Last post of year avoids mentioning powdered milk

Hong Kong Chief Executive CY Leung’s lawyers demand an apology from the HK Economic Journal for publishing an article mentioning alleged links with triads; the paper issues a lame quasi-apology, aimed more at its readers than anyone else. The offending column simply mentioned remarks attributed to – inevitably – maverick pain-in-the-rear Lew Mon-hung. As numerous commentators are now pointing out, if anyone made a slur, it’s the Lew-dicrous businessman/politician/buffoon.

Pro-democrats and defenders of free speech see an attempt to intimidate the press, but temper their alarm with surprise at the embarrassing stupidity of CY’s action. CY’s extreme lack of political-PR street smarts leaves others who are usually given to undermine him bemused. One explanation is that CY was nagged into it by supporters. Another is that allegations of gangster links hit a very sensitive, deep-down nerve.

Earlier last year, I had an email – probably still buried in an in-box somewhere – from someone with a long and dependable memory. The writer, who’s an old friend, recalled being present at an occasion well over 30 years ago at which a youthful CY was unambiguously associating with one or more known triad figures. Rumours of connections of this sort are two a penny. In some times and places, it is probably hard not to cross paths with triads, whose sprawling array of personnel and activities overlap with all sorts of legitimate business and respectable society. Surely.

The lawyer’s letter controversy overshadows another story: activist Koo Sze-yiu’s nine-month prison sentence for flag desecration.

When they made flag-burning illegal in Hong Kong after the handover, the authorities went to some lengths to remind everyone that quite a few democracies, as well as dictatorships, had such laws. Since then, a couple of flag-mutilators have been fined, and in 2011 an old Mainland farmer was jailed for a few weeks for the offence.

The magistrate in Koo’s case cited public safety as a concern because the protestor burned a plastic flag, but does that mean it is illegal to set fire to, say, a Park N Shop bag? Koo and his buddies have burnt Japanese flags on the streets plenty of times. What if they burn a plastic one? Basically, the sentence (OK, two sentences) is silly, not to mention a gift to Koo, who welcomes and indeed relishes the martyrdom.

A quick back-of-the-envelope calculation (Correctional Services budget divided by number of inmates) suggests that it costs HK$290,000 a year to keep someone in prison.

On a brighter note, we can now declare a magnificent five-day weekend, plus the Year of the Snake, open. Then there’s February 14.

I’m really looking forward to Valentine’s Day this year because afterwards these wretched Cartier commercials that are clogging up YouTube… 

…will go away. Probably. Either way, YouTube Jewel of the Week Award goes to this: Leonard Bernstein’s 1957 show on the bits Beethoven chucked out and improved upon while writing his 5th Symphony. They don’t do network TV like this any more.

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28 Responses to Last post of year avoids mentioning powdered milk

  1. Early Doors says:

    Did I beat Bela?

  2. Bela Belligerent says:

    Kick them up the butt, CY. A writ is a nice person’s way of saying fock off.

    Fock off Richard Li-owned mouthpiece HEJ. Vorwaerts mit dem Stallreiniger!

    And now..the League Of Social Democrats In Power…

    Part 1

    We will all be smelling like dirt that’s been focked by a hobo.

    How do you know a League of Social Democrats (LSD) groupie is menstruating?

    Long Hair’s only wearing one sock.

    Q: Why do LSD supporters wave their arms around when they dance?

    A: To keep the music out of their eyes.

    How does the Government keep something from Long Hair?

    They put it under the soap.

    Why can’t lifeguards ever save an LSD?

    They’re so far out, man!

  3. bk says:

    No doubt than, Mr Kookoo will also hammer in some hard justice to the madams endangering the public by burning incense and other offerings on Fockhard Road, Wanchai.

  4. Stephen says:

    Hmmm 9 months incarceration for pensioner who set fire to a plastic communist China flag seems a little Singaporean (which was just happened to be yesterday’s blog). Whilst we know ‘ole grey beard’ is a serial protester this seems a little out of whack and what with CY suing newspapers (another Singaporean Lee family favourite) – What chance article 23 now?

    And it’s all so daft and unnecessary. Ah well we know the some UK journalists read this blog so perhaps they’ll do a story but maybe the HKSARG will take on another Singaporean trait and stop giving a fock what the west thinks?

  5. Old Timer says:

    Now we can look forward to mass flag burnings as a hallmark of next wave of social protests. Probably.

  6. Headache says:

    Countries that permit flag burning include Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the UK and the USA.

    Countries that do not permit flag burning include China, India, Singapore, Malaysia, Italy, Germany and Portugal.

    Draw your own conclusions.

  7. Diane Butler says:

    You are right about the overlap of polite society and triads in HK. It is everywhere and always was it so. I remember in the early 90s the fine fleur of HKs movie industry, led by Jacky Chan (IQ 79), held a protest march against triad influence in their industry. Fast forward 20 years: Jacky Chan now makes movies for Albert Yeung’s Emperor Entertainment. Albert Yeung has more triad connections than Broken Tooth, the Tiger of Wanchai (RIP) and Big Spender (RIP) ever had combined. So there.

    By the way, does any one of you old geezers remember me ? I used to be in Tatler every month in my days. I was a ‘fixture’ of the social scene and Nury Hitachi used to write about me. I was a star.

  8. Ka Bong and Brenda Cha says:

    Diane darling!

