Yawning, bleary-eyed half-ghosts roam the top floor of S-Meg Tower this morning after Hong Kong endures yet another sleepless night fretting about whether the saintly Martin Lee will quit the Democratic Party over its decision to support the government’s non-reform electoral package for 2012. Lee personifies the idealistic zeal of the Big Lychee’s pro-democrats: single-mindedly committed to the principle of full universal suffrage; drawing strength, like martyrs with flames licking their feet, from every menacing utterance from Beijing; and never being more than briefly distracted by such trifling and grubby irrelevances as the practical economic and social injustices created by the existing system.
Meanwhile, down there in the heart of Asia’s leading international business hub, the police are installing an elaborate network of defenses around the Legislative Council, comprising layers of shiny plastic tape and metal barriers and, later today, not one, not two, not three, but probably half a dozen or more thin blue lines – adding up to quite a thick blue line, pepper spray at the ready – to enable lawmakers to get through crowds of protestors. The demonstrators, incensed at the Democratic Party’s treachery, will be out to lay siege to the area and in particular harangue turncoats like party leader Albert Ho. What they will find is that the Hong Kong Police, after letting activists trap lawmakers inside for hours last January, are going to do what they do best: go massively and ridiculously over the top to make sure it doesn’t happen again. This is going to outperform the Maginot Line or the Great Wall and actually work. This one you really will be able to see from space. (By the way, this will be a good night to pull off a major crime – there won’t be a spare cop anywhere in town.)
To break the tension, S-Meg Holdings staff compare summer vacation plans. Ms Fang the hunter-killer secretary and her husband are going to fly 1,000 miles to a luxury resort with lush tropical greenery, snorkel diving, rejuvenating spa, international buffet, personal valet and rose petals in the bath (slight chance of mob in coloured shirts closing airport down). Deputy Managing Director Mr Chan and his family will be flying 900 miles to a luxury resort with lush tropical greenery, snorkel diving, pampering spa, international buffet, personal valet and scented candles next to the bath (minor chance of coup). Ms Lu the buck-toothed Company Secretary and her parents will fly 1,400 miles to a luxury resort with lush tropical greenery, snorkel diving, idyllic spa, international buffet, personal valet and organic aromatic oils for pouring into the bath (tiny chance of Muslim fanatics and seriously minuscule possibility of cannibals). Johnny Mao, the Big Boss’s Mainland fixer, is giving in to pressure from nouveau-riche in-laws in Beijing who are insisting on going to the Maldives because it’s the most expensive package available. It’s a 3,200-mile flight to an arid, desolate, flat reef where everything costs five times what it would elsewhere and there’s nothing to do (underplayed possibility of sand-flea bites or skin cancer). At least, I console him, it sounds different.