Last of the dimwit textile-empire scions redeems self with mudskippers

The long-overdue but still-improbable revolution that took place in Hong Kong in the first half of 2012 doesn’t have a name. For two decades Beijing had closely cultivated the city’s tycoons – to the extent of not merely indulging the property cartel’s parasitism upon the local community and economy, but institutionalizing it. Then, in the space of a few days last March, the Communist Party leadership coldly tossed its billionaire sycophants aside at the last minute and re-rigged the Chief Executive ‘election’ to ensure the victory of semi-populist semi-outsider CY Leung.

The tycoons’ puppet-candidate, dimwit textiles-empire scion Henry Tang, was already in disgrace for having an unauthorized extension beneath his home. In the weeks and months after the quasi-election, the law also turned on three property magnates – two of Sun Hung Kai’s Kwok brothers and Chinese Estates boss Joseph Lau.

While relieved that Beijing has finally broken the grip of the plutocrats, Hong Kong people are also nervous of exactly how populist or leftist or Maoist CY will be. They can be satisfied at having induced Beijing into abandoning the old tycoon-bureaucrat ‘elite’, but frustrated at knowing that they have little more influence over what is happening. And we are not even entirely sure what is happening. Legislator Regina Ip wrote in last Sunday’s South China Morning Post:

…more businessmen and former officials in the camp of disgraced chief executive hopeful Henry Tang Ying-yen are coming to grief over alleged corruption in Hong Kong or Macau… , fuelling a conspiracy theory that the retribution game is on. Whatever happened, call it retribution or simply the withdrawal of protection by the powers-that-be, a reshuffle of the deck upon the election of a new leader is likely to be the shape of things to come.

So the idea that ‘retribution’ is taking place is a conspiracy theory, but the notion that we are witnessing ‘withdrawal of protection by powers-that-be’ isn’t? Regina seems to be suggesting that leaders in China or Hong Kong knew that certain tycoons were corrupt but ensured that local law-enforcers held back. In Macau, whose prime role is money-launderer to Mainland gentry, that sounds all too believable. In Hong Kong, whose regulators, remember, turned in Sleaze City’s corrupt official Ao Man-long, we would like to think it is less so. Maybe Regina, who was Secretary for Security in the early 2000s when the tycoons were nagging Beijing to let them get their hooks deeper into the local administration, could tell us more.

I mention that Beijing has broken the grip of dimwit textile-empire scions. Not entirely true. One sad but inevitable measure following the 2012 Lychee Revolution is a bit of reconciliation to save the losers some face – hence CY’s presumed appointments and reappointments of some of outgoing CE Donald Tsang’s cronies to public office. Thus we turn to page 9 of the Standard this morning and see James Tien – the dimwit textile-empire scion’s dimwit textile-empire scion – unveiling some cretinously lame HK Tourism Board campaign.

It obviously made some marketing floozy really hot and breathless with excitement when her boss approved the Bouncy Wetland/Michael Jackson wax-figure idea to attract youngsters and families from short-haul markets like Malaysia and the Philippines. The bouncy wetland sounds like some inflatable thing you wouldn’t let your kids play on because of the mess, but that would be too much like fun; apparently it’s to do with mudskippers. Of course, the HKTB are trying to sell snow to Eskimos here: you get 10-foot-tall mudskippers down there in the tropics, and even the most easily amused Filipino won’t be impressed by our puny, and only half-slimy, local ones.

There’s some justice to this. The Hong Kong inbound tourism industry is essentially an extension of the property cartel, designed to enrich a handful of landlords while, at best, inconveniencing the other 99.99% of us. The more inept a job Tien’s HKTB does in attracting yet more visitors, the better off we will all be. Keep up the good work, James.

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6 Responses to Last of the dimwit textile-empire scions redeems self with mudskippers

  1. B B King formerly known as Bela Lugosi says:

    Do I have to see James Tien and Allan Semen in one photo, even after for once READING all the columnette? That’s what you get for being civil.

    I was just getting over my blues.

    In future, please put a parental advisory notice at the top of the page before displaying such items. The mudskippers look much nicer.

    I’m sure Vagina wasn’t allowed to see the ICAC files when she was in Government. They went straight to the Governor. The incoming Governor, as said before, got all the files delivered courtesy of the Liaison Office in preparation for the election. It must be such fun for him to go into his office and wonder which file he is going to spring on us next.

    And be glad fockwit Tien is in charge of tourism. All we need now is for Richard Li to buy up Lan Kwai Fong and we’re home!

  2. Real Tax Payer says:

    Hot in pursuit of Regina’s sunday blast at SUR D. Li et al discredited tycoons and their lords-in-waiting, Mike Rowse fired a super triple broadside yesterday , which deserves a wider audience

    Here it is (and I just love the Russian oligarch analogy for D. Tsang !)


    The freshly launched vessel carrying Leung Chun-ying’s policy agenda for the next five years is in danger of being sunk by a perfect storm, almost before it has left the harbour.
    First to hit is the tidal wave of disappointment that tends to sweep over any administration nearing its end, as that of Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen now is.

    There are the inevitable policy disappointments: a widening wealth gap; absurdly high property prices; failure to achieve any meaningful progress in cleaning up the environment; competition legislation that has been compromised into irrelevance; an appalling attempt to scrap by-elections altogether (now thankfully replaced by a milder, more proportionate, alternative).