    Of course we remember. You used our gold toilet once. We have never cleaned it since. Nury sends his love. He’s still the same size and writes for the newspapers but even fewer people read him.

  9. Ka Bong and Brenda Cha says:

    Sorry..it should be Chau…as in “ho chau”!

    Pip pip!

  10. Brenda Chau says:

    Sadly Ka Bong passed away, as you may know. He got a lobster claw lodged up his bottom and the doctors couldn’t get it out. But we still hold soirées like the old days. Drop by and see us next time you’re in town.

    B. XXXXX

  11. Mongkok Mzungu says:

    I thought Diane Butler was kept on permanent oxygen supply.

    As for the flag burning, I am sure The League of Ever-Nuttier Professional Protesters (bless them and their freedom) will explore this avenue further now that loud noise and protest marches are wearing off. Is it only flag burning that is prohibited? Can they shred flags with impunity? Is writing profanity on the flag ok? How about smearing it with excrement? What if it is synthetic, plastic excrement that does not pose a danger to the health of the public?

    Ah, it is going to be a long snake year…

  12. Property Developer says:

    Wot, no comments on CY’s letter? Is RTP so far out in the boondocks as to be beyond Hemlock’s reach?

    And “Mary” “Ma” making sense? Not only that, but telling us straight out that there’s more to this than meets the eye, that even more damaging allegations are floating round?

    Like Stephen, I’ll be interested to see how brave the foreign press (and I don’t mean the Pro-China blah blah) is on this question, or whether it’s smothered under French horsemeat.

  13. Maugrim says:

    The triad issue is a funny one for anyone who is an older chinese hand. One story I heard was a senior police officer who nearly sat down at ‘the triad’s table’ at a police gathering. Before any nancys wet themselves, the police often have a range of community meet and greet lunches etc, it’s not their fault that ‘prominent local business identities’ may also be members of certain black socities (other than the masons). It’s HK, our society is a very small one that’s a little more interesting once we start delving into it. Sometimes the hats that different people wear at different times can be most amusing.

    Am I the only one getting tired of commentators who need to resort to sockpuppeting? Surely one nome de plume is enough?

  14. Diane Butler says:

    I don’t really know this CY person -he wasn’t part of our circle back then- but I have it on good authority (from my pal Crystal Li in Marseille) that he used to be a dragonhead of the Hop Jump Skip Society.

  15. Emetic says:

    http://hongkongtatler.com/500list/brenda-chau/images

    This is Brenda’s posting on the Tatler web site. Simply divine darlings, and perfect for the bringing forth an old heave-ho after too much self-indulgence in the coming festival. Click and find out about other personalities!

  16. Mary Hinge says:

    I was wondering when the Tatler 500 list would rear its ugly heads again.

  17. reductio says:

    @Emetic

    Thanks for the link. If anyone is on that Tatler page it’s worthwhile clicking on the link “500” to gain access to the “2013 List of the POWER ELITE” of HK’s upper echelons.

    Scary.

    Very scary.

  18. Sojourner says:

    Am i really lurking with people who wet themselves over such risible phenomena as Tatler lists?

  19. Sojourner says:

    Though you’re right, reductio, the “2013 List of the POWER ELITE” is shudder-inducing.

  20. Emetic says:

    It’s simply divine darlings. Only people who can’t get into society look down on it.

  21. Mary Hinge says:

    @ Sojourner:

    Didn’t you know? Hemlock is one such self-wetter:
    http://biglychee.com/2010/07/07/the-tatler-500-unspeakables-list/

  22. Headache says:

    Mongkok Mzungu: it’s generally any kind of desecration (read: tangible disrespect) that’s prohibited. Burning, shredding, defacement, smearing with noxious substances etc. All have been done but burning does bring a warm glow to proceedings.

  23. Sojourner says:

    Ah yes, Mary, but Hemmers is taking a sociological/athropological perspective, and that’s permissible.

    It’s like how I justify watching reality TV cos I do it with postmodern, ironic detachment.

  24. reductio says:

    @ Headache

    Are we talking about flags or the HK Tatler?

  25. Philippe Charriol says:

    Cissy Pao-Wasabi

    Daughter of the late YK Pao, Cissy collects paintings and Hello Kitty-sculptures and loves the arts, as shown by her philanthropic pursuits. She was recently awarded the Montblanc de la Culture Farts Patronage Award for her support of the Hong Kong Farts Centre.

    She received a deluxe 4-color Montblanc ballpoint pen, crafted from ‘precious resin’ by Swiss craftsmen, as a token of appreciation.

  26. Kimmy Robinson says:

    Chantal Miller
    Chantal is married to Medellin Cartel co-founder Robert Miller, with whom she has three dogs, Pia, Mia and Tia Maria, who are the renowned “Miller Mutts”. She is usually spotted at select motels with her gardener.

    Robert Miller
    Co-founder of the Medellin Cartel, Robert is an entrepreneur and all-round champion who won the Rolex Transatlantic Challenge amah-tossing title in 1971. Robert is a trustee of Neptune II and Presidential Councilor and Trustee Emeritus of Idi Amin University.

  27. Wally Wilde says:

    Vindicated! ;o)

  28. Property Developer says:

    Breaking news:

    There’s a new show-all housing policy, which is very revealing:

    Govt seeks to build PUBIC homes faster http://www.thestandard.com.hk/breaking_news_detail.asp?id=31727&icid=3&d_str=20130208

    Let’s hope the houses are wetted first.

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