nina’s wish that the management of the Plaintiff shall be supervised by an authority making up of the Secretary General of the United Nations, the Premier of the People’s Republic of China and the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. It is provided in the 2002 Will that in addition to continuing with its existing charitable works and developing the same, the Plaintiff shall set up a Chinese prize with worldwide significance similar to the Nobel Prize. Nina also expressed the wish that the Plaintiff shall maintain and expand the business of the Chinachem Group in order to use part of the profit generated from the business for charitable purposes. She also provided in the 2002 Will that the Plaintiff was to look after the parents of Teddy and the siblings of Teddy and their children. It should also provide assistance to the educational needs of the staff of Chinachem and their children.

    37. The principal object clause of the Plaintiff in its Memorandum of Association set out the charitable activities that the Plaintiff may engage in. Broadly speaking, it can accommodate the wishes of Nina expressed in the 2002 Will as regards her specified charitable objectives. It may be arguable whether the provisions for Teddy’s parents and siblings and their children and staff of Chinachem fall within the object clause. But this is not a question that this court needs to resolve in the present context.

  4. Da Docta says:

    How can you fail to be fascinated by the piranha teeth of Mr Chan? They are emblematic, iconic, the engines of a savage rapacitty rarelly seen in anyone’s lifetime. They are the ruthless razors of capitalism, the maw of modern Hong Kobg.

  5. The Plod says:

    Nina looks quite cute in that b&w photo they keep showing from her younger days. I would.

    The truth about offenders is that the vast majority are recidivists – rehabilitation simply doesn’t work for most of them. I don’t know why but them’s the facts. Besides, English common law courts simply don’t lock people away for long enough. When they get out they reoffend. Burglars and robbers are one thing but kiddy-fiddlers need to be kept at arm’s length from their defenceless prey. How that’s done is not simple but done it has to be.

  6. Da Docta says:

    Cage them. Castrate them. Tag them.

    But some coppers won’t respond to any of that, will they?

  7. Jason Ali says:

    As a kid, Tony “crocodile” Chan must have chomped his way through two tubes of Darkie Toothpaste each day. What a grin. It’s no wonder that China’s Bjork fell for the tubby little chap.

  8. Vile says:

    They should all have their genitalia nailed to their front doors. Damn pediatricians.

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