Change we can believe in but don’t want to?

If anyone suggested this time last year that we would be getting CY Leung as next Chief Executive, they would have been considered a bit eccentric, at the very least. Even around six months ago, when the outline of the two-horse pseudo-race took shape, it was obvious that Henry Tang was the anointed one and Leung was there as the too-creepy-to-be-feasible fall guy, to make the process look more like a real election. Indeed, just six weeks ago (Henry’s basement hit the headlines mid-February) the idea that Beijing would choose someone other than the tycoons’ favourite seemed fanciful.

The Chinese leadership had not expressed a preference, presumably seeing 2012 as a test for the guided, semi-rigged form of universal suffrage likely for 2017. And, crucially, Beijing made it known that the next CE should have a fair degree of public support. Despite all this, the deciding factor was Henry himself. Whoever it was exactly in Hong Kong, the Liaison Office and the Mainland who took part in the planting and detonation of the basement bomb, and whatever their precise motives, they still probably could not have succeeded without his ineptitude. Henry was like a Buster Keaton or Charlie Chaplin character blundering from one painful, slapstick accident to another – more sad than funny.

The Hemlock mega-feature in July’s Time Out said of CY Leung’s chances: “We should be so lucky.” Philip Bowring in today’s South China Morning Post puts it neatly by saying: “It would indeed be nice to see the tycoons’ dislike of Leung to be well-grounded.” But not everyone is so blasé about the mysterious, Transylvanian-featured, Communist-admiring, wolf-man deliverer of (no doubt Li Ka-shing-made) plastic flowers.

As Beijing finally – and unsubtly – came out in favour of CY last week, some folk took fright and argued frantically that rule by tycoons would be better, since at least we would keep our freedoms of speech and assembly and basic economic rights. Former Chief Secretary Anson Chan, for one, pleaded with pro-democrat members of the Election Committee to cast their votes tactically for Henry, thus aligning themselves with the smug, parasitical tycoon-bureaucrat establishment that has been feeding off Hongkongers for the last 10-plus years. The pan-democrats, while sticking to their undisciplined mix of abstentions and votes for Albert Ho, talked of ‘white terror’ and unprecedented interference by Beijing in Hong Kong’s internal affairs.

Part of the reason for this panic must have been the heavy handed methods used by the Liaison Office officials to whip pro-Beijing voters into line at the last minute and apparently persuade a newspaper to twist its editorial position to pro-CY. However, the truth is that Beijing has not interfered in this election more than in previous ones. On the last three occasions, China openly picked a winner from the start – how much more can you interfere? This time, the charade was more sophisticated and the more-feasible candidate made himself utterly unacceptable to the populace at large late in the day, requiring far more visible and hasty manipulation of the quasi-vote.

The main reason for the fear of CY’s illiberal and authoritarian potential is CY himself. Anyone monitoring his speechmaking over the weekend would have noticed a sudden and new-found obsession with Hong Kong’s rights, liberties and core values – even democracy. For a sense of the anxiety he causes, here is an email (slightly amended for clarity) received by an elected politician from a constituent over the weekend…

This is a mini 1949 KMT (Kuomintang) vs CCP (Chinese Communist Party) situation. Then, the Chinese people were duped into believing CCP because KMT was too corrupt, ineffective, like the HK people is being duped, because the Bow-Tie govt was inert, ineffective and bad. HK people, including Dr Choi Kin etc, are willing to risk freedom of expression to have a change. [Choi Kin announced the Medical Association’s decision to back CY.] The situation is this bad.

The Commies are not to be trusted. The Pan-Dems should vote Tang, keep quiet about this beforehand, and publicly rebuke and warn Tang and associates afterwards. Irrespective of the voting result, they have betrayed HK and sent HK people into the arms of the commies. Please pass it on to the Pan-Dems.

Heaven bless HK

Hongkongers can be hyper-sensitive about perceived threats to their freedom and rule of law, and this is one of the main reasons many assume that CY, while hardly the warm and cuddly type, can only be better than continued misrule by tycoons. He won’t dare mount a Communist clampdown; look what happened to Tung Chee-hwa and indeed Henry. But not everyone is so laid back. There are quite a lot of people out there, many of them educated, middle-class and middle-aged or older, who are in a state of dread about CY Leung’s arrival in Government House. Nervous ninnies who can’t accept some post-1997 realities and symbolism, or wise elders who know something the rest of us don’t?

