Fear and loathing on the HK campaign trail, cont’d

Along with all the mouth-frothing, open-mouthed disbelief, and plain mouthing-off, Hong Kong’s 2012 Chief Executive ‘election’ has triggered a mood of joy – playfulness, even – reminiscent of July 2, 2003, the day after the big march, when the city’s people realized they had toppled the tragic Tung Chee-hwa.

I can’t help wondering: can we have a CE ‘election’ every year from now on? This has been great fun. The artwork alone has been a hoot, let alone the soap opera in Kowloon Tong, and the crab-like shuffling of our pompous establishment ‘elite’ trying to work out what they are supposed to do.

You can place bets on who will be picked here; as of this morning, CY Leung has a 40%-38% edge on Henry Tang, while ‘A.N.Other’ has gone from 15% to 20% in the last day.

After some confusion in recent days, the Big Lychee’s great and good – property tycoons, former bureaucrats and so on – have mostly rallied round Henry. At Beijing’s behest, it hardly needs to be said. The Standard’s fictitious Mary Ma offers as good a summary of the plutocrat point of view as any. Note in particular the airy dismissal of Regina Ip as a possible contender. She is Beijing’s emergency panic button – a safe/boring Donald Tsang-type administrator to keep Hong Kong securely and unthinkingly on its narrow post-1997 course to nowhere in particular. The one thinkable choice. It would an anti-climactic fizzling-out of a hilarious episode, and we can only hope that the tycoons aren’t deluding themselves too much in assuming that Beijing will push ahead and impose Henry on us, simply to demonstrate who’s in charge. It will be fascinating. CY Leung would be the nuclear option – spectacular but scary.

Anthony Wu GBS, JP, Chairman/Director/Advisor/Member of Every Committee/Board/Council/Conference in Greater Hong Kong, says Henry has now learned his lesson. One of Wu’s many hats is of course Chairman of the HK General Chamber of Commerce, whose suddenly-appointed CEO, Shirley Yuen, had previously been an assistant to Henry in the government (she strenuously denied the rumours, and quite rightly too – just share an elevator with Henry these days and the gossip starts). The point is that the Chamber – once a proud representative of free enterprise – has become a nest of public-sector, Friends-of-Donald types pushing their cronyist, statist, corporatist agenda. Day 2 of CY Leung’s administration would start with a wrecking ball hitting the place, and trucks taking the whole executive committee off to the salt mines.

In a curious little side-show, Donald has raised eyebrows after attending a sleazy bash in Macau. There are three possible explanations:

  1. He is planning a career as a casino junket operator after leaving office, arranging private jets, hookers and loan sharks for money-laundering high-stakes gamblers. ‘I want a new challenge’, sort of thing.
  2. He is trying to divert attention from Henry’s problems, can’t manage anything better than this pitiful escapade, and the pro-democrats are dumb enough to fall for it.
  3. He has no taste.

Bingo! Number 3 it is. The friend’s luxury yacht is the giveaway. A certain type of mediocre politician inevitably ends up on a tacky friend’s luxury yacht sooner or later. This one, or this one, for example. There’s obviously a scientific explanation, but I’ve no idea what it is. Those who can (JFK, Berlusconi, Dominique Strauss-Kahn), do; those who can’t, go on a yacht.

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18 Responses to Fear and loathing on the HK campaign trail, cont’d

  1. Rinky Dinky says:

    The truth is that C Y Leung’s sabotage strategy for AFTER the election (Dinky passim) had to be activated BEFORE the election as the Tang camp made the fatal mistake of opening up their What They Have On Leung file in desperation at falling poll scores.

    Nothing surprising there.

    As I said, C Y Leung is a revolutionary in league with the new elite which is gradually taking over China. He’s going to be the next Mayor. Get on with it people. Hong Kong is getting interesting at last.

  2. Chopped Onions says:

    “The office said Tsang paid an amount equivalent to the fare of a commercial ferry ride between Hong Kong and Macau to the owner of the yacht, adding the couple did not go to a casino.”
    WTF? Yeah right spokespeople, now I believe everything you tell me, not

  3. Resigned says:

    Learned his lesson? I almost choked on my coffee.

  4. Longtimenosee says:

    If I pay for an economy seat on KA, but actually go on a private jet…how is that not taking an advantage again?

  5. groot oore says:

    @ Chopped Onions

    Exactly. And maybe our free and wickedly investigative media can determine from the bow-tied runt’s spokesman whether he paid the weekend economy fare of HK$176 or the equivalent a VIP cabin for four people at the profligate rate of $976.

  6. Mary Hinge says:

    Wouldn’t you just love to be the priest at Don’s next confessional?

  7. Mary Hinge says:

    Howard Winn’s Lai See column today:

    “A brief press release on the government website announced that the returning officer for the 2012 chief executive election has determined that the nomination of Henry Tang Ying-yen as a candidate was valid. So relief all round at the Tang camp as “the candidate” has managed to get something right. However, his nomination is a travesty and he should have withdrawn despite what his puppet-masters instructed. In the unlikely event he is elected, one of his first tasks perhaps will be to figure out how to prosecute his wife for apparently masterminding the illegal basement construction. Though before jumping to conclusions on that, it would be good to know who the architect was, whose signature was actually on the cheque and why the houses are owned by a British Virgin Islands company. How long Tang will be forced to endure the walk of shame is anyone’s guess. His opponent C.Y. Leung was supposed make him look good. Now it’s Tang making Leung look good. Funny old game.”

