Welcome to the government quagmire

The cold, white, stiff corpse that is Moral and National Education is to be buried deep under the ground, with a tube sticking from its mouth up to the surface, to give the impression that it might start to breathe again. The handful of schools that have adopted the subject may have no official guidelines to follow; they will also be allowed to change its title. So they could decide that the course should consist entirely of calisthenics and call it Physical Education, or they could dedicate it entirely to calculus and call it Advanced Mathematics.

Among the friends the government has lost because of this episode are its, well, friends. When schoolkids and teachers marched, when the pro-democrats hurled abuse, when the pro-Beijing politicians looked away in silence ahead of election day, a group of reluctant loyalists did what they saw as their duty and calmly supported MNE as a harmless and inconsequential but nonetheless vital area of study for the city’s children – with as straight a face as they could manage. They’re not happy.

Meanwhile, in a galaxy many light-years away, Chief Secretary Carrie Lam professes utter bewilderment. Something’s happening here but you don’t know what it is do you Mrs Lam? One minute everyone seems laid back and relaxed about developing new towns in the northeast New Territories, then suddenly they’re up in arms about it – and for all sorts of reasons. She wonders whether the answer could be ‘innovative’ ways to communicate with the public, such as this new-fangled thing called the Internet. Way back in the darkest days of Tung Chee-hwa, this was always the cause of popular opposition to policy: people’s sad inability to understand it. Just explain it to them successfully, and they will believe.

In this particular case, it might actually be true. Maybe the government really is going to minimize developers’ involvement and maximize supply of public and affordable housing. Maybe it really will make sure all the new apartments go to Hong Kong people and not Mainlanders. Maybe it really will arrange a fleet of winged pigs to fly commuters from the new settlements to and from town free of charge. But people haven’t heard it in a way that convinces them it’s true. Broadcaster Albert Cheng seemingly has more credibility in managing to insist that it’s all part of a strategy to merge Hong Kong and Shenzhen – and create another desolate Tin Shui Wai, though that location in a combined super-city would surely be buzzing.

The charitable among us might almost feel sorry for Carrie and her colleagues. Something is happening that’s far bigger than they can manage. Hong Kong is experiencing a backlash against attempts to turn it into something it isn’t. The government can’t admit that a secret but ham-fisted policy of Mainlandization was launched, let alone promise that it will now be suspended as counterproductive. It can’t (apparently) drastically reduce the number of Mainland visitors or bar them meaningfully from buying second homes here. It can’t even officially admit that National Education is completely over and done with and has ceased to exist. It can’t do much else because its own citizens won’t let it.

Maybe the government should enlist mouth-frothing Communist Party loyalist Lau Nai-keung to deliver its message in his unique ranting style. His column today announces the imminence of China’s Great East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere…

 

As with Cheng, he offers no evidence for any of this. He concludes by saying that Beijing must “formulate a revolutionary strategy to achieve a breakthrough, and any new policy measures will inevitably include Hong Kong,” where, of course, we just can’t wait. I suppose World War III might resolve the New Territories issue one way or the other. Lau ends with the rather lame comment “the new situation will become more apparent late next month.” In other words, ‘I know no more about any of this than anyone else’.

The weekend is declared open with a question: What have the Moon Goddess and Chairman Mao Zedong done for us lately? Full answers will appear here on Monday and Tuesday respectively.

 

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27 Responses to Welcome to the government quagmire

  1. Lola Bugatti says:

    I’m disappointed you have not featured the Gigi Chao story this week – which has made all the papers all over the world – and deprived us all of making jokes about the situation of a silly, oversexed, Rolls-Royce driving millionaire and his petulant offspring.

    – Personally, I don’t see why a man wouldn’t marry one half of a lesbian couple.

    – Why?

    – Who doesn’t love tuna fish sandwiches?

  2. Maugrim says:

    The lying fuckers in the Government wonder why people are suspicious given; a) Leung’s statement to HYK members that he wants to turn the northern part of the NT into some sort of area to benefit the Mainland, b) the fact that plans exist, c) recent ‘coincidences’ involving ease of access for mainlanders via car and on foot and d) the fact that developers always have the interest of the populace at heart /sarc. The tut tuttuing from schoolmarm Lam as to how they can possibly consult better is pure mockery.

