Regina Goes Hip and Groovy for Youth Vote

According to adjacent items in today’s Standard, Hong Kong’s pro-democracy Occupy protests are damaging the economy, and the inclusion of Liberal Studies in the local high-school curriculum is being blamed for student participation in the demonstrations. Given the high student presence at the sit-ins, logic tells us that Liberal Stan-FingerPointsStudies damages the economy. But that strips the Umbrella movement out of the equation, when the idea is to vilify it.

Like this: Occupy Central threatens the rule of law in Hong Kong. All obedient officials, pro-establishment figures, pro-Beijing mouth-frothers and of course Chinese state media are saying so. Like the ‘economic damage’ claim, it has become a core Line to Take, designed to persuade moderates who love Hong Kong’s traditional values that the protestors endanger us all.

Just as China’s slowdown is far more likely to impact the Purchasing Managers’ Index than kids camping in streets, the ‘rule of law’ allegation doesn’t wash. School exam administrators hilariously helpfully issued guidance for essay-markers on this very issue a while ago. ‘Rule of law’, they advised, is distinct from merely obeying the law. (It essentially means rules-based rather than arbitrary government. You could accuse the Hong Kong government of damaging rule of law by not removing the activists illegally obstructing highways. Or you could perhaps accuse the protestors of showing disrespect for the law, though preferably not while double-parking your Mercedes in Central.) The education officials issuing the advice, by the way, oversee Liberal Studies.

Pro-establishment legislator Regina Ip recently called for Liberal Studies to be made an elective subject. She could have been jumping on the Liberal Studies-causes-riots bandwagon – she can’t resist a bandwagon. But she could also be concerned that the trendy, wishy-washy subject eats into time kids could be devoting to serious stuff like Elizabethan poet Sir Philip Sidney. Or her disturbingly obvious lust for the Chief Executive’s job compels her to say anything at any time. (More on Regina’s devotion to both the English language and political ambition here.)

We can see this in her new suggestion to solve the Stroppy Politically Active Student Problem that is mysteriously afflicting contemporary Hong Kong: transfer seats on the CE Election/Nominating Committee from the Agriculture and Fisheries sector to the kids.

In all fairness, it’s such a wonderfully cynical idea that a politician in a real democracy would be proud of it. Obviously, it pisses off the Ag-and-Fish people, who want to keep their 60 (of 1,200) seats on the committee that rubber-stamps Beijing’s choice for the Chief Executive ‘elections’ and would OK the ballot under the ‘universal suffrage’ proposed for 2017. They cling to the seats, we can guess, because their economically defunct industries qualify for various government handouts, and having 5% of the votes on these rubber-stamp bodies keeps the whoops-no-fish-left-in-sea grants coming. Regina calculates that she can sacrifice support among a few aging farmers in return for the adulation of the millions of Up and Coming Youth of Today.

I’m surprised she doesn’t propose a Functional Constituency seat for students in the Legislative Council. Maybe she will.

To pro-democrats of any stripe, the idea is a laughable attempt to co-opt opponents via a purely symbolic role in a corrupt rigged system they want to end, and proof that Regina doesn’t come close to Getting It. To Regina herself, it is a bold and clever bid for future votes by appearing hip and groovy and in tune with the younger generation. The really scary bit: by pro-Beijing/establishment standards, it is.


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15 Responses to Regina Goes Hip and Groovy for Youth Vote

  1. Reader says:

    Surely Ip’s silly pitch of ‘put students on the NC’ — based on the insidious mis-characterisation of the call for real democracy as coming entirely from a bunch of (young, gullible, shallow, sponging ..) STUDENTS — is designed to cause a reaction of “oh no, it wouldn’t be right to give power to this small subset of the population”, which easily morphs into “don’t change the status quo” – ie. leave power in the hands of a few small subsets of the population.

  2. pcatbar says:

    It is easy and usually justified to be cynical about RI. But at least she is addressing the only issue on which there is obvious scope to improve on the retrograde democracy model for the 2017 CE ‘election’ currently decreed by BJ. By swapping A&F for students on the NC it would become more broadly representative, (as required by BL). Of course changes would need to go a lot further to achieve a fair composition of the NC but I fail to see why RI is hammered for making a start when our so called Govt. does nothing!

  3. Maugrim says:

    Of all the names who appear on these pages from time to time that I have met, Regina is the most chilling of all. There’s something about her. She’s not stupid by any means, in fact I had the feeling she thinks she’s smarter than everyone else. I would trust Her as far as I could throw her. As to Liberal Studies, it’s quite ironic in that it’s the one subject that is meant to reduce rote learning and get kids to think. The kids are thinking and the Government doesn’t like it . If you want Machiavellian, go back and see who first implemented the subject . Now that would be interesting .

  4. Oneleggoalie says:

    Msss Ip has shown to be at the very least…a force that actually has political nous…
    …compared to the business/tycoon types that insist on clowning in politics…she is a viable choice as C.E.

  5. Cassowary says:

    pcatbar, Regina’s proposal doesn’t even begin to address the tangled mess of uncontested seats, corporate voting, special interests and horse trading that is the CE election committee. I would call it “rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic” but that would be an insult to deck chairs, and to the Titanic.

