Farewell to another mayor of Shoe-shine City

Crushed, humiliated and collapsed in a pitiful heap, the sobbing wreck that is Chief Executive Donald Tsang submits himself to his public roasting at the hands of the Legislative Council. There was a time when it was hard not to feel sorry for his predecessor Tung Chee-hwa, who was repeatedly pilloried and kicked and dutifully went back for more. Now it is Sir Bow-Tie’s turn to descend into Lear-scale tragedy.

He brought it on himself. In 2006, activist Christine Loh asked to speak to him about the Tamar Government Palace project he was insisting on pushing through. He replied with the immortal words: “I would only talk to you if you agree with me.” After pro-democrats in Legco successfully opposed a phony political reform package, he started to take delight in partially or wholly ignoring and excluding them and their allies.

It was this petty, pompous, insecure and arrogant attitude that led him to the favouritism, cronyism and nepotism that we see in our ‘elite’ establishment today. Poor old Tung stuck his neck out and appointed a few outsiders. Tsang has packed government with identical blinkered bureaucrats, and other public bodies with Anthony Wu JP, Ronald Arculli JP, a couple of tycoons’ kids, Bunny Chan JP, Anthony Wu JP, Ronald Arculli JP and Ronald Arculli JP. Meanwhile, some of our seedier, yacht-owning businessmen – perhaps sensing that here was a man who craved a friendly word or two – lined up to ingratiate themselves with him, and like a mug he fell for it. After decades of obeying civil service rules (you must report any gift worth over HK$400 and any over-lavish meals), he degenerated into a joyful recipient of tacky good deeds.

Lest we forget: those who live by the shoe-shine, die by the shoe-shine. Now everyone is helping to hang Donald out to dry. Pro-establishment business figures want to distance themselves from the collusion thing; it could have been them or their relatives who invited Donald onto a yacht. Pro-Beijing figures see a chance to give a long-overdue beating to the colonial running dog they’ve been ordered for years to support. Pro-democrats can take revenge for his taking revenge against them – there are no grown-ups around here. And the people of Hong Kong can take out their frustration with the way the tycoons have come to own the government. Donald may not be totally culpable here – the system imposed by Beijing is at fault – so we are officially whipping him for damaging Hong Kong’s reputation.

Both of Hong Kong’s CEs since 1997 have ended up being chewed up and spat out by a stroppy public. Who would want to be the third?

The Most Inexplicably Incompetent Timing of an Announcement of the Week Award goes to Chief Executive hopeful Henry Tang, who chose yesterday to make a real, live public attack on rival CY Leung. The assault has the same blithe, handed-me-on-a-plate air that has marked the rest of spoilt rich-kid Henry’s campaign. As well as poor timing, the thrust was incoherent and economically illiterate, blaming CY’s ’85,000 homes a year’ plan for the unemployment and suicides after the 1998 Asian financial crisis. Make housing more affordable, and people will kill themselves. So vote Henry, who’ll push property prices up out of reach, and everyone will jump up and down singing What a Wonderful World.

A friend of mine who dropped by CY’s campaign HQ recently reports piles of boxes and papers and junk and the usual chaos you get in a place where people are busy and in a rush. My guess is that Henry’s office is tidy and dead quiet. 

On completely unrelated matters… You know you’re getting old when the trivial pap pop culture you knew as a kid gets serious write-ups in Time or, for heaven’s sake, the Wall Street Journal. I remember one of the nuns at my school asking me and a fellow seven-year-old boy what we wanted to do when we grew up. He said he wanted to be a US Marine and got a smile. I said ‘pop star’ and got a sour look and some muttering about wasting a fine mind. We were both inspired by the TV of the time, which largely consisted of the day-after-day black-and-white carnage of the war in Vietnam and this (song dedicated to Donald).


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21 Responses to Farewell to another mayor of Shoe-shine City

  1. FB3 says:

    There seems to be some sympathy at Donald showing his emotions yesterday.

    Its a complete sham, he has shown no empathy towards the less fortunate in Hong Kong that are suffering from his policies that are a result of collusion with tycoons.

    He should feel ashamed.




  2. Bigot says:

    The reason of Sir D’s grimace during his speech yesterday? Certwinly not remorse! It is rather the premonition of the forfeiture of the downpayment (two months’ rent?) for the SZ penthouse.

  3. Alan Freeman says:

    Fluff here again.

    It’s uncanny, pop pickers.

    REPUTATION is the album du moment for Donald…et quelques autres, mon dieu!