    As to China’s dominance of things rocky, their ‘new’ aircraft carrier cannot and is unlikely to be able to accept takeoffs and landings, leaving it a sitting duck for even the Vietnamese Airforce who apparently have the right sort of planes to deal with it. Western and other Asian military minds are encouraging China to go all out in developing a carrier based navy knowing that it will be a gift that will keep on giving to the west. All I can say to Lau is ‘bring it on bitch’.

  3. Claw says:

    Given that (even) the Standard reported that there is a recording of a meeting CY Leung had with the Heung Yee Kuk before his appointment to CE at which he told them that he would develop the North NT for the benefit of the Mainland there does seem to be reasonable cause for suspicion.

  4. Spud says:

    Perhaps they are genuinely surprised because they thought that the matter had been “sorted” by the NT mafia. You agree to the illegal structure business, we’ll chuck vast quantities of public cash at buying the land from you at a good price, everyone’s a winner.

  5. Quick Silver says:

    “Desolate Tin Shui Wai” is the key. Compare Shatin, Junk Bay and Tin Shui Wai with Tsuen Wan, Sai Kung and Yuen Long and you can understand why people don’t want to put the New Territories (or Kai Tak) into the hands of our urban planners.

  6. PropertyDeveloper says:

    When one of the Japanese politicians (the PM) said that they were surprised by the strength of reaction from the other side, the SCMP boldly “interpreted” it (in the NPCCCC sense) as admitting a “Mistake”, in a 40-point headline.

    Now poor Carrie has made a surprisingly similar remark, which of course only people born in Asia (meaning of course East Asia) of pure blood can hope to understand.

    Whatever the shades of meaning, admitting ignorance is guaranteed to get you out on your ear — by Christmas? She can’t stay much longer than that because the looming deadline for admitting you’ve got an extra two storeys in full public view can only be extended once or twice without attracting even more public scorn.

    But seriously, the playtime will have to come to an end sooner or later. Let’s hope Hemlock’s rather triumphalist demonstration of the obvious betrayal of HK is banned on the mainland, like all the best blogs. You can’t nark 1.4 billion uber-patriots indefinitely, and they’re just itching for a fight.

  7. PropertyDeveloper says:

    PS Sorry — there should have been a question mark after “PM”.

  8. jing says:

    “Public consultations” = horrible powerpoints of plans already cast in concrete. The public then consulted on what colour the concrete is painted.

    A question: why is slum landlord Chan still in office?

  9. Chimp says:

    @Maugrim
    There have been landings and takeoffs from the Liaoning already. I also don’t see other carrier operaters quaking in fear at the mighty Vietnam airforce. Still, makes a nice story, absent facts.

    @World War III
    Great site that shows how little effect a nuclear device from a modern ICBM hitting Tis Shui Wai would have on Shatin property values, or the overall housing supply situation. http://meyerweb.com/eric/tools/gmap/hydesim.html?inpyield=1000

    Seems even Armageddon won’t help us out of this one.

  10. Maugrim says:

    Chimp, from the WSJ, backed up elsewhere in numerous places. Oh and check on the role the Vietnamese airforce played in the dispute with China over the Spratleys, an event that resulted in the Chinese buying a second hand carrier. All facts son.

    “next questions that China’s military and civilian leaders must grapple with are, first, how to use the ship; second, how many more carriers to build; and third, how to protect it from the increasingly capable anti-ship weapons being acquired by neighbors such as Vietnam, which is due to take delivery of its first Russian Kilo-class diesel attack submarine by the end of 2012. The Liaoning’s existence will likely impel China to develop more advanced surface combatants and anti-submarine forces to protect the symbolically valuable, but operationally vulnerable, asset.

    At present, the Liaoning remains first and foremost an emblem of future Chinese sea power. All of its 10 sea trials to date have occurred well within Chinese waters. Chinese naval aircraft have not achieved the basic milestone of landing on its deck with the help of arrestor wires, or “traps,” a process that their American counterparts have been perfecting for decades.”

  11. Stephen says:

    @Chimp,

    Apart from Helicopters what exactly has been landing and taking off from the Liaoning ?

    Without the required defence carriers are sitting ducks – The Argentinian Carrier never left port during the Falklands Conflict after seeing what happened to the General Belgrano.

    I have little doubt this will blow over soon and we can get back to CY Leung’s latest ‘mainlandisation of HK’ scheme.

