United Front blues

The South China Morning Post invites us to spare a thought today for those who, faced with the uncertainties and confusion of modern life, suffer from doubts, a crisis of confidence and consequently great mental anguish. They are the useful idiots who pad out the 1,200-strong Election Committee, which theoretically votes for Hong Kong’s Chief Executive. Not only do they vote the way Beijing tells them to – they freely admit it. There they are, all ready to strut around the polling hall on March 25 being big important electors casting their votes, and the great cosmic understanding and acceptance of the inevitability of Henry hasn’t happened.

Kwan Chi-yee of the Chinese medicine sector pleads for help: “I wish that Beijing could give a clearer message of its preference so that we could vote for that candidate accordingly.” The Hong Kong Taoist Association’s Hau Wing-cheong laments that “The central government’s officials did express their preferred candidate [to us] a long time ago, as we understood it. But the situation has changed.”

Maybe Kwan could suck on a cordyceps or do a little moxibustion to clear and strengthen his life energy and come to a decision all by himself. Hau, of course, can always resort to the Taoist concept of Wu Wei – ‘action through inaction’ (always works for me). Funny how a practitioner of unscientific, superstition-based folk healing and an adherent of a religion that isn’t a religion turn up in a charade of an election procedure.

Some EC members are made of slightly sterner stuff. Tycoons and demi-tycoons are increasingly expressing tentative acceptance of CY Leung in public. If Beijing intended to penalize them for not voting for Henry, they would have heard by now; that’s essentially the logic. It presumes that China’s leadership is paying attention at a time when it is wrapped up in reformist/leftist/princeling factional tussles. (The purging of Bo Xilai may be about personality as much as ideology, but it puts a dropping of little Henry in perspective.) Note that this logic – and the agonizing of EC members generally – assumes that the CE ‘election’ ballot papers can and will be checked to see who voted for whom.

To the extent that China’s top officials are thinking about Hong Kong right now, they must be considering the city’s outspoken, march-prone populace, its raucous press and its undisciplined, infantile tycoons. And they must be looking at the porous border, and, being paranoid, pondering the possible contagion of their own simmering masses. And they must be concluding that they have to allow the spoilt former colonial subjects to exercise a veto, to shut them up. The people of Hong Kong have got the Chinese Communist Party by the balls. That’s all nervous, undecided Election Committee members need to know – assuming, of course, that Henry is beyond redemption and/or CY is beyond character-assassination. In which case, we are in for some seriously glum faces. Try to grin and gloat with at least a pinch of decorum.

Click to hear ‘Mexicali Blues’ by the Grateful Dead!


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26 Responses to United Front blues

  1. pcrghlll says:

    That SCMP article should be syndicated worldwide.

    On another topic – how about a ‘one posting per day’ limit? Pithiness is a quality worth aspiring to.

  2. maugrim says:

    We can only laugh. Taoist priests and practioners of Chinese medicine. So good at telling us what we should do, how we should improve our lives and even about the afterlife. Yet they wring their hands at such a simple decision. Perhaps the silly fuckers should ingest some magic herbs or wave some diving rod around in the hope that their thinking might be a little clearer.

    As to Beijing, it would be interesting, very interesting to ever find out how much of this current fiasco was of their own making, a fire that got a little out of hand perhaps?

  3. Real Tax Payer says:

    RTP was up early today and raring to go in the GREAT CAUSE

    Sometimes ( but I must admit very rarely) paying one’s due taxes gives one a good feeling because I can say and write whatever I think and if the nasty ICAC come a-knocking at my door they sure will not find any free Macau ferry tickets from tycoons in my filing cabinets

    And the place which I own and live in was built by the MTR : so no tycoon plaza

    If tycoons and religious people have problems knowing how to vote next Sunday they should spend more time on their morals and consciences than they do on their investments and ‘gods’ .

    This is pay-back time for REAL tax payers

    And if ET does by any chance win … you will see me at the head of the march next 1 July – a lone gweilo ringing a huge a Swiss cowbell crying out… ( ? … not sure what just now . Need to to think of something witty . Any suggestions ? )

  4. Mary Hinge says:

    Hao Hao, I thought the first three paragraphs were top-notch, but the last two left me wanting. Can I cast a blank ballot?

