Jovial ex-civil servant Mike Rowse was dumped in deep disciplinary doo-doo by Henry Tang, following the too-tiresome-to-recount Harbourfest scandal massacre outrage disaster tragedy of 2003, post-SARS. So he can perhaps be forgiven for having a bit of a grudge against the textiles scion and rejoicing at the last-minute and freakish reversal of Henry’s pre-ordained appointment as Hong Kong’s Chief Executive. Then again, on balance, any fair-minded and objective person should surely regard Henry as somewhat repellent – if not as a spoilt rich kid who, having no bureaucrat to hand, had to blame his wife for his subsequent basement disgrace horror calamity atrocity, at least as a symbol of a corrupt and parasitical tycoon-bureaucrat caste.
In a South China Morning Post column, Rowse wonders why Hong Kong’s pro-democrats are siding with the pro-Henry bloc’s property developers and other Friends of Donald against Chief Executive and interloper CY Leung. The late veteran pan-dem Szeto Wah, Rowse argues, wouldn’t have made such a glaring strategic error. It doesn’t take a Sun Tzu or Machiavelli to know that my enemy’s enemy is my friend.
Anyone unfortunate enough to switch on RTHK Radio 3 this morning would have awoken to an earful of mouth-frothing rants from a woman possessed by a hatred of some great evil – a barbarity on a par with the genocide at Srebrenica, but probably on a larger scale. Of course, it was the Democratic Party’s Emily Lau, and the subject was CY Leung’s illegal structures and whether he lied about having them. She always seems to have had only two modes: mute and unhinged. But even the more sane-sounding pro-dems find themselves in this ridiculous position where they are trying to topple a man hated by the traditional establishment leeches and who is at least attempting to fix social and environmental problems his predecessors refused even to acknowledge. They are serving as tools for the property developers.
There are sound reasons to have reservations about CY Leung. His closeness to the cause of the Chinese Communist Party dates back to the late 70s, he has few or no friends, and he comes across as creepy. The alleged illegal structures cover-up is egregious, many (like here) tell us, because ‘a man who will lie about trivia will not be trusted on the big stuff’. Which sounds resounding and principled until you consider that ‘trivia’ is by definition not worth discussing – truthfully or not. The property cartel and yesterday’s bureaucrat ‘elite’ have an obvious vested interest in convincing us that the barely perceptible molehill is a mountain. The pro-dems’ motives are a mystery, or would be to alien political analysts newly arrived from Mars who assume that Hong Kong’s opposition forces act rationally.
Mike Rowse imagines Uncle Wah might have done a deal with CY on constitutional reform. That implies a breakthrough in the relationship between Hong Kong’s mainstream pro-dems and Beijing, which might be a bit much to hope for. But at least he would have thought about the big picture. It’s possible that Hong Kong will be run for 10 years by someone who will at least try to fix housing, welfare and pollution and who, if you attach absolute importance to trivia, has no integrity. What, under these circumstances, would be the purpose of ranting?