If you don’t buy this magazine…

Another day, another juxtaposition of wine-related advertising and news about oenophile Chief Executive hopeful Henry Tang in a newspaper. And another pitiful, whiny, defensive press release from the Hong Kong government trying to save some face after its dismal attempt to smear Henry’s rival, CY Leung.

Someone in Tamar Palace must know that the more you issue an official announcement insisting that official announcements are truthful, the less convincing you sound. But then, the statements are not designed to convince us of anything; they are sent out so a long-suffering, jaded underling who is past caring can tell his panicky boss that a decree declaring the administration innocent is now in circulation, and the populace is thus convinced. (Indeed, the clumsiness of the smear effort looked almost deliberate, as if some civil servant’s distaste for the task got the better of him.) It’s the same with the blaring commandments about drug driving, looking after your grandparents’ teeth and not using water from fire hoses for non-firefighting purposes: a bureaucrat is satisfying an official that the ‘publicity campaign’ box has been ticked. It’s nothing to do with us, the public. We are not the intended audience – which makes the material oddly compelling, and perhaps of potential use in some sort of Zen therapy.

The pro-CY forces of course retaliated with the Henry Tang illegal structure scandal. Henry’s supporters – the Sing Tao group cheerleading – now counterattack with correspondingly vacuous accusations of family ties between CY and his pals at Ming Pao. The son of the paper’s editor’s grandfather’s second cousin, they allege, is Leung’s brother-in-law, or something. This is not an election race: it’s an inanity contest. The city looks on in awe.

Meanwhile, it is now possible to lay out the two supposed candidates’ policy proposals side by side and do a sort of comparison

It is as if both have been dealt the same hand of cards. One has irrelevant government reform A, the other matches him with irrelevant government reform B. One has mildly populist help for the elderly A, the other has mildly populist help for the elderly B. Both offer 75,000 new public housing apartments, though Henry has raised his opponent 10,000 extra Home Ownership Scheme units. Under pressure from the cellar-under-the-pool outrage and the polls, Henry is having to pull a few extras out of his sleeve: abolition of appointed District Council seats, something vague about maximum working hours and (yes, we’re desperate) five new public holidays. It’s taking a lot more last-minute script-changes than expected, but otherwise China’s first quasi-real competitive election-type process with added authentic public opinion is more or less going to plan.

On more serious matters…

It gives me great pleasure to recommend the latest issue of Time Out HK magazine, not least because it contains a 4,000-word Hemlock opus on the Big Lychee’s most humungous and wealthy super-businessmen. Who they are, how they got rich and, in particular, how the grasping parasitical scum are squeezing the lifeblood out of you 24 hours a day. Oh – and how our government, when it’s not looking the other way, runs around actively helping them do it.

Mindful of the oppressive financial burden imposed on the Big Lychee’s people by the tycoon-cartel system, Time Out’s management are charging a highly reasonable HK$18 for this publication (plus you get some stuff about trendy artists and teashops – and latest handbags! – thrown in at no extra charge). Available at all fine bookstores and newsstands; photos of it on sale at Park N Shop will be gratefully received.

And what can I say about the cover? It’s not a cover – it’s a headbutt… 

Guaranteed to make you want to roll the mag up and beat an octogenarian billionaire to the ground with it – or your money back.

Update … It will be a day late, apparently. Technical reasons…

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16 Responses to If you don’t buy this magazine…

  1. Real Tax Payer says:

    No time to comment…. hot off to 7/11 to get my copy of Time Out HK

    ( For those who did not get the last edition with the Warhol -like pic of the horse, I have a scanned copy in my laptop )

  2. Sir Crispin says:

    Every day I lose a little more hope for the salvation of this city. I really have got to stop reading the newspaper in the morning, it’s bumming me out.

  3. gweipo says:

    I miss the HK timeout – the local version here is so tame! Hopefully I can read it all online.
    There is an interesting book about the monopolists of asia, not just HK, but a similar pattern seems to have evolved in the whole area as well… I’ll try and dig out the title.

  4. Mary Hinge says:

    Loving this election, um, selection business. The leader in the SCUM Post today is openly calling Henry’s probity into question. Fantastic!

    Now all we need is one of these (alleged) bimbos with whom he has (allegedly) sired a foal to carelessly publish her kid’s DNA test results online and I’ll be in heaven!

  5. maugrim says:

    “It was alleged that the son of Chi’s grandfather’s second cousin is Leung’s brother-in-law.” This is almost Pythonesque. What pisses me off is, ok, if this is so newsworthy, lets apply this standard to all such relationships in HK where far from being ‘6 degrees of separation’ it’s more like ‘1 degree’. Lets start with those those invoving the Sing Tao group (and see how far we get).

    What other place in the world can have someone as a leader, having been found to have known that he had broken one or more planning rules, also get away with refusing entry by Government agents to inspect the property? Apprantly the rule of law in HK only applies to the poor. It’s an utter disgrace.

  6. Real Tax Payer says:

    Hemmers : Are you sure that the current issue of Time Out is the Tycoon one?

    I just checked and Issue # 98 : 15 – 28 Feb has no such front cover, nor any tycoon article inside

    Did the editors pull the issue ?

  7. Take a look at this photo of Xi Jinping meeting Kissinger. http://images.china.cn/attachement/jpg/site1007/20120214/000cf1bdd03f10a449452b.jpg Who is that guy in the #1 chair on the China side for this meeting? Yes, it is that renowned foreign policy expert that HK knows and loves.

