Out there on the dark fringes of Hong Kong society, where fanatical devotion to the Communist Party-as-Motherland merges into mentally unhinged hostility towards anyone who differs, we have Lau Nai-keung. He notes the ‘return’ of the United States to the Asia-Pacific region.
By throwing its weight around over territorial disputes from India to the South China Sea to Japan over the last couple of years, China has essentially sent a message to the rest of the region: contain us or we will probably all regret it. So now, by popular demand from virtually every other Asian country, Uncle Sam is boosting its military profile in the neighbourhood in ways that are relatively minor but carefully designed to be visible to Beijing. The next move is for the Chinese leadership to find a way to reconcile the nationalism-stirring xenophobia it feeds its domestic audience with the peace-love-and-understanding vibes it broadcasts for foreign consumption.
Lau will have none of it. Hong Kong is the front-line in the coming conflagration. Without Article 23 laws to imprison anti-Communist media mogul Jimmy Lai, he froths, and with our city exposed to evil international Western financial speculators, the Big Lychee is no less than the weakest link in China’s national security – the Trojan horse that could undermine the country from within and return it to Qing Dynasty barbarian subjugation. Or something like that, anyway. Interestingly, there is hope: the apocalyptic clash, he predicts, will see Hong Kong “regain its old glory”. It brightened up my morning.
Just down the page, Ho Chi-ping comes up with a plan of almost child-like charm and simplicity that will enable Hong Kong’s increasingly loathed and distrusted business community to make itself popular among the city’s cynical and rebellious masses. It takes a while to get going, and a double espresso or two might help the reader get through the first few paragraphs, while perhaps vaguely recalling the author as Patrick Ho – the eye doctor married to the Taiwanese actress – who was in Tung Chee-hwa’s administration in the mid-2000s as Home Affairs Secretary.
Ho notes that the elections for the 1,200-strong Election Committee are of little interest to most people, and he admits (in essence) that they are rigged and biased towards vested business interests. This leads to his amazing breakthrough. What, he postulates in an Einstein-like flash of insight, if these vested interests didn’t think about themselves and the short-term profits to be had by stuffing their snouts in the government trough at everyone else’s expense? What if they demanded a government that looked after the rest of the population for a change? Wouldn’t it be an amazing thing to happen? Wouldn’t it be… ever so nice? And flocks of smiling tweety-birds would fly around in the bright sunshine, and it would be Christmas every day.
And to think no-one has ever thought of it before. Thank heavens for China Daily.