Shades of grey

Amid all the chatter about Article 23, tear gas and purges of property tycoons, no-one has yet asked what the arrival of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying will mean for equal opportunities. It had certainly skipped my mind until, in my increasingly desperate attempts to occupy myself over the drawn-out holiday weekend, I found myself pondering the next great battle in the war against discrimination: ‘hair-colorism’.

In 1950, 7% of women colored their hair … Today, it’s closer to 95% or more, depending on geographic location. In the ’60s, easy, affordable hair dye in a box hit store shelves, changing the follicle landscape.

Depending on geographical location, indeed. In the Zhongnanhai leadership compound in Beijing, a full 100% of the follicle landscape would appear to be the product of easy, affordable hair dye in a box. (That’s among the men; the few women in senior government positions in China seem happy going grey, and look all the more credible for it.)

In Hong Kong, a 60-something politician with a stubbornly black head of hair would probably be mocked, not least by the city’s often-cruel cartoonists. In democracies generally, people essentially assume that if a top leader does not go grey in office, he is not doing his job properly. Our local tycoons, on the other hand, rejoice in their unnaturally youthful, dark locks – just as they embrace phony academic titles and other embarrassing vanities. Ninety-year-old casino king and former ballroom dancing fan Dr Stanley Ho GBM, GLM, GBS, GML, OBE only started letting his white roots show in the last couple of years, following his unfortunate physical and maybe other declines. Perhaps, when the long-awaited purge gets underway, the Correctional Services Department will start stocking Grecian in prison shops so our ex-plutocrats have something to spend their pocket money on after a week’s hard work bashing out road signs.

So Hong Kong’s Equal Opportunities Commission will probably not be expanding its noble campaigning activities into the area of hair-colorism. Who would the victims be? We are more likely to discriminate against, or at least laugh at, those without a dash of grey than those with. By contrast, check out a less-ambiguous approach to bigotry in the form of this lady explaining in an intriguingly unhinged-but-calm manner why she is bringing up her two pre-teen daughters to be racist. This story has a predictable ending; the two girls have since ditched white separatism for marijuana. At least it wasn’t hair dye.

Meanwhile, the South China Morning Post asks whether CY will still meet the people now he’s won? Critics darkly mutter that, just maybe, he mixed with the masses during his campaign simply as part of a strategy to win public approval. The conclusion is that we must in future judge the relatively introverted Leung not by what he does, but by how smoothly he can cynically adopt a fake ‘sincere’ persona while hanging out with grannies in Shamshuipo for the cameras. That’s discrimination.

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11 Responses to Shades of grey

  1. Bela Lugosi says:

    As he is undead, and unaffected by age, Dracula is alternately ashen or rosily youthful. And he has a grey moustache. In general, there is no such thing as discrimination for CY, except between those who do and don’t believe in his motto: “Be Reasonable. Do It My Way.”


    PART 4

    RULE: A vampire is aristocratic and feudal yet keeps no servants.

    EVIDENCE: Dracula lives in the grand style in a Gothic castle. He is feared by all the population around him like some cruel lord of the manor or tyrannical baron. He drives his own carriage and cooks his own food. He employs gypsies as labourers but does not take them on permananently. He pays them well.

    COMMENTARY: SCMP (6.4.2012) “Leung Chun-ying has come under fire for not visiting poor families after his election as chief executive, as he did during his campaign.” This is largely because the lower orders hardly figure in the aristocratically minded’s world view. No that CY is a snob or a dictator. He just dislikes things that get in the way of progress and the best solution. This may explain the friction he experienced at City University. Nothing like teaching profession for resisting decision-makers and change. A dictator derives pleasure from making people do what they do not want to do. An autocrat genuinely believes there is no alternative to his or her way of doing things (cf. Margaret Thatcher).

    Being feudally minded, CY expects unquestioning vassalage from his underlings. Woe betide those who question his decisions.
    The downside of feudalism is that fealty is also owed to those above one in the hierarchy. CY has already shown his respect for Peking in the clearest terms. Communism is generally, in practice, at least as hierarchical an ideology as fascism. After all, even Stalin respected the senior officers of the Wehrmacht he incarcerated. 95% of them survived imprisonment whilst only 8% of junior officers and other ranks ever came home. Thus, the tycoons at least can take some comfort. When they are finally rounded up and shipped off to Mongolia, they will have heated trains and velvet-covered chairs.

    As for CY’s attitude to the servants known as civil servants, it has already been noted that the latter are in for a very hard time. Being servile yet generally resisting autocracy, they are anathema to CY. CY’s attitude to foreign labourers however is enlightened and he will introduce reforms for the benefit of the Third World bonded slaves currently known as ‘domestic helpers’.

  2. Real Tax Payer says:

    Maybe ET’s epitaph should be ” Hair today, gone tomorrow”


  3. pcrghlll says:

    Another tentative suggestion: no comment to be more than 50% the length of the original blog post…

  4. Chopped Onions says:

    Bella, feck off and write your own blog, thanks

  5. Stephen says:

    I noticed Donald reaching for the black hair dye during his term doubtless trying to fit in with the cats in Beijing. Refreshingly CY seems to have thus far resisted. I seem to recall a former German Chancellor having a right hissy fit when it was suggested he too was dying his hair.

    BTW If Wiggy Kwok does time he’ll have to remove his jet black toupee.

  6. Real Tax Payer says:

    If Long Hair has to do hard time, he will have it all shaved off

    That’s enough for a lot of wigs…

  7. fumier says:

    Tiny dressed more and more like a Mainlander as his term progressed, if “progressed” is the right word. As a senior representative of Hong Kong, his appearance has at times verged on insulting.

  8. pcrghlll says:

    Chopped Onions – I appreciate, and envy, your directness

  9. Regislea says:

    As they said about Reagan, “Prematurely black.”

  10. N8Ma says:

    Whoah, maybe CY is Hong Kong’s very own Coriolanus?

  11. Real Tax Payer says:

    Seems like Bo Xilai’s hair will seen be going white – that’s if he still a head beneath it ….

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