It has been a weekend of death. Writer Christopher Hitchens is in Hell today. His finest moment was probably The Missionary Position, which combined contrarianism with extreme belligerence in shredding Mother Teresa of Calcutta – a figure hitherto compulsorily venerated as a humble and beautiful living god surpassing even Saint Di. He skewered religion in general and played a key part in the Internet-driven increase in the acceptability of atheism in the US following 9-11, the Catholic child rape cover-ups and the fundamentalist anti-science phenomenon. Fans who have never heard it might enjoy his radio interview with mouthy Bible freak Todd Friel (parts 1 and 2).
Also passing on was Vaclav Havel, another writer, who helped topple Communist rule in Eastern Europe while listening to Frank Zappa. Plus 650 to over 1,000 Filipinos whose names I don’t have perished during a tropical storm. We’re not certain whether they have ended up in Hell or not.
On a brighter note, we have a birth: Hong Kong’s fifth (sixth? seventh?) pro-democracy political party. Although it is called the Labour Party and could in theory grab some attention by pushing issues the masses care about like the cost of living or standard of housing, its members couldn’t resist launching the group by highlighting predictable and esoteric lost and forgotten causes summed up by the Standard as “a referendum law, a party law, abolition of the so-called legislation [there is none] based on Article 23 of the Basic Law and a vindication of all those involved in the Tiananmen Square democracy demonstrations of June 4, 1989.”
Founders include the redoubtable Cyd Ho, union leader Lee Cheuk-yan and academic social worker-type Fernando Cheung. This suggests that the group is positioning itself as the natural home for people who are too free-thinking to be in the Democratic Party, too earthy to fit into the Civic Party, not Trotskyite enough to be in the League of Social Democrats, not alert enough (like me) to instantly recall the names of the DP’s and LSD’s breakaway offshoots, and who have forgotten that the Association for Democracy and People’s Livelihood still exists. “The government has to bow to the people’s power if we are united,” says Lee, apparently with no hint of irony. (People Power – that’s one of them.)
For a fine example of unity, we need look no further than the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment Etc of Hong Kong. Members have been told not to attend this afternoon’s election rally for ex-Chief Secretary Henry Tang. Chairman Tam Yiu-chung says it is ‘not appropriate at this stage’ to declare support for a Chief Executive candidate; in other words, Beijing has not officially told them who to back. Apparently, they are allowed to choose by themselves what to have for breakfast every day.
The Tang-for-CE event at the Convention and Exhibition Centre is not really aimed at the proletarian Communist front that is the DAB. It’s for the cream of capitalism-with-Hong-Kong-characteristics, with some top financiers plus a few of our ‘elite’ ex-bureaucrats, plus members of the Liberal Party (former member: H Tang) and its even slimier offshoot Economic Synergy. (I think that’s every party in town mentioned.)
Bank of East Asia boss David Li is doing the honours as the director of Henry’s ‘campaign office’. It is a nominal role, needless to say, but to the extent it requires experience, Li has it: he held the same title during the run-up to Donald Tsang’s ‘elections’ in 2005 and 2007.
Update: minor deity and Dear Leader Kim Jong-il has also departed. Cue mass crying on the streets of Pyongyang.
Add Kim Jong Il to the list.
Hemlock : where do you dig up this stuff ? Amazing !
But I agree 100% . I am a huge fan of Richard Dawkins ( who taught my younger brother biology at Oxford )
The last youtube scathing attack on Dawkins which I watched was by a US fundamentalist gospel preacher who was later exposed for all sorts of horrible sexual deviancy . That does not prove that Dawkins is right , but it does anecdotally prove that many of his strongest critics are both wrong and total hypocrites: and didn’t Jesus denounce hypocrites as the worst of the worst ?
