Trellis-gate denouement approaches, maybe

In most places, if a public figure wants to put a glass canopy on his patio, he puts a glass canopy on his patio, and the world carries on as if nothing had happened. In Hong Kong, the glass canopy is a major news story, and opponents and detractors act as if the backyard feature were a collection of child pornography. Perpetrator du jour is Duncan Prescod, the top civil servant at the Transport and Housing Bureau. In his defence, he can claim that it’s the tenants’ doing, and that he is barely a public figure anyway. Luckily for him, the media SWAT teams will move on; they have their eyes on Chief Executive CY Leung’s own illegal-structure woes, which seem to be reaching some sort of crescendo.

CY’s masterstroke during his fight with Henry Tang for the CE job was to pounce on the dim rich-kid’s conveniently exposed, unauthorized, vast basement-palace. It was the tipping point that lost Henry and his tycoon backers the battle, but the war never ended. Aided by pan-democrats who hate communist loyalists, the old establishment has successfully established in the public’s mind that CY, in the midst of campaigning, maliciously conspired to cover up such diabolical unauthorized building works as a garden trellis, and thus brings his integrity into grave doubt. By forcing him onto the defensive and demanding public accounts of the most stunning trivia, they are taking exquisite revenge.

And how will the trellis do what trellises nowhere else on the planet can do, namely come to the aforementioned crescendo? Through a vote of no confidence in the Legislative Council; even the word ‘impeachment’ is being muttered. Like the quasi-election that had to be re-rigged at the last minute in March, this will force people to show their hands.

Outside Legco, former council president and all-purpose busybody Rita Fan has been loudly flinging mud at CY. She has acknowledged that she could lose her National People’s Congress seat as a result, which suggests she knows she is probably choosing the wrong side.

Within the council, Paul ‘maverick lawyer’ Tse is at the fore, likening the trellis, carport, etc to a corpse and CY to a murderer. He is one of several ‘independents’ who are actually in the pro-Beijing camp and won seats with behind-the-scenes help from China’s local Liaison Office officials. Those officials were probably driven more by an obsession with denying pan-dems seats than anything else. To what extent Tse is following orders – not his strong point – we can’t tell. It is hard to imagine him as a lynchpin in a local coup being engineered as part of upheavals resulting from the leadership transition in Beijing.

Maybe the installation of former President Jiang Zemin’s favourites in the Politburo requires the restoration of tycoon-bureaucrat rule in Hong Kong. Assuming they have more important things to worry about up in Zhongnanhai, however, we can assume that the no confidence motion will fizzle out, despite all sorts of ne’er-do-wells’ attempts to be out of town on the day of the vote.

Meanwhile we have to suffer the weirdness that is the de facto alliance of radicals, moderate pro-democrats and the tycoon-bureaucrat ‘elite’. Sing Tao editor Siu Sai-wo BBS pens a more-than-averagely nauseating little column called Fame and Fortune. It exists solely to shoe-shine its daily subject, usually a tycoon’s kid who has pulled off his first great property deal, or an aging plutocrat who has bought an honorary doctorate. It looks very much as if Henry-supporting newspaper-owner Charles Ho decrees which lucky luminaries are featured. And today’s upstanding establishment icon: Long Hair Leung Kwok-hung.


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21 Responses to Trellis-gate denouement approaches, maybe

  1. Lois Beluga says:

    If a cover-up of a burglary gets you impeached and oral sex from a fat intern gets you grilled by committee on live national television, then covering up an illegal trellis ought to get you ritual oral sex from both Elsie Leung and Rita Fan.

    Yes, it’s cruel and unusual punishment, but this is China!

  2. Maugrim says:

    CY is a hypocrite plain and simple. Dennouncing Tang was quite right, but people with illegal glass structures themselves had better not throw stones. CY is thus a fool.

  3. stanley gibbons says:

    crescendo – Often mistakenly used to mean “reaching a pinnacle” when, in fact, it should be used only to describe a gradual increase in intensity or volume.

  4. PropertyDeveloper says:

    I suspect it’s all just beginning.

    In trying to find a pattern, there are various lines of defence: it was maybe there when we bought it; the lawyers bought it, not me; it’s not visible without invasion of privacy; I’ve added another one on top; it replaces an earlier structure that was falling down; it’s just temporary; it’s a “canopy”; it’s only glass; it’s an awning; it’s a tolerance; my wife did it; professionals checked it and didn’t find anything; I got a mortgage on it; it’s been (temporarily?) removed. The whole creative art is in choosing which Chinese walls (sorry — Russian dolls) to put inside which, otherwise you just tick the boxes.