    They’re gonna want you
    They’re gonna love you
    They’re gonna make your dreams come true
    They don’t know the real you, but
    They’re gonna steal you, oh
    They’re gonna take my dreams away
    Well you tried, you looked for a way
    Of keeping your face, of keeping your face, oh, oh

    You try and you try again
    (Isn’t worth the patience)
    You leave me to cry again
    (Who cares what they’re thinking?) oh, oh
    (Who cares what they’re whispering?, whispering, whispering)

    You know I won’t blame you
    And I won’t defame you, oh
    I won’t name you in any court of law
    Well you tried, you looked for a way
    Of keeping your face, of keeping your face, oh, oh

    You try and you try again
    (Isn’t worth the patience)
    You leave me to cry again
    (Who cares what they’re thinking?) oh, oh
    (Who cares what they’re whispering?, whispering)
    They’re whispering

  4. darovia says:

    Once again I found myself agreeing with Lau Nai Keung – I know I shouldn’t but today’s SCMP rant “Sway of big business reaches to the top” is a direct hit; however, I suspect the agenda is in the last para:

    “Wouldn’t we be a little too naive to believe that something like this could not happen here since we have the ICAC, thank goodness? And don’t insult our intelligence by claiming that this will go away with full universal suffrage because, judging from the experience in the world’s democracies, it won’t.”

  5. maugrim says:

    This election is a pandora’s box of some well deserved comeuppances and long repressed viperous ness. Perhaps there should be more of what people think of each other in business and politics so that such feelings dont fester lol. Strange all of this is happening at the same time there is also a community service advertisement on TV with a priest, a monk of some sort (but no darkies or gweilios) and possibly a falun gong supporter all advocating the need to ‘get along’ irrespective of beliefs lol. Aiyyya, what a happy little island we are.

  6. Sir Crispin says:

    “there are no grown-ups around here”

    You, sadly, entirely summed up in Hong Kong in one, very succinct phrase. Perhaps, this should be the new motto, to replace the ludicrous Asia’s World City.

  7. The Regulator says:

    Most important to understand that the Tsangism of refusing to talk unless you agree with him is not peculiar to 2006 or Tsang himself.

    The entire Civil Service is not interested in your opinion – even where, as one has been, commissioned to report on law reform.

    Instead, the Civil Service is interested to learn if your opinion co-incides with theirs and if so, then they will claim a consensus.

    If not, they are not wrong, you just don’t get it: GST being the prime example.

  8. Real Tax Payer says:

    Sh1T DAMN buGGer F**K … today’s SCMP ( which I get on-line)

    “Tang launched blistering attack on Leung”

    Record number of max 5 star hits on-line by early morning , but the hits could mean anything from “love the article/ love enery/ hate CY ” to “Hate the pig / give us a pig-eating wolf”

    For God’s sake, can’t HK see that by putting enery up as CE we actually for the first time ever put a F*****G TYCOON in the driving seat ?

    If that ever happens, then God save the Big Ship Lychee and all who sail therein

    PS : Poor old Donald. I actually felt sorry for him watching his last night’s grovelling tears of abject apology on TV . Don’t cry/ dear bow-tie/ My oh My/ Bye bye BYE ! ( Dumb wit and unwitting cartel stooge )

    PPS : as to to rest of today’s news and Hemlock’s comments , I can only say AMEN and cheer the new SCMP editor who has been writing some pretty scathing leaders against the property cartels

  9. Iffy says:

    The Regulator: I have been in a comparable situation, and I can heartily say SO DAMN TRUE.

  10. Tiu Fu Fong says:

    Apologise, shed a few tears or perhaps even do the kowtow abasement – all to show that your regret is “sincere”. Then go on as if everything is all clear. This is what taking responsibility amounts to in much of East Asia. I’m not sure if it differs that much from the West, except for the culturally accepted methods for engaging in such farce.

  11. PropertyDeveloper says:

    Hemlock’s trick is the contrarian one of observing the excesses of public opinion, seeing what happened in the past, and pulling the — usually cynical — rabbit out of the box.

    Poor old Donald indeed, just a cog in our neocolonial system, which is rather like that of a generation ago in other places, but with the volume and contrast full on.

    So Piggie, thanks to the Ducky distraction, hasn’t been disowned by China after all, and since a hung election can’t be allowed — because of the D word — H’s prognosis, all those moons ago, stands a good chance of coming true. Property shares anyone?

  12. Joe Blow says:

    Thank goodness Queen Vagina is out. When the next erection comes around, she will be too old and too out of touch to be of any consequence.

  13. Real Tax Payer says:

    @ PropertyDeveloper

    Because it’s friday and Hemmers is off for the weekend, let me reply at length

    Yes I share your fear , which is why during March I will be mobilising every string I can command ( pretty tiny strings as just a humble tax payer , but many strings make thick rope) to support CY.

