Mental Health Crisis: Space Cadets to the Rescue

According to the South China Morning Post, Hong Kong public hospitals’ 200-300 psychiatrists can spend only five to 10 minutes in consultation with each of their annual total of 150,000 new patients. Perhaps we should be grateful that mentally ill people run amok and chop up passers-by with meat cleavers only once every few months or so. This is, after all, a flow of 410 newly diseased minds per 24 hours – though perhaps the most amazing thing is that 6,999,590 of us stay sane every day.

As usual, the latest such incident, in which two people were killed and three seriously wounded, prompts hand-wringing and complaints. Residents of the public housing estate concerned are angrily demanding that schizophrenic and similarly afflicted neighbours be moved somewhere else. They don’t say where. I would suggest Discovery Bay, which for several decades now has housed thousands of people who have quietly gone mad, far away from the daily lives and thoughts of the rest of the population. Activists and do-gooders meanwhile demand that the government allocate more resources; it takes one year, apparently, for someone suffering from depression to have their first appointment with a specialist.

Our officials are made of sterner stuff. The SCMP reports that Permanent Secretary for Labour and Welfare Paul Tang says that such incidents are inevitable and “We have already increased the support for the mentally ill over the past several years.” In short, it’s no big deal, and anyway these evil, dangerous lunatics have too much already.

One possible solution, given that sorting out the deranged on a case-by-case basis is such a drag, is to gather them all up and launch them into outer space.

Which brings us rather neatly to the government’s call for high school students to volunteer for Young Astronaut Training Camp. The lucky youthful Hongkongers, hand-picked from the millions who are independent, extrovert, confident and proficient in Putonghua, will be sent to the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre to undergo such enjoyable experiences as blood redistribution adaptability training – otherwise known as being strapped to a chair upside-down.

The exercise is being run by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (ultimate boss: imprisoned student Communist activist and now Home Affairs Secretary Tsang Tak-sing) in the shape of the Space Museum – the nearest we have to NASA. The Chinese General Chamber of Commerce and The Hong Kong Institute for Promotion of Chinese Culture are also involved. The CGCC, which organizes frequent and unforgettably exciting pro-motherland cocktail gatherings as well as such events as anti-Falun Gong exhibitions, is presumably chipping in some money. The HKIPCC, a group for arty types from academia and the media, with friends in government and the intellectual wing of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong, will perhaps help out with the non-astronomical part of the syllabus.

In short, this is part of that large-scale effort to introduce harmonized and correct standards of mental health across the community: the United Front. The students will return in tiptop condition, not only in adaptability of blood redistribution, but in the adaptability of their fresh young minds, untainted by the colonial-era thinking that make some older Hong Kong people unhinged, violent time-bombs – rampaging around challenging the Communist Party with meat cleavers in their insane quest for democracy.

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12 Responses to Mental Health Crisis: Space Cadets to the Rescue

  1. RealityCheck says:

    The problem surely is defining and isolating who is mentally ill in Hong Kong:

    People who shave themselves with two ten cent coins?
    People who think there is a shortage of toilet paper and buy 100 rolls?
    People who wear a jacket and thongs in winter?
    People who believe a plastic bag on their heads will keep then dry when it rains?
    People who carry their dogs in prams and shoulder bags?

    It’s very hard to spot them….

  2. Bun Bun says:

    ‘Jacket and thongs’ – is that a new twist on the old ‘all fur coat and no knickers’…?

  3. Plod says:

    You’d be surprised at the number of looney-tunes in their 40s & 50s who are ‘incarcerated’ in Govt-run old aged homes. How must this make the geriatrics who’ve actually retained their marbles feel? The social workers assigned to handle the mentally ill in the community are simply overrun with cases. Another black mark against our Govt.

  4. Maugrim says:

    Hmmm, on the other hand, HK people can amazingly keep their cool in situations that have the average Gweilo citizen frothing at the mouth. To wit:
    Alleviating packed queues by having five family members strategically placed in a number of other queues so as to take advantage of the fastest moving one.

    Driving on a road where traffic is slowly moving. That too can be alleviated by zooming up any inside lane and simply pushing in at the front of the queue.

    As to the Astronaut example, the first Russians in space were dogs, In America it was chimpanzees. In HK, schoolgirls. Is this evolution at work?

  5. Maugrim says:

    Oh, and I can’t wait until our intrepid HK space jugend have their photos on the front of the Ming Pao, flashing ‘V’ signs and waving a space approved Hello Kitty flag.

  6. RealityCheck says:

    Car drivers who accelerate towards pedestrians who have just begun to cross the road.

    Women who wear sun visors across their face.

    People who live in squalor and have ten million in the bank.

    People who drive yellow Ferraris.

    It’s awfully difficult to diagnose psychosis in Hong Kong.

  7. Forest Grump says:

    I wonder if these keen HK astronauts realize that HK’s (and arguably China’s) first astronaut was actually Bill Anders, who was command module pilot on the Apollo mission which flew around the moon in 1968. He was in fact born in HK in 1933

  8. Maugrim says:

    RealityCheck, note also all manner of codgery who, within any number of meters from a designated pedestrian crossing (with lights), will wander straight out into traffic, despite obvious dangers. Most commonly seen near markets.

  9. Lt. Dan Taylor says:

    Lt. Dan: “Have you found Jesus, Gump?”

    Gump: “I didn’t know I was supposed to be looking for him, Sir.”

  10. gunlaw says:

    Your possible solution “to gather them all up and launch them into outer space” was in fact employed in Douglas Adams’s “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”. Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect hitched a ride on a spacecraft which, it turned out, was not only filled with a bunch of loonies, but crash-landed on Planet Earth to found the human race.

  11. Historian says:

    “I wonder if these keen HK astronauts realize that HK’s (and arguably China’s) first astronaut was actually Bill Anders, who was command module pilot on the Apollo mission which flew around the moon in 1968. He was in fact born in HK in 1933.”

    Excellent point well made. There should at least be a plaque at the Science Museum.

  12. Plod says:

    People who smash beer glasses in your face because ‘you looked at my bird’ (UK)

    People who are too lazy to turn up for work yet still expect a full salary (Greece)

    People who don’t use soap and think they smell sexy (France)

    People who don’t know the difference between Iraq and Iran (US)

    People who expect a back hander before they’ll do their job (Africa, PRC & half of SE Asia)

    I’ll stick with HK thanks v much.

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