    Tse seems a lirttle idiotic: at least half the murders are never solved.

  5. Walter De Havilland says:

    I’m bored by all this illegal structures nonsense. It’s a distraction from the real issues, whilst the relentless pursuit of CY is beginning to make me feel some sympathy for the man. It is notable that the media gave only passing attention to the alleged allowance fiddling by certain so-called democrats. I wonder why?

  6. Duncan says:

    Manuel Quezon is reported to have said: “I prefer a government run like hell by Filipinos to a government run like heaven by Americans, because, however bad a Filipino government might be, we can always change it.”

    His wish came true in spades, apart from the last bit, which is the most important; presidents might change there but entrenched traditional politicians and their insufferable offspring continue to ‘run’ the country for their own ends. Hong Kong is now following the same pattern whereby congress’ time is taken up with impeachments, enquiries and allegations about each others’ corruption while the poor get poorer and the press runs riot making mountains out of trellises.

    And just as in the Philippines most of us are sick and tired of it but realise we can do nothing to change it.

  7. Mary Hinge says:

    Well, “Oops, I got my houses mixed up” and “I negligently forgot that it was me who installed the structures and not the previous owner [until those damned aerial photos surfaced]” are perhaps not quite as bad as “The wife did it”. But, still, one is left with the rather unsavoury impression that wolf-man has acquired the CE post under false pretenses.

    Whatever rigged system is in place for the next CE ‘election’, let us hope that CY’s deceptions can count against him getting re-selected.

  8. PCC says:

    If CY had any sense at all, he’d declare that the illegal structure laws are idiotic and violations are pervasive (something everyone already knows), confess that he’s sorry he’s run afoul of said idiotic regulations, and then propose legislation to allow homeowners to come forward voluntarily and pay a one-time fine to regularize their illegal structures.

    But then, that would make too much sense, wouldn’t it?

  9. Stephen says:

    Agree with most – bored senseless by this and time to move on to the issues.

    Seems a fair few people have woken up to the utter con which is the MPF and Anna Wu’s (What happened to her?) lame proposals to reform it.

    However seems only the FTU Legislators have woken up to this. Why? Because the rest are still preoccupied with CY’s trellis…

  10. Failed Alchemist says:

    Thankfully, illegal structures are a rich man’s sickness in HK compared to the common man’s connudrum of not even owing a car park space. Of course you have the indigenious home owners that are blantantly prodded on by their “boss” that never seems willing to ride into the sunset even with age and past expiry date. (Can the greenies try to recycle the guy in some food kitchen?)

    Impeachment? Vote no confidence? I guess every member of LEGCO needs a field trip (which is money well spent after all the $$$ thrown into crazy projects) to Egypt for politics #101. HK having JUST 7 million people still can’t be governed reasonably. Maybe we should do a “Catalona” thingy by each district having self rule. Wakakaka.

    Terellis by any other name in another country is surely not so explosive compared to getting a blow job (@Mary, at least we must give credit to Bill, he has charisma compared to CY in explaining stuff. Poor CY needs Henry to assist him in this area. By the way, any updates on Henry´s love basement?). What we are paying the monkeys in LEGCO really worth it? Ditto, ditto every single name Hemlock has named in this posting (maybe with the exception of …) Wakakaka

  11. TK says:

    When asked about it in June, CY said the previous owner had built the unauthorised works. Now he says it was he himself who had the stuff built.

    So whether you think it’s trivial or not, CY is a liar, plain and simple.

  12. Believer says:

    Can anyone actually tell me what is a legal alteration? I suggest Paul TSE set up a facebook account calling on the public of Hong Kong to post photographs of homicidal home owners add ons.. not long before more posting than hits on Psy’s Gangnam Style. When will the puerile games stop and the Grown-ups take charge.

  13. Failed Alchemist says:

    Isn’t every politician good at lying or suppose to lie so that life continues after shelf expiry? Wakakaka

  14. farm chairs says:

    I’m shocked, shocked, to hear that HK’s toady leadership scum are gutless liars (“My wife did it”).

    And that various branches of the civil service charged with enforcing various laws don’t seem to be remotely capable of, or interested in, doing so. (Look out your window and tell me how many “illegal structures” you can see, all of which are invisible to every part of the bureaucracy tasked with dealing with them. Extra points for any structures that are older than you are. Triple points if any of them are bars that allow smoking.)

