Hong Kong enjoys Sunday out

Yesterday’s Pan-Democratic primary election was pointless but full of telling contradiction. The intention was to allow the public to freely elect someone to take part in a rigged quasi-election in which they are forbidden to vote and their nominee will be forbidden to win. The turnout of just under 34,000 can be seen as either pitiful, for a city of 7 million, or impressive, compared with the 1,200 allowed to cast a ballot in the fake election for Chief Executive in March.

Albert Ho of the Democratic Party was inevitably going to get the nomination owing to his higher profile than the ADPL’s Frederick Fung. Sexier, brighter, brasher, more inspiring and more statesman-like individuals would not be hard to find, but the futility of the nomination and the petty rivalries within the pro-democracy camp left the field to this uncharismatic pair. (There is also, of course, the big issue of the potential repercussions from alignment with the opposition, which keeps much talent out of political participation. This is echoed in the press; the Standard distances itself with quotation marks around the phrase ‘primary election’, while the South China Morning Post refers to the event as a ‘poll’.)

Once he is officially on the ballot, Ho wants to nail establishment candidates Henry Tang and CY Leung on property, financial and public utilities hegemony. As the underdog chosen by the public, he theoretically has an ideal opportunity to win by losing, gaining the highest public opinion ratings and leaving the next chief executive with a horrible, shriveled-up excuse of a mandate. But it won’t happen. You wouldn’t have thought that you could nominate someone who can look less qualified than Henry, but the pro-dems have managed to do it. Things might be different if a proven leader like ex-Chief Secretary Anson Chan or a brainbox like policy wonk Christine Loh were in Ho’s place. The best we can hope for is an entertaining TV debate between Ho and Henry.

The press in Italy and France meanwhile report a Hong Kong Don’t-Tread-on-Me moment as outraged citizens leap to defend one of the city’s most cherished liberties: the right to keep and bear digital cameras. A thousand mob the Tsimshatsui Dolce and Gabanna store after some spotty security guard decreed that Hongkongers are not allowed to take photos in their own streets.

There are few things more delightful than watching a jumped-up company selling worthless and/or overpriced junk come crashing to Earth through its own arrogance and public relations incompetence. The classic example is the McLibel case, in which McDonalds in London sued a group of nonentities for handing out leaflets listing the junk food giant’s real and imaginary sins. I have a hunch – I’d like to be wrong – that the Beijing officials running the CE quasi-election behind the scenes will not actually allow Henry Tang to engage in a contest of minds with Albert Ho, live and on-camera. If so, at least we will have the amusement of watching the tacky D&G clothing retailer (with its individual-respecting Code of Ethics) put its glamorous reputation back together.

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15 Responses to Hong Kong enjoys Sunday out

  1. Wag says:

    An old chestnut but here it goes.

    When was the last time the USA had a democratic election? Was it that time Jeb Bush fixed it for brother George in Florida? And who voted for a coalition of Tories and wannabe Tories in the UK?

    Sorry.

  2. Joe Blow says:

    D & G certainly got a lot of free publicity out of this farce. Now all the mainlanders coming to HK are going to make a bee-line for ‘that’ shop.

  3. maugrim says:

    One of HK”s political parties last night held a gathering celebrating its first year as a party (a party party?). I know some who are rubbing their hands with glee at the thought of elections (next year?) as being a lay down misere. I have the awful feeling that watching the Dems and those even more PFJ like LSD squabble is a gift that some vested interests in town are happy to see continue.

  4. Spud says:

    What a sad state of affairs. If only the time and energy was spent on protesting against the cartels and collusion, rather than these pointless polls and protests.

    Can’t see the wood for the trees?

  5. Real Tax Payer says:

    @ Spud

    AMEN

  6. Tax Payer Next Week says:

    From the SCMP:

    “Another protester who did not want to be named said rich companies had too much power in Hong Kong. “Hegemony in the property business was followed by supermarket hegemony, and now it’s luxury hegemony,” he said.”

    I’d say they can see the forestry just fine.

  7. Stephen says:

    @Spud

    Agreed. You wonder what goes on in the Heads of the Pro-Democrats and why they can’t see what everyone else can ! Don’t get me wrong it’s a worthy cause but why do they go about it in such a lame way. Do they consider that despite all their polls and protests we have a less democrat legislature than than we had 17 years ago.

    I, and i suspect i am not alone, would rather see the odious Tycoons and obvious collusion and cartels taken down than the nivana of universal suffrage in the short term. The former is worth a shot and would advance the cause of the latter. But they just don’t see it …

  8. Walter De Havilland says:

    OK, I know I sound like a broken record, but what a farce! The scene of Long Hair challenging HO and FUNG at yesterday’s ballot was priceless. These clowns are playing right into the hands of those who argue Hong Kong is not ready for democracy.

    By the way, Albert HO credentials for representing the under class are hardly robust. His son went to an ESF school (rubbing shoulders with kids of senior civil servants) and he makes a living off rich people’s legal squabbles. Truly a man of the people!

  9. Adrian says:

    @Stephen

    “I, and i suspect i am not alone, would rather see the odious Tycoons and obvious collusion and cartels taken down”

    I do wonder if the pro-dems are worried about a political crackdown or false charges being laid against them, either personally or more likely their business/professional interests including relatives, if they actively pursued an attempt to reform HK’s business & political spheres properly and thoroughly. That’s assuming they could even agree on a course of measures or alternatives.

  10. Thinking Expat says:

    Christine Loh? Phwoar!

  11. Walter De Havilland says:

    Christine LOH was educated at one of the great universities … Hull! I remember her earnestly striding along Newland Avenue, her books held tight against her chest fending off a cold wind. She ignored me then and continues to do so…

  12. Vile says:

    It’s a question of who benefits. Pro-democrats would gain power, prestige and a boost to income potential if elected under universal suffrage. They might get into trouble now if they rock the developer and cartel boat, and be unable to reap the eventual benefits if their actions if they speed democracy’s arrival in the future.

    Which horse would you back in their shoes?

  13. Vile says:

    On the subject of overzealous security guards, this happens to me all the time (not just in Hong Kong). The problem is that one usually has better things to do than call in the police (provided no actual verbal or physical abuse has taken place), and the police usually has better things to do than enforce the law.

  14. Probably says:

    @RTP and WDH
    On the subject of pan-democrats….Tanya Chan, Phwoar!
    However I feel sorry for her last boyfriend (who owns a nice little eaterie in Sheung Wan BTW) as she told him she wouldn’t marry until HK had democracy. Hence the relationship ended as he realised that he may have to wait a little while.
    And guess what she’s now run off and done with some other guy?
    Que sera.

  15. Walter De Havilland says:

    @Probably. I’ve met Tanya CHAN a few times. Nice enough I suppose, but she lacks the ‘Phwoar’ factor. Her tears after losing the Peak constituency revealed she’s a lightweight politically.

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