    CY is not perfect . (These days who is ?) But I’m damn certain he’s a lot better choice than the ‘orrible ‘orse

    Thus I re-wrote and today perfected my re-write of the classic Flanders and Swann song : “Have some Madiera m’dear” from “At the Drop of a Hat”

    One really needs to hear the original song and music to appreciate the ditty. Superb tune one can never forget.

    It’s all there on Youtube if you delve deep enough ( but even the best Youtube versions omit the best sidelines which were on the original EP vinyl : e.g. “to view his collection of stamps…. all un-perforated ha ha ha haaaah”

    Enjoy – or don’t enjoy – depending on your persuasion re our next CE , and/or what could could horribly happen on 25th March while we are enjoying the Rugby Sevens quarter finals .


    She was young, she was pure, she was new, she was nice
    A ‘SAR’ and still only fifteen.
    He was rich, he was ham-sap – no stranger to vice
    He was base, he was bad, he was mean.
    He had slyly inveigled her under his pool
    To taste his collection of wine
    (all imported duty- free …. ha ha ha haaaah !)
    And he said as he struggled to put down the wolf,
    And avoid paying Lisa’s huge fine:

    Have some Madeira, m’dear.
    You really have nothing to fear
    Yes I’m seducing you ! This sure ain’t heaven .
    You can’t have your free vote till Two Oh One Seven

    Have some Madeira, m’dear
    CE-lect me – you won’t shed a tear.
    I may not be clever, I may not be bright
    I’ve done lots that’s stupid and not much that’s right
    But I’m REDA’s choice , though I must admit
    I’ve screwed up my chances I’m such a dimwit
    I don’t care for Hong Kong – I just love tycoons
    Cos they keep me well-fed with their golden spoons
    (And yes, just like me, they’re all cartel goons)
    Have some Madeira, m’dear.

    Unaware of the wiles of the pig-in-the-grass
    And the call of the wolf as he lopes
    She lowered her standards by raising her glass,
    Her courage, her eyes … and his hopes.
    She sipped it, she drank it, she drained it, she did !
    He promptly refilled it again ,
    And he said as he tempted the maiden to bid
    In the “vote” that itself is profane…

    Have some Madeira, m’dear
    I’ve a cellar or two of it here
    You don’t want to vote for the wolf who can nip
    And certainly you can’t CE-Lect Regina Yip;
    Jasper “the DAB” now won’t try for C. E ,
    And Albert’s a pro-dem, which means vote for me!

    I’m ‘Enry the Pig’ with subservient wife
    Whom I always blame when I screw up in life’

    Have some Madeira, m’dear
    It’s really an excellent year!

    Now if I gave hand-outs you shouldn’t say ‘yes’
    The evil of hand-outs is hard assess.
    The ICAC would then make me confess
    (Not like sad old Donald – Ha ha ha Haaah ! ….
    ….. no way I would ever sink that low and APOLOGISE )
    Have some Madeira, m’dear !

    Then there flashed through her mind what her mother had said
    With her antepenultimate breath
    “Oh my child, should you listen to pigs when they’re well-fed
    “Be prepared for a fate worse than death!”

    She let go her glass with a shrill little cry:
    Crash! Tinkle! It fell to the floor.
    When he cried “Come now vote !” she made no reply
    Up her mind, and a dash for the door.

    “Have some Madeira, m’dear”
    Rang out through Hong Kong loud and clear,
    With a tremulous cry that was filled with despair,
    As she fought to take breath in the foul Hong Kong air…

    “Have some Madeira, m’dear !”
    The words seemed to ring in her ear …

    Until the next morning, she woke in bed
    With a tang of sour wine wafting over her head…
    And Ms Ma in the Standard who cackled and said :
    “Have more Madiera , m’dear”

    PS: If that awful conclusion really happens , change the last line to

    ” Collusion rules OK, that’s clear”

    Any resemblance to persons living, dead (or about to be out down) is purely coincidental

  14. PropertyDeveloper says:

    > Real Tax Payer

    No objection to anything you say, although there are some interesting assumptions and rhetorical flourishes (contrasted use of “we” and “you”: now you just need a “they” to be complete).

    If I was amongst the 1194, I’d probably vote for CY Leung. (And, according to Apple Daily’s source, Peking has just come out in his support.) But I might just as well cast a blank vote, the principled stand the pan-democrats say they’d adopt in the event of a run-off.