  8. Big Al says:

    @Mary

    Seeing your reference to the “returning officer” reminds me of the Blackadder III episode involving a corrupt election: Our ‘enry could certainly be the prime candidate of the “standing at the back dressed stupidly and looking stupid party”. What else can he do?

  9. maugrim says:

    There was much to laugh at in regards to Don’s Macau jaunt: Don in mufti, Don at a Macau buffet shielding himself, the long arm of HK’s paparazzi, Don’s explanation that he ‘just had breakfast’ (involving abalone) and had the cost of the boat trip home was equal to the cost of a normal jetfoil ticket.

  10. Stephen says:

    Let’s not fall for the Don in Macao non story. He’s gone in a few months, thank goodness.

    Keep concentrating on Henry Horse who may just sneak in. It’s unlikely, he’s way to damaged, however this is not the real political world or for that matter a real election.

    Picture of the son, with details, and we should be able to put a fork in his “candidacy”

  11. darovia says:

    Infamy! Infamy! They’ve all got it in-fer-me.

    (Apologies to the ‘Carry On’ team.)

  12. PropertyDeveloper says:

    Howard Winn seems to have taken on a new lease of life recently. I do wonder sometimes if he’s not been reading Hemlock — or even submitting comments.

  13. N-Sussex says:

    @davoria – I think you’ll find that line was the immortal utterance of Frankie Howerd in ‘Up Pompeii!’…

  14. Ped Ant formerly known as Rinky Dinky says:

    It was Kenneth Williams in Carry On Cleo wot said it first:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvs4bOMv5Xw

  15. darovia says:

    @N-Sussex

    Kenneth Williams in ‘Carry on Cleo’. Nothing there about Caesar’s wife being above reproach though.

  16. Real Tax Payer says:

    Indeed , life is fun these days…. we live in interesting times

    🙂

    All this fuss about Don on the boat at Macao and his Thailand trip… getting personal favours from tycoons now so that (maybe) he will pass a few goodies their way in his remaining 4 months in power.

    What the F*********G F********G H**L …. !!!!!!!!!

    He and his administration team ( which includes ole enery) have been passing favours to the tycoons since day one of his time in power, especially his 2nd term .

    For “I’ll get the job done” read ” I’ll give the tycoons all they want – and more – till the day I leave office”

    Stop calling him Donald Duck – that’s too kind . Call him Don the Con because he’s been conning HK for the past 8 + years out of what really belongs to us, not the tycoons , i.e. land, clean air, the sea shore, country parks , excess tax money

    Isn’t it rather sickening to see all the currently “favoured” folk in HK : tycoons, HYK/ Fat Lau. HKCC, whatever, all lining up behind the imbecile/ damaged goods/ pathetic H Tang ( JP ) ?

    (Sorry… I forgot D Li / banker/ inside- dealer / knight of the froggie dong )

    Really sick .

    Meanwhile the rest of HK who dutifully pay their taxes and high property prices/ rent and breath foul air are being polarized towards CY, simply because

    a) he is NOT H. Tang ( JP)

    b) he stands for change

    …….. yes interesting times !

    @ Mary Hinge & PD : yes Howard Winn has come out of his shell, as has Tom Holland, Alex Lo,… in fact everyone who has an op-ed column, because the whole charade is just so sick. Wait for Jake to wade in for the deep stuff….

    This is very good indeed.

    Even the SCMP’s new chief editor ( who is from the PRC judging by his name) is laying in to enery in scathing tones in the Leaders these days.

    ________________

    Well in other news….

    a) on my China Eastern flight today to the BIGGER Lychee the China Daily had not a SINGLE mention of the enery / HK CE-Lection affair. Not even a whisper….

    b) China Eastern now gives out Hagaan- Daaz ice cream in economy , same as Dragonair ( the ticket is half the cost of KA)

    KA BEWARE !

    c) The big Lychee is still available in China – at least where I am in a major city

  17. Real Tax Payer says:

    1st para of SCMP Leader ( editor op-ed) today:

    _______________________

    It is a shame that scandal-plagued Henry Tang Ying-yen has defied public opinion and formally signed up for the chief executive election. Despite a growing public consensus that he should pull out, the beleaguered hopeful sought to make his candidacy a fait accompli by swiftly submitting nominations from nearly one-third of the 1,200-member Election Committee. Uncertainties about the election aside, the move has provoked further public outrage and risks pushing Hong Kong into a state of crisis. If Tang’s cover-up of an illegally built “underground palace” inside a luxurious Kowloon Tong house was not bad enough, the latest allegations of yet another extramarital affair should put his integrity beyond salvation. If the coming poll was based on one person, one vote, the disgraced former chief secretary would not have come forward and risked a humiliating defeat.

  18. Incredulous says:

    @RTP

    “(Sorry… I forgot D Li / banker/ inside- dealer / knight of the froggie dong )”

    Don’t forget of course dear old Uncle Ronald. Evil cabal.

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