Manila bus saga, cont’d

Sort-of-charismatic-by-Democratic-Party-standards lawmaker James To. Slick and unscrupulous Filipino politicians. Families suffering from the double-misfortune of a) losing loved ones in the Manila bus shooting and b) appearing at a superficial glance to be more interested in money. Hapless Hong Kong government officials trying in vain to herd all the above. And now all-too obviously ambitious legislator and former Security Secretary Regina Ip. Once a tragedy, the 2010 Manila killings saga is becoming a distasteful farce in need of a swift ending – and that’s probably not going to happen.

With no chance of having to take responsibility for anything, Hong Kong’s elected politicians can only strut around trying to look important. Pro-dems, who don’t have to modify their behaviour in accordance with the commands of Beijing’s local officials, especially like to latch onto good and noble causes, which somehow end up being more about themselves and specifically tests of their ability to make ever-more impossible demands. James is making the most of this.

Then we have the slimy Hokkien Mexican-ness of our southern neighbour’s governance, with Manila City Councilman Bernadito Ang offering to convey written apologies and raise lavish compensation from his businessman constituents. If the Big Lychee represents the lame, effete and amateurish end of the spectrum of political style and mannerisms, the Philippines is at the far opposite end, where brutish, corrupt cynicism is an art form. The Hongkongers thought this guy would honour a confidentiality agreement? Please…

And then there are the poor families. It starts off with “Hi, I’m James To and I’m here to help you,” and next thing you know – or maybe they don’t know – they’re being used. We all know that nasty things happen, like someone being shot dead by some lunatic in a Third World city, and we always assume it will happen to someone else, and we have no idea what it must be like when it happens to your own family. Possibly, you are so distraught that you can’t tell when your victimhood and your grievances and your pleas start to get just that little bit unseemly, and no-one has the heart or the gumption to let you know.

Trailing behind all of the above but trying to look involved is the Hong Kong government, wringing its hands with worry that the public might think it’s not wringing its hands with worry enough. The city is not a sovereign power, so getting uppity with a foreign country isn’t part of its administration’s remit or skill-set. To complicate matters, China sees the Philippines as American-backed barbarian intruders into Hainan Lake who need to be taught a lesson to keep the other vassal and tributary states in line. Furthermore, Hongkongers look down on Filipinos for being brown and poor and fit only to help the kids with their English homework, and being irritatingly happy with it. It’s a lot for panicky officials to weigh up before reacting to the latest twist.

And then, with a flash of jet-black fur, the sleek, panther-like form of Regina Ip pounces onto the scene. Unlike General Douglas MacArthur to the Filipinos, she has never uttered the words “I shall return,” but her lust to be back in government – at the top – is embarrassingly obvious, to the rest of us at least. James To has already grabbed the families for himself, and anyway Regina does ‘statesman-like’ rather than ‘cuddly and pain-sharing’, so she is demanding that Hong Kong slaps visa controls on Filipino visitors. Yes, it’s a dumb idea, as she must realize, but it says ‘decisive’, and it says ‘bangs fist on table’, which is more than anyone else around seems capable of, and it got into the news, right? Regina also strides purposefully into the debate on money, otherwise known as ‘compensation’. With Thatcherian aplomb, she declares that of course a dead Hongkonger is worth more than a dead Filipino, because the cost of living is higher here. To which there is no answer.


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26 Responses to Manila bus saga, cont’d

  1. Joe Blow says:

    So now every time a Honkie dies abroad, through accident or other tragic circumstance, the foreign country in question has to pay -ahum- “compensation” ?

    And every time a foreigner gets killed / run over by a Citybus / chokes to death while eating a dumpling, Hong Kong Gov will compensate the families, wherever on Earth they may be ?

  2. Diane Butler says:

    Will the Filipina who got killed in Tiananmen Square this week by the Uygur terrorists also be “compensated” by the Chinese Government ? And how much are we talking, net ?

  3. Sir Crispin says:

    American-backed barbarian intruders into Hainan Lake . . . good one

  4. Headache says:

    slimy Hokkien Mexican-ness, too

  5. Jenny E. says:

    a forced apology is not an apology at all.

  6. I suspect the main reason this story won’t die is that what really killed the tourists is the incompetence of the Manila police. Coupled with the widely reported story that Benny-boy and the then Manila mayor were whooping it up in a nearby restaurant at the time of the events and refused to show any concern, that leads to a feeling that the Philippine government owes something to the victims. However, just about every form of pressure proposed by our useless politicians would hit ordinary innocent Filipinos while having no impact on those in power there.

  7. Praise The Lord says:

    It’s a shame that Vagina wasn’t on the bus. What a dreadful woman.

  8. Big Al says:

    What has Hong Kong’s high cost of LIVING got to do with those who got shot in Manila? Surely they’re DEAD? Now, if Vagina talked about the high cost of being dead in Hong Kong, that would make more sense … or am I missing something here?

  9. Andanotherthing says:

    Agree that there’s no point hitting out at ordinary Filipinos, many of whom were in any case appalled at the way the Manila tragedy was handled. If you want to capture the attention of the rich and powerful (and corrupt) there, better to focus on things like the movement of money to and from the Philippines through Hong Kong. Perhaps this is why businessmen are being ‘encouraged’ to donate to a compensation fund.

