China’s next leader calls for a bit of calm in the Big Lychee after its spate of Chief Executive ‘election’ smears and mayhem. The thought that the wrenching pain and humiliation of recent months will now come to an end naturally causes widespread dismay among the general populace. But even if the outbreak of leaks and mud-slinging now subsides, we can be sure that things will not be the same again (as with a certain other epidemic that struck the city this time nine years ago).
You know things are strange when you find yourself nodding with agreement while reading a Trotskyite on-line journal. But who can dispute that “A succession of scandals has left no doubt about the culture of corruption, lying, law breaking and cronyism surrounding Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing political elite and the business tycoons they serve”? Amusingly, China Worker gets mightily upset at the allegation that CY Leung is a socialist (which is not, to them, a slur). Mostly, though, the publication’s reading of events is eminently sensible. The unprecedented hostile split in the local business establishment probably reflects jostling for power within the Chinese leadership. Disgraced Henry Tang remains a contender to be next CE because Beijing is clueless about what to do. The paper is also confident that Leung’s backers were directly responsible for setting off the first bomb – the basement revelation – if unaware that it would trigger such an explosive chain-reaction. And they engineered Donald Tsang’s ‘luxury’ outrage for good measure.
On a scale of zero (colonic irrigation) to 10 (curing cancer), pondering the exact provenance of Hong Kong’s recent well-planned and well-timed exposés probably comes in at around 2 in terms of social usefulness. But it is irresistible fun.
I was with a small group investigating the issue in ridiculous detail yesterday. We agreed that local traditional patriotic groups – most sitting avidly on the fence awaiting word on whom to support – would only get involved in anything like this if they were told to. Minor players with personal grudges, like Henry’s disgruntled ex-colleagues or dumped girlfriends, wouldn’t have the means.
The problem with pointing the finger solely at CY Leung’s associates (in practice, it would be unseen associates of friends of associates) is that it underestimates the gravity of attacking Beijing’s clear favourite.
In principle, such a move is an attempt to derail the Communist Party’s plan for leadership succession in the Chinese Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong. Thwarting the will of the one-party state is tantamount to subversion. You are taking control (even if only of choice of CE) out of the hands of the party and exercising it yourself. In theory, anyone in Hong Kong seriously trying such a thing could forget about setting foot in the Mainland for a very long time. Whether your faction’s supporters in Beijing end up in power or not, you have crossed a line and cannot be trusted.
So, even assuming that CY personally would not have endorsed such chicanery, well-intentioned but misguided local supporters doing so must still have had some sort of reassurance from the Liaison Office, out there near The Henry in distant Western.
One group of possible culprits that we quickly dismissed were bureaucrats. They wouldn’t want to destroy Henry’s chances because they are far more comfortable with the prospect of a pliable dimwit than the radical, reformist alternative of CY Leung. But then, after beer three (or four, or something), I came up with a scintillating scenario…
Picture a coterie of serving and former senior officials secretly meeting up at Anson Chan’s place around a year ago. Dame Conscience herself is in the chair. David Akers-Jones has curtly sent his regrets. As individuals, they are self-consciously a bit detached and aloof from the tycoon-bureaucrat milieu that increasingly runs Hong Kong. Snotty about it, in fact. They are nostalgic for the old days when the Civil Service was God, ruling over all, showing favour to none. They can’t bear to see Beijing planning to give us another five or even 10 years of this erosion of the ‘traditional Hong Kong values’ they cherish, as landed interests get their claws deeper into the administration and public respect for government declines accordingly. They hatch a revanchist plot.
