With the Beijing officials responsible for guiding Hong Kong’s quasi-election apparently on a luxury yacht off Phuket, unbridled disgrace continues. The Standard reports that ‘core’ supporter of Chief Executive candidate CY Leung drove ‘notorious gangster’ Shanghai Boy to the Fanny Law-Heung Yee Kuk Dinner of Infamy in his own car. But wait! There’s more! The paper adds that Eastweek magazine – part of the same Sing Tao group – reports that it was a car that “looks like one that Leung owns.” (Could it have been the big black shiny one? The one with four wheels? Yes it could.)
Refined ladies faint with shock on learning that such horror can take place right here in the Big Lychee. First, nice polite civil-servant-next-door Donald Tsang dons a polo-neck sweater and transmutes into some sort of carrion-chomping, billionaire casino-dweller. Next thing, his former colleague, the lovely demur Fanny – whose glorious and no-nonsense views on school suicides once almost had me begging for her hand in marriage – mutates into a foul-mouthed, finger-chopping triad-ess floozy with tattoos on her thighs. What is happening to our city?
The shocks reverberate as far away as the North American prairies. The normally staid Calgary Herald (est. 1881) takes a break from its usual coverage of grain silo fires and drunken Red Indians to blurt out its amazement at how the hunt for Hong Kong’s next boss has degenerated “from farce to buffoonery.” While bits of the article may be debatable, it is on the whole a candid summary of the quasi-election so far, as seen by a stereotypically Canadian wide-eyed innocent who has wandered into the bustling, glitzy Big Lychee from the dusty wheat fields…
Sir Donald’s discomfiture came as Beijing’s plans to replace him with … Henry Tang blew up in its face.
[Hong Kong] is an oligarchy where effective power is in the hands of a cartel of tycoons whose fortunes are based on ideologically corrupt land development deals … Since the British left in 1997, however, these cartels have come into their own as the ruling tycoons have embedded themselves with the extended families of the Chinese Communist Party.
This evidence of rot at the top has left many Hongkongers, already rebelling against the Chinese identity being thrust upon them, troubled that regressive mainland civic values and shady business practices are infecting the territory
Sometimes you need a stranger to tell it like it is to your face.
Even the world of creativity and beauty finds itself wiping little patches of mud off itself. The West Kowloon arts hub organization is thinking of changing its name from the Bureaucrats Know Everything About Culture So Shut Up Department to something a bit less tainted by what the South China Morning Post describes as “various political and funding scandals.” The Independent Commission Against Conflicts of Interest, perhaps.
You don’t have to come from the broad expanses of Alberta to qualify for an ‘Out of the Mouths of Babes and Innocents’ Award. We have home-grown ingénues of our own, and who fits the bill better than the Liberal Party’s James Tien – the thinking man’s Henry Tang?
Tien imagines that the quasi-election on March 25 could end up producing no winner. The conventional response is that Beijing will arm-twist loyalists into voting one way or another rather than hold a hasty and humiliating second campaign. But, by this stage, if a mile-long cylindrical object from the Planet Zarg silently glided over Victoria Harbour and beamed CY and Henry up for experiments, I wouldn’t be especially surprised.
Tien says of his party’s voting intentions: “Our original choice was Henry because he used to be one of us and we feel that he’s knowledgeable about the commercial community…” (Does the 2012 Euphemism of the Year Award already have a winner? For ‘knowledgeable about the commercial community’ read ‘determined to keep Hong Kong in the grip of a parasitical property cartel’.) “…but his popularity has dropped so much over the last couple months,” Tien continues. Then the guileless textiles scion concludes: “This is not universal suffrage but we still have to respect public opinion.” On top of disgrace, shock, horror, farce and buffoonery comes tragedy.