  10. maugrim says:

    The whole thing is sordid, on both sides and is like something out Wolfe’s ‘Bonfire of the Vanities”. One missing piece in the puzzle is Joseph ‘Erap’ Estrada, who, once convicted and incarcerated for corruption as President is also the new mayor of Manila. Back when Joe was fleeing the Philippino authorities, he used to use HK as a bolt hole and for medical treatment. I wonder, just wonder if Joe is shoring up ‘another rabbit hole’ by helping HK find a solution? Just a thought.

  11. Cerebos says:

    What a distasteful money-grubbing slick of shit on our collective shoes this is becoming. How much compensation do injured or killed workers get as a result of employer incompetence in HK? Most of the time it’s diddly squat. How often do any of our illustrious tycoons so much as pause the passage of their foie-gras dumplings from basket to mouth when a fatality befalls one of their employees?

    And compensation in this context seems identical to blood-money. Not to denigrate the families who lost loved ones, but surely when one travels there is an implicit acceptance of the potential risks? How many Hk tourists die in overseas traffic accidents each year due to incompetent licensing procedures in less fortunate countries?

  12. Chopped Onions says:

    It all smacks of thinly veiled racism of the kind that is becoming increasingly common here. China for the Chinese and if you don’t like it “go home”
    I find it really depressing that the HK government, (which, as has consistently been pointed out here, isn’t voted in so doesn’t need to play nice,) doesn’t tell the victims families to take the money and shut the feck up.
    Its absurd, rather unpleasant and smacks of opportunism.
    I wish that someone in the PI would get a pair and stand up and say”F@ck you HK, you’re the pimple on the arsehole of china and no one gives a f@ck and while we’re at it , what about compensation for the every worker thats fallen out of a window in the last few years??”
    Greed and racism, nice one HK

  13. Oneleggoalie says:

    Oneleg is sorely disappointed with The Chick Formerly Known As Broomhead…

    She should’ve known better…which brings us to a curious incident on the MTR today…

    An Indian fellow was on the phone shouting…Hello rrrr…Hello rrrr…like all Indians do…

    So Oneleg suggested he bobble his head for a better reception…

  14. PDQ says:

    It is interesting to note that while posters to this forum regularly accuse “the locals” of racism, the perennial casual racism exhibited here is rarely challenged.

  15. PropertyDeveloper says:

    Any story with Manila or Cepa or Yuan or 2030 gets my instant dismissal, so I’m amazed you can bother to dredge all this up once more, knowing that, like a dog eating its vomit, it will come up again and again.

    But I do think the issue has some interest for HK, China-watchers, as it shows yet again (a) the tendency to run racistly amok as soon as nationalism rears its ugly head (b) the total lack of reciprocity in the mindset (cf. do to others, with Confucius saying something similar) (c) the pure greed and (d) I regret to say, the democrats’ demagoguery on international issues, little better than the mouth-frothing patriotic HK-haters.

    I do hope we don’t all get chastised again by a prominent member of the forum for our unfeelingness.

  16. Actually, Big Al, the4 high cost of being dead in Hong Kong is a genuine concern – have you priced gravesites here lately? But though the focus of discussion here seems to be the dead, don’t forget that some of the survivors will suffer lifelong illness and incapacity as a result of their injuries – if anyone needs compensation, it is them.

  17. Gin Soaked Boy says:

    Hemmers, you must be joking … James TO has not one sliver of charisma. As proof his wife left him for a taxi-driver! Plus, having recently been in his company, I’m not certain that oral hygiene is something practiced in the TO household. OK, you’re being ironic.

  18. Sojourner says:

    “the Hong Kong government, wringing its hands with worry that the public might think it’s not wringing its hands with worry enough.”

    Ah, hemmers, you excel.

  19. Peter says:

    I agree with the other poster. I notice a lot of casual racism on this forum against locals. Maybe those in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones?

  20. Oneleggoalie says:

    So…does chanting monkey noises during football matches constitute racism…

    How funny are we allowed be before people who have no sense of humour dictates what is permitted…

    James’ wife left him for a taxi driver ???…well at least it wasn’t a black taxi driver…

  21. Gin Soaked Boy says:

    This talk of racism is giving me an idea for my next movie “Guess who’s coming for yam cha?”

  22. Tiu Fu Fong says:

    Is it racism? I think general misanthropy is often mistaken for racism where the misanthropes live in a society where 99% of the anthropoi are of one race and cultural origin.

  23. Sid says:

    China for the Chinese! Ban all political or social comments by foreign devils!

  24. Chopped Onions says:

    “Casual Racism” is a typical unsubstantiated lefty name calling, implying one’s own superiority and infallibility. Give examples. And also, don’t make the assumption that everyone who reads and comments on this blog is Caucasian (In itself, an example of “casual racism”)

  25. pinoy migrant worker says:

    At first, you feel for the victims, but then you realize in the end: it’s all about the money and self-importance of HK Politicians. President Aquino is a “democratically elected leader of a sovereign state.” Unfortunately not a single word in that phrase applies to HK and its politicians.

    The biggest irony: some if not all of the supposed HK victims were in fact using Canadian passports.

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