They have all the dirt on Henry, connections in the media and, collectively, decades of experience of practicing dark arts discretely. Knowing that CY is way too creepy to be a Plan B, their aim is to besmirch Henry with several devastating revelations that leave Beijing with no choice but to look to another civil servant for the top job (one who’s well-bred and went to university and doesn’t think it’s cool to hang out with riffraff tycoons). At first the plotters are thinking of easing a trustworthy minister-level official like Carrie Lam into the position; later, as Beijing appears to stick by Henry thick or thin, they would be happy with Regina Ip. But they have misjudged which way the Chinese government will lean if it has to budge. It is not to be. In the final scene, CY Leung personally marches the Handbag Gang onto a Gong An truck, which trundles off to the border. (In the movie, Anson would be played by Meryl Streep and Carrie Lam by Dodo Cheng.)
I declared this weekend open last night.
Surely it’s a Koterie.
Kot is the German word for dung.
I have been asked to play Bunny Chan.
I never thought for once in my life that I would agree 100% with an editorial article in a Trotskyite mag, but now I think I would go one stage further and join their “party” – or whatever they term it .
Amazing stuff – almost as amazing as Mr Shiu’s letter yesterday
PS: Meryl’s nose is far too long and sharp to play Anson, and Dodo is much too pretty to play Carrie. Your plot is indeed scintillating Hemmers, but your casting skills leave something to be desired ( or were you drinking Newcastle Brown last night ? )
Trigger (lame, and minus Roy Rogers) would play Henry Tang. Shortly after the movie’s opening credits have concluded, the whole audience realises that the old horse still can’t act very well.
In the deus ex machina denouement, Trigger, trapped after falling into an unexpected basement, gets devoured by a wolf …
And nobody lived happily ever after.
You could ask the guy who wrote the credits for “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” to write the credits for the “ET Go Home back to your Cellar ” movie
🙂 🙂 🙂
@ Joe Blow: Wow, although it must be depressing to go through a whole movie without any lines.
I was actually thinking more of a spin-off movie involving the covert construction of the illegal basement. Work would commence with a series of tunnels named ‘Tom, Dick and Harry.’ All is proceeding well until neighbors in York Road report excessive amounts of soil being deposited on the ground by strolling men in baggy pants with their hands in their pockets.
A search by the Government leads to the discovery of ‘Tom’, therefore Henry orders the pace of work increased on ‘Dick’ and ‘Harry.’ In the confusion of frenzied activity ‘Harry’ emerges in a nearby MTR tunnel bringing the system to a halt, whilst ‘Dick’ eventually crosses under Cornwall Street to open up in the Mormon Temple. Meanwhile, Henry spends his time bouncing a ball off the wall at York Road. The film concludes with Kowloon Tong slipping into a sinkhole. Needs a bit of polish, but should be entertaining. Of the music score is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=borbm2f6k_Y
Alas unlikely that that such a film will ever be made – remember who the flm industry members of the EC went for however, Christopher Plumber would make a superb Ron Arculli.
As for the leaks – the ones about CY and West Kowloon have the hallmarks of the Administration whilst, the one’s about Hank Horse were probably CY and this chums from the liaison office. Perhaps the ones about Don and the tycoons were also from the Liaison Office as a shot across the bows letting him know that the CCP alone will choose the winner – so butt out.
If West Kowloon is the only thing they have on CY then he’s reasonably clean. The public long ago got bored by the whole sordid saga. Of course Foster had to design it (It’s always Foster) and the Administration got caught with its knickers down trying to hand the whole thing to The Kwok’s and KS Li etc …
This has almost been as exciting as the Kissel Trial and just two more action packed weeks to go …
Fine stuff from one and all.
One vital element missing from the plot so far was the subversion by cunning foreign devils who wish the destruction of the 7,000 years of Chinese hegemony. Anson and Regina are both sufficiently egg-like to fit the bill. Given that we have no army, the police often take on a militaristic-seeming role: they too are pretty much coated with the tar-brush, so may also be in cahoots.
To sum up, three conspiracy theories have been floated for the Kowloon Tang and Donald scandals (the CY one not really counting): the Chinese government and its local offshoot, the former colonial regime and CY’s friends. Those desperate for a theory of everything might try to slice and dice any two of these.