For anyone who has problems sleeping at night: the normally mouth-frothing nationalistic Communist propaganda organ Global Times says Hong Kong’s distinctive pluralism and radical ideas are really cool.

Click to hear ‘Clap for the Wolfman’ by the Guess Who!

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28 Responses to Change we can believe in but don’t want to?

  1. Bela Lugosi says:

    CY is getting his team together and some of us are waiting for the inevitable knock on the coffin.

    Here is that policy platform which ensures the velvet rope section of life for yours truly from now on:

    1. NO DAMF IN GOVERNMENT! That means no Dumbass Mothafookas. Pardon the terminology but to understand the disparities in wealth of modern Hong Kong, you have to reach back into 1960s Black American history, surely. Expect a radical downsizing of the Civil Service and thousands of dimwitted CVs hitting your inbox in a year or two’s time. The Civil Service is Horrible Henry’s power base, after all, and you don’t get re-elected by pampering your opponents.

    2. BASEMENT JACUZZIS FOR EVERYONE but you could call it a fair redistribution of wealth. Think Harold Wilson and Tony Benn. Think Clause 4. Leung was formed in 1970s UK. That share portfolio is about to tip. Sell now.

    3. WE AIN’T NO REAL ESTATE SHOWROOM means that we want to be able to live in the equivalent of Richwealth Mansion and Prosperity Villas and still have change for a McDonald’s twist cone on Sunday. It’s too late to change sides, Henry Cheng! Good lick, mind you!

    Is that a man diving from the New World Tower? Why is everyone in the SHK Building looking so sad? And Richard Li’s Wife/Mistress/Concubine is saying marital harmony has peaked… “Honey, I want a Gucci divorce”.

    Puzzled? Just sit down and think calmly what power means to a Transylvanian-faced Communist who had to work shovelling rice to pay his fees at Bristol Polytechnic and who had to walk to the campus every day. Yummy.

  2. Tony says:

    Well you guys wanted Jekyll and you’ve got yourselves Hyde. Well done.

    Unless Article 47 and a very very brave judge save the day.

  3. King of Mui Wo says:

    Just after the result was announced, CY greeted the audience with a distinctive salute/wave that has been frequently used by dictators when standing in front of hordes of plebs. In fact it very much reminded of my Chairman Mao statue, which will forever stand to-attention next to my toilet, guarding me each time I have a dump.

  4. maugrim says:

    Its hard to say what will happen. However, I would argue with the Dems the Civic party et al, what other ‘freedoms’ have we lost in HK since 1997 that people have forgotten? The ‘right’ to clean air? The freedom to buy our groceries from suppliers other than that of an oligopoly? The freedon to buy a flat that is actually as large or small as the advertisement states? Yes, democracy is important, yes, there are a lot of wise and long memories here, particularly about June 4, however, how has our overall quality of life suffered since 1997 in a whole variety of other areas without nary a whimper? Time for a change.

  5. expat says:

    The party’s not over for the tycoons and the civil service. They might make some concessions and appear to have been brought to heel, but they know how things in HK are done these days, and they aren’t about to stop.

    When CY cancels the mega bridge and high speed rail and says no to the third runway, or even if he does any one of those things, I’ll start to believe he intends to make a difference. Otherwise, meet the new boss, etc.

  6. Joe Blow says:

    Henry Cheng and Ronny Chan both stood frontline with CY. Did you see that ?
    I really enjoyed Al Semen looking like the tool that he is.

    Something else: saw Vagina on asshole Chugani’s show, shamelessly angling for a job. According to Chugani she is mentioned as a ‘frontrunner’ to be CS.
    Imagine: Dictator CY as CEO and Vagina “Article 23” as CS.

    There is going to be blood in the street……

  7. Walter De Havilland says:

    In between bouts of rugby, I flipped channels to follow the events down at the CEC. I must say that it was somewhat churlish of Albert not to appear on the platform for the final result. Meanwhile CY’s speech was full of compromise (taken at face value) … but I wonder how long the honeymoon period will last? This mornings statement by the DAB suggest it’s already over.