  8. groot oore says:

    I have just been to Dymocks and they say there was “a printing mistake” and they don’t expect to receive Time Out this week.

    Anyone know what’s going on?

  9. Allen Pinsent says:

    HK politics is so disappointing and frustrating at the same time. The “policies” that have been put forward by the candidates are not hard policies at all.

    We are being “governed” by self-serving bureaucrats who don’t have the power or political nerve to make the changes that matter – i.e. change Basic Law regarding birth certificates; universal suffrage etc. And even with the things they can control – i.e. handing out of $6000; city planning – they still manage to bungle. So, in the absence of anyone standing up for HK people, HK is being controlled and manipulated by Beijing via proxy.

    I fear HK is quickly becoming another Chinese city. The signs of “integration” – i.e. increased tourist visas for Mainlanders; Zhuhai bridge; licence plates for Mainland vehicles – indicate this will soon become a reality.

  10. groot oore says:

    Issue is coming very soon, Time Out assures. Nothing sinister at work.

  11. RSG says:


    The book is Asian Godfathers by Joe Studwell.

    Hemlock, you know your site is blocked in the Mainland?

  12. Real Tax Payer says:

    @ RSG : Correct : Asian Godfathers

    I was always surprised Joe Studwell still has all 10 fingers intact after writing that book

    Yes the site is blocked in China ( or at least some parts of China ). But that may be just because of the images and the Youtube videos

    @ Groot Ore : I saw ( really SAW) issue #98 : 15 – 28 Feb at a newspaper stand in Central today. It was nothing like the one in Hemmers’ column this morning

  13. Real Tax Payer says:

    When we started making money,
    Colluding with tycoons
    We found a home as soon as we were able to.

    We bought 5A in York Road for fifty million more,
    And to avoid the taxes, we registered it offshore

    With roof windows…car canopy .. .
    And structural alterations
    ( all illegal … hahahahaaaaaa ),
    Now designed for graceful living,
    It has quite a reputation.

    We’re terribly House and Garden,
    At York Place 5A
    We live in a most amusing muse,
    Ever so very contemporary.

    We’re terribly House and Garden,
    The money that one spends.
    To make a place that won’t disgrace,
    Our loaded tycoon friends.

    We’ve planned an uninhibited interior decor,
    Curtains made of straw…
    And to make a private wine cellar
    We’ve dug up half the floor…
    We don’t know if we like it, but at least we can be sure,
    There’s no place like Home Sweet Home.

    It’s terribly Maison Jardin,
    Here in Kowloon Tong
    And the AP we appointed
    Says we’ve done nothing wrong.

    We’re terribly House and Garden,
    It’s really the bees knees
    The garden’s full of furniture…
    And the house of Mercedes

    (Spoken) Have you a home that cries out to your every visitor,
    “Here lives someone who is exciting to know”? No?

    Well, why not… collect those newspaper clippings of CY and nail them face up on the floor?

    This will give the sensation… of ….

    .. walking on newspaper clippings of CY nailed to the floor

    Why not… drop in one evening for a mess of pottage? Our specialty, just aubergine and carnation petals. With a six-figure bottle of Chateau Henrie de Cheval, a feast fit for a king.

    I’m delirious about our new Govt publication dept hot-line with the eye-level grille. This means that without my having to bend down, all the SH1T stupid things I did as CS can squirt straight into my eyes!

    We’re frightfully House and Garden,
    At York Road 5A,
    The walls are patterned with shrunken heads,
    Civil servants done in on the way

    Our boudoir on the open plan has been a huge success…
    Now every where’s so open, there’s nowhere safe from the press

    With little screens, and bottle lamps,
    And motifs here and there.
    Mobiles on the air…
    Ivy everywhere!
    (Was that her name ? Or was it Florence? ).

    We’re terribly House and Garden,
    As I think we’ve said before….

    …But though 5A is madly gay,
    It wouldn’t do for every day,
    We actually live in No 7,
    In the house next door!

    With apologies to Michael Flanders and Donald Swan

    (scanning copyright by William Mcgonagall)

  14. Red Ken says:

    Sounds fishy to me. This email sent out by Time Out today refers to an “erroneous” edition, which will shortly be replaced by a “correct” version. Presumably the “erroneous” edition is the one containing Hemlock’s article, about which Time Out have now got cold feet.

    Dear Time Out Subscribers,

    Due to an unforeseen production error, your *February 15* edition of Time Out Hong Kong magazine will be delivered a day or two later than is usually expected. Time Out apologises profusely for this error.

    Some of you may have already received a copy of Time Out magazine, dated February 15. This is an erroneous edition. The *correct* edition of our February 15 issue is being re-sent to you now. We apologise for the confusion.

    We have now put into place a system which guarantees that this production error does not happen ever again.

    As Time Out readers, we truly value your appreciation and commitment to our magazine, and we are deeply sorry for this short delay in delivery.

    Yours most sincerely,
    Jake Hamilton and the Time Out Team

  15. Real Tax Payer says:

    No, the erroneous edition was the NON- tycoon busting version ( I saw one erroneous copy today )

    The REAL edition is the tycoon buster

    And a phone call to Time Out confirmed all this

  16. Resigned says:

    I can access the site no problems from Beijing as of last week – and from pathetic Singapore today! However my RSS reader can’t load the site when in Beijing – it seems that iteration may be firewalled. This isn’t the only site to get that treatment – almost all RSS feeds in my pretty extensive collection seem to be periodically denied service from there.

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