To really understand the sybilline pronunciamenti from up north, it helps to start by everting them, by effecting the topological operation of turning them inside out, by studying under which circumstances they might want to totally mislead people without actually fibbing. This logic might imply that complaints about two of the children squabbling are most likely to come from those that produced the objective conditions that caused the argument in the first case.
Peking can’t be seen to be testing HK public opinion, so must resort to brandishing the rolling-pin. If this still doesn’t stick, expect more suprises: there are only about 10 days left.
I think it’s time we called upon some one who has proved to be very popular with the majority of Hong Kong people and who can be relied on to be objective not only in formulating policy but in having it implemented too.
I want Henry to lose just so the next day’s SCMP headline can be “Why the Long Face?”
The coterie conspiracy theory is intersting. My hunch is that’s exactly what they would think butt I’m not sure how far they would go.
The truth about all of this is that its like a film about 3 to 4 teams of bungling bank robbers, all planning the same heist. My theory is that with each ‘team’ playing their hand, the overall effect is disruption beyond what they initially intend.
Just so you know. China Worker= Long Hair Leung Kwok Hung’s party/group. The author of the article has been the resident Socialist International lodged with the April 5th Action Group for the last 4 years.
Yes, their perspective on Hong Kong is eminently sensible. Long Hair and Tsang Yok Sing are the two savviest political minds in Hong Kong.
@ PD :
By way of splicing, couldn’t we call the 3 conspiracy theories Tom, Dick and Harry ? ( And have at least one of the tunnels coming out under the Liaison office? )
@ DSY : Wow ! That Trotskyite mag is put out by Long Hair’s group? I take my hat off to Long Hair in that case.
PS : I’m just waiting for the time – which must surely come – when there’s a queue of cement lorries half a mile long outside 7 York Road . If Henry has any sense he will make himself an ( illegal) underground bunker under the cement-filled cellar where he can hide when the full wrath of the tycoons, BJ and the HK plebs finally descends on him .
PPS: Since we are on a film-related theme, and talking about underground bunkers and the fall of dictators : for those with time on their hands this weekend and who like Youtube, do check out ” Dinner for One/ Downfall for one” ( you must type in those key words like that with the / slash ). But to understand it you MUST first watch the original ” Dinner for One” sketch ( preferably the early version in black & white) which goes back at least 40 years , which for some obscure reason is played every Christmas on German TV
( I will post the Youtube link later )
PPPS .. and come to think of it, “Dinner for One ” is a very suitable name for what – I hope – will be enery’s fate ( with David Li playing the butler and Donald playing the dead tiger skin on the floor…. ) For Mr Winterbottom read Lee Shau Kee , for Admiral von Schneider read Li ka Shing etc
Sorry : the correct search title is “Downfall for One / Dinner for One”
here’s the link:
For the original sketch just search ” Dinner for One”
@ Stephen: I posted my musings not having read yours, but in the event our thinking ran along very much the same lines.
@ RTP: perhaps it will be sand after all, at least for the foundations, provided the buildings dept can be persuaded to look the other way: much easier to remove again. Or some powder that is soluble in water and so can be flushed away in due course?
One tunnel could then provide direct access to the sewers (no need to clog up the cesspool). And while Lisa was at it, the cement/sand/sugar could be delivered by the same method, hauled along wooden rails of course.
This particular tunnel would have to vent to the liaison office, so that the smells or horsexxxx could conveniently be explained away. Dick could “come out” at the pink love motels; Harry at one of the better consulates, so that Henry could indulge his lusts for foreign flesh. No scandal would be complete without maugrim’s financial aspect: how about the Banco ultramarino? (excuse my Latin).
RTP: Leung “Long Hair” Kwok-hung is a self-proclaimed Trotskyist… which actually means he’s a deep(?)-undercover Commie in the Pro-Democracy group. Another one to file under: “Only in Hong Kong”…