  5. Revolution says:

    Lau Nai-keung’s attack on the Tycoons in today’s SCMP is worth a read.

  6. Tiu Fu Fong says:

    @pcrghlll – I’m more focused on post length than numbers, but both could do with increased self-policing.

    We’re all probably pretty poor at benchmarking our own wit. Perhaps a comment voting system, so that posters can see whether their contributions are seen as adding value to the discussion?

  7. Joe Blow says:

    None of you people saw that snippet on TV last night showing Vagina Ip, announcing that she was ‘available’ for a position in any future line-up ?

    what a shameless cow !

  8. Big Al says:

    Yesterday, as I was strolling along the footbridge linking Wanchai MTR Station to Immigration Tower (wonder how long it took them to come up with that name?), who should I bump into but ‘enry! He was surrounded by a throng of Wanchai riff-raff and looked bemused, which is his default (and only) expression. I whinnied loudly and continued my stroll. A few paces away was his long-suffering other half, surrounded by a thong-ette. She looked equally bemused, the poor woman. And they’re both shorter than they look on TV.

    Anyway, the purpose of my post today is to share with my fellow Big Lychee compatriots and financial luminaries (particularly RTP, judging from his tax returns) the following link:

    The weekend is hereby declared open. See you at the Sevens!

  9. Claw says:

    RTP, the place you own and live in was not built by the MTR, but by one (or more) of the property tycoons working in partnership with the MTR. How the MTR select which property tycoon(s) they partner with for any given development is an interesting topic on which to reflect.

  10. Real Tax Payer says:

    @ Revolution

    Thanks for the heads Up re Mr Lau

    Sometimes he actually does write sense

    Here’s the full article


    Tycoons’ exit from Hong Kong would just leave more room for the rest
    Lau Nai-keung says the threat of a capital exodus should not worry us unduly

    Mar 16, 2012

    When lawmaker and Election Committee member Jeffrey Lam Kin-fung declared on an RTHK talk show that should an inexperienced candidate (which presumably means Leung Chun-ying as Lam is a staunch supporter of Henry Tang Ying-yen) get elected as Hong Kong’s next chief executive, capital could flee the city, I could not help but chuckle. Here we go again – threats of a capital exodus to bring Hong Kong citizens and the central government to their knees.
    This looked like a rerun of a failed strategy some 30 years ago. Then, China and Britain had not yet begun their negotiations on Hong Kong’s political future. Fearing there might be a capital flight from China’s single biggest source of foreign exchange, Deng Xiaoping specifically asked Murray MacLehose, the then governor of Hong Kong, to tell investors to relax.

    In return, local property developers told Beijing they did not have confidence in “one country, two systems”, and fought for a seat at the bargaining table. This demand was categorically rejected as a “three-legged stool” by Beijing, triggering a sustained outflow of capital and educated manpower for over a decade. Despite that, Hong Kong grew more prosperous and, in the end, most of that capital and personnel returned after the handover.

    However, keeping the capitalist system intact is the most fundamental spirit of “one country, two systems” and China made quite a few accommodations to the business sector in the Basic Law. In the 15 years since the handover, property interests in Hong Kong have enjoyed unprecedented privileges, resulting in gross social injustice and the charge of government-business collusion.

    Hong Kong’s nurturing of so many rich families is testimony to the degree of exploitation suffered by the 99 per cent. This is not a pride of the city, but a great shame.

    Unlike the last time, these business tycoons now need Hong Kong and China more than their country and home city need them. Should they choose to treat this city from which they made their fabulous fortunes only as a flea market, wanting to get out in times of difficulty, they are most welcome.

    Most of us would applaud their leaving and hope they never return.

    Once these egocentric tycoons pack up and go, the room they leave behind will be quickly snapped up by other local entrepreneurs and mainland corporations and multinationals. These businesses are now being squeezed out by the tycoons’ monopolistic power. With Western economies a shambles, East Asia – with China at the centre – is the only powerhouse. I wonder where these rich families would land after fleeing Hong Kong.

    In an interview, the city’s No 1 tycoon Li Ka-shing expressed optimism about the British economy and expressed an interest in putting more money there. We wish him luck. Where else, then? China, of course. Our tycoons are welcome to make even bigger fortunes there. Hong Kong is, it seems, too small a playground for these giants. The mainland, with its vast potential, is therefore the ideal place to park their capital.

