Unseemly responses to the Lamma ferry disaster fill the press today. Jumped-up amateur politicians demand that the government should make it compulsory – right now (bang fist on table) – for all children to wear lifejackets at all times on boats that are painted blue sailing within one nautical mile of Yung Shue Wan on public holidays, so such a tragedy can never happen again. And the authorities wheel out generous numbers of emergency service workers at a press conference to give teary-eyed accounts of plucking injured toddlers to safety. It would be less unpalatable if the aim had truly been to honour the rescuers, but the effect was more ‘unpopular executive branch hastily jumps on reality TV-type bandwagon in hopes of reflected glory’.
So I find myself flicking through the Hong Kong edition of China Daily, where politically correct life goes on. Such is the weirdness of our times, I find myself nodding in agreement with the deranged fanatical freak that is mouth-frothing patriot Lau Nai-keung. Chinese people’s assumption that sit-down toilets are modern and civilized and squat-type ones are inferior is wrong, he says. He then links this up with the West-worshiping anti-traditionalism inspired by the May Fourth Movement.
His technical points are 100% spot-on: squatting beats sitting, end of story. While we’re at it, we can add that washing after evacuating the bowels is vastly better than using toilet paper. British and American tourists giggle at French bidets and view the hosepipe next to the squat pan in Southeast Asia with disgust. They think foreigners are backward for being cleaner. Lau’s motives might be duplicitous and political, but he is right to denounce Chinese and others who unthinkingly fall for the Anglo-Saxon commercial world’s marketing scams.
After mocking French bathrooms, English-speakers snicker at French women, who are semi-savages because they don’t shave their legs or underarms (or at least they didn’t until they finally succumbed to Gillette’s campaigns to convince us that fur on female humans is abhorrent). The list goes on, from absurd cosmetic products to things like junk food and the fad for MBAs. Brought to you by the English-speaking world to exploit your innocent belief that it must be good because we made it and you didn’t. And can we interest you in these very civilized and advanced microwavable ready meals and frozen pizzas?
However, Lau is not coming from a rational and humanist mindset. His point (OK, I’m putting words into his mouth) is that gwailos are not only evil but inferior, gifted only in misleading Chinese who are left gullible by centuries of imperialist abuse. This is the Diaoyu Islands-in-toilets. Xenophobia and nationalism is easier than establishing a constructive and positive case for perpetual one-party rule. Especially when the party is based on the failed European ideology of communism and has done more than any bathroom fittings to destroy traditional Chinese culture. Still – he’s right about the toilets.
So the Chinese have been downtrodden for centuries due to the evil gweilos? Hardly says much about Chinese self-empowerment. After all, if the Chinese are so superior, so smart, so cultured, then ipso facto… It is ironic as Hemmers mentioned, that the one big social change in China over the past 100 years was erm, a western developed ideology. Perhaps its like that great skit from the ‘Goodness gracious me’ team where anyone famous was Indian, including Jesus and Father Christmas. What a pity Lau and others’ lack an Indian sense of humour.
One of the reasons why I have given up satire is that so many public figures in Hong Kong now provide self-satire in such profusion that there is no need to add a twist to their outbursts. NK Lau is a case in point.
I guess knowing how to swim or wearing a lifejacket will not necessarily save you from being trapped by a hit and run collision with a huge Hong Kong ferry but…
It is a scandal and also a pity that so few people in Hong Kong can actually swim. Much of the water is actually nice to swim in.
On my almost daily displays of swimming prowess here in the Deep South of the Island, I am often the only person in the water when the beach is full of people lounging around, playing with their phones.
I do feel that we should adopt the Swiss approach to education, at least on this point: everyone must be able to swim before the time they leave school.
Less national education. More nautical education.
Lau’s just yanking your chain, Hemmers.
Lola – Dixie is as Dixie does.. I would hazard that you are more of an Appalachian. Go on now.. git.
Mr Lau. Whatever it is that you are smoking……………….I’d like to order a kilo please.
NK Lau is a racist bigot with a huge chip on his shoulder.
Read his articles and imagine a whitey writing a pro-whitey piece in the same manner. Would a newspaper print it?
And is this the way modern China is going?