  12. nulle says:

    @Chimp
    can you provide sufficient evidence proofing “landing and takeoffs from Liaoning”?

    have a plane tires land on the carrier and immediately taking off again without stopping doesn’t count.

  13. The Regulator says:

    Standardised wording for C Y Leung Press Releases

    The Advisory Committee believes that directly targeted compensation arrangements, such as increases in [insert class of] payments to fully cover the adverse impact of [insert grievance], should be considered as the preferred option for redressing [insert economics jargon] rather than arbitrarily excluding [insert class of cronies and voters]. A large group of persons exist who are [insert location or else] not eligible for CSSA payments but earn incomes at levels that attract a liability to salaries tax. The Advisory Committee recommends that if [insert development site name] is introduced, the Government should also consider suitable compensation arrangements to be targeted at this group of persons.

  14. Chris Maden says:

    @ Chimp. Cool resource on the nuke site. I tried a 1000 KT on Tin Shui Wai, and it barely made it to SZ. At which point, I decided that the weekend really is officially open.

  15. Darovia says:

    The navy could use Dongguan for air to ground target practice, once they have a pilot capable of landing back on a carrier.

  16. Real Tax Payer says:

    Not sure how China’s lone aircraft carrier has mixed up with the HKY and Carrie Lam, but I can think of no better use for the aircraft carrier than launching off the HKY into the South China Sea with no place to land (especially the obnoxious fat lau and the even more obnoxious guy with the brown trilby and dark glasses who was spouting off the other day about selling his grandmother’s grave)

    Anyway, since the weekend is nigh and it’s a super-long one, here’s some aircraft-carrier light listening to brighten up the next 4 Hemlock-less days:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t0jgZKV4N_A

    If the link does not work, search Youtube / Bird and Fortune / The Admiral’s Review

  17. So So Thirsty says:

    Jing: I think I may have the answer as to the slum landlord remaining in office. You may have noticed another story today concerning the governments decision to unilaterally throw out the planning for Kai Tak after 2 years of consultation had reached a concensus.

    This so they can increase the housing density in light of ‘shortages’. Obviously, the quickest,easiest and cheapest method of doing this is to build the same number of flats and then just subdivide them all. Hey presto! twice, thrice the density. Who better to achieve this than Chan, who has much experience in this field. And if he screws it up, he can always blame his wife.

  18. Real Attacks Later? says:

    What a courageous and unwavering man Lau is! In fact, he’s just the kind of patriot the navy needs on the front lines. It’s obvious he can be trusted to report on the sacred mission without adding to his already-soiled y fronts. When the f35s come roaring overhead he’ll have just enough time to dispatch his final column, and imagine the glee in his eyes and he realizes he’s been vindicated – it really was a foreign, dissident, colonialist, splittist, CIA-backed conspiracy after all, a wistful tear roles down his pure Han cheek as the huawei radar picks up the first salvo of cruise missiles.

  19. Tiu Fu Fong says:

    With the announcement of the charges against Bo Xilai last night and his expulsion from the CCP, I suspect the recent islands furore was in part deliberately stoked by the party so that some in the wider population could expend their precious bodily fluids (so to speak) shaking their fists against the Chinese, and so be a little too spent to get aroused and impassioned now about the confirmed downfall of the hero of the CCP Left and announcement of the handover date for our new leaders, which will confirm the domination of the Right. The leftist elements in the population are also likely to be the more nationalistic, mouth frothing types and their need for national unity/support of the government in the face of the Japanese, particularly in the context of October 1’s national day, likely trumps their anger that Maoist populism is definitely not what the current ruling clique wants. I expect they’ll be tossed some bones on Monday with due face accorded to Mao.

    Perhaps this is why we’re hearing rumours of CCP agents encouraging the anti-Japan rage.

    Of course, the Japanese inadvertently helped matters with the government’s purchase of the islands.

  20. Tiu Fu Fong says:

    Apologies – shaking their fist against the dwarf Nipponese, not the Chinese. Can you change my original post, Mr Hemlock.

  21. Chimp says:

    @Maugrim
    The aircraft carrier… well, conjectural about air ops, granted. Sources are private, so take that for what it’s worth. Less conjectural than “can not, and will not” perform air ops. I don’t regard the WSJ as a disinterested actor, BTW. Let me think… who owns that paper again?