  8. Big Al says:

    Just about sobered up from yesterday. Having missed all the excitement of the CE election, and just looking through the substandard now, I’m more interested to see what ‘Enry will do now, as well as all the other nob-ends who supported him. In particular Sir David Li GBM GBS OBE JP, who looks like Jabba the Hutt, and that twat Joseph Yam.

  9. Probably says:

    Why the long face Henry???

    (Been waiting weeks to say that)

  10. Probably says:

    OK, So the acid test for CY will be to ditch the third runway idea and even better to improve the pay, training and numbers of air traffic controllers – by far the least costly option to cope with real or otherwise projected rises in air traffic.

    Also whilst he’s at it how about halting the antidiluvian incineration plant idea for Cheng Chau?

    With those 2 acts alone he can easily regain the trust of the people who appear to be having second thoughts and they are both easy to commit to right away.

  11. Big Al says:

    PS I presume ‘Enry’s website http://www.wearetomorrow.hk can now be renamed as http://www.wewereyesterday.hk ?

  12. Stephen says:

    @Probably

    The acid test for me would be firing that wanker Allen Semen as Chairman of Government owned Ocean Park.

  13. Real Tax Payer says:

    @ Maugrim and WDH

    As usual, what you both comment is right on the ball and I fully endorse

    If you have not yet checked onto Philip Bowring today then do so.
    Pure gold.

    For my take on yesterday’s astounding news go back to the previous day’s Big Lychee and read the comments to the very end : I was tapping the ole keyboard long before Hemmers even woke up today

    Of course CY is not perfect . Whoever said that he was? (Not me)

    But of one thing I’m 100% certain : CY is a helluva lot better than the ‘orrible ‘orse and all that ET stood for ( 5 more years of the same sh1t ?? f**k that )

    As Hemmers correctly wrote : while not allowing us to vote this time round, BJ at least gave us the right of veto (which veto indeed we used )

    My wife was watching the Chinese TV news today lunchtime and she said that according to the latest reports 60% of HK don’t like CY…. but then she chuckled and added that : at least 80% of HK detest enery tang

    🙂

    So now the WOLF is in for 5 years, pending a 2003 – size July 1 rally

    I’m just hoping that the WOLF will gobble up some tycoon-sized snacks

    The PIG would have happily bed down with them in his cellar (and kicked his dedicated and long-suffering wife out of the wine tasting room , having served her purpose )

    Bless you, Lisa Kuo : you stood by your man and I respect you for that. That’s sincere. Not many HK Tai Tais would have done what you did .

    But also bless you Fanny Law : the fact that such an upright person as you would work for CY was ( at least for me) an endorsement worth 10,000 x any ( sir – pronounced ‘cur’ ) david li ( knight of the grand frog, whatever) , superman LKS , WTF endorsement .

    Sometimes the good guys win, just as in those old Larimee Clint Eastwood westerns

    This is for HK “tipping point”

    Let’s hope we at least stop tipping concrete AND CLEAN UP THE AIR !

  14. Hendrick says:

    Poor old Albert Ho seems to have lost it. Why’s he turning up the invective now it’s all over. What’s new ? In fact, if anything, BJ ensured that the “most popular”, or in reality the least offensive, candidate won. A nod towards democracy, albeit a minuscule one.
    Keep quiet Albert, the people didn’t want you. Your best bet is to calm down and cooperate with CY and try to get some of the PD’s more sensible ideas adopted by the new administration as CY has promised to listen to all. Petulance and resistance will get your disorganised bunch nowhere.

  15. Chopped Onions says:

    Maugrim, hear hear
    Freedom of speech is all wonderful and everything but whats the point if no one listens?

  16. Iffy says:

    I have to second RTP on the Bowring piece today, it is absolutely superb.

  17. dopey says:

    Alan, and Anson were in fine form on RTHK’s backchat last week. It seems that “Dame Conscience” has deep personal enmity to CY.

