Odds shorten on Henry

With less than 11 months left in office, Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang decides to start thinking long-term. Or so he claims in the press release. If we assume that officials give the pro-government Democratic Alliance for the Blah Blah of HK suggestions in advance about what to ask Donald to announce in his forthcoming policy address, it seems like business as usual: money-wasting infrastructure projects and shotgun-like spraying of cash all over the place.

The DAB’s wish-list asks for more public housing, more sports stadiums, some hare-brained monorail system and an array of ‘one-off’ subsidies that have become part of the welfare furniture. The policymaking methodology for the latter requires two columns. On the left is a list of dollar sums: 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 8,000, etc. On the right is a list of targets: electricity users, public housing tenants, rates payers, students, the elderly, the poor, the disabled, the middle class, and so on. Pin the two lists to a wall, put on a blindfold, throw darts and bingo – policy proposals. Even so, they seem to be scraping the bottom of the barrel, dredging up such desperate-sounding ideas as free tai chi classes for the elderly.

Donald shouldn’t be a hard act to follow, but all the signs are that Beijing will choose a successor who will struggle to match him at best. The first tentative supporters of undeclared candidates for next Chief Executive are starting to speak out, though they are small potatoes with no influence and little to lose by backing the wrong horse.

First Barry Cheung, boss of the Urban Renewal Authority, expresses approval for CY Leung, an old buddy. Then accounting functional constituency legislator Paul Chan, also a friend (and not a member of any political grouping), says the same. Like Rita Fan, Leung doesn’t seem to have much of a chance. Unlike Rita, he actually has ideas, and to people who can see past, or at least stomach, the creepy appearance and long-held, authentic pro-CCP leanings (as opposed to the cynical conversion to shoe-shining Rita and Henry underwent) he looks far and away Hong Kong’s best hope of avoiding stagnation and social division. There’s not much time left, and they have to at least say something now. Worst case scenario a few years down the road: Henry has clearly become CE Disaster Number Three, and they can say “I told you so.”

Arguably more authoritatively, businessman and member of the 99% symbolic Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference Chan Wing-kee has now come out for Henry, more or less saying that, sure, the guy’s a bit dim but it won’t matter. Although there’s no reason to suppose WK Chan has any insider information, his attitude has a ring of Beijing-think about it. It’s the non-sequiturs: “He doesn’t talk much, but he has the ability to achieve many targets,” and “His family business is large scale but he gave it up to join the government.” You scratch your head, think “huh?” and move on none the wiser.

The South China Morning Post mentions that Hang Lung property boss Ronnie Chan has also voiced support for Leung, and dismissed the other two possibilities  as dumb – if not by name. This would be noteworthy if Ronnie Chan weren’t a maverick bordering on clown who almost relishes unpopularity (openly refusing to donate to the bizarre government-tycoon Community Care Fund). Sadly, Ronnie Chan’s backing is not a good sign for Leung.

Click to hear ‘One’s on the Way’ by Loretta Lynn - with Muppets!


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8 Responses to Odds shorten on Henry

  1. Joe Blow says:

    Nobody has noticed that all 3 candidates are non-Cantonese ?

    looks like the Shanghai faction is playing a sinister joke on the Honkies…

  2. Real Tax Payer says:

    Hope it’s not a one- horse race ! Otherwise the only real horse will certainly win LOL !

    Well, at least he looks the part 🙂

    Personally I’m warming to CY. He can’t be that bad, and hey – he is intelligent (or is that an oxymoron?)