    To these must be added the torrent of revelations about abuse of power bordering on corruption. A chief executive cavorting like a Russian oligarch with dubious characters; a former chief secretary led away under escort after arrest by the Independent Commission Against Corruption; another with an illegal basement under his home constructed while he held office.

    A breathtaking list of improprieties and an overpowering stench of sleaze. No wonder that even a long-time Hong Kong loyalist like Bernard Chan confessed to finding it difficult to continue to boast about our “clean government” – previously taken as a given.

    The second maelstrom derives from the almost complete collapse of the accountability system introduced with such fanfare in 2002. In the past decade, only one minister has resigned to take responsibility for a perceived policy failure on his watch. That was health secretary Yeoh Eng-kiong, following critical reports about the government’s handling of the 2003 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome.

    Is that the only instance anyone can think of during these 10 years that was less than a complete success? Lehman Brothers minibonds, anyone? Senior civil servants given approval to work after retirement for companies with which they had close official dealings? We can all think of our own favourites.

    Five years ago, in the final moments of the last chief-executive term, we saw the sudden introduction of deputy and political assistant posts without any proper review of the system, and without proper scrutiny of the proposed salaries, which turned out to be excessive. Such actions inevitably leave a legacy of mistrust.

    It is against this backdrop that our chief executive-elect brought forward proposals to revamp the governing structure. I have already said in these columns that I thought the action was premature.

    Not because the proposals themselves are without merit, but because other things needed to be done first so that they could be seen in their proper context and judged on their own merits, rather than be dragged down by association.

    Far better to have reviewed the system thoroughly at the outset, including a comprehensive salary review of all levels, then rejig the cabinet.

    We can’t get the genie back in the bottle, of course, and the revamp proposals will now have to complete the scrutiny process. If they squeak through, Leung can count himself lucky. If they don’t, he will have to swallow his disappointment and make the best of it. It will be a bit of a black eye but not necessarily a mortal blow.

    Those around Leung are encouraging him to come out of the blocks like Liu Xiang . Now, Liu is a fine athlete all Chinese people can be very proud of. But he runs only 110 metres, clearing hurdles, and it’s over in seconds. A chief executive’s term is more like a steeplechase. There will be scores of barriers to clear over the coming years.

    By all means start as soon as you hear the pistol, Mr Leung. But forget about sprinting after that. Find one of those wiry Kenyan coaches and prepare for the long haul.

  3. maugrim says:

    Its all too hard to say at present. A lot of possibilities, though maybe we are connecting dots where unrelated events are just simply ‘happening’. Time will tell. Rowse is right, but has his own reasons to write as he does.

    OT: a good article in the Apple Daily today talking about parents who:

    • accompany their children to attend a workplace interview
    • go to their children’s place of work to both eat lunch and after work
    • call the employer to inquire about their children’s performance
    • If their children work overtime complain to employers that their workload is too high
    • If they feel their children work too hard they will compel them to resign

    This is all tip of the iceberg stuff. HK is truly stuffed at all levels.

  4. fumier says:

    It’s interesting that Mike Rowse should be criticising what former civil servants do after they leave the service. Earlier this week, he sent round the round robin e-mail below. What is interesting is that the company he admits in the e-mail to having set up with a few friends was in fact set up in mid-2010. As I understand it, Mike’s had a 3-year period in which he was not to be involved in anyhting like this. His 3-year period expired around December 2011, almost 18 months after he set up the company.

    “Whenever you bump into someone you haven’t seen for a while, you invariably ask how they are and what they have been doing lately.
    I thought I would set out what I am up to in writing so that we can concentrate on your news at our next meeting.

    Executive search. My main day job is as Search Director with Stanton Chase (, one of the world’s top 10 (top five in Asia). If you are looking to fill a difficult position, or for a new job yourself, just drop me a line.

    Media. I hugely enjoy co-hosting a talk show on RTHK every Monday (Backchat airs every weekday at 8.30 am on Radio 3) and get a lot of pleasure from writing my fortnightly column in the SCMP, repeated in Chinese on the HKEJ website. More details on my personal website (

    Corporate services. A few friends got together and set up a firm to take some of the aggravation out of operating your own company. We provide reliable professional corporate services at reasonable prices. A copy of our brochure is enclosed and you can find more information on our website (

    There’s a lot more to come: I’ve agreed with Executives’ Global Network to chair one of their business groups starting soon. I’m likely to be appointed shortly as a director of one or more companies. And I’m still an Adjunct Professor at CUHK in my “spare” time.
    Enough about me. If any of the above is of interest, get in touch. And let me know what you have been up to while you’re at it.”

  5. Real Tax Payer says:

    Is James Tien handsome guy on the left with the magnificent fins or the balding one on the right without fins ?

    ( And since when did mud skippers wear glasses and bow ties ?)

  6. Stephen says:

    Good to know how ‘Chinese Mike Rouse’ is getting on these days i would hate to think of him kicking back and enjoying that handsome Goverment pension of his.

    I have to agree it was a stomach churning to be confronted with a picture of King of LKF ‘Chinese’ Allen Semen. Can I appeal to any readers who might be in the media, on the few occasions you need a gweilo opinion, please don’t ask this cock !

    Anyone felt the chill winds from Europe yet ?

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