Hong Kong syndromes

A couple of Hong Kong syndromes break out in our fair city today. First sufferer is former senior civil servant, now half-convincing Beijing loyalist and Executive Councilor Fanny Law. She makes a moderately interesting contribution to the Big Lychee’s not-yet-started-but-underway debate on political reform by opposing the screening of Chief Executive candidates, and suggesting an instant runoff vote to ensure the winner has a majority.

Nothing very thrilling, perhaps. But in a discourse in which reptilian self-appointed business elites and sinister pro-Communists mutter darkly about the evils of representative government, we must be grateful for every modest helping of common sense that comes along. Sadly, Fanny lapses at one point into Non-Sequitur Syndrome. Specifically, she proposes that the number of Chief Executive candidates on the ballot be limited to three because otherwise “…it would be difficult for voters to understand their platforms.” She doesn’t say why an increase in the number of platforms should lead to a decrease in their comprehensibility – probably because there is no such correlation. She may have good cause to believe the ballot should be limited to three, but this isn’t it.

Non-reasons are hardly unique to Hong Kong, and everyone talks crap sometimes. The problem is that sloppy thinking goes unchallenged too often. One small example… We could sort out a lot of Hong Kong’s problems by slapping a big sales tax on luxury goods and barring non-residents from buying homes here. Any such suggestion provokes howls of protest – from otherwise benevolent and objective people as well as vested interests – that such a move would ‘damage Hong Kong’s reputation as a free port/shoppers’ paradise’. It goes unquestioned. No-one stops to examine why this should be a bad thing. No-one sticks their hand up to ask: if maintaining this ‘reputation’ damages local people’s quality of life, why not shred it?

Second, we have a severe case of Bitchy Eye-Scratching Schoolgirl Freak-Out Syndrome. This unedifying phenomenon is stereotypically associated with thespians. In Hong Kong it breaks out regularly in education; most lawmakers and top officials have received a bulging dossier from some mentally deranged lecturer Who Has To Be Right detailing the injustices behind his decade-old feud with his department head and fellow academics. But it is shocking to find it breaking out among the medical profession.

A heart surgeon is suspended after his hospital detects a pattern of complications among his patients. I would have thought the professional thing to do in these circumstances is to cooperate with the investigation. An exceptionally skilled specialist could have an above-average failure rate because he gets all the toughest cases. Alternatively, a practitioner might be over-reaching himself, in which case, given lives are at stake, it is essential that he and everyone else face up to it – that’s why these guys get paid more than real-estate agents. What you don’t do is hold a press conference, dispute allegations line-by-line, wave your qualifications around for maximum face-loss and declare it all a conspiracy. (If it really is a conspiracy, you are better off leaving quietly; nice people, amazingly, rarely inspire universal dislike among their colleagues.)

We really don’t need to know any of this, do we? But then again… if the newspapers insist on thrusting it into our faces, I suppose we have to look. It’s not exactly Dead Ringers, but would we want this guy hovering over us, gripping his scalpel tighter and tighter as he ponders legal action against all the other doctors who want to become famous with their fancy overseas training and who are out to get him? The public has a right to incessant prurient gratification know. And once you start looking, it’s quite compelling. Ambitious parents don’t dream of their little kid becoming a college lecturer.

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9 Responses to Hong Kong syndromes


    1. Fanny Law
    2. LA Law
    3. Denis Law
    4. Fock The Basic Law

    (That’s one too many Laws. Ed.)

    The doctors who know how to operate and who objected to their colleague were all educated abroad. No surprises there.

    And has anyone from the Academy For Performing Arts ever won an international competition? Discuss.

    PS: When discussing jihadist events even vaguely in connection with Hong Kong, never forget that Tony Blair is a failed estate agent.

    I’m off to watch “Blairwars 2 – It’s Not WMD, It’s Chemical Weapons” on FoxNews at the Israeli Consulate. Free bagels and Dom Perignon.

  2. Real ***** Player says:

    There’s some amusing comments in the on-line SCMP re Fanny Law’s ideas on the number of CE candidates allowed.
    Like, if 3 is the biggest number of platforms the average voter can comprehend (sort of ‘good’, ‘bad’ , ‘none of the above’) we should limit all school exam multiple choice questions to maximum 3, e.g.

    2 + 2 =

    A) 3.95
    B) 4
    C) 421,395.762

    PS : I find it rather amusing that the SCMP’s filter in the comments section automatically changes Fanny Law’s name to ***** Law.
    I wonder what would happen if her name was Pussy Law , or if Regina’s name was actually Vagina Ip.
    Tough if your surname is something like Cocksell, Harprick or Cuntelege

    But much more puzzling is that whenever anyone mentions Rafael Hui the filter changes it to Rafael *** . I thought I had a pretty good command of rude words in both English and Cantonese, but it seems I’m missing something. Can anyone enlighten me please ?

  3. Jonathan Stanley says:

    Rafael ***? As Hui (different Hui, but hey!) people are the mostly Muslim ethnic group in East Turkistan, oops, Chinese Turkistan… err, I mean Xinjiang. Yes, Xinjiang.

  4. Gin Soaked Boy says:

    The subtext of Fanny’s suggestion is that the great unwashed are all a bit thick, can’t be trusted to think clearly and therefore should not be given too many choices. Leave it to her and her clever pals to run thing. Don’t let the plebs fret about this. Nothing to see here, move on.

  5. gweiloeye says:

    “…it would be difficult for voters to understand their platforms.”
    Wow, way to basically say voters are all too dumb!!

    Anyway the most important news I found was on page A8 of the scmp:
    TOKYO – “Japanese police have got to the bottom of a mysterious crime wave that aw 200 leather bicycle saddles vanish in a matter of months reports say: Joji Kondo, 35, confessed to police that he would steal the saddles, then sniff and lick them at home, the Sports Hochi reported. He told officers that he like the texture and smell of leather, particularly “saddles sat on by women”. – AFP

  6. Real ***** Player says:

    @ gweiloeye :

    Good to know that you are keeping a****** of the news in Japan
    ***ilating stuff

    But are you sure that his name was Joji Kondo and not Joji Takeshita? (sorry : Take****a )

    Anyway the police got to the ****** of it.

  7. gweiloeye says:

    Real ***** Player

    You might onto something here. How about a challange to Mr Hemlock to self censor tomorrows article. Could be fun.

  8. Andanotherthing says:

    Fanny, as we might expect, is just playing a well-tried and tested HK government line of adjusting the number of choices to suit the game but perhaps with a slightly more subtle ring to it. Hasn’t the government often played the numbers game – if it doesn’t want a clear consensus to emerge it offers a number of choices thereby allowing itself not to have to make a decision and continue the status quo. In other situations it offers a very limited choice and usually gets what it wants. Either way it wins. Fanny probably surmises that three candidates are enough to make it appear a choice exists, a two-horse race would not be acceptable and a single candidate is just not on.

    Nice to see that Malcolm Tucker’s (The Thick of It) ‘omnishambles’ has made it into the online version of the Oxford Dictionary. Such an apt description of contemporary Hong Kong.

  9. Real Tax Payer says:

    I begin to despair for 2017 CE elections.

    Seems every political party are either wimps or washouts, sad to say.

    But I still live in hope. Which is why I still live in HK after over half my life, and plan to do so forever

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