Mr Tsang goes to Europe

We’re not supposed to enjoy the sight of European monetary union turning into a nightmare, as so many predicted it would when the visionary project was launched in the early 1990s. But it is undeniably riveting. From any objective, economically literate viewpoint, Greece – and several other southern European countries – needs to devalue its currency, giving everyone there an overnight de-facto pay-cut and enabling the economy to resume growth from a more realistic semi-developed base. As things are, a hotel room on one side of the Aegean costs double what it costs over in Turkey, and the only way to restore competitiveness will be to undergo years of grinding deflation.

But this is not about objectivity or reality. To the European dreamers who have invested so much in the effort to construct a technocratic nationalism-free super-state from the top down, the symbolism has become the overriding purpose of the enterprise. Perversely, saving the euro is more important than saving economies. Combine that with Germany’s reluctance to ruin itself to rescue others, and the prospect of sovereign debt defaults wrecking the European banking system, and it is no laughing matter – not least because the effects are global, and we all suffer in some way. So we must snigger discreetly.

But wait! Could there be a miraculous deus ex machina descending into the tragic drama to magic all the problems away? Hong Kong’s very own Financial Secretary John Tsang jets into Cannes to attend the G20 summit, intoning profundities about the Greek parliament, the yield spread between German and French bonds, and plucky little Hong Kong’s solid fundamentals.

And how would Mr Tsang solve Europe’s problems? My guess is he would start by sending every person on the continent HK$6,000 to spend on croissants or retsina, as they wish. He would then engineer a real-estate bubble for those places that haven’t yet had one, because, as we all know, unaffordable housing is a sign of a booming economy and a Healthy Property Market. He would sidestep talk about currency pegs for fear of appearing hypocritical, but heartily recommend integration with the motherland. Oh, and let’s not forget Islamic banking.

We declare this weekend open with some little experiments in photography…

A pretty pattern (full-size would be several feet across)…


A close-up, looking a bit like a microchip…


And the uncropped source photo – the bottom of Wyndham Street…


Another pattern…


A close-up, looking like something from a sci-fi movie…


And the source picture – outside the noodle shop at IFC Mall, overlooking the downtown airport check-in…


Another pattern, with a warm glow…


A close-up, hinting at some sort of masonry…


And the source picture – the Landmark…


Amusing to do, but of no earthy use.

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11 Responses to Mr Tsang goes to Europe

  1. Zorba says:

    For what it’s worth, in the 1980s a hotel room in Greece cost about four times as much as one in Turkey. The latter has always been much cheaper than its neighbour.

  2. Joe Blow says:

    “a technocratic nationalism-free super-state from the top down…”

    Yeah, what a terrible thing that would be. I’d much rather have an ideology-driven, nationalistic collection of bits-and-pieces countries, ruled by the emotions and special interests of semi-corrupt country-bumpkin politicians. And when things go sour they can point their grubby fingers at their neighbours and put the blame on them and then……………….[check 2000 years of European history].

  3. Real Tax Payer says:

    Hemlock was 2 steps ahead of me ……… halfway through today’s offering I was going to suggest that our FS would suggest giving everyone in Greece EUR6,000 just to shut the stupid buggers up (excuse my French) – or to persuade them to vote the right way in the referendum – if it ever happens.

    And to think that Greece invented democracy …. ! No wonder the Chinese don’t want it .

    The USA have not done much better, what with their own civil war , and Lehman bros , not to mention electing the likes of GW Bush

    I thought our CE, CS and FS had reached the limit of stupidity but now I am thinking we should be grateful for them

  4. Real Tax Payer says:

    On a lighter note, since Hemlock has kindly given us some pretty patterns, here is another of the dangers of the EEU :


    The European Union commissioners have announced that an agreement has finally been reached to adopt English as the preferred language for European communications, rather than German, which was the other possibility.

    As part of the negotiations, the British government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a five-year phased plan for what will be known as Euro-English ( or “Euro” for short, to match the currency ).

    In the first year, “s” will be used instead of the soft “c”. Sertainly, sivil servants will resieve this news with joy.

    Also, the hard “c” will be replased with “k”. Not only will this klear up konfusion, but typewriters kan have one less letter. There will be growing publik enthusiasm.

    In the sekond year, when the troublesome “ph” will be replaced by “f”. many words like “fotograf” will become 20 per sent shorter.

    In the third year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible. Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters, which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling. Also, al wil agre that the horible mes of silent “e” s in the english languag is disgrasful, and they should go.

    By the fourth year, peopl wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing “th” by “z” and “w” by “v” , which are boz kviker to vit.

    During ze fifz year, ze unesesary “o” kan be dropd from vords kontaining “ou”, and similar changes vud of kors be aplid to ozer kombinations of leters.

    Und efter ze fifz yer, ve vil al be toking German lik zey vunted in ze ferst plas.

  5. Longtimenosee says:

    Perhaps he would offer to plug the loophole.
    Oh and by the way, its not a referendum…no such thing was allowed for in the constitution.

  6. Old Timer says:

    “In the third year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible.”

    That’s Malaysia, right there. Right?

  7. expat says:

    The USA have not done much better, what with their own civil war , and Lehman bros , not to mention electing the likes of GW Bush

    I know it’s difficult to post on any topic without mentioning arch villain Bush, but this is a BIT of a stretch, isn’t it?

  8. Stephen says:

    It is slightly worrying when our vastly overpaid “leaders” go on jaunts overseas. They quickly realise how utterly insignificant HK is and then try to talk up the place by offering, by way of example, to host a round of WTO talks, as silly old Tung did.

    NB Real Tax Payer – I hate to see The USA get one over China so please remember their civil war, the great leap forward, the cultural revolution and Mao Zedong all done without the benefits of democracy.

  9. Bigot says:

    Hosting another round of WTO, WHO, OOH, WHAtever?
    More to our horror would be our super-competent Mr Tsang the moneyman offering the EU to “invest” in the EFSF (European Failing Soverign Fund) !!!

  10. Real Tax Payer says:

    @ Stephen : You missed my point, which was that China never pretended to be democratic , but the USA does

    Nor does China go around invading other countries on faked charges.. ….

  11. Stephen says:

    @ Real Tax Payer,

    Nor does China go around invading other countries on faked charges.. ….

    Errr Tibet springs to mind.

    The weekend has been declared open.

Comments are closed.