*We need a collective noun for shoe-shiners

A gathering* of pro-Beijing bores, the South China Morning Post reports, tries to solve the great mystery of why Hong Kong people seem to like their own city. (I am not being pejorative here, just completely accurate and objective: whoever drew up the invitation list went to great lengths to approach only the most tedious members of the establishment and loyalist camps.) The conclusion is that they are suffering some sort of mental derangement because China’s economy has grown to the point where Hong Kong’s per-capita GDP is now a mere five or six times that of the Mainland…

A recent outspoken defence of local culture was the result of a “psychological imbalance” among Hongkongers who felt powerless when faced with the mainland’s economic growth, said speakers at a pro-Beijing forum yesterday.

The event, organised by the Hong Kong Development Forum, was intended to “rethink [they’ve thought about it once already?] the rise of nativism”, and was hosted by Hang Lung Properties chairman Ronnie Chan Chichung.

Professor Lau Siu-kai, former head of the Central Policy Unit think tank, and lawmaker Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee said Hongkongers had long felt superior to people across the border, but that with the mainland’s growth they feared they were losing their edge. They also felt [‘felt’ as in ‘know for sure’] their interests were being harmed by travellers buying up stocks of infant formula milk and causing a shortage of maternity beds.

“They are two sides of the same coin – pride and abasement,” Ip said.

Lau said the campaign had no clear objectives or strategies and lacked a powerful leader.

Peking University law professor Qiang Shigong said the lack of national education in the city made it difficult for Hongkongers to understand the culture on the mainland.

Economist Francis Lui Ting-ming said it was impossible for the city to gain autonomy because its economy could not stand without the mainland.

The Hong Kong Development Forum seems to be a one-man band, namely staunchly pro-Beijing Executive Council member and proud Bronze Bauhinia Star holder Cheung Chi-kong. As boss of the One Country Two Systems Research Institute, he is accustomed to framing questions with a view to suiting the pre-arranged, correct answer.

You would have thought Ronnie Chan would have a more grandiose and cosmopolitan, less insular and – frankly – lame conference to go to, but maybe it was a quiet day.

For Lau Siu-kai see Cheung Chi-kong and insert appropriate propaganda/think-tank name.

It is sad to see former Security Secretary Regina Ip stooping this low. Her name was mentioned as one of Beijing’s possible ‘Plan B’ replacements for Chief Executive CY Leung, and this is exactly the sort of shoe-shining you are expected to do to prove yourself. ‘Abasement’ indeed. (Just because Mainland officials are falling over themselves to assure us that journalist Willy Lam’s report on Plan B is definitely, absolutely, indubitably untrue, it doesn’t mean it is true. It would not be beyond these cunning fiends to arrange for Lam to pick up an apparent leak in order to give everyone in Hong Kong a bit of a kick up the rear. A lot of CY’s foes, let alone friends, would gulp at the thought of, say, Regina as CE.)

Lack of national education in the city makes it difficult for Hongkongers to have a clue who Peking University law professor Qiang Shigong is. As for understanding the culture on the Mainland, maybe the problem is that people in the Big Lychee know about it, from Bo Xilai to babies down toilets, all too well.

Economist Francis Lui Ting-ming thinks a city state cannot be autonomous because its economy relies on that of its hinterland. Maybe he should study Singapore – utterly reliant on Southeast Asia and fearless owner of half a dozen squadrons of F-15s and F-16s. He is a courtier (see definition 2) at HK University of Science and Technology, an institution sadly still awaiting its first Nobel Prize in his subject area. Like his fellow academic from what we Chinese culture experts call Beida, he frets about how all Hongkongers (apart from him, I guess) don’t understand the Mainland. This may cause them to lose out to global competition, he says; he doesn’t tell us how or why, because obviously we’re too stupid to get it.

A quick glance back up to paragraph 5 of today’s generous donation from the SCMP: “Lau said the campaign had no clear objectives or strategies and lacked a powerful leader.” Right – so why were you all sitting there blathering away about it?

