The hallucinatory drugs kick in, and normally intelligent people suddenly start spouting absurd gibberish as if it were logical, factual and of the utmost, solemn momentousness. “The president has assured me that Hong Kong’s opinions will be taken seriously in the planning of the next five-year plan,” intones Chief Executive Donald Tsang during his duty trip to Beijing to have his head patted by various taller people with very black hair. (Planning the plan – it sounds like some new diet fad or a business guru book.) The South China Morning Post quotes mysterious ‘observers’ as saying that Sir Bow-Tie’s “next important task … is to achieve greater participation by Hong Kong in national economic planning.” Our hearts race in excitement.
The Big Lychee government takes a break from telling us how wonderful it is to cheerlead the Stalinist-tinged weirdness. “Minister of Foreign Affairs Yang Jiechi has endorsed Hong Kong’s roles and functions under the 12th Five-Year Plan period, including its status as an international financial centre, exhibition centre, and regional legal service and arbitration centre,” says one release. “President Hu Jintao says the Central Government attaches great importance to Hong Kong’s view when formulating the country’s 12th Five-Year Plan,” adds another.
Five-Year Plan Scenes We’d Like to See…
- We wake up one day and learn that the Central People’s Government has decided to reallocate various relevant cities’ roles and functions
- Hong Kong will no longer be an international financial centre; that task will be passed on to Tianjin, which won the much-prized honour in a lucky draw. All our bankers and their families and cars will move to the frigid northern port within three months. Every one of them
- Our exhibition centre status will be transferred to plucky little Weihai in Shandong Province. Within weeks the swarms of buyers, conventioneers and speech-making conference whores will disappear, leaving us with cavernous and empty auditoriums for kids to run around in and play on skateboards
- The mantle of ‘regional legal service and arbitration centre’ will pass to exotic Kunming, nestled amid the jungle-clad mountains of Yunnan. Every lawyer will pack his or her shiny black document bag and flee our shores for ever. Same with arbitrators (and we never did get round to working out what they do)
- Soon after, our Chief Executive flies up to Beijing to see how much they really mean it when they say they value our input into national economic planning. “How about moving Hong Kong’s internationally recognized accounting hub to Tibet?” he’ll suggest, hopefully
- In return, we get someone else’s tractor design studios, millet fields, silkworm hatcheries and acupuncture academies. Not to mention a bit of peace and quiet
The hallucinations are starting to wear off now, but it was nice while it lasted.