We haven’t heard much from the pro-democracy Occupy Central movement lately. Maybe they’re still on the beach in Penang, sipping pina coladas and having their hair braided. Just as we’re on the verge of forgetting they were ever there, the Silent Majority for HK comes along with full-page newspaper ads to keep the radical freedom-fighters in the public eye…
Where have I seen that typeface before? I believe it was on the old English-language PRC Customs Declaration form, circa late 1980s, which you filled in at the border to inform the Mainland authorities how many gold bars and bicycles you were carrying. And the clunky misshapen red bold font in the headline (below)? Wasn’t that the one used in the apartheid signage to indicate which immigration booth travellers should use (‘Hong Kong and Taiwan compatriots’, ‘Chinese compatriots with foreign passports’, ‘Capitalist-Roader Barbarians’, etc)?
As well as delivering Occupy Central free publicity, the Silent Majority for HK performs another valuable PR service to their enemies: the pro-Beijing loyalists come across as such pompous, self-righteous bores that they make the civil disobedience planners look untainted by the slightest hint of pretentiousness or grandstanding. (And that’s before we recoil at the purple prose, and shiver down the back of the neck at the sight of the creepy Communist typefaces.) Sympathizers of the universal suffrage cause may register their appreciation at the Silent Majority’s Facebook page.
Meanwhile, life goes on. Mak Chai-kwong, the Development Secretary whose term of office was briefer than the half-life of element 115, is appealing against his conviction for taking part in a civil servants’ housing scam back in the aforementioned 1980s. All he got was a suspended sentence.
This is the sort of high and mighty, I-insist-on-not-losing-face attitude that makes our civil servants so popular. Shades of ex-Security Secretary Regina Ip’s outrage that officials bowed to public pressure and agreed to give welfare handouts to poor people living in illegal dwellings. We usually suppose that bad policies result from entrenched and blinkered attitudes in the top administrative levels of government bureaus. But perhaps the bureaucrats know every bit as well as the rest of us that their education, traffic, health, planning and environmental thinking is crap – they just refuse to change because it would be too humiliating to admit that they were wrong.
The Standard tells us:
In sentencing them, the judge said he had considered their outstanding contributions to society [covering Hong Kong with vast, multi-lane clover-leaf freeway intersections no-one uses], the submissions by former chief secretaries Stephen Lam Sui-lung [huh?] and Henry Tang Ying-yen [whaaaat?!] as well as Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah [!!!] and the fact that they had returned the money with interest [well, gee, thanks guys, and how much did those City Garden units appreciate in value since you bought them?].
Still, it’s interesting: if you are convicted of an offense and don’t have ‘submissions’ from the simpering, weasel-like Stephen Lam and (for God’s sake) Henry Tang, you get a stiffer sentence. I’ll bear it in mind.*
And the South China Morning Post discovers horrifying, wide-scale child abuse. Six-year-old kids in Shenzhen are getting up well before dawn and enduring four-hour bus rides to get to their schools on this side of the border. Among the effects: missed lessons, lack of sleep and nightmares – but worst of all, missed lessons. And we’re not even told when they get their five hours of homework done every night.
Hold that nasty if understandable thought that it serves them right for abusing Hong Kong taxpayers’ hospitality: they are but innocent babes. We can only hope the pushy parents feel suitably punished one day when the little mites emerge from this hell as ketamine-addled rebels who fail their accountancy exams.
*Of course, it could be that the judge was revolted by the ‘submissions’ from Lam and Henry and instantly reversed his previous decision to find them not guilty – and only narrowly avoided giving in to the temptation to give them 20 years each.