  6. Stephen says:


    Whilst I agree with you that unless the CCP have, a “Road to Damascus”, the nominating committee is where an answer might lie. However replacing the Ag & Fish, which no longer really exists, with Students, will change nothing. Only seismic changes within the nominating committee that allow a Pro-Dem candidate to get nominated (50%) will satisfy enough Pro-Dem’s to get this through Legco. However the CCP will orchestrate behind the scenes so this will not be allowed to happen. Therefore whatever superficial crap Vagina, Carrie etc propose it will not satisfy the aim of a real choice for voters. Therefore it will rightly be vetoed.

    What happens then is where it might get interesting. When Donald failed to get his non-reforms through and gave up the Liaison office stepped in and did a deal with the Democratic Party – will history repeat itself? I am not optimistic.

  7. Real Tax Payer says:

    It’s a moot point, but if any of the students are brought to court to face charges of disobeying the law, blocking public roads, ignoring injunctions etc they can call on at least two very well-established precedents:

    1. The behavior of the indigenous villagers who have long-flouted the law as regards illegal structures (not to mention certain very high-ranking civil servants)

    2. Rampant illegal parking (which appears to be officially condoned between 22.00 PM and 08.00 AM … it seems the traffic laws do not apply during those 10 hours, so perhaps equally camping in public roads is legal during the hours of civil protest)

    Having said that, the “love and peace” of OC seems to be fast evaporating.

    Guy Fawkes used gunpowder , so what next in Mongkok?

  8. Grumpy Old Sod says:

    Does anyone perchance know on what criteria the NC seats are allocated? And what the current breakdown is?

    Besides the usual tycoon/relative of, dying/parasite industry, entrenched interest, functional constituencies and a few places left for teachers/drs/lawyers and associated hippy democrat riffraff etc etc….

    It’s a token gesture but at least old Reg has made a start.

  9. nulle says:

    why don’t we just issue 1200 new seats in the NC and distribute them to the pro-democracy side? Pro-democracy side distributes them to students, pro-dem univ profs, pro-dem activists…

    then again, CCP or the Liasion Office turds won’t go for these measures…CCP would love to drag this out or have the PLA come in, circa hk1969…

  10. Henry says:

    Regina is being hammered for doing something vs doing nothing because doing nothing would be more honest that what she’s proposing.

  11. Cassowary says:

    Grumpy Old Sod: Assuming the NC is going to be based on the current Election Committee, here’s the breakdown.

    1st sector: Commercial. Tycoons, tycoons and more tycoons. It’s virtually all corporate votes, and loads of uncontested seats.

    2nd sector: Professions. Some of these like the teachers and lawyers are all human voters and usually return democrats. Others, like engineering and architectural, surveying and planning are elected by a mixture of corporations and humans. They often (though not always) go to the pro-Beijing side.

    3rd sector: Social welfare, religious, labour and culture. Social welfare (the only sector with all human voters) usually swings democratic, the other three lean pro-Beijing. Please note that “religious” doesn’t mean that all clergy can vote; the seats are divvied up among 6 religious organisations. Similarly, labour means “1 union, 1 vote”. And the culture/sports/performing arts seats mean “1 philanthropic cultural organisation whose boards are full of tycoons’ wives and children/ 1 media corporation, 1 vote”.

    4th sector: Political. Legco, the district councils, the NPC, CPPCC, and of course the Heung Yee Kuk.

  12. Joe Blow says:

    Vagina looks like The Joker from Batman, but less sympathetic.

    To all those concerned (constipated middle-class) citizens who claim that the democracy fighters are undermining the rule of law, and that the law must be protected and enforced: building illegal extensions to your home is also unlawful and therefore undermining the rule of law. So let’s start there first. Oh wait, that’s you, and you, and you…..(and The Liar, of course).

    “Oh well, let’s just talk about something else”.

  13. Adam says:

    In 2012, after much effort, the democrats secured about 200/1200 seats on the election committee. Regina herself was completely unable to obtain the necessary 150 nominations to even enter the race. This should give pause for thought, whenever she claims, as she often does that there is no reason the democrats may not reach the 50% threshold.

    So, at most Regina’s suggestion gives the students and hence democrats, another 15 seats, or an extra 1.25% of the needed 50%. That assumes of course that the student vote is not diluted by other voices in the youth sector, e.g. the odious HK Youth Care Association (best known for terrorising Falun Gong), The Girl Guides Association (who signed up to Anti-Occupy Central) and various mainland student groups which may suddenly appear.

    More interesting would be a suggestion to give every person working in a bank a vote in the finance sector. Can’t imagine many investment bankers will be happy that social workers, teachers and (potentially) students are allowed to vote and they are not.

    Or…gulp…start a universal suffrage sector of say 100 seats.

  14. Joe Blow says:

    Please support the revolution in every small way you can:

    Do not eat or drink in Semen’s bars and restaurants.

    Do not go to Lan Kwai Fong.

    Leave Lan Kwai Fong to the mainland tourists, the street whores and the gwai jais in front of 7-11.

    There are many good alternatives to LKF.

  15. old git says:

    Hong Kong Tuen Mun Hueng Sze Wui wish to announce that Sushi Shop in Tuen Mun MTRC Station is democratic by price and by public housing estate by belly full and LegCo has nothing to do with it

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