Pro-dems prepare for mission to bore

As the Hong Kong Legislative Council’s pro-democracy camp emerges from its filibuster mire, it prepares for its next battle with whoever happens to be in charge over whatever he happens to be doing. The joys of a system where the people can’t elect the government but can elect the opposition!

That battle looks set to be with Chief Executive-elect CY Leung over his proposed government reorganization. The last restructuring of policy bureaus several years back was a routine bit of bureaucratic plumbing work, of little consequence to the public at large. And I don’t recall the pro-democrats taking much interest in it, either. But this time, the pan-dems have decided to insist with all their might and devotion to principle on a public consultation.

What exactly they hope to achieve by making an enemy of CY Leung before he even takes office is hard to say. The process by which he won the quasi-election may have stank, but less than on previous occasions when popular opinion had no influence over the outcome. He hates the bureaucrats and the property tycoons, which can only be a good thing. And although it’s probably just PR, he has invited applications from all-comers for assistant-type posts in government, which is a refreshing break from the overt cronyism of the outgoing regime (I’ve heard that 70 people have written in wanting to be ministers’ flunkeys).

The main part of the restructuring involves the appointment of deputy Chief and Financial Secretaries and a consolidation of responsibilities for land and housing. It looks like a way of sidelining uppity civil servants; former CS Anson Chan hates it; most of all, it’s too complicated for most people to understand or care about.

If the pro-dems don’t want to look like idiots, they might be advised to focus on the proposed Culture Bureau, which looks like an ideal teacup in search of a storm. The first name to be mentioned as our first high-level arts and media czar was lawyer and longstanding arts enthusiast Ada Wong. This would have been a minor but impressive dash of inclusiveness. Then word came that pro-Beijing elements objected to Ada because she had voted with pro-dems long ago on Wanchai District Council, and so a civil servant at Home Affairs called Florence Hui might get the job. Rather predictably, bureaucrat Florence attracted criticism from the ‘arts community’ for never going to concerts or galleries. She is commenting that, along with arts professionals, “…the cultural sector [needs] other talents who can organize resources…” Hey – do you think the Sistine Chapel came about without someone organizing resources?

The pro-dems have an opportunity to loudly demand whether a religious test will apply to government posts, designed to bar people who have, for example, failed to vote along United Front lines on district councils. They can also allege that such discrimination suggests the new Bureau will in fact be about propaganda. In fact, the pro-Beijing folks’ objections to Ada Wong are almost certainly due simply to spite (they are still seething at being largely sidelined since the handover). And measures that look sort-of like precursors to propaganda, like National Education in schools, often also look like measures designed just to appear that way to mollify Beijing. But it’s an attention-grabbing charge, and too good for the pro-dems to miss.

Then they can also join in the chorus of criticism about poor Florence, a no-doubt harmless and well-intentioned administrative officer who is about to find out the hard way why only a fool would even think about crossing that line marked ‘political appointment’. (The South China Morning Post story mentions that Civic Party legislator Tanya Chan “is also a stage actress.” Anyone who has seen her flouncing around on the Mid-Levels Escalator during election time will wonder if there’s ever a time she isn’t a stage actress.)

This way, the pro-dems could create a stir over the government restructuring that might just achieve something. But they won’t. They’ll fuss about the cost and bore everyone to death and do whatever else they can to persuade us to stay at home on Legco election day in September.

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11 Responses to Pro-dems prepare for mission to bore

  1. Tiu Fu Fong says:

    Culture Bureau? Where’s my Luger?

  2. Bela Lugosi says:

    Don’t knock Tanya. We have had many chinwags together in Garden Road as she stood there canvassing the cars. Pretty desperate man oeuvre to canvass traffic but they all do it in Hong Kong. She is so cute!

    The main point about the Civil Service is: how many are going to be sacked in the first wave. 10,000, or should CY be really brave and go for 20,000? That will shut them up.

    As for the other Democrats, they are Tweedledum and Horrid Henry and Dudley in Harry Potter. Read children’s fiction if you want to understand their mentality. Spoilt brats just generally making life difficult for the grown-ups. That’s all you can say about them really. If they went to CY for a job, which he would probably give them, they would die of frustration.

  3. HK Foot In Mouth Awards 2012 says:

    “TVB said last week it may resort to legal measures following a High Court rejection of Asia Television’s application for a judicial review.”

    (HK Standard – 23.5.2012)

    The best sentences are always in the Standard!

  4. Big Al says:

    Ada and Florence. Sound like a couple of old biddies born in the 1940s … Ada looks like someone who spends her time out doors – perhaps attending cultural performances – tanned and healthy, even if she does look a bit like a black-haired version of the granny from the Sylvester & Tweety Pie cartoons. Then we have Florence. Typical pasty white, AO-type who never leaves her ivory tower. Why do govt officials all look like this? Because when they get to their desk near their window, they pull down the blinds, turn on the lights, crank up the air con and put on a jacket. Then spend the rest of the day looking for something (other than work) that might affect civil service morale.

    I am one of those people who believe that art is a disease and being artistic is a symptom. Same goes for culture and anything with the work “youth” or “community” in it … having some old bag like Ada or Florence is not going to improve matters.

    However, if CY were to appoint a leng mo, such as Chissy Chau or Angelababy, or even that one of the Twins who gives good head, then I’m sure “culture” would suddenly become a lot more popular in Hong Kong. I’d certainly sign up!

  5. Real Tax Payer says:

    “He hates the bureaucrats and the property tycoons, which can only be a good thing. And although it’s probably just PR, he has invited applications from all-comers for assistant-type posts in government, which is a refreshing break from the overt cronyism of the outgoing regime (I’ve heard that 70 people have written in wanting to be ministers’ flunkeys)”

    I almost thought of applying myself as a Political Assistant, knowing both CY and Fanny Law all too well personally

    But as an aged Gweilo I thought better : this is a job for younger minds, and I don’t forget Jake’s recent diatribe as to what is meant by “cultcha”

  6. Disenfranchised says:

    Your comments are affecting civil service morale and therefore contributing to their campaign for higher salary increases. Please stop it.

  7. Thomas Mann says:

    BIG AL:

    Culture is more than ballet and literature. It’s the whole of our civilization, that thing that makes you rich and buys you iPhones and marbled beef. Our whole culture is built on decay.

    The sad thing is that atrophied art-hating Philistines don’t know it. They think they are healthy and vigorous!

  8. Stephen says:

    A different take on the blog today as the whole art thing goes miles over my head.

    The sad sad state of the Pro-Democrats and how this is going to affect us after the Legislative Council elections in September.

    If they don’t reach the veto threshold expect CY Leung to propose anti democratic amendments so the political system will be rigged for 2017 and beyond. Which what the CCP want. Retained functionals, high nomination number required to stand etc …

    They will have done this town the same injustice as all the establishment clowns and tycoons.

    You utter f*ckwits !

  9. isomoliu says:

    I have to step in now. Florence is no AO. Dame Anson would flip!

  10. Claw says:


    you are so, so right.

  11. Peter says:


    Even a democratic CE elections with a screening mechanism is still a huge step forward as far as HK’s democratic development is concerned.

    Besides the Pan-dems are inept and offer nothing of value. They aren’t even doing a good job being the opposition. I certainly hope they will miss the veto threshold.

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