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19 Responses to *We need a collective noun for shoe-shiners

  1. Sir Crispin says:

    A gathering of pro-Beijing bores . . . or whores?

  2. The mixture of fascism, sadism and Stalinism in these people is a wonder to behold and marks them all as sexual deviants. I wonder if Regina and Rita ever had a thing going on.

    It’s less about shoe shining and more about shiny hobnailed boot licking and whip cracking.

    Watch out for the Regina Youth movement: strength through joy, communal showers, pert bottoms in tight leather shorts.

  3. Real Tax Payer says:

    Why not use the word “bore” as all purpose the collective word ?

    A ‘bore’ of shoe-shiners / pro- BJ-ers / pro-dems etc.

    Then we could also speak of a ‘sore’ of tycoons, a ‘(please not) more’ of people power extremists, filibusters and weekly demonstrations, and a ‘poor’ of HK residents.

    And of course, a ‘whore’ of corrupt civil servants, whether in HK or on the mainland

  4. Jing says:

    A SLURP of pro-Beijing bores

    A GUTTEROIL of pro-Beijing bores

    A SLIME of pro-Beijing bores

  5. Real Scot Player says:

    A LICK of pro-Beijing bores

  6. Big Al says:

    My suggestion is a “tongue” of shoe-shiners. I were feeling less charitable, I might suggest a “felch” of shoe-shiners or an “anilingus” of shoe-shiners …

  7. mjrelje says:

    A SPACKTARD of shoe shiners.

  8. Barry Cheung says:

    Why must you commentators use such negative descriptions. What about “a patriot of harmonious shoe shiners”?

  9. Foxtrotosca says:

    Following on from Big Al…. a ”Santorum” of Shoe Shiners

  10. Local Tax Payer says:

    A GUTTEROIL of pro-Beijing bores gets my vote. And bring on the pert bottoms!

    It really is so bad that it’s wonderful! When Alex Lo tries to be funny about Chinese chauvinism, when Kelly Yang admits, in passing, that it might not be entirely impossible that HKers may have the slightest hint of prejudice with regard to dark-skinned people, although Americans are of course universally racist, when the Sub-Standard attempts irony, and when Sai Ying Pun start praising CY, something must really be afoot!

    It’s even got to the stage where the arguments of the idiots who parade before us must appear so asinine even to themselves that Hemlock’s sage commentaries are just the icing on the cake.

  11. Real Wax Layer says:

    An Ingratiation of Shoe Shiners.

  12. Chimp says:

    A murder of shoe shiners. It’s the only way.

  13. Big Al says:

    @Chimp – I thought that only applied to crows?

    According to http://didyouknow.org/lists/collective-nouns-of-people/ (no doubt a well respected and official listing), the most apt collective noun would be an “obeisance”, which applies to servants …

  14. nulle says:

    Whores of Shoes Shiners

    Infection of Shoe Shiners

    Uncontrolled Growth of Shoe Shiners

    need I say more?

  15. Chris Maden says:

    A polish of shoe-shiners? A lickspittle of shoe-shiners?


    A YAWN of pro-Beijing blah-blah-blahs

  16. Oneleggoalie says:

    Oneleg feels this blog needs both a LIKE and UNLIKE button…some comments require appropriate response, or disapproval…perhaps a RUBBISH button as well.
    Please consider. Ask a young person to help with page coding.

  17. Old China Trash says:

    Have you bunch of boring old farts got your priorities right ? Instead of trying to out-do each other coming up with totally unfunny slogans, why not address the really serious topics of the day.

    In the old days of Ralph Pixton and Aileen Bridgewater you could call in, put your problem on the table, and they would DO something about it: why is bus 5C to To Kwa Wan so slow/ unreliable/ hot/ roach infested ? Why is it so difficult to get real English jam in Hong Kong ? Where can I meet expat ladies to play canasta ? My hubby has got the clap: must I forgive him ? And on and on.

    Y’know, things like that.

  18. dubber rucky says:

    Late to the party, but I offer:
    A wank of shoe-shiners.

    Goes along with:
    A squat of locusts.

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