The attendant at a corpse-ignoring Internet café reports that ‘when he went to wake Chen when his 23 hours were up, he saw that his face was blackened and that he was sitting rigidly in the sofa chair’. Far safer, surely, to drag yourself away from the computer and start planning your Valentine’s Day dinner, perhaps at Brasserie Le Fauchon in Soho where you can choose between the Classic Set for Two at HK$1,688, the Sweetie Set for Two and the Romantic Set for Two (prices not captured in my impulse photo). Among the offerings at this self-proclaimed French restaurant are crabmeat chowder, salmon with mango ‘rose’, garoupa, and something called Australian Wagyu striploin (M7); an online review notes the establishment’s use of ginger as an ingredient.
A stroll around a rural but nonetheless giant Gallic supermarket a few years ago confirmed that La Republique still has the world’s most chauvinistic and xenophobic cooking. Horsemeat no problem, but chilies, coriander, cumin, soy sauce – let alone ginger – were simply nonexistent. They do not appear in French recipes, so nobody can possibly have any use for them.
The Sweetie Set for Two could be an appropriate way to celebrate the beginning on February 14 of the nomination period for candidates for Hong Kong’s Chief Executive election – which will be every bit as authentic as the Brasserie Le Fauchon fare. A surprising number of people claim to believe Beijing officials when they say that the Central People’s Government does not favour one of the two apparent frontrunners, but this is probably politeness; common sense tells us that the Communist Party is congenitally disposed to control everything it can.
Still, compared with previous exercises, they are doing a good job of making the process look superficially undecided – to the extent that Henry Tang seems somewhat taken aback to find that he is expected to at least pretend to be putting effort into getting the job and doing halfway decently in public opinion ratings. Maybe, having had everything in life handed to him on a plate, he has no clue how to act the part of someone exerting himself.
He is left in a curious position. While his supposed rival CY Leung has released a reasonably detailed if insipid platform, Henry doesn’t seem to have one (other than a vacuous announcement in December). It’s almost as if he imagined that, as with holding a debate, he could unveil a manifesto after the nominations were over, by which time CY’s 23 hours would be up after failing to get the necessary 150 nominations from the 1,200-strong Election Committee. But at least a few of the EC members, unhappy at this clear (and correct) implication that they are a mere rubber stamp, are mumbling about not nominating someone without a declared set of policy pledges. Henry’s team are no doubt going through CY’s proposals and concocting their candidate’s very own load of drivel about helping the middle class and small-medium enterprises. Which is why the countdown to Valentine’s Day will be so especially extra-exciting this year. Meanwhile, you can (preferably with headphones, as it is not aurally suitable for work) listen to them let you know that We Are Tomorrow!*
*Try trimming url to ‘http://wearetomorrow.hk’ or something if it doesn’t work.