Titanic struggle between wolf and pig officially begins

A fun-packed weekend on the Hong Kong political scene:

  • Former Chief Secretary Henry Tang officially announced his candidacy for Chief Executive in the shambolic manner of someone who has always had everything handed to him on a silver plate and expects it to continue.
  • Former Executive Council convenor CY Leung announced his candidacy too, but in a well-orchestrated, even slick, launch that reflected the extreme eagerness of a man with nothing to lose and everything to gain.
  • Bank of East Asia boss David Li joined the ranks of those endorsing Henry.

The last event was probably the most important. Dr the Hon David Li Kwok-po GBM, GBS, JP does not support people who are going to lose. If someone has power or is going to get it, he will be there.

The contrasts between the two campaign launches neatly sum up the respective candidates (happy but dim, accident-prone pig versus hungry, cunning wolf dragging bloody entrails by fangs).

Protestors ran Henry out of down-market Shamshuipo on an MTR train, leaving him to make his formal declaration safe on the other side of the harbour at the entrance to Admiralty station. The ineptness of this and other attempts to mingle with ordinary folk should be setting off some alarm bells among the Hong Kong bureaucrat-tycoon nexus and the Beijing officials who are banking on Henry as the perfect choice to continue Hong Kong’s slow stagnation under the weight of land and other economic distortions.

CY gave a tear-jerking account of his humble upbringing, prompting extreme envy among spin doctors wishing that they had thought up the line about his mother having bound feet. He presented himself with wife and kid in a not-too-subtle dig at his opponent’s marital infidelity. He avoided any hint of radicalism, notably of a redistributive sort, thus calming the nervous and essentially leaving Henry’s dumbness as CY’s main appeal to the masses. However, although he dragged together an impressive number of supporters (the effect was magnified by the presumably deliberate choice of a relatively small hall), the line-up was very much B-list: Urban Renewal Authority Barry Cheung, former Education Secretary Fanny Law and Neolithic-era Chief Secretary Sir David Akers-Jones being the most awe-inspiring. In some cultures, this would add to a helpful anti-hero/outsider/underdog image, but in Hong Kong celebrity and rank are important credentials.

The establishment’s job is now to get Henry up in the public opinion polls vis-à-vis CY. It shouldn’t be necessary in part of the Communist Party’s undemocratic People’s Republic of China, but weirdly it is; they need to at least get Henry’s rating up alongside CY’s.

Other than a lack of heavy-hitting endorsements, CY’s main weakness is his rumoured Communist Party links and the grim authoritarianism they suggest. He denied it all at his campaign launch, and his website confronts the issue head-on (‘People say CY is red’). You can see why they call this this administrative region of the PRC ‘Special’ when Richard Nixon’s commie-baiting tactics against Helen Gahagan Douglas could be resurrected. Henry’s strengths, if we can call them that, are undoubted laid-back niceness and humour. His people need to augment them with some serious poverty-fighting, school-improving, home-building policies. (If someone pressures lawmaker Regina Ip – who has a dash of popularity herself – into backing Tang, it would help give Henry a badly needed air of inevitability.)

The rumours about Henry’s love child(ren) won’t go away; indeed, they are getting luridly specific. For example: Henry has a 23-year-old son by a woman not wealthy enough to be acceptable as a wife (he would already have been married to Lisa for several years when that birth took place in 1988); he also has a younger daughter by another woman; and Next/Apple Daily publisher Jimmy Lai has photos of the son and is waiting for the right moment to unleash them. All pure, malicious gossip, of course, and anyone spreading such stuff should be hung up by the thumbs. Such revelations would probably boost Next magazine’s circulation figures more than CY’s approval ratings, provided Henry’s team didn’t get bogged down in a stupid attempt to cover it all up (more shades of Nixon, for heaven’s sake).

It could be that Beijing is simply not going to publicly back a candidate. Strictly speaking, it hasn’t done so in past CE quasi-elections, but the existence of a chosen one has always been clear. This time, Chinese officials may simply clam up and spread the word silently. The reaction of the loyalist Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of HK to one member’s presence at CY’s launch – swift denial that they support CY – tell us all we, and David Li, need to know. 

To my extreme shuddering pique, I have some work to do over the next couple of days, so service resumes Thursday, unless Jimmy Lai does something earth-shattering…

Click to hear the Left Banke’s ‘Barterers and their Wives’

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19 Responses to Titanic struggle between wolf and pig officially begins

  1. Old Timer says:

    The presence of Aching-bones might help mobilise the nostalgia vote in District Council elections, but he’s not likely to get many of the 1,200 nodding heads to clamber aboard the CY Express, is he?

  2. Joe Blow says:

    I am absolutely sure I saw Aching-Bones (STILL alive, dude ?) in a previous celebrity line-up behind Vagina Ip.

  3. maugrim says:

    Random points:
    1. Henry’s speech. he said something strange at the beginning and then blathered on about being a ‘citizen of HK’, no mention of ‘one country’.
    2. I’m sure it looked like Starry Lee from the DAB leading the scrum in Shamshuipo, but may be mistaken. Full marks to the heckler from the LSD.
    3. Henry’s attempts to win over a baby in Sha Tin were hillarious in their failure. I’m sure someone can produce a headline about him having a lot of experience with kids, wink, nudge.
    3. Leung’s attempts to show he has financial credibility was interesting “ive written many papers’. The line dropped by his camp that ‘he has a property developer who supports him” was telling.
    4. Fanny Law, Aching-Bones and some ageing singer are C list. Im surprised the rotund Mr. Rowse (who is resembling more and more a shabby looking Winnie the Pooh) wan’t called upon.

