At the urging of Beijing officials, we can be sure, Chief Executive-elect CY Leung holds high-profile meetings with members of the business community who backed dimwit rival Henry Tang. The Standard dutifully invites us to believe that he is mending ties with the (mainly non-property) tycoons; the South China Morning Post says the great Hong Kong public is not convinced that everything is sweetness and light between the once-smug establishment ‘elite’ and interloper Comrade Wolf-Man. Public opinion, needless to say, is spot on.
We can tell that CY and the Anthony Wu/Friends of Donald Shoe-shiners Federation still heartily detest each other because they come out of the sessions claiming to have been discussing the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement and China’s 12th Five-Year Plan. When did you last have a conversation with anyone about these vacuous non-topics? CEPA and the Five-Year Plan are empty decorations people can stand around and pretend to admire to avoid mentioning anything of substance.
If CY and Tang’s supporters genuinely blathered away about the ‘opportunities’ arising from these PR gimmicks masquerading as economic structures, it would have been a ritualized exchange amid awkward gritting of teeth. If they in fact discussed other things, the atmosphere can only have been colder: one wounded victor superficially offering reconciliation and a bunch of resentful losers wondering what form of punishment awaits them for shoe-shining the wrong guy.
The historic gap between the self-appointed establishment clique and the quiet, skeptical outsider-loner would be hard enough to bridge under any circumstances. The tycoons have long known that CY is on to them; they know he feels they are not productive wealth-creators but bureaucrat-linked parasites who harm the economy and society. But the mutual detestation is all the greater because these same people mounted a desperate smear campaign in an effort to bring him down with maximum prejudice in February-March after it became clear that their Henry had crashed. He knows they did. They know he knows they did.
The smear campaign at least partly worked. CY went from a 63.9% public approval rating when Henry’s basement hit the headlines to a 35% one as the quasi-election day neared. Henry’s marital problems and illegal structure are real, as were CE Donald Tsang’s luxury jet and yacht trips. CY’s supposed triad links, on the other hand, are nothing more than a fabrication; his conflict of interest over West Kowloon seems to be circumstantial, not to say mind-numbingly trivial and tedious; the alleged comments about tear gas, like Communist Party membership, sound relatively credible but are completely impossible to verify – and not too scary these days to the famously pragmatic core of the population. Yet most overseas press reports cast CY and Henry as more or less equally tarnished. And every local columnist stresses how he will take office with his credibility and thus ability to perform damaged.
He could have tried harder to defend himself from the establishment’s mud-slinging but maybe calculated that turning the other cheek would impress the Beijing officials who would decide the outcome and were rapidly losing all hope in Henry and his buddies. To the extent he has a mountain to climb or whatever, it might not be a bad thing. Anecdotal evidence suggests that while panicky pan-democrats and equally nervous establishment figures fear what’s coming, there is a sizable middle ground out there hoping CY will, as someone once said, get the job done. The tycoons’ smears have left him with little option but to do that. Forget Article 23 or making kids sing The East Is Red – he will have to prove himself quickly with decisive, people-first measures. Anthony Wu and the rest will just have to shut up and applaud.
HOW TO HANDLE CY
RULE: A vampire has control over eerie and rapacious forms of animal life.
EVIDENCE: From the very beginning of the book, Dracula has a mystical relationship with dogs and wolves, “the creatures of the night”, and certain other animals obey him throughout the novel. “This vampire…can, within his range, direct the elements, the storm, the fog, the thunder; he can command all the meaner things, the rat, and the owl, and the bat, the moth, and the fox, and the wolf…” (Dracula, Chapter 18).
COMMENTARY: (RTHK news yesterday) “Chief Executive-elect, C Y Leung, is holding a series of meetings with representatives of major banks, chambers of commerce and professional groups, as he prepares to take office in July. Mr Leung said the meetings would help him understand their needs, and prepare for his formal appointment in Beijing as the next chief executive.”