  18. Real Tax Payer says:

    @ Hendrick. Iffy et al ( and of course Maugrim, WDH )

    We may not agree on the details

    But I think we agree on the need for CHANGE

    I’m just about to take box of chocolates to CY’s campaign office but I took the precaution of calling the ICAC first to make sure it will not count as “corruption” The best I could get out of their long -winded spokes women was that I should devour the box at the office doorstep otherwise I might “cross the line”

    Methinks I will leave one chocolate outside ET’s office and photo the reception thereof

    But when I tried to report tang for tax (Rates) evasion as per the webb-site.com this lead me to an hour- long process govt cold-line process, which finally lead me a faxed “R28” form to fill in to complain that ET has been under-paying his Rates for the past X years.

    Sh1t Bu**er, F**k, whatever

    When THE SYSTEM works it’s like clockwork

    Let’s hope CY can short-circuit the SYSTEM

  19. Xiaoyao says:

    Never thought I’d see this day. First time since July 2003 that HK politics has given us something to smile about. CY, please don’t let us down!

  20. Walter De Havilland says:

    If CY makes a start on cleaning the air, with some realistic legislation on emissions, I’ll be his greatest supporter and join RTP in delivering chocolates.

  21. Tiu Fu Fong says:

    The only appropriate end to this sorry tale is for Henry to go missing and Lisa to be arrested a few days hence following the discovery of Henry’s corpse rolled up in a carpet in his basement.

  22. delboy says:

    Here, here!! All those happy with yesterday’s result. Finally, after fifteen years of mis-management by our worthless civil servants, we have a new man in charge. I’m no communist, but I’d rather have a die-hard socialist in charge than a bunch of pen-pushers or, god forbid, bloody laywers.

    Did you see uglyoldeudrey on the box tonight? Wanker lawyers telling us we can’t trust CY? She can talk.

    Best news is that Vagina won’t be getting back into government any time soon. Nor will Anson. Nor will FatAlbert. No doubt their problem with CY is that he’s not a member of the HK Cuntry Club and thus they no longer have a direct line to the adminstration. Woopee!

    Here’s betting there’s going to be another cash hand-out in celebration!

  23. kan says:

    People are too paranoid. Didn’t this happen before 97 when everyone was worried that the PLA would take over HK and our days of free speech and free press would be over. It seems like it’s our local tycoons who are doing more to manipulate our free press and our livelihoods than anyone else. Nevertheless, Article 23 will become a reality sooner or later as it’s written in the Basic Law and BJ won’t rest until it goes through, but I don’t believe for a second that BJ will agitate HKers by taking away our civil liberties seeing that HKers are not governed by the CCP and we have no right to overthrow the CCP government. In additional to that, Taiwan & the rest of the world is watching…that is unless the pro-democracy camp continues to stir sh*t up and cause social unrest in HK, to the point where BJ sees that the situation is out of control…

  24. Vile says:

    If CY makes a start on cleaning the air, with some realistic legislation on emissions, or indeed has any effect whatsoever on the status quo, I’ll eat my hat. He’s the CE. Hong Kong is run by the mid-to-bottom-tier bureaucracy.

  25. Old Bill says:

    Article 23 … the bogeyman is coming! Get real people please … the USA has more stringent laws on subversion. A lot of loose, nonsensical talk going around at the moment. A few calmer heads are needed in this town.

  26. Real Tax Payer says:

    @ Hendrik, Chopped Onions Maugrim , Iffy, & new -guys Delby and Kan

    What fantastic inputs to this Blog

    I endorse what each of you have written in your own different ways

    I sense that HK has hit a “tipping point”

    I cannot predict which way the “tip” will go , but it surely will TIP

    And “ABH” – anything but the horse or the Ho

  27. Real Tax Payer says:

    Leung said he also wanted to meet election losers Ho and Henry Tang Ying-yen to discuss co-operation, but both said their busy schedules would delay any meeting for several weeks.

    SEVERAL WEEKS !?

  28. Housing Estate Gwailo says:

    Say Ho Chun Yan a little differently & you’re saying “very stupid person”.

    A little local-style word play to dispel the stereotyping of us by that blog review & sure to bring a smile to the face of most ethnically-correct folk.

    The selection was of the lesser of evils: between a wolf, a pig & that guy who looks like one of those ugly, big fish heads.

    In the end, it seems Bakking made the best choice.

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