    But where you and I differ fundamentally is that I don’t believe that either CE candidate will make any real difference. They’re both part of a fatally flawed system, that lacks legitimacy, because of the way the CE — a title that sums it up — is chosen, and not elected. Do have a look at the platforms of the pan-democrats to get an idea of how bad the pro-establishment, pro-China candidates are. A pig-flue epidemic on both their houses!

  15. Probably says:

    Just to dip my little fly into ointment so to speak, I can wholeheartedly agree with Regulator and Iffy about discussing any subject with the HK civil service. If you don’t support their pre-conceived views it is as if you are not in the room (and your points don’t get minuted either).

  16. Real Tax Payer says:

    @Property Developer

    Guess I’m the optimist who says the beer glass is half full, and you are pessimist who says the glass in half empty.

    Nothing right or wrong in all that : we are all born optimists or pessimists , just as male and female.

    A wise friend once told me : we need both optimists and pessimists because the optimists rush off ahead like a bunch of horny rabbits and then they all fall flat on their face at the first stile , then along come the pessimists, who pick up and dust off the bewildered optimists , commiserate with them, lift them over the stile, and off they go again, raring into the unknown ( and the next stile)

    I was full of hope in 1997 that Ting would lead us in a better way than Chris Patton who dared to confront BJ on the through train issue ( and failed, dismally) and for a while it seemed he could do so, until his 2nd term when the paucity of his grey cells became clear, and YES I marched to pull him off his podium , as well as do in Regina Nip. Then in came dear old Donald … our saviour ! But Don-the con got ahead of himself when he ran for re-CE-lection ( “I’ll get the job done” total BS / woffle) – thinking he could really be a leader , a true politician. Fat chance, and his dismal second term has shown his true colours – or rather lack thereof.

    Which brings us to 2012

    So what have we got ?

    a) Enery the Orse – tycoon baby / tycoon schooled/ tycoon chosen shoo-in

    b) CY who worked his way from the bottom up ( heck – the guy studied in Bristol Polytechnic : no Harvard MBA ) who is sincere

    Yes sure, if CY gets in he will make some awful screw ups, and he will be eventually executed at the altar of public opinion – as was Churchill after the War – So end all politicians

    But rather CY who at least holds out some glimmer of HOPE than the awful tang and all the blatant evil that he stands for.

    Maybe I’m naive : guess I am . But not so cynical that I have lost all hope for a better world, and a better Big Lychee

  17. PropertyDeveloper says:

    While I wish you the best in trying to make HK a better place, I do think it’s a lost battle while the Communist Party runs the whole of China with an iron fist.

    This is perhaps not the best forum to debate Patten’s legacy, but I suspected Tung from the beginning, if only because he benefited from China’s “second stove”, “three-legged” and “tango-dancer” dirty tricks. But like you I believed his 85,000 new properties a year and all-graduate teaching promises at the beginning…

    If only CY could support HK’s core values, or show the slightest shred of independence of thought as regards the mainland, or even criticise the functional constituencies, I’d give him the benefit of doubt.

    All politicians’ careers, as you say, end in failure. I’m torn between dreaming that our illegitimate executive branch and China’s dictators can somehow pull themselves up by their bootstraps, and hoping it will all end in social chaos, as the only way forward.

  18. Real Tax Payer says:

    @ PD

    I guess the the Jury is out on this one

    I dropped by CY’s campaign office last week and it had a very “healthy” feel – the kind of place I would have expected Jesus , or Buddha to run ( OK – that’s extreme stuff and I withdraw it but I bet J and B ran pretty chaotic campaign HQs : last I read about J was that he lead a travelling circus, rode donkeys and walked on palm leaves : don’t sound much like a real well organized campaign … oh yes – he also rode knowingly to his death )

    OK OK OK I take back everything but I could not help but notice that in this morning’s SCMP there was comment that CY seems to stay aloof from all the BS, so no-one really knows what he is thinking ( so is enery any the better because we DO know what he is thinking = collusion. more collusion and still more collusion ? )

    This has all become a war of words , but even Alan Zeman seems to be paying attention to what we – the “plebs” – are saying and thinking, which is good

    And did anyone notice Vincent Lo , whom I have always admired as one PD who didn’t stick his snout in the trough ( you are not Vincent in disguise by any chance are you ? )

    Interesting days ahead ….

  19. PropertyDeveloper says:

    M-sai, m-sai: it’s early days yet. Points in CY’s favour are his less privileged background, his greater intelligence, his distance from the tycoons and the dynamic buzz of his campaign HQ — but of course objective merit has very little to do with it!

  20. Real Tax Payer says:

    @ PD

    Care to meet one day?

    Seems we think alike

  21. PropertyDeveloper says:

    Sounds fun. But I’m off to America soon, so it would have to be after that.

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