Another think-tank discovered

Even for a paper that is largely a translation of other groveling Sing Tao Group output, the Standard has formidable quantities of oozing obsequiousness dribbling in great gummy globs from its pages. Today on page 2 ‘smooth operator’ Chief Secretary Henry Tang shakes hands with presumed rivals for the post of next Chief Executive with ‘panache’. Over the page, the fictitious ‘Mary Ma’ editorial pretty much nominates Development Secretary Carrie Lam (Tang’s probable sidekick in the 2012-17 administration) for sainthood for not owning a home.

Further into the publication is a daily dose of toadying called ‘Fame and Fortune’, crafted by Sing Tao chief editor Siu Sai-wo (a recipient, incidentally, of a Bronze Bauhinia Star – the scummiest and most insulting of Hong Kong’s tawdry medals, handed out as a kick in the face to the most avid hangers-on and wannabes desperate to be accepted by the Big Lychee’s self-styled ‘elite’.)

As its title suggests, the column usually focuses on a well-known rich person and remarks in glowing terms on what we might politely call a hitherto under-appreciated personal quality, such as his or her selflessness or intellect. (You can imagine Sing Tao owner tobacco heir/tycoon Charles Ho phoning Siu to announce that he feels a compulsive need coming on to lavish vacuous public praise over a particular property developer, and the lackey should see to it.)

Today, Siu mentions something called the Dashun Policy Research Centre, a think-tank recently formed by several legislators and professionals to focus on ‘infrastructure development issues’. “A source in government circles,” the constantly name-dropping Siu writes, “said Dashun looks set to play a leading role, as infrastructure projects in Hong Kong are facing more frequent and radical objections.”

Although we may never have heard of this group, it is soon obvious what we are talking about. First, it is being promoted in Sing Tao/Standard-land, and therefore will not be part of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy milieu. Second, the name Dashun (大舜) is transliterated in Pinyin; in normal local Canto-based Romanization it would be more like ‘Tai Sun’. This doesn’t automatically mark it out as pro-Beijing, but it certainly suggests a possible fondness for the cross-border integration/partnership/cooperation fetish. (It’s suitably patriotic: the name of a mythical Chinese emperor.) Third, the picture shows the group sitting beneath a banner in Chinese only. Again, you don’t have to be part of the United Front to do this, but let’s say it helps.

It also seems pretty clear that the Dashun Policy Research Centre has been set up to push the Zhuhai Bridge and Third Runway. Presumably, it has been established with government urging and no doubt some big corporate players wish it well (possibly including Mainland interests, given the role of state-owned construction firms in these big infrastructure projects).

A bit of rummaging around reveals that its leading figures include the gruesome legislator Priscilla Leung and colleagues Patrick Lau (architects’ representative) and Raymond Ho (engineering representative). The (apparently still alive) venerable Sir SY Chung seems to be the figurehead. The group dates from some time last year, but it hasn’t exactly captured the public’s attention (there was some sort of publicity surrounding a goof-up in which Priscilla wrongly linked the mythical emperor with ancient engineering projects).

Dashun has probably been established to counter an existing body, the Professional Commons, a bilingual group prone to dangerous outbreaks of critical thinking and leaning more towards quality-of-life than Stalinist-scale schemes to cover the city with steel and concrete. With Chief Executive and other polls on the way, Priscilla et al could also be entertaining fantasies about posing as a voting bloc, being offered high office or sweeties of some sort for backing this or that candidate. Or… they’re just another grubby bunch of plain everyday shoe-shiners.

Rummaging deeper down, we find a relative unknown sitting on the Dashun executive committee (from ‘2011-present’) who might give us a little bit of insight into the sort of ambitious people attracted to the fringes of the pro-Beijing sub-culture: behold, one Dr Vincent Ho BSc (Hons), PhD, MBA, PE, RSO, CSP, RPE, CEng, CFIOSH, FIMechE, CMILT of the MTR. What a resume, big enough to span the Pearl River Estuary – even a spell as Pasadena Police reservist gets in there. Can a Bronze Bauhinia Star be far off?

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11 Responses to Another think-tank discovered

  1. Maugrim says:

    Hemmers, did you notice who the moderator was for yesterday’s chat with Wang Guangya and ‘concerned youths’? Bunny Chan.

