It seems every civilized community has a group of misfits who take pleasure in deliberately creeping out their harmless and innocent fellow citizens.
In the UK, certain women insist on wrapping their heads, necks and arms in shawls, scarves and sleeves – even if it presents a hygiene hazard in hospitals. They claim the Koran requires them to do so. In fact, the book simply advises women to dress modestly, not weirdly, and definitely not in such a way as to unnerve or irritate passers-by. Many faithful Muslim women in the West and in Southeast Asia and elsewhere happily go bareheaded. These British women’s decision to wear forms of dress dating back to then-as-ever feudal, pre-Islamic, Bedouin culture is not religious: it is to make a political statement.
In the US, some gun owners have taken to openly carrying sidearms in such unlikely places as Californian branches of Starbucks. The hapless coffee chain is drawing criticism for sparing its (unarmed) employees from having to enforce any ban on the practice. The gun owners point out that they are within their rights and obeying the law by bearing the weapons unloaded. They also tend to claim that a visibly armed citizenry deters criminals. However, many coffee-drinking parents with young children and other Starbucks customers say they find the sight more alarming than reassuring.
In both cases, the misfits can be said to have a point. There is a backlash underway among devout Muslim and other believers in the UK against what they see as a society racked by drugs, alcohol, teenage pregnancy, family breakdown and all the country’s other horrors. Many Californian gun owners are angry specifically because they feel the authorities have made it almost impossible for a citizen to obtain a concealed-carry permit unless he has the right connections. But in both cases, these malcontents vent their frustration by knowingly and deliberately worrying other people.
Meanwhile, back in the Big Lychee, we have our own oddballs who take pleasure in spreading unease among the community in order to declare their dogmatic virtue. Their mission is to oversee the gradual infiltration of mainland blather into our society, our homes, our minds and even, no doubt, our babies’ milk. This communist-inspired language and behaviour is simultaneously sinister and meaningless. Indeed, like the dialogue in a David Lynch film, the more vacuous and bland it is, the more creepy it seems.
Today’s example is the announcement of next Monday’s Commission on Strategic Development meeting on Hong Kong’s future role in the mainland’s development. The CSD is a talking shop, with no known accomplishments, under the auspices of Lau Siu-kai’s Central Policy Unit, the government department that specializes in producing ominous questions that fit our visionary leaders’ pre-determined answers. To get themselves into the right frame of mind before the gathering, CSD members – the usual selection of yes-men, minus Ronald Arculli, plus a couple of presentable pro-democrats – have been given some choice blather with a slight hint of totalitarian, centrally planned, ideologically crazed menace expertly woven between its inane lines:
Hong Kong needs to, under the “One Country, Two Systems” principle, better understand and support the Mainland’s overall development…
Key points of the [2007 Report to the 17th National Congress of the Communist Party of China] stated that China would ensure the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects by 2020 … fully applying the Scientific Outlook on Development…
The Central Authorities have … on a number of occasions launched major initiatives mutually beneficial to the Mainland and Hong Kong, taking into account the actual situations in both places…
…Hong Kong and the Mainland … should make better use of CEPA and the important platform provided under the policy of “early and pilot implementation” in Guangdong…
We should explore in depth how to further develop [service] industries to better serve the PRD region and other places in the Mainland for mutual benefits.
The Guangdong-Hong Kong economic relationship has shifted from a “front shop, back plant” model to a partnership driven by “enhancing the secondary industry and developing the tertiary industry” of Guangdong.
The Framework Agreement on Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation (Framework Agreement) just signed by Government leaders of both places on 7 April this year is useful for translating the Outline [of the Plan for the Reform and Development of the Pearl River Delta (2008-2020)]’s macro policies into concrete measures conducive to the development of both places.
Another important development is Shenzhen-Hong Kong co-operation, which will enhance the overall competitiveness of the Shenzhen-Hong Kong metropolis.
Read too much of this, and you will wake up in a cold sweat at night with visions of schoolchildren chanting it all. Sir David Akers-Jones, Allen Zeman, Audrey Eu and the other CSD members are also asked to consider how the Big Lychee can best fulfill its patriotic destiny to serve the glorious motherland before itself and become as dependent as possible on the Central People’s Government:
In the latest Report on the Work of the Government, Premier Wen Jiabao pledged support for the first time for Hong Kong to develop industries with clear advantages and foster new areas of economic growth. In what ways would these industries match with the Mainland’s needs and require its support?
And then, the real nightmare:
Hong Kong needs to continue to develop new tourist attractions, organise international events, promote exhibition and convention tourism and explore sources of overseas visitors… Besides, Hong Kong should fully utilise its status and advantages as a regional cruise centre…
Give me unhygienic Islamists in hospitals and gun nuts in Pacific Coffee any day.