Enter D. Li banker and soon-to-be-awarded order of the grand froggie gong ( whatever) and his acolytes and take a bow
Thanks for the link to Christopher Hitchens : I will follow him up on Youtube from now on
Talking of Youtube and Mother Teresa : do check out youtube “Penn and Teller / bullshit ” where P&T mercilessly de-construct the MT myth as well as a load of other BS fabricated stories. (endless fun at that YT – P&T site)
But meanwhile, on more serious issues : I see CY is getting down to business on real issues that bug us, and Tom Holland is on peak performance in today’s SCMP Monitor . Tom is even excelling Jake these days for real insight. Wish he was our financial secretary instead of the moustached idiot we now have
But crème -de-la – crème was Albert Cheng in Saturday’s SCMP
If I can retrieve the article I will post it
It is getting hot in hell this week.
definition of an atheist: a person who does not believe in something that does not exist.
I always wonder why atheists talk so much about God.
Albert Cheng says Hong Kong needs to be run by political leaders, not lumbering bureaucrats who are more likely to block progress
Dec 17, 2011
In his last policy address before leaving office, Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen spelled out some of the principles for political reform. He said Hong Kong should allow democracy to take root, maintain high administrative efficiency and build a consensus in the community.
To this end, we have to design a suitable political system, and consider the role of political groups, the relationship between the executive authorities and the legislature, and how to nurture political talent and political ethics.
In other words, we need executive reform. Since the handover, the city has seen four administrations and two chief executives in 14 years. Both leaders, one with a business background and one with civil service experience, have been unable to resolve fundamental governance problems that stemmed from our deep-rooted social conflicts.
The root cause of the problem is our civil-service-led bureaucratic government. Tsang’s words underlined the importance of responding swiftly to public aspirations and demands. The political accountability system is meant to address the gap. He also saw the need to review the administrative system to ensure it is compatible with democratic development.
He called for a rethink of the roles and responsibilities of political appointees and civil servants, and the allocation of financial, manpower and land resources within the government. He suggested we consider a further decentralisation of powers to district administration.
Tsang’s objective was to draw attention to these issues and jump-start a public debate so that, hopefully soon, the community could reach a consensus on how to move ahead.
The next chief executive has to seriously consider these issues and take part in the debate to find suitable solutions, because they concern the quality of governance of the next administration. We must tackle the root causes, not just the symptoms. If we don’t, the government will continue to be controlled by the almighty administrative officers.
I recently had an unpleasant encounter with our increasingly cumbersome bureaucracy when dealing with the Treasury in relation to my public duty with the Independent Police Complaints Council. The council’s request for extra funding to improve its community work was flatly rejected because our bureaucrats don’t understand the importance of accountability.
The council wasn’t the only victim of our bloated bureaucracy. The Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority met the same fate when it applied for additional funding to build a permanent office to centralise all resources and cut unnecessary expenses. Most ridiculously, our bureaucrats rejected the request by Secretary for Food and Health York Chow Yat-ngok for funds to rebuild Queen Mary and Kwong Wah hospitals. Both desperately need to be upgraded for the betterment of Hong Kong’s public health care.
If the government is serious about governance reform, it must first remove the bureaucrats from the driver’s seat and take back control.
Albert Cheng King-hon is a political commentator. [email protected].
Found the link
Richard Dawkins interviews ted haggard
Watch YT first then google haggard
While my popcorn and I wait for the explosion of religious debate, this seems an appropriate time to browse some nostalgia relating to the dearly departed leader … http://kimjongillookingatthings.tumblr.com/
Sorry to hog the comments today..
kim jong il is really DEAD !? This is not a spoof??
That’s the best ever news I heard
Now there’s a man who deserved to go hell
I just finished reading “This Is Not Paradise” : a more harrowing book I cannot imagine except ” Mao’s Great Famine”
Ten crazy facts about Kim Jong Il:
Never mind furious religious banter, should one send a condolence card to people like John Pilger at kim’s passing?
Can I be the first? Kim Jong Dead…..
A sad weekend for the arts. Barefoot diva Cesaria Evora also passed on same day as Kim.