    BTW : What’s so bad about being pro- BJ ? I consider myself pro- BJ ( well, a lot more pro- BJ than I am pro the past and present CEs and their dumbo ministers)

  3. Revolution says:

    Ronnie Chan may have his faults, but at least he’s not charging anyone to stand on the roof of the Peak Galleria and look at the view, which is more than can be said for the owners of the Peak Tower…

  4. gunlaw says:

    Here’s the analogy from http://googleblog.blogspot.com/

    When patents attack Android
    8/03/2011 12:37:00 PM

    I have worked in the tech sector for over two decades. Microsoft and Apple have always been at each other’s throats, so when they get into bed together you have to start wondering what’s going on. Here is what’s happening:

    Android is on fire. More than 550,000 Android devices are activated every day, through a network of 39 manufacturers and 231 carriers. Android and other platforms are competing hard against each other, and that’s yielding cool new devices and amazing mobile apps for consumers.

    But Android’s success has yielded something else: a hostile, organized campaign against Android by Microsoft, Oracle, Apple and other companies, waged through bogus patents.

    They’re doing this by banding together to acquire Novell’s old patents (the “CPTN” group including Microsoft and Apple) and Nortel’s old patents (the “Rockstar” group including Microsoft and Apple), to make sure Google didn’t get them; seeking $15 licensing fees for every Android device; attempting to make it more expensive for phone manufacturers to license Android (which we provide free of charge) than Windows Phone 7; and even suing Barnes & Noble, HTC, Motorola, and Samsung. Patents were meant to encourage innovation, but lately they are being used as a weapon to stop it.

    A smartphone might involve as many as 250,000 (largely questionable) patent claims, and our competitors want to impose a “tax” for these dubious patents that makes Android devices more expensive for consumers. They want to make it harder for manufacturers to sell Android devices. Instead of competing by building new features or devices, they are fighting through litigation.

    This anti-competitive strategy is also escalating the cost of patents way beyond what they’re really worth. The winning $4.5 billion for Nortel’s patent portfolio was nearly five times larger than the pre-auction estimate of $1 billion. Fortunately, the law frowns on the accumulation of dubious patents for anti-competitive means — which means these deals are likely to draw regulatory scrutiny, and this patent bubble will pop.

    We’re not naive; technology is a tough and ever-changing industry and we work very hard to stay focused on our own business and make better products. But in this instance we thought it was important to speak out and make it clear that we’re determined to preserve Android as a competitive choice for consumers, by stopping those who are trying to strangle it.

    We’re looking intensely at a number of ways to do that. We’re encouraged that the Department of Justice forced the group I mentioned earlier to license the former Novell patents on fair terms, and that it’s looking into whether Microsoft and Apple acquired the Nortel patents for anti-competitive means. We’re also looking at other ways to reduce the anti-competitive threats against Android by strengthening our own patent portfolio. Unless we act, consumers could face rising costs for Android devices — and fewer choices for their next phone.

    Posted by David Drummond, Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer

  5. chopped onions says:

    David, Very interesting fella but this has what exactly, to do with the clowns lining up to “run” HK?

  6. Real Tax Payer says:

    Not quite sure where the androids fit in with the CE “prelection”
    ( that’s a word you won’t find in the dictionary : it means an ‘election where the result is already decided’ as in the HK CElection)
    … unless MSN and Apple mean they are waging war on the Henorrhoid the Horse

    But as for Ronnie Chan, I rather admire him for refusing to give anything to the community care fund ( which is the nearest thing to a Nigerian letter scam this side of the world) .

    Come to think of it, whatever happened to the community care fund? I recall it was meant to raise $10 Billion, the govt kicking in $ for $ with the private sector, but the private sector donations sort of tailed off after the 1st $1.5Billion, most of which Li Ka Shing kicked in because he was accused of being a devil by a catholic priest.

    I certainly don’t recall any project of note being funded by the CC fund . Does anyone else know what has happened?

    ( Oh … I forgot, it’s good ol’ Henry who manages the CC fund, so not much would be expected to happen)

  7. Major Major says:

    As the status quo candidate, Henry Tang as the next CE is fine with me. Hong Kong is a low crime, low tax, high pay, high sex paradise and I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. Where would you rather live? Australia? UK? US? Forget about it! 50 years no change? Works for me!

  8. Real Tax Payer says:

    On second thoughts, maybe a better term is ” delection” or “deCElection”

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