    One thing is certain, should Leung become chief executive, there is going to be a big power shift, accompanied by a redistribution of wealth among various sectors of the population, as well as different factions of the business community. This seems inevitable; the pendulum has swung much too far to one side, leaving most people unhappy. It has to swing back the other way. Hong Kong is not alone; people worldwide are opting for change.

    If we handle it well, with a little help from the north, the swing back will be smooth and gentle. Hong Kong has been a business hub for the past 170 years and we have never had anti-business sentiment. To most people, government-business collusion is natural and also good if the government allies itself with all business to generate more opportunities, and not just a few tycoons.

    Lau Nai-keung is a member of the Basic Law Committee of the NPC Standing Committee, and also a member of the Commission on Strategic Development

  11. jing says:

    ‘the city’s outspoken, march-prone populace” … will be out in Central this SUNDAY 18th protesting against the world’s biggest incinerator plan.
    Join us – sets off at 3.30 from Central ferry piers.

    Another woeful, polluting, concrete-pouring grand scheme of Donald’s.

  12. Revolution says:

    You were lucky to see Mrs Tang, Big Al. According to today’s papers the Buildings Department, who wants to ask her questions about the basement, can’t find her anywhere!

    I suggest they try turning up at any press conference Henry gives after the next scandal comes up.

  13. Old Timer says:

    It was only a couple of weeks back that Regina said that to accept anything less than the post of CE would be letting down her New People’s PArty colleagues. No wonder Michael Tien was looking so tired last night.

    On limited posts, yes please. RTP has been posting more words here than the OP in recent weeks. (No Offence RTP, but less is usually more).

  14. Tiu Fu Fong says:

    The Rugby Sevens are coming? I need to get out of Hong Kong before the influx of Anglo Saxons looking for excuses to satisfy their cross-dressing urges.

  15. Chopped Onions says:

    Hao Hao, I’m feeling very confused right now, I wish that Beijing would give a clearer message of its preference so I can vote accordingly……

  16. PropertyDeveloper says:

    Hemlock, the tonic that reaches parts that the others… What I’d like to see is some assessment of the extent to which HK has influenced China (“contagion” as you say) eg the impact of the half-million march, the extent to which foreign cultural and political pollution seeps under the border, even whether HK’s freer universities, publishers, journalists and intellectuals are listened to over there.

    Michael Tien is right to look depressed. You would too if you were brain-dead enough to suggest demanding a $300,000 deposit from each pregnant mainlander, to be handed over to HK by the mainland, with no thought of how to return the money.

  17. Stephen says:

    In Tobacco Charles Sub Standard I saw Vince from Shui On giving CY Leung a 55% chance of winning the CE “selection”.

    FFS Vince where did you go to school ? Albert 0% chance, Horse 0% chance, Do it again in May 0% chance …

    For once I am so looking forward to seeing Joseph Muppet Hair, David Insider Li and Allen Semen respective faces after the dust is settled.

  18. PropertyDeveloper says:

    Predictably, and according to the long-established game-plan, the thicker mud, with other substances mixed in, has arrived, at the pre-ordained hour. Finger-pointing was never so much fun.

    The Wolf is a closet article-23 lover.

    Never mind that the Basic Law says it must be implemented, or even the existence of more or less similar legislation in other countries: the reverberations of this one will themselves have their baby reverberations.

    What is more, the lupine one longed to send in the blue armoured cars, with surely the brown ones warmed up just in case. One doesn’t even need to mention the T word.

    Poor old R Ip, who thought her bread was buttered on both sides — like Anson in 1997, torn asunder by opposing horses — she didn’t know which way to turn. So she did her level best to confirm the story.

    China proved unerringly accurate in double-guessing each pawn move in the game. She realised weeks ago that the three main options should be kept open, that public opinion could be manipulated, that the Big Boss’s face needed helping — that action through inaction, otherwise known as blind panic, was best, for the moment.

    The window of opportunity still has a narrow slit left, but closing from both sides. To temporise, they can still phone Albert, attack the pollsters or play the foreign card. A very, very difficult position.

