Surely its own punishment: being John Tsang

Why did Hong Kong Chief Executive CY Leung keep John Tsang on as Financial Secretary after taking office in mid-2012? We can’t rule out the possibility that as a man with no friends CY lacked an alternative; nor that prospective candidates had the good sense to turn the job down when asked. Many believe that Beijing, with its usual flair for picking talent to lead the Big Lychee, demanded continuity. What we do know is that the career civil-servant generalist remains stuck in a colonial time-warp, in which the population of the city are uninvited guests tolerated as labour but who must not imagine that government is concerned with them in any way.

So we are now getting the same old pre-budget gibberish about how the government is going to run out of money because of the aging population blah blah blah. His arguments were anticipated and shredded a week ago here. The government consistently sucks in more revenue than it knows what to do with and, even after blowing much of it on pointless giant infrastructure projects and civil servants’ bloated pensions, is sitting on some HK$650,000 in accumulated savings per household while reducing welfare expenditure as a percentage of total spending.

That’s your 650 grand, not his or CY’s. Oh, to hear the pro-democrats use their high-profile platforms to shout this loud and clear in the coming weeks. Sadly, they have slipped into a parallel universe where a Communist one-party state will, if asked repeatedly, allow ordinary citizens to nominate whoever they want as candidates in elections. Even so, the rest of the community seems to have had enough of John Tsang’s bleating. Ever since giving each and every one of us HK$6,000, and in return receiving insults for not giving it to those who most needed and deserved it, he has had little credibility left to lose.

In fairness (not feeling myself today) people like him and Chief Secretary Carrie Lam are at least hanging in there, no doubt sincere in their delusions that they are ‘serving the community’. That’s more than can be said for the next generation of Administrative Officers, many of whom have fled the constant torment of lawmakers, media and political appointees for cozy sinecures in chambers of commerce, public-friendly commissions and charities.

If the elderly genuinely threaten to become such a high-maintenance part of our populace that they will somehow manage to gorge themselves on a trillion bucks of reserves and demand more, there is a simple precaution John can take now: freeze civil servants’ pay for many, many years until it gets within (say) 20% of private-sector employees’. That would, over the decades, free up several hundred million more to keep the greedy, grasping grey-hairs happy.

On the subject of waste, today’s South China Morning Post came with a) a glossy wrap-around pushing luxury apartments in London; b) a 78-page glossy ‘Voice of avant-garde Asia’ called Style, containing pictures of grotesque people in outlandish clothes; and c) a 122-page glossy pile of drivel called Audi, containing pictures of ugly cars and even uglier people and (God, how original) tacky watches – all of which naturally gets heaved straight into the trash, as just about everyone involved in producing the stuff knew it would. I declare the weekend open with the thought that it’s not only government that pours wealth down the toilet.


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13 Responses to Surely its own punishment: being John Tsang

  1. colonelkurtz says:

    Come the revolution, designer bauble wearers and occupants of Alphards and other double parked cars with vanity or cross-border number plates will be the first to be hung from lamp posts or put up against alley way walls and otherwise dealt with roughly by angry tribunals of proletarian justice. The SCMP luxury junk inserts are just helping out by making them easier to identify. As does HK Tatler, honarary doctorates, JPs, Jockey Club badges etc. They’re performing, an albeit prospective, public service. We just need to rename Occupy Central something more likely to send shivers through the appropriate people like the Committee for Public Safety.

  2. Grog says:

    How much longer do we need to be served by John Tsang? Looking forward to this years discrepancy between the forecast and actual. Would be funny if it weren’t so freaking frustrating.

  3. Big Al says:

    I’m betting that he’s out by at least HKD 50B this year … any takers?

  4. PropertyDeveloper says:

    In all fairness, the hapless John Tsang may be doing his best in his own lights. Remember, he’s got CY as boss, and above him all the CP apparatchiks; he works in a cultural universe where the public good (res publica) is never considered; and he has to deal with an increasingly bolshie citizenship.

    And of course it’s not really our money: we’re just holding it for the next generation of Shezhenites, for when HK officially becomes one of its suburbs.

  5. reductio says:

    Hemmers, it’s getting irritating the way you belittle magazines such as “Style”. Only after perusing today’s copy did I realise that to complete my life I need a HK$2.6 million speaker system (why? Because it MOVES ABOUT!) together with a cutting-edge suit made of a new type of material “designed for today’s lifestyle”. This would enable vomit and cocaine dust to be easily brushed off during any police raids at my prestigious, exclusive penthouse. And what, pray, is a “watch”? I only wear prestigious (hold on said that), exclusive (no, mmmm…ah), distinguished tourbillon timepieces.

  6. Joe Blow says:

    On another subject: CNY is coming up and I have booked a stand at Victoria Park’s Chinese New Year Market. This year I’ll be selling inflatable sex dolls.

    Of course, there will be the regular models that you all know and love (“Kirsten”, “Sylvia” and “Bonnie Gokson”).
    And to keep up with the incessant consumer demand for novelty we introduce the Deluxe ‘talking’ models, like:

    Model “Elsie”: squeeze left one, cackles, nobody understands a word.
    Model “Emily”: squeeze right one, screeches like a banshee, scares little animals away.
    Model “Rita”: big-assed, she squeals, even if you don’t touch her. She has a soft spot for Shanghai gangsters.
    Model “Regina”: this model has a collapsed face and nothing to squeeze, even when fully inflated. However, she is a dual-use doll: front and back. If you use the back option it says witty one-liners, like “This will affect civil service morale” and “woof woof”.

    I expect to make a killing. See y’all then.

  7. Oneleggoalie says:

    Joe Blow funny.

    Somehow turned on with Regina back door reference…Uruguay Gold potent stuff…

  8. Pat says:

    great stuff Joe!

  9. How dare you belittle the PCMP’s valiant efforts to boost the local paper recycling industry?!

  10. AHW says:

    Oh poor Joe, you so are so, so behind the times.

    “Bonnie” changed her name to “Bonnae” ages ago, dahling.


  11. reductio says:


    Many Thanks. I could have mad a disastrous faux pas at my next Tatler photoshoot. I knew Bonnae was an outstanding individual but was not aware that [she was] “recognised as one of China’s Top 100 Most Outstanding Women, SCMP named her Woman of Our Time in 2012. She is the author of the coffee table book Butterflies And All Things Sweet.” Live to learn.

  12. Pornstar Wong says:

    Joe Blow. How much do you charge for the, ahem, Anson model?

  13. Gerald says:

    Purrlease – the wicked are not ‘hung’ from lamposts. They are ‘hanged’- much more humiliating.

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