Meanwhile, in a parallel universe far far away…

Many of us, it goes without saying, are still getting over the excitement of the 2013 Honours List announced July 1. The thrill comes from the extreme care officials take when determining the recipients; they calculate finely how to reward loyalty, to pointedly ignore uppity outsiders, and to very mildly patronize or insult (typically with the lowly Bronze Bauhinia Star) in-betweens and overly-drooling social climbers. All the obvious awardees reached the pinnacle Grand Bauhinia Medal and Gold Bauhinia Star levels long ago, and Hong Kong’s establishment does not specialize in attracting large regular volumes of new blood, so the process has very much become an exercise in scraping the bottom of the barrel.

Thus the Big Lychee’s top Buddhist received his GBM on Saturday, and his Protestant and Catholic equivalents do not. Unlike him, the Christians have been vocal in calling for political reform in Hong Kong. Widely reviled rat-strangling pro-Beijing lawmaker Priscilla Leung gets a Silver Bauhinia Star, while pro-democracy legislators with higher approval ratings/IQ/decency are nowhere to be seen. The honours system, theoretically designed to symbolize community respect for outstanding individuals, has become a way for an isolated and mediocre ‘elite’ to express its contempt towards everyone else.

Those who take the honours seriously, however, take them Very Seriously Indeed. A glorious bit of puffed-up shoe-shining appeared in full-page ads over the weekend congratulating Chen Ning-ning on getting a BBS…

Known as Diana to her friends and ‘China’s Steel Princess’ to the media, Chen and princeling family run big iron and rare earths interests, coming in at number 66 on Forbes’ Mainland rich list. Grandfather Lu Dong, it just so happens, was Metallurgy Minister. She is also the honorary consul in Hong Kong for the Seychelles, which is presumably why the Prime Minister of the Indian Ocean nation occupies the top half of the ad. The bottom half features a long list of Hong Kong’s most fawning and obsequious toadies.

Behold Henderson Land heir Peter Lee, father of embarrassing surrogate designer triplets. There’s Bunny Chan, loyal member of too many government advisory bodies to mention. We have Beijing-friendly Phoenix TV’s Sally Wu. And Moses Cheng, Bunny-like appointee to everything, who also appears in the news today offering an incomprehensible reason (there may well be good ones) why government cannot run kindergartens. Irons and Rock make an appearance, as do Maisy and Pansy (but not Daisy) Ho, of Macau casino-king Stanley’s clan.  

Three organizations leap out. First, Centrum Charitas and Y-Elites; nice to know they’re still around. Both groups comprise the offspring of Hong Kong plutocrats and aim to convince us (or possibly Beijing) that, while waiting to inherit their aging fathers’ parasitical cartels, they are caring deeply about society and the motherland. And there’s the HK United Youth Association, a United Front vehicle with that classic characteristic of the wannabe elite, more vice-chairmen than ordinary members.

Chen Ning Ning got her BBS, incidentally, ‘for her valuable contribution to the promotion of youth development in Hong Kong’. It would be interesting to know more details. Or no – perhaps it wouldn’t. Anyway, we look forward to the spontaneous, gratuitous shoe-shining that spews forth on the day she gets her Silver.

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12 Responses to Meanwhile, in a parallel universe far far away…

  1. Sojourner says:

    Hey don’t knock these lists.

    Come the revolution they’ll facilitate the process of hunting them down and hanging them from lamp posts.

  2. PropertyDeveloper says:

    Wonderful opening paragraphs, full of classic Hemlockian irony and cynicism — couldn’t have done better myself.

    Then the rest is a perfectly heroic attempt to digest the indigestible, to give the unreadable a smattering of narrative structure and fluidity, to distinguish by every possible means between all the undistinguished and indistinguishable cloned zombies.

  3. Big Al says:

    I vote that Hemlock should receive a GBS for services in attempting to remove the heads of the administration from their own backsides. Oh, wait, I don’t have a vote …

  4. maugrim says:

    Groucho Marx’s “I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member” comes to mind. Priscilla Leung represents so much of what HK now is. I do like the pictograph. I’d love to know what the various axis would be labelled as.

  5. The Regulator says:

    C Y Leung’s 318 handshakes…..cripes…..his hand must still be shaking

  6. Real Scot Player says:

    Superb post on the Honours embarrassment that Hong Kong now

  7. gweiloeye says:

    Do these things get suggested by a “think tank”. They seem to be the force du jour based on the front page of today’s SCMP.

  8. maugrim says:

    I’ve just had a closer read of the names of the shoeshiners, Moses, Irons, Rock, Pansy, Bunny and Monin Ung. You couldn’t make such stuff up. Eleven Vice-chairmen, very HK.

  9. Joe Blow says:

    I would like to slow-roast Bunny over a fire of vacuous titles.

  10. Real Tax Payer says:

    Hey – when do I get a GBS ?

    After all, my hard -earned tax money goes to pay for this BS !

  11. Incredulous says:

    Even Martin Lee is on the list – shurely shome mistake – ED.

  12. Oneleggoalie says:

    Oneleg laments…Life of Brian-like…how his Sodom and Gomorrah-like city has been usurped by low class arseholes…

    We used to be under the yolk of a much classier bunch of world class arseholes.

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