Never mind the ramblings of Lau, we all know he is one of those sad leftists who even the boys in Beijing cannot stomach. I’m more concerned that our CE who may have finally flipped into another dimension of reality. He is claiming in the SCMP that he personally made the rescue decisions. Now if this is true, does it mean that our professionally trained first-responders waited for instructions from the CE before committing to their duty of saving life or is the CE grandstanding for political gain after blundering by allowing LI Gang to bask in the media attention that fateful evening.
From everything I witnessed on the TV the police, firemen and ambulancemen went about their duty without the unnecessary prompting of the CE, who’s vainglorious instructions would have come too late in any case. Further, I don’t recall that the CE has had any training in disaster response or diving on submerged vessels looking for bodies, and I would not expect him to have such. That’s not his job.
The best he can do is ensure the first responders are allowed to get on with their task without interference from the media and politicians seeking to gain capital from a tragedy. In the long term he needs to ensure this does not happen again, and that the rescue services are trained and equipped for all contingencies. Perhaps then he can claim some credit!
Public toilets in China are not really models of sanitary enlightenment, though, are they?
After struggling with all that squatting I am
EXHAUSTIPATED- too tired to give a shit!
Squat Toilets: “to cater to a large Muslim Asian community there whose members preferred to use the squat toilet.” and remain firmly planted in the bloody dark ages……
I don’t think we should take Lau’s words so seriously as he has an agenda, which is to be an a*s kisser of some mysterious guy, or to give blow job to the chinese who feel inferior. No one really does believe in his quaint logic doesn’t it?
No one really reads china daily hk edition anyway. Even if it’s the so-called voice of the CCP. It is just a waste of time to read that page.
@ Stephen. Agree NK is well into Master Race thinking.
It’s true, for a human physiology squatting works better for elimination, whether it be solid waste or offspring. However, at least in terms of the former, it helps to be have some rudimentary ability to aim and flush.
On sit-down porcelain, the best approximation is to use a footstool and lean forward.
Lau must be allowed to continue with his rants; indeed, he should be encouraged to do so. Just like fellow bigot the Irreverend Ian Paisley in Ulster of old, he will do more for his enemy’s cause than he does for his own.
@ Walter De Havilland
One of the other PR/knee-jerk measures our Dear Leader took very quickly was to announce an independent inquiry into the disaster, while, at the very same time, all the principal witnesses were being arrested by police. Good luck with that inquiry…
Lamma ferry disaster:
I’m impressed by all the calls for compulsory life jacket wearing by children, given that many of our school buses are not fitted with seat belts.
The roads are definitely more dangerous than the waterways (though I always strap in on the my occasional ferry trips to Macau).
As a doctor I have seen the results of very rapid deceleration – not pretty.
School bus ‘aunties’ who fail to ensure that, where seat belts are actually available, kids are strapped in, are obviously not aware that flying children will kill anyone they hit – ie the bus driver and the aunties themselves..
@Jason90. You make the point well. Unfortunately, Hong Kong has a willful blindness about risks.
Sorry to come in so late
At first I could not decide if I had hit The Big Lychee, or some weird satirical website when I clicked on to the mouth frothing Lau’s latest froth
“The author is a member of the Commission on Strategic Development”
@ Walter De Havilland
A belated comment on the CE “taking control” of the rescue operation. That happens on the mainland whenever there is a disaster. The premier or president appears and leads the rescue operation or sets up an ops centre, no doubt getting in the way and making matters worse.
Could this be just another example of the steady mainlandisation of Hong Kong that Hemmers was talking about?
It is a lot harder to have a wank in a squat style toilet.
@Jacob Zuma. I don’t disagree with your assessment. At least we have not got to the stage of burying the wreckage the day after the incident, as happened after certain high speed train crash.
Burying those train carriages was done just to preserve the evidence for future generations. They do it all the time at archaeological digs.
I would be absolutely delighted if one of the recommendations from the inquiry would be the compulsory registration of all passengers on ferries. We could use those nifty ID card readers the Immigration Dept have, As for the tourists they’d have to queue up with their passports whilst some hapless HKKF employee laboriously enters their details in an ancient DOS computer. Lovely! At last we’d get our quiet islands back!