  19. Reductio says:

    How it will all play out: in a surprise turnaround Albert is given the nod by BJ. While on his first visit up North he is invited to emulate the Great Helmsman by swimming in the Yangtse. He is killed by a crazed dolphin which had mysteriously escaped from Ocean Park. “See, this is what happens when you let them out” says Allan Zeman. Meanwhile CY meets his demise when, invited on a tour of the NT by Lau Wong Fat, he falls down an illegally constructed pothole.The demos, inflamed to boiling point are ready to take to the streets on July 1st. The crowd’s passion is diffused when, concidentally, the MTR offers free Octopus cards, McDondalds has a Hello Kitty promotion and the bank of China produces packs of special $100 notes. There’s nobody left to march. Noble Henry volunteers to step up and take on the burden of command.

    You watch.

  20. Walter De Havilland says:

    Well, it appears that Henry was not ready to cry havoc and let loose the dogs of war against Article 23 protestors ( a volley of CS at the least.) With that admission he has damned himself and buffed the credentails of CY, as no way will the boys in Beijing smile upon a CE who is not willing to take the tough decisions.

  21. Real Tax Payer says:

    @ PD

    It was actually ( Heinecken) .. the BEER ( not tonic) that reaches other parts can’t reach

    Since it’s Saturday and everyone is off and Hemmers won’t moderate till monday I can write my heart off

    Your last piece was very complex and deep stuff. There are times when I really wish Hemmers would find a way for us to meet incognito ( little post-it labels on our fore-heads ” RTP” “PD” etc)

    Seems ET did a naughty thing last night by mentioning Art. 23 “closed circle / EXCO ” stuff last night

    Bad boy enery. Go to the back of the class and have your bottom smacked ( unless you can also blame that on your long-suffering wife as well)

    What ET seems to have forgotten – and which Regina will never forget – was that Art 23 was not so much a bad LAW – it was BAD LAW-MAKING .

    We – the tax-paying / ripped-off plebs – were pissed off with everything : dot com crash, WW gloom, SARS , Tung’ s well-meant but disastrous public housing policy ( which – if I recall correctly – was actually CY’s idea ) and THEN to have Queen R with jackboots and riding whip stuff Art 23 down our throats was the last straw.

    I was pissed off. We all were pissed off. So we all marched and we all felt much better for it. We never expected it to lead to the downfall of Tung : that was a welcome bonus – or maybe not so seeing how Donald Duck has non-performed ( Suddenly the moniker “DUCK” takes on a whole new meaning because if you think about it, donald has spent all his time in power not “getting the job done” but rather ” ducking out” of every hard decision that would have made HK a better and more equal place – a “world class city” where we have sub-divided factory homes, street sleepers and the filthy rich – all probably at some time in the same street at the same time e.g the Fook Lam Moon in Wanchai

    ( It’s like my dear mother used to say : ” beating your kids doesn’t really do much to improve the kids, but it sure as hell makes the parents feel better ” )

    Well, we got what we “voted” for with our feet on that march , and feet are the ultimate voting power. And that swapped well-meaning but dim-witted Tung for Donald the Ducker / Administration King / Pencil and Buck pusher supremo

    So much for “democracy ” and people power.

    I guess that next sunday’s election result is now cast in stone, even though the 1,199 voters have still not been “told” who to vote for ( and Michael Tien with IQ only slightly higher than room temperature will dutifully cast his blank vote. WTF ! )

    Let’s wait and see what happens

    But one thing is for sure: HK will never the the same place again, and what we do in HK will eventually change China

    I just hope and pray that the change is for good, because we are 1/4 of the world’s population and my heart, home and family are here

  22. Probably says:


    The MTR is a property developer that has a sideline in running trains and is as heavily provided for by you and I as all of the others with their snouts in the trough.

    MTR’s property is just a handout from the government (along with the cost of building tunnels, laying tracks and building stations) that allows the MTR not only to survive as a public service provider but to make a healthy profit for shareholders.

    Now I’m all for government subsidising public transport where there is an obvious social benefit – but using taxpayers money to make private profits for others is beyond the pail in my view.

  23. Alice Poon says:

    @RTP, Claw and Probably,

    Would like to share this article on MTR:-


  24. Probably says:

    Good article and still, if not more so relevant today .

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