  2. Maugrim says:

    Even better, the ‘youth seminar’ was held at Youth Square in Chai Wan. WTF Youth Square?

  3. Leon says:

    Chai Wan is also a kind of mythical place: you hear about it, you know where it is (vaguely) but you have never been there, nor do you wish to go there.

  4. Jones says:

    I’m ashamed to say that it gave me a small thrill (small being the operative) recognizing Bunny.

  5. Big Al says:

    Courtesy of HAB, “The capital cost of the Youth Square is estimated at $750.9 million, of which $200 million is donated by the Board of Management of the Chinese Permanent Cemeteries”. Clearly MCPC are eyeing up future tenants courtesy of the drug taking, alcohol abuse and unprotected sex that is obviously promoted at Youth Square (otherwise why else would the “Yoof” turn up?).

    One more thing, why does Siu Sai-wo wear glasses? He doesn’t have any eyes! No, really. Check the photo!

  6. Old Timer says:

    Is that named after former Governor Sir Edward Youth?

  7. Mary Hinge says:

    Only Youde know that, Old Timer.

  8. Stephen says:

    I usually leave home in the morning prior to the Sub Standard being delivered however there are days when its there in the lobby and temptation get the better of me. The arse licking columns written by Siu Sai-wo are so wretched they have become, for me, a comical must read.

  9. The Regulator says:

    Hong Kong Regulations
    [Index] [Table] [Search] [Notes] [Noteup] [Previous] [Next] [Download (Current & Past)] [Download (Current only)] [Help] [中文]
    Structural alternations

    (Past version on 30/06/1997).

    1. Except with the consent in writing of the Permanent Secretary there shall not be made – (3333 of 2003 s. 14)

    (a) any structural alterations to the toe bone;

    (b) any alteration to the latrine accommodation or the sanitary arrangements of any toe bone or in the ventilation or lighting of a

    (c) any subdivision of a toe bone.
    2. Subject to s.9 Prevention of Bribery Ordinance the toe bone shall be deemed connected to:
    (a) the foot bone; or
    (b) the Stock Exchange Listing Committee duly appointed as they think fit or by some chap the Chairman met at tennis.
    3. Subject to the satisfaction of the Revising Officer, to whom appeal may lie by written Notice of Appeal in the form prescribed in Part VIII of Schedule G of the Toe Bone (Appeal) (Connectivity) (Tennis Elbow) Regulations, the foot bone shall be deemed connected to:
    (a) the ankle bone; or
    (b) Albert Sproggins, alleged real name Rupert Jobsworth-Still, a tax inspector of uncertain parentage.
    4. Subject to the Health and Safety at Work Regulations (1957) and s.35 Estate Duty Ordinance, as interpreted and revised as he thinks fit, by the Chairman of the Listing Committee, the ankle bone shall be deemed connected to:
    (a) the leg bone; or
    (b) the anterior superior vertbrae of Albert Sproggins, alleged real name Rupert Jobsworth-Still, a tax inspector of uncertain parentage.
    5. The leg bone shall be deemed and shall always have been deemed to be, an irrevocable part of the thigh bone except when the supervising-subject-object is over-refreshed.
    6. Appeal may lie to the Revising Officer in the exceptional circumstances of Regulation 5 so long as the appellant can write in a straight line down the page at 4 am on the morning after.
    7. There is deemed no back bone.
    8. The Head Bone shall govern in perpetuity.
    [Index] [Table] [Search] [Notes] [Noteup] [Previous] [Next] [Download (Current & Past)] [Download (Current only)] [Help] [中文]

  10. Mary Ma says:

    “….of uncertain parentage…”

    aren’t we all ?

  11. Xiao Yao says:

    I missed the earlier publicity goof-up, but the name of this group is hilarious. Surely they meant to call it the Da Yu 大禹 Policy Research Centre, after Yu 禹, the mythical sage-king who *was* associated with public works projects. In Chinese, Shun is never referred to as Dashun 大舜, but every well-read Chinese person associates Yu with the phrase 大禹治水 “Da Yu controlled the waters.” So these dolts appear to have misnamed themselves.

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