That ‘talent shortage’ in practice

Greek chaos threatens world economy. The disaster you forgot: Portugal. Spain in danger zone. Then again, France looks like a catalyst for Euro doom. Yes, I pretty much think the Euro is doomed.

And if you think you’ve got problems, take a look at this person’s weight situation – about five seconds will be enough.

It all puts the formation of Hong Kong’s next government into context. Not everyone may welcome the prospect of ex-Security Secretary Regina Ip getting her Machiavellian ambition behind the closed doors of the Executive Council, but things could be worse. China Daily summarizes the tally (all officially just rumours) so far: Carrie Lam as Chief Secretary, Rimsky Yuen at Justice, and so on. The Standard adds a few more: Ko Wing-man as Secretary for Food and Health; once-Education Secretary Arthur Li displacing the (once-) ubiquitous Anthony Wu as Hospital Authority chairman; lawmaker Jeffrey Lam as an unofficial member of Exco.

Ko goes back a while. Professor of medicine Arthur Li’s main achievement as Education Secretary under Tung Chee-hwa was overruling panicky parents and ordering all the kids back to school after the first week or so of full-blown SARS panic. A breath of sanity and calm. He also introduced kindergarten vouchers, an equally rare stab at a market-based solution to inequality. Lam presumably gets onto Exco at the behest of Beijing in the interests of ‘harmony’ – a sop to the Liberal Party/Economic Synergy/inherited-wealth faction who did all they could to get Henry Tang into office.

There are still some gaps. Will Tsang Tak-sing, Donald Tsang’s token out-of-the-closet Communist loyalist, stay on at Home Affairs? And what will the Home Affairs Bureau be doing? If the new Culture Bureau takes over the museums, it will be very quiet in there, dreaming up slogans about the dangers of excessive gambling and the joys of multi-ethnicity.

The South China Morning Post focuses on the most crucial appointment the new administration has to make: chairman of Ocean Park, and will pro-Henry businessman Allan Zeman keep the job? My inclination would be to close the place, auction the panda bears and aquarium off to exotic restaurants and use the land for something useful – hopefully something that repels, rather than attracts, tourists. But don’t mock the SCMP’s headline suggesting popular demand for keeping Zeman. It’s true.

In a discreet branch of Pacific Coffee known only to me and about five others this morning, I couldn’t help but overhear a conversation between a rich, bossy British woman with an ‘expat accent’ and her iPad-tapping teenage daughter about the possibility that CY Leung would discard the Lan Kwai Fong landlord. The girl in particular seemed most concerned about the idea of Ocean Park without Zeman at the helm. Even the Filipino maid, trying to fend off incessant offers of cakes and sandwiches from her ma’am, joined in, saying how much her own kids had liked the place. Up on the Peak, this will make or break the new administration.

Leaving the billionaire panda and beer merchant aside, CY’s alleged line-up taken as a whole looks disappointingly like ‘more of the same’ – so grey that Ada Wong, a barrister, looks refreshing and original. CY may have a problem attracting, or even considering, certain people because many tycoons and bureaucrats hate him. He’s not the back-slapping networking, friend-making type, so it’s not like he has a long list of personal contacts to help him out. There is also the problem of Beijing and its positive-vetting approach to approving appointments; many political and even personal backgrounds probably just aren’t acceptable. Not least, there is a class- or caste-type hierarchy; it’s fine to have been born into public or police housing, but if you haven’t risen into a fairly narrowly defined bracket of material success, you don’t cut it. Tsang Tak-sing barely fits in with his non-job. It’s hard to imagine someone along the lines of, say, labour activist Chan Yuen-han joining the pearl-bedecked, handbag-carrying ranks of policymakers. Too earthy.

Seven million people to choose from, and it still keeps coming back to yet another uninspiring un-dream team. Just as well we don’t have other people’s problems.

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11 Responses to That ‘talent shortage’ in practice

  1. maugrim says:

    Theer are some interesting choices being made. Eddie Ng has been mooted as Secretary for Education. He is a most unusual choice. Probably one of the smartest persons ive met in HK, with a sharp mind, Eddie whilst possibly picking up education (I think he was on the board of HKIEd and he’s with the HKEAA), he has a lot of business links, particularly related to HR. Eddie has a huge ego so it will be most interesting how this plays out.

    As to Regina, she’s love nothing more than to get into Exco and weild power. Just as the whining Zeman has cred at the Peak, Regina has a strong following amongst ex civil servant types, middle class men who believe in thrift, hard work and discipline.

  2. Sir Crispin says:

    What is an “expat accent?”

  3. Comrade Bela Lugosi says:

    Actually we do have every other people’s problems and they are knocking on the door.

    The stock market has sunk for five days running, the flagship airline is sunk and real estate is sinking fast. It little matters which nonentity apparatchik is slotted into positions in a socialist dictatorship like CY Leung’s. It didn’t matter much before either. These people are all cheeks of the same backside, which is about to be ritually and practically kicked.

    Socialism is coming back to the world and it’s a fine time to be alive.

    Proletarier aller Laender, vereinigt euch. And if you can’t bear to call yourself proletarian, just think about how much of your time and spirit is given up to the class you serve. What else are you?

    To be undead, as you know, is always bliss.

  4. fumier says:

    Flagship airline? It’s just another company so who cares if it goes down? There are plenty of other airlines ready to take our money.

  5. Stephen says:

    I remember a few years back when a (non Peak living) expatriate senior executive of a company I was then working for expressed his admiration for King of LKF – Allen Semen. I took him to task and recounted a few widely circulated stories about the King. He saw the light and agreed with me that the man is an utter cock.

    Question – Ocean Park “success” in recent years is due to;

    A. The King of LKF being Chairman;
    B. The massive increase in mainland tourists;
    C. The inadequate Disneyland (size and management competence);

    Answer – B & C

  6. Probably says:

    If the flagship airline is having to cut back on routes does that mean the 3rd runway is no longer necessary?

  7. Vile says:

    The construction of the third runway will create much-needed jobs for migrant construction workers to make up for the airline job losses.

    Although there are no spare migrant construction workers at the moment, so the ex-airline staff may have to be retrained.

  8. Chopped Onions says:

    “All it takes to burst the bubble is one little prick” and Christ knows, there are a lot of them to be found wandering our corridors of power…..

  9. Real Tax Payer says:

    @ Chopped Onions

    I thought the saying was: ” Virginity is like a bubble : all takes to break it is one little prick”


  10. Chopped Onions says:

    Indeed, and the HK property market is a bit like virginity, overrated, expensive for those who wish to purchase and pretty unnerving experience untill you get to know your way about it!!!

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