  4. Notthatitmatters says:

    I thought Aching Bones was a NPP guy. Does this signify some collegiality between the Vagina and CY camps or is Sir Dave just indulging his relevance deprivation syndrome?

  5. Tiu Fu Fong says:

    No caretaker adminstrative services available from Odell? What has happened to the happy go lucky Mormon?

  6. Stephen says:

    Two things, one of which may happen before Thursday, will decide this farce.

    Firstly the Apple Daily produce the pictures The Horseman’s children, sired out of wedlock, and send his campaign onto the ropes.

    Secondly, and I think much later, Beijing may step in the offer a handshake, or something similarly subtle yet unmistakeable, to one of them allowing the tycoons etc to get behind the chosen one.

    That sign is not going to be directed to the Horseman unless he comes back from the ropes and even David Li may have a Road to Damascus conversion.

    That the horseman is buggering this up so spectacularly is hilarious but I imagine the joke is lost on the boot polished hair dye brigade in Beijing.

  7. maugrim says:

    I remember now, I’m sure Henry said “Today I have decided to run for the post of CE”. Silly when you consider that he hadn’t just decided that day, particularly as it had been announced to the media the week before that he would be declaring his interest on Saturday. A slip of the tongue or stupidty? Probably both.

  8. Walter De Havilland says:

    Like Stephen, I’m awaiting the handshake that will tell us who is getting the job, although in the meantime I must say I’m enjoying the antics of the Horse. That was probably his first time on the MTR with the great unwashed. He is really take a risk … the smell factor increases the further north you travel on the MTR. At Central Station you can experience Chanel perfume wafting through the carriage; by Tsim Sha Tsui the cheaper perfumes are appearing and by Sham Shui Po its all smelly feet, Bak Fa Yau and a strange cheesy odour. Lovely!

  9. Big Al says:

    @ WDH

    All of these odours will, of course, soon be eclipsed by the all-prevading smell of naphthalene, as all those winter clothes (mainly North Fake jackets, scarves and the like) come out of the closet, having been submerged in mothballs since last winter. I’m predicting the odour change on Friday, when the temperature “plummets” to 14C, thus marking the start of winter. I’m also predicting that on the following Monday all the office tottie will start wearing mini-skirts and knee-length stockings. Oh, the joy of winter in Hong Kong!

  10. David Webb says:

    David Akers-Jones did indeed back Regina Ip in her failed contest for LegCo against Anson Chan in the 2007 by-election, and in her successful bid for LegCo in the general election of 2008. Hit the link above for video endorsements.

  11. David Webb says:

    and David Akers-Jones is listed as a member of the Board of Advisors of the New People’s Party:

    http://www.npp.org.hk/en_about3c.php

  12. Walter De Havilland says:

    Naphthalene, I love the smell of naphthalene in the morning. It smells like …

  13. Ulaca says:

    As a pig myself, I resent the association of this most clever of farmyard animals with stupidity.

    Oh, and CY will still win.

  14. Real Tax Payer says:

    I just wish the pig would stop palying that stupid inane smile

    Otherwise I swear I am going to put a custard pie in his face one day soon ( I do use the MTR….)

    It reminds me of the pigs in Animal Farm – laughing all the way to the banks ( sorry – all the way to the PROPERTY TYCOONS )

    And note the op-ed from todays SCMP from Alex Lo : Tang’s acolyte is none other than the son of joseph lau , probably the most “corrupt” – sorry / I forget my bad english useage – ultra- collusionist – tycoon in HK, besides having had bedded 1000 x more HK girls within wedlock than henry’s 2,3… 4 ( ? ) women.

    One can judge anyone by the company he keeps, and anyone who cosy’s up to the scions of J lau esq must be as deep in the same collusionist sh1t as his father

    Dare Hemlock to publish this late comment

  15. Real Tax Payer says:

    Hemlock did dare to publish, and so full credit to him

    Sorry if I offend others, but H Tang esq really just pisses me off to the Nth degree

    ANYTHING is better than him

    I personally do not know CY, but I’m serioulsy thinking of making an effort to meet him and see if I can help in any small way to help him. ( After all, he did study in Bristol / UK, which is where I hail from, and anyone who comes from Bristol MUST be a good guy …… 🙂 )

    And if I do finally get driven to pushing a custard pie in tang’s face, I will claim in my defence ” because it was there… and he deserved it”

    I think the courts will surely find that sufficient mitigating cause … on both counts

  16. Notthatitmatters says:

    RTP, had your blood pressure checked lately?

  17. Real Tax Payer says:

    @ Notthatitmatters

    No, but I guess it’s pretty high. I don’t remember being so worked up before, even at the hight of the anti- Tung marches, all of which I joined.

    Ole Tung was just a scarecrow brain, so I never really blamed him in my heart for the idiotic things he did. He did his best, pathetic though it was

    But this ‘enery-the-horse BS thing : hey, the man does at least have have some brains , and yet he thinks he can finesse the whole let’s-continue-the-covert-collusion thing for another generation of CE . He must be f*******g crazy ( forgive my french) , or else pure evil

    Give me CY’s wolfish- “evil”, which at least is open , than a pig which belongs on Animal Farm

    Seriously: I regard ‘enery as a much greater threat to stability than any card- carrying commie . At least the commies can read public opinion. But ‘enery just couldn’t give a rat’s ass what the people think, and THAT is really dangerous

    Come next July 1st I’m marching again big-time if the horse gets in

  18. ” the needle returns to the start of the song and THEY all sing along like before……” apologies to Del Amitri.

  19. foamier says:

    Maugrim – I saw Mike Rowse at an event last night wearing what seemed to be an Island School tie (apparently the old duffer has managed to procreate!) together with a shirt that looked as though it has been boiled, and not ironed. It is depressing to think that this man once represented Hong Kong.

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