The mood on the Mid-Levels Escalator this morning is magnanimous tinged with anti-anthropomorphic, as Hong Kong’s hard-working, disfranchised middle class digest the aftermath of Chief Executive Donald Tsang’s exciting policy address.
Feelings of goodwill gush towards the Big Lychee’s property tycoons, who are donating carefully weighted sums of money to the government’s Community Care Fund, which will provide swift and targeted support for those in need, filling a void left by the current social security system (which, we must infer, rather carelessly ignores those in need). The owners of Sun Hung Kai and Henderson are each contributing HK$400 million, while Li Ka-shing takes his rightful share of face by giving a neat half billion. Lesser moguls will no doubt stump up offerings in the HK$250 million range.
As we glide down the hill towards Central, Mrs Chan the marketing manager tells her neighbours how this generosity has transformed her view of our city’s richest men. “I really hated the property tycoons before this,” she tells us. “Partly because of the way they cheated and stole from and exploited everyone from taxpayers to home buyers to small businesses to renters. And partly because of the way they made massive extra profits as a result of planning loopholes and through weird decisions by bureaucrats who later went to work for them. And partly because their greed has blotted the landscape with monster towers that ruin the environment. And partly because of their sense of entitlement and extraordinary grip on policymakers. And partly…”
“Yes, yes – get on with it,” mutters Mr Lee the banker, worrying that we will be arriving at Queens Road in just a few minutes before getting to the gist of it.
“Well,” Mrs Chan continues, “after this astounding act of selflessness towards the disadvantaged, I feel totally different about them. I now honestly believe that the real estate magnates are the kindest people in the whole of Hong Kong. I really wonder where we would be without them. I’m going to write to Li Ka-shing personally and tell him that the next time I buy one of his new luxury apartments off-plan and I find that the 870 square feet advertised is in fact only 610 square feet, and some of that’s basically a shelf or on the outside with air-conditioners on it, it will be my pleasure to give to such a noble cause.”
Mr Lee nods in agreement. “And it’s so nice seeing that nice Henry Tang having such a high-profile part to play in this new fund,” he says. “I used to think he was just a rather dim sort of guy from a wealthy Shanghai textiles family who would be no better as Chief Executive than Tung Chee-hwa. But now I see him helping the poor like this, I’ve changed my mind completely. I’m going to send a big cheque to his election campaign when the time comes, I can tell you.”
I can’t resist shifting the conversation towards the most puzzling part of the Chief Executive’s speech on Wednesday. The first ever mention (unless we count Governor Sir Archibald Hercules Bonham’s comments about a wild tiger in 1851) of cats in a Hong Kong policy address. And dogs. I explain to my fellow commuters that the authorities are being pushed around by a group of wooly-minded, people-hating animal worshippers – mostly female, largely Westerners – who want dirty, vicious, disease-spreading stray beasts to be granted full human rights.
“What,” I ask, “is the remedy for this health hazard?”
“Round the dogs up,” says Mrs Chan.
“And shoot them,” adds Mr Lee. “Or gas them – which ever’s cheaper.”
“So most of us would think,” I tell them. “But the fanatics have other ideas.” I explain that deranged anthropomorphs are demanding that feral animals be gathered together, taken for baths and grooming at the Peninsula Hotel spa, fed organic vegan tofu-steak, taken to a public hospital specially commandeered for the purpose, neutered by star veterinary surgeons, dressed in ribbons and little booties and released back onto the streets to defecate and bite to their hearts’ content with the aid of monthly handouts from the Community Care Fund. They also demand that Hong Kong University researchers release all SARS coronovirus samples, which they say are being kept in cruel conditions and subjected to evil Nazi-style experiments.
“But,” I conclude, “I have it on good authority that Donald Tsang’s remarks on our furry friends were just to shut these extremists up.” On cue, in the distance, we hear a sudden outbreak of canine yelping cut short by the unmistakable and comforting sound of a shotgun blast. “The government’s not that stupid.”
Who would have guessed that deceased former Governor, Sir Archibald Hercules Bonham, has close blood-line ties to the late great Led Zep pig-skin basher, John Henry Bonham.