    And that the government repeatedly decrees completely asinine programs that make about 6 families richer and are useless or harmful to just about everyone else (see, for starters: MPF, the land/housing policy in general, the staggeringly pointless high-speed rail to Panyu, the bridge to Macau, the entire public school system, the helipad built right beside the hideous Golden Bauhinia so that our aging dyed-hair dictators can leave boot-licking ceremonies at the convention centre without hearing or seeing protestors…)

    Yawn. It’s obviously a slow news day.

  15. Vile says:

    Illegal structures are hardly only a “rich man’s sickness”. These days every second village house has one or two illegal storeys on top, public housing estates bulge with illegally enclosed balconies, older townhouses have illegal canopies which are the even more illegally turned into balconies (which eventually fall off an kill passers-by), and you can’t really get less rich than illegal squatter huts.

    More importantly, I must object to this flagrant and willful misuse of the word “trellis”. A trellis is a wooden or similar framework, free-standing or attached to a wall, for the sole purpose of supporting twining plants. None of the illegal structures in the SAR fall under this description.

  16. Claw says:

    I agree that, taken in isolation, most of the various illegal structures are trivial (though Henry’s does seem somewhat more than that).

    However, that is not the point. When the first of these first came to light a couple of years ago – one of them being Donald’s enclosed balcony – Donald ‘fessed-up, apologized and, most importantly, very publicly told all of his senior officials to check their properties and have any irregularities sorted out urgently. Obviously, all of the officials caught recently ignored this instruction, either by not checking or by not sorting out their irregularities. This is what is raising the hackles – the attitude that the law (and even the CE’s personal instruction to them individually and collectively) does not apply to them and they can flout it. That and the lies which have followed the discovery of their irregularities. This is not trivial at all.

    CY Leung is the, now, most senior and having made such a big thing (and gained such a great advantage) out of Henry’s grand flouting of the law has , indeed brought his integrity into doubt and it is hard to see how he can say or do anything to restore his credibility.

  17. Mary Hinge says:

    I agree with Claw. Seems there are two broad viewpoints. One is that it is a matter of the basic integrity and honesty of our leader. The other is that it is “just a trellis” (as if it was), and that we should move on to ‘important’ stuff (like sorting out the MPF).

    I would love to (for example) see the MPF completely overhauled – scrapped even. But to me that is a minor issue as compared to having an honest and trustworthy leadership to actually carry out such actions.

    I am not expecting CY to be properly brought to account (sadly). But I do hope the mud sticks.

  18. Failed Alchemist says:

    @ Farm Chairs. Your list isn’t comprehensive enough.. How about endless public consultancies with accompanying TV & print ads that cost big bucks so that they get cronies to write in under pseudo names like us in Hemlock’s blog to say nice & supportive things?

    The national education fanned out to the youth league by Mr. Sleepy Head (another donkey pass his due date)? The third runway supported by Cathay Pacific and a mosquito airline – Hong Kong Airlines? Trying to build and host the next Asian games? Maybe banana throwing event anyone as a competitive sport?

    In my area, the district counsellor tears up a perfectly good pavement to only re-pave it with “recycle” bricks? The overhead bridge that leads to no-where when there is so little road traffic in the neighbourhood? Tears up a bycycle parking space just to replace it with the same thing when Tai Wai residents urgently need one.

    The problems are layered from government to legco (ala Ms. Eva Cheng) to district level.

    @ Claw & Mary. There is now a SOP followed religiously by adherents of the First & Last Chinese Governor…. Go on camera, cry, cry, look remorseful and try to avoid the mud…. For the crusaders trying to crucify CY, don’t look further. They aren’t saints when it comes to illegal structures and accepting funds for re-election from big wigs. The job of politicians is to devise, lie and shadow play. What has the government and LEGCO done for us since the handover?

    When Mr. Bow Tie sought re-election he promised the worms of Big Lychee’s underbelly that he will hold up the sun & the moon for them. Then sunshine will spread over us in eternity. What makes he better or worst than CY’s lies or worst still LEGCO’s hypocrisy?


  19. Utter Bollocks says:

    FF sake can we just bring back the Brits and stop all this asinine nonsense, boot out all those Leggo wankers and just fucking run the place! Health, education, retirement, pollution and countless other things need sorting out now and all we have is this endless childish bickering about a fucking trellis. Grow up and that includes most of the commenters here!

  20. Walter De Havilland says:

    Blah, blah, blah …. illegal structures … blah, blah, blah … Integrity … blah, blah, … all politicians tell lies. Did we only learn that recently??? Someone once said politics is the art of the possible. In Hong Kong its the art of the improbable.

  21. Jonathan Stanley says:

    @Utter Bollocks: Let’s be fair… even the Brits can’t even run Britain properly right now. We’re all fucked.

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