Ricky for 2017!

The South China Morning Post celebrates its 110th anniversary today with a special supplement looking back on 1.1 centuries’ of Hong Kong history. It includes the editorial from the first edition to appear after the end of the Japanese occupation, a look back at the never-ending wrangling over democracy and similar interesting stuff. And, page after page, the pull-out unwittingly carries an alternative, parallel account of how the city came to be where it is today – in the form of the face-giving advertisements from big companies congratulating the paper on this noteworthy occasion. Of the 14, nine are from developers and landlords.

Meanwhile, the government produces its sorry and sad apologia about the ongoing HKTV licensing saga. It attempts to justify the Executive Council’s decision by amplifying its previously announced reasoning with more detail – detail that somehow manages not to add anything of interest. It also states that there is no need for the Legislative Council to invoke the Powers and Privileges Ordinance to force the government to reveal all, as this “will politicize the matter but offer no help in resolving it.” Unlike everyone just shutting up and forgetting the whole thing.

The first two Chief Executives – tycoon Tung and bureaucrat Tsang – both oversaw pretty blatant acts of official collusion with the family-run cartels. To take just a few examples, we saw curbs on land and housing supply to protect and push up developers’ profits, the granting of free or cut-rate development rights (Cyberport, Grand Promenade, at least one Urban Renewal Authority project) and, until recently, tolerance of consumer rip-offs like lying about apartment sizes. CY Leung had at least a partial claim to be different, but now, in the public eye, he has blown it. However technically or turgidly you put it, HKTV’s bid for a licence was rejected because, in effect, owner Ricky Wong doesn’t come from one of the half-dozen or so families for whom Hong Kong is run.

Yet CY will probably get through it. He has the robotic support of the Communist loyalists. The tycoons will grudgingly back him out of expedience, as will the broader pro-establishment business community whose retail, engineering and other interests gobble up the crumbs that fall out of the trough. Even the pro-democrats will fail to make the most of the collusion angle, and not just through incompetence; many of the Democratic and Civic Parties’ leaders’ legal practices – like the newspapers – depend to some degree on the big conglomerates for business. Our political system leaves the likes of Ricky Wong unrepresented. Given the lameness of our current politicians, and the constant whining about the shortage of talent in public affairs, could there be an opening for him somewhere?

At what point will the government, if it is to serve tycoons above all, step in to prevent property prices from falling too much? The SCMP notes that apartments are getting that teeny bit less unaffordable, and specifically mentions three projects that, it happens, are noteworthy for the ineptness of their names. The problem is: they are running out of wacky things to call ugly high-rises. What is a hemera? It sounds like some sort of painful, bloody rupture in the abdomen. The homes, by the way, are not to be sniffed at: they’re near a huge landfill. As for The Hemispheres, the two in my brain produce different word-associations: ‘Christopher Columbus’, discoverer of a new one, and ‘boobs’ (or your favourite equivalent – word-associations are actually picture-associations, for me at least). This Henderson Land project is predictably promoted by the Standard, which raves at how the generous discounts will bring a 284-square-foot apartment to below HK$6 million. Small, crumb-eating loser-developer Nan Fung’s ‘Visionary’ might be better value, being in Tung Chung, a place so fun, exciting and convenient to live in that public housing units lie empty.

(Hemera is, of course, as we all know, the goddess of daytime – the period in our 24-hour cycle during which the project’s residents will be at work, paying off the mortgage and thus Li Ka-shing.)

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10 Responses to Ricky for 2017!

  1. maugrim says:

    Even the pro-democrats will fail to make the most of the collusion angle, and not just through incompetence; many of the Democratic and Civic Parties’ leaders’ legal practices

    The nail hit firmly on the head. Add to that where their children work etc and you get closer to maxims about shitting in one’s own nest or biting the hand that feeds. As such, I ‘trust’ the veracity of the Dems only marginally more than others. Let’s not forget they are after all politicians in one of the world’s most pragmatic cities. But anyway, wait, look over there, is that an apology from the Philippines?

  2. Gumshoe says:

    I like to make fun of the ineptness of the government’s decisions, but the constant unloading of bullpucky in a box labeled “Explanation” about the television scandal is insulting.

    I heard on the radio that the consultant advised against five operating licenses as this would lead to “savage competitiveness between the businesses”. No s**t Sherlock, that’s the point. The craziness of the situation is going to make my head explode.

  3. reductio says:

    Talking of the SCMP. Anybody notice the swingeing difference in the import of the missives on the letters page? On the one hand we have portentous arguments about governance from one Nick Au Yeung (assistant director of media something for CY), two letters on the Occupy Central saga and then (roll of thunder) some guy whining that he had to wait 30 MINUTES for his golf clubs to come off the airport carousel. Wish I had that guy’s problems.

  4. PCC says:

    Well, as the saying goes, “You can always tell a Harvard man, but you can’t tell him much”.

  5. Oneleggoalie says:

    It took 500,000 to depose Tung…Tsang got awaycoz nobody in the streets knew he was vile until too late…
    C.Y. stays coz he’s not the villian and the pro-dems are pants.

    And !!! they’re asking HK$100 mill a year to de elop local football..

    Bring back hanging…spanking and racism.

  6. gweiloeye says:

    284 square feet for HKD 6 million. Bwahahahahaha.

    Please give me the names of the buyers, I have shares in a bridge over Sydney Harbour that they might be interested in..

  7. Sen says:

    Isn’t Hemara feminine for Hemmer ?

  8. Joe Blow says:

    284 square feet for HKD 6 million: is it net or gross ?

    I grew up in a home where the living room alone was bigger than that.

  9. delboy says:

    Sign of the times. ‘Family in mid levels. Looking for a full time, non-smoking, etc,etc. driver for the family. Work hours 8am to 8pm, Monday to Saturdays’.

    Prison is preferable to this job. Happy hk.

  10. I guess full time driver doesn’t mean actually driving 12 hours a day – just on standby during those hours. Could suit an aspiring non-smoking novelist looking for an income but with free time to write.

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