In his policy address last week, Hong Kong Chief Executive CY Leung proposed setting up over a dozen committees/boards/councils to investigate/tackle/whatever a wide range of challenges/issues/stuff. It is probably misleading to lump them all together; some have specific questions to answer (like how to scrap the fishing industry now the fish are all used up), while others have vaguer aims (like how to develop an industry based on unscientific folk quack remedies otherwise known as traditional medicine). The party line on why we need all these bodies is that conflicting interests and the need for due bureaucratic process make it impossible for the administration to ram new policies through Right Now.
Former Central Policy Unit boss Lau Siu-kai comes up with another explanation, or at least a more candid version of the official one: the appointees are intended as a sort of counterweight against the civil servants resisting change or (I’m guessing) trying to clog everything up with red tape to justify their existence. Margaret Thatcher said “consensus is an absence of leadership.” CY’s predecessor Donald Tsang said, in effect, “consensus is something we can’t take any decisions without, and thus the perfect reason to make no decisions.” CY’s definition would be something like, “consensus is something I must try and force bureaucrats and vested interests to accept, but God knows how.”
The new committee everyone is talking about is the Financial Services Development Council. It initially attracted attention because it was packed with Mainlanders (well, OK, a handful of them), mostly princelings (well, one – Levin Zhu, son of estimable reformist former Premier Zhu Rongji). The body’s contingent of Westerners went largely unremarked.
It raised more eyebrows as its Chairman, former-lots-of-things Laura Cha explained the Council’s form and function in a variety of ways, starting with ones that were plain wrong, then moving on to ones that were sort of half-right, before finally coming up with the correct version: it is a public entity, not-for-profit, and will not accept donations or act as a sovereign fund.
As for what it will do, it sounds vague, but we can sort of guess. It will, with the help of its well-connected native-Mandarin talent, lobby Beijing for pathetic favours to give Hong Kong an edge in listing Mainland companies, developing the much-vaunted but rarely seen ‘Yuan business’ and what we might euphemistically call managing Mainland funds. It might do a bit of think-tank-type research, or maybe not. It might go to places like Dubai and urge the people there to partake in the aforementioned highly exciting Yuan business. Except HK Monetary Authority boss Norman Chan – a stalwart of the Donald Tsang-tycoon-bureaucracy nexus that opposed CY Leung – has beaten them to it.
Frankly, the other committees, like the ones on the harbor and land supply, will probably be far more interesting.
Meanwhile, over in sunny Mui Wo, another famous committee, the South Lantau Gwailo Gossip Gestapo, is scratching its head over the identity of the cunning foreigner who (allegedly, according to a banner recently erected on a railing) cheated workers of their ‘blood-sweat money’. Embarrassing, at best. At worst – let’s not think about it…
In view of recent events, it is surely time you stepped up to the plate and inaugurated some formal recognition of the achievements of those your organ has highlighted today and on so many days in the past:
THE CHURNIES: THE HONG KONG CLARIFIED BUTTER AWARDS
Given to the most effusive correction (“clarification”) of an official blunder which showed up clueless, overpaid apparatchik behaviour in the front ranks of Government and elsewhere.
1st Prize: One pound of Best Butter.
THE PORKIES: THE HONG KONG OPERATIVE STATEMENT AWARDS
Bestowed on the best correction of a clear Government lie (“inoperative statement”) and its replacement by the “operative statement”, which is the truth – for the time being, whilst the issue is being “studied more closely”.
1st Prize: Family-sized Vale of Mowbray Pork Pie.
THE MURPHIES: THE HONG KONG HOT POTATO AWARDS
Garnered by the quickest buck-passing manoeuvre by any Government agency – for example, the Police passing responsibility to the civil courts, the Home Affairs Department transferring to Environmental Protection and so on.
1st Prize: A steaming Baked Potato.
THE VIAGRAS: THE HONG KONG POWERLESS TO ACT AWARDS
Won by the most blatant denial of responsibility and stubborn refusal to act by any Government agency, citing infringement of human rights, vague legislation, not in public interest and so on.
1st Prize: A large Pink Strap-On Dildo.
(That’s enough Awards. Get a life.)
Bela, your comic gift is such that it should be allowed to bloom with its own blog. Please. Really.
Which is more than we can say about prcghlllll…
The guy in the picture looks like a Frenchman.
It is always the French, isn’t it ?
One’s instinctive reaction veers between smug satisfaction that CY is performing as predicted — key words: “bogged down”, Donald-itis — and overwhelming pity.
The poor man wouldn’t say boo to the Heung Yee Kuk, the triads, the ICAC — and now the whole closed-blind, leather-elbow-patch, covered-tea, glass-protected-desktop, paunched, stooping, peely-wallie brigade.
I wonder if the chap up for the chop is also the Mui Wo dog poisoner?
I agree with pcghllll.
I suspect one of the problems with a school student tutoring job is that a person’s sense of humour is recalibrated to that of 5-18 year old children, such that he or she thinks what is funny to a child* is funny to all.
* Particularly a child in a Confucian society who is encouraged to please all teachers and laugh at their ‘humour’.
I’ve received another request to update my information and I kid ye not, for the ‘current personality index database’. Who knows what juicy qango awaits? Maybe the dangers of hotpot tribunal? The working group on reformed wax burners? I wait with bated breath.
I do feel sorry for the guy accused of vampirism. I do wonder if in say, Canada for example, a photo of a more eastern resident was placed in a prominant position that also made a number of accusations in a language the aleged perpetrator couldn’t read, there would perhaps be accusations of ‘racism’?
All this confusion would never have happened if the Financial Services Development Council was led by Ronald Arculli as Laura “Miss Piggy” Cha really doesn’t cut the mustard.
Good to see fired Taipan Alasdair Morrison dug up to offer some platitudes and it’s always good to have a Mainland Princeling. Trust Bunny, K11 Baz and Billy Bunter (Anthony Wu) are also included on all committees to ensure harmonious governance continues.
A backward step CY – stop doing a Donald !
Good point on racism – there would probably be outrage. Trial by tarpaulin is the new norm, witness the banners exhorting us to ‘hate the evil cult Falun Gung’ tied to the beams of the canopy in TST right outside the tourism office. Wonder what the non-mainland visitors think of us as they go in to buy their souvenir junk key-rings.
…. I would have taken a picture of them on my shiny new iPhone 5 but don’t know how to turn off the music (or turn on the camera.)
Consensus occurs in HK where your opinion coincides with that of the Civil Service but not until then
Bela, you’re not funny. Now sod off…