No missiles flying yet. In North Korea, an apparently somewhat dull-witted brat, born into a life of luxury and privilege, totally cut off from his fellow citizens, surrounded by sycophants and boosted by a crude propaganda machine, befriends interest groups and weighs potential opponents as he prepares to assume power.
Thank God such a thing is unthinkable here in Hong Kong, where Chief Executive candidate Henry Tang launches his ‘campaign’ with hackneyed razzmatazz and the endorsement of the city’s depressing excuse for an establishment elite.
The superficially slick PR, including lame slogan and wedding-style video of the great man’s upbringing, bore all the hallmarks of what corporate communications voodoo practitioners produce to flatter and satisfy an easily impressed client rather than to persuade and convince a bigger and more reluctant audience. The alleged policy platform was predictable and pitiful: more education spending, when the problem is outdated education methods; a bit more housing supply, when the problem is the land system; fill in your favourite.
In fairness, one proposed measure will bring a guaranteed result: a pledge to bolster the middle class – dwindling in the Big Lychee at least as rapidly as elsewhere, as witnessed in our old friend, the disconnection between median household income and per capita GDP. Henry’s solution is to upgrade the definition of ‘middle class’ households from those with monthly incomes of HK$10,000-40,000 to those earning HK$20,000-80,000. Voila! A richer middle class!
The cast of nearly 1,000 supporters was similarly unsurprising and uninspiring – the self-appointed, smug, bureaucrat-tycoon coterie typified by HK General Chamber boss Anthony Wu (the big guy next to Antony Leung), plus various hangers-on yearning for a Bronze Bauhinia Star one day, along with a few people we had forgotten even existed, like former Executive Council member Sir SY Chung and pop star Leon Lai. All that was missing, apart from ordinary people and the pro-Beijing groups awaiting orders on whom to back, were the property tycoons. The public hates the developers as much as the developers loath Henry’s rival CY Leung, so on balance it was best they stayed away.
North Korea’s new leader is ‘sadistic and unpredictable’. We don’t have to worry about that, at least.