The power of our own DraCYla to use and control such groupings of lower animals should give us comfort. On the other hand, at any time, they may be unleashed upon us by his call from the crypt.
If “Jim ‘ill Fix It” was still on telly, I’d email the BBC asking if they could arrange for me to projectile vomit several pints of lager and a couple of part ingested kebabs over the top of Pig-Boy Anthony Wu.
The question of whether CY can effectively govern has two aspects. Outsider-loners can prove relatively successful in the medium term, like de Gaulle or Thatcher: but it’s invariably a close-run thing, with power-bases in political parties, public opinion or even international pressure notoriously fickle. And of course CY has none of these, apart from Peking’s support.
Another consideration is his vision for Hong Kong. If “enclaves” without a shred of industrial production, like Monaco or the Vatican, can hang onto the coat-tails of larger neigbours, they usually have to sacrifice a great deal of autonomy. Under such conditions, taking in their own washing and their neighbours’ may sustain them for a long time: tourism, finance and even property are their essential economical activities — but subject to the health of the body they’re in parasitical symbiosis with.
Apologies for posting again, off-topic and belatedly, but Mike Rowse’s piece in yesterday’s SCMP has just reached this corner of yoculdom. He makes a cogent argument for Peking to think about a (Leung-less) plan B for the “2017 CE election” – he assumes that a real election will be allowed then, which is of course totally unfounded.
He then makes a detour via the supposed need for any electable democratic candidate to need a “home” “return” permit — and then drops a double bombshell. First, people like him are allowed to have such a permit, enabling them to go back to their ancestral lands (Harbin? Kashgar?)
A final pirouette hints subtly at the possibility he might stand for CE! Unless he’s had a skin transplant, he’s broken the ultimate racial taboo, the unspoken 11th commandment, every patriot’s worst nightmare. Where would it all end? Joining the HK residents queue in Shenzhen? The diplomatic service? The presidency?
Here Here ! Sounds like Hemlock is beginning to REALLY believe in CY at at last ( well, at least a little)
Better to come from behind with few high expectations and prove everyone at least partly – if not mostly – wrong, than to start at the front, fail miserably and prove everyone completely wrong ( as ET would have done, and both TCH and Donald Duck did )
Beijing supports him. All the sycophants in the civil service and the parasitical tycoons will follow suit. He doesn’t need a power base as in western politics, because he has the partys’ support. He will, however, need to keep the people of HK happy. Lets see
PD – Rowse’s piece was just the same sort of self-important nonsense he spouts at a dozen cocktail events every week.
Hmmmm. Despite the mutual loathing, eventually things will get back to ‘normal’ after all business is business. I once resided in a small French village where one family hated another because they had tipped off the Gestapo about a family member. To this day they still didn’t acknowledge each other except the recalcitrant family owned the only boulangerie in town. Feuds aside they still shopped there. To hold a grudge was normal, to go without bread in France on principle, well, that was considered silly.
What will happen is that both parties will appear as if nothing has happened, when in true Chinese style, they will wait for the opportunity to gossip and stick the knife in when Leung is at a low point. Pretty much like the British when you think about it.
I’m with Onions. May I declare the one-day holiday open?
Please remember that unlike us mere British national HK people, British citizens like Mickey Rowse once was, can, by law, recover the citizenship they renounced in order to become Chinese (because Chinese law prohibits dual nationality).
True patriots have no Plan B.
Don’t suppose that CY will meet the Kwok Bros as they would be hard to pin down together. Loved their Keystone Cop routine today after their press statements. Message of unity comically blown apart by, see you Ray I’m going….no I’m not……yes I’m going again…..no….yes…..ha ha fooled you bro. If they run the company with the same degree of disunity and discord it is a shocking insight as to how the rich and powerful elite in HK can bungle along and still maintain their grip
Hey – please go easy on Mickey Rowse. Not many people in HK have suffered so badly under the evil and devious hands of the late not-so-great enery tang
Still fewer people, having so suffered, had the guts to fight back and WON !