    @Chris Madden
    Yes, interesting stuff, isn’t it. Especially when you realise that most modern strategic nukes run under 200KT. Personally, I think that the HK government can do more damage to Shatin property values with a memo than Air Combat Command can do to them by nuking Tin Shui Wai. Makes you think.

  22. Real Tax Payer says:

    On a serious note, for once, and with my “early sunday morning thinking cap” on:

    There was book I read a couple of years back by an American guy who has been based in Japan for decades ( I wish I could remember the name of the book, and/or the guy) which had a very profound thesis : basically Japan and China are fighting an economic war against the west and the two countries are in very deep – but totally unspoken – collusion . The book traced this “war” in great detail and gave many examples of how the Chinese and Japanese have worked together in the past vs the West on the basis of “you scratch my back and I scratch your back ”

    Then, whenever the West gets a little too suspicious of some deep collusion the Chinese and Japanese stir up the inter-country strife so the current Jap PM makes a totally unscheduled visit to the Yakanuza (or however you spell it ) war hero / war criminal shrine and everyone gets very het up , blah blah for a couple of weeks.

    Message to the West is always the same : “Japan and China hate each others’ guts and they will eventually destroy each other, and good riddance”

    But in fact Japan and China have a hidden agenda which is to dominate the world economically and so far they are doing pretty damn good.

    So even though the two countries are bitter enemies historically, they have privately agreed to cooperate in the greater interest of defeating the “WEST” as lead by the ” awful USA”

    Now I know that sounds like conspiracy theory to the Nth degree, but this author did make a lot of sense ( heck – wish I could recall his name – can anyone prompt me ? The book was all about how Japan and China have been systematically hollowing out USA key industries, so that even huge chunks of Boeing aircraft can now only be made in the East because USA has lost the core competencies )

    Back to today : I am just wondering if the Diaoyu Islands thing isn’t just another façade to put the average US politician off the trail as to what is really going on over here in the East.

    So a few Jap patrol boats spray water cannon at a few Taiwanese fishing boats and the ” West” assumes that Japan and China are about to go nuclear ?

    Haha the “WEST” openly crows :” let’s hope they destroy each other”

    Hahahahahahaha the Japanese and Chinese privately crow “because the WEST fell for the old trick yet again , which gives us breathing space to hollow out the next chunk of USA key industry”

    (Sorry for this long blather, but I do mean to make a serious point, and I am not drunk at 08.00 AM Sunday morning)

  23. Maverick says:

    Here’s the ultimate aircraft carrier music:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8rZWw9HE7o

    I somehow doubt the Liaoning will ever be that bloody cool

  24. PropertyDeveloper says:

    Hemlock’s up early today.

    Interesting idea, “RTP”, but to go beyond a conspiracy theory, such a notion would have to (1) explain publicly available information that is difficult to account for otherwise (2) show that this pair of countries is more plausible than, say, India and Russia (3) go beyond the simple observation that Japan and China are of course competing economically with the US (but remain several leagues down) (4) attempt to say how long such hidden collusion has been going on, and if possible (5) use these insights to make some sort of forecast.

  25. Real Tax Payer says:

    @ Property Developer

    If only I could find that book…

    From memory it addresses all your points except (2) .. which actually is not relevant in this case

  26. Tiu Fu Fong says:

    I don’t buy the Sino-Nipponese conspiracy theory. There may be some effects as if it had been in place, but China has been stoking anti-Nipponese sentiment for so long that, even if there was a conspiracy initially, the public sentiment now clearly drives Beijing to act against Japan’s interests (and its own).

    The myth of the cunning, shrewd Eastern mind with the long, long term view of things playing a game youthful Western cultures can’t comprehend is nothing but a myth. At best, it’s a few semi-idiot old guys claiming that they had been planning whatever happened all along and a few fawning, “Other”-loving Westerners happy to sing that tune because they are impelled by the same Western self-loathing that impels some Westerners to think that a crusty old Buddhist or Taoist pederastic religion is somehow more authentic and spiritually uncorrupted than a crusty old Catholic pederastic religion.

    Is “pederastic” a word recognised in the English language? Maybe I should have written “kiddie fiddling”.

  27. PropertyDeveloper says:

    There’s a woman on http://youtu.be/frkLtOWQnRg saying that because certain people are not Chinese, they’re not human. If such ethnic hatred against HKers, Japanese and anyone who is different is indeed officially engineered, then those responisble are playing a dangerous game.

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