OT: Has anyone noticed that the Food and Health Bureau has lifted its My Health My Choice logo from the Resident Evil video game?
Even the SCMP had some front page mush on behalf of someone lamenting the lack of Governmental help towards them and their ‘fur-kid’. In fact more space was devoted to this rot than was devoted to discussing a) how HK property magnates can drop $500m without breaking into a sweat and b) why the CSSA scheme misses those deemed as requiring such donations. Surely people in living in cages merit more thought than something that is more at home in one.
Sadly, conditions on The Peak are a bit more serious.
It seems Tsang does have a constituency of at least two non-western feral cat welfare lunatics. They operate a mobile feeding operation in the area of Magazine Gap and Coombe roads and can be seen daily off-loading a late model SUV stuffed with cat food, and dispensing it onto styrofoam meat trays.
Visibly exhausted by their labour, and wearing the pained expression of cat martyrdom — long since given up hope of understanding and funds from official sources — they trudge the roadside dropping the noisesome blobs tenderly sprinkled with kitty-crunchies.
The dull-eyed and viscious cats are fed better than the carboard – collecting grannies of Wanchai, as are the crows, mourning doves and large dogs lunging at the other end of an 85 lb. helper. With this announcement you mention. I fear they may feel vindicated at last.
in the next policy address perhaps they should make cantonese a requirement for permanent residency then the crazed animal lovers would be able to employ their mis-guided kindness from dumb animals to sentinent people who would benefit …
That way a surplus of money could meet a surplus of time in a societal beneficial union
Having given them a subtle, back-cover mention in this policy address, I predict that Sir Bow-Tie may be just cunningly clearing the ground for our feline friends to take centre stage on the front cover of the next one: “Hong Kong: No Room to Swing a Cat”.
Here’s what we might expect. Chapter 1: “Fat Cats” (On the (non-)redistribution of wealth); Chapter 2: “Cat out of the Bag” (Why your MPF is making someone else rich); Chapter 3: “Grinning Like a Cheshire Cat” (Why we, the Executive, can’t give a flying fig about the people on the mid-levels escalator); Chapter 4: “Cat’s Got Our Tongue” (On officials defending ExCo members with blatant conflicts of interest); Chapter 5: “Cat in Hell’s Chance” (On the possibilities of a HK official praising the Nobel Prize committee, or criticising Beijing).
Cover colour = puce.
I’ve never understood why the furry mafia are so concerned about animal rights and conditions when many also keep dogs and cats in units unfit for the purpose. being transported downstairs in a sack to get 5 minutes of peeing time every so often is no life.
When I was a kid, my grandad told me of a shool pal of his who deliberately killed a cat by running it through a hand-powered clothes mangle!
Not sure where “Archibald Hercules” comes from, but according to Wikipedia (so – hey – it must be right, right?), the Governor in 1851 was called Samuel George Bonham.
I am sure he could play triple paradiddles in 5/4 time though, like all good Bonhams …
Without delivering any benefit to shareholders, by what authority do directors of public companies divert shareholder money into non-business activities?
“Being transported downstairs in a sack to get 5 minutes of peeing time every so often is no life.”
Yeah, but at least he got the Nobel Peace Prize.
… or was that a noble piss prize?!
When will the police decide whether there is a case to answer re the 39 CR scam ? I am taking bets at 1 : 10,000 that the answer is never. Oh I DO so love property tycoons….
( Actually : I don’t mind that they get filty rich : full marks to them for being clever enough to out smart the market . What I hate is that after becoming so filthy rich they still need to keep cheating and playing every dishonest game in the books – short of outright FRAUD – to get even richer )
Mrs Chan for next CEO of HK ! ( SHE would get the job done , for sure !)
In China they eat dogs. Don’t bash it if you haven’t tried it (or fried it).
Dogs are intelligent and sociable animals. So are pigs.
Wherein does pig protein differ from dog protein, that we are allowed to eat pigs but not dogs ?
And if we call pigmeat pork, what do we call dogmeat ?