Last gasp of the has-beens


For what seems like the second – maybe third – time, former Hong Kong Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa launches his new think-tank. With its honorary advisors having an average age of 91, my hopes of succeeding as a parodist lie in tatters.

SCMP-TungLooksAlso involved: former Chief Justice (and former Sir) TL Yiang, former Hospital Authority Chairman Anthony ‘barred for two years’ Wu, and former (but you guessed that anyway) Financial Secretary Antony ‘Lexus’ Leung.

Maybe we should call it the Former Club, or just plain Has-Beens City – or perhaps the United Ex-Reptiles of Big Lychee Bureaucrat-Plutocracy. But, as we were told at its previous unveiling, its official name is the Our Hong Kong Foundation. In Filipino and some other languages, there are three ways of saying ‘us/we’. One means ‘you and me and no-one else’. Another means ‘you and me and others’. The third means ‘me and some others but not you’. No prizes for guessing which ‘our’ applies here.

In reality, this was the launch of Lexus Leung’s trial quasi-campaign for Chief Executive in 2017. (By saying that God will decide whether he goes for the job, he means Beijing.) This opening bid would have been planned before the Umbrella-Occupy movement crashed onto the scene, and we can imagine the League of Has-Beens dithering before hastily deciding to use (‘leverage’ they would say) the student uprising as an issue.

Thus Leung boldly ‘hits out’ at the terrible way the government has ignored the young for years and years, including back when he was FS. His plan: ‘discussion’ on how to address young people’s needs – discussion involving ‘government and developers’ (you can’t make this up). Tung adds some blather about technology and innovation as a way to help youths, which brings to mind his generosity to Li Ka-shing’s son Richard, who got the Cyberport luxury-apartment ‘tech-hub’ project (you can’t etc).

I haven’t seen a full membership list. But so far as I can see, the big property tycoons are conspicuous by their absence in the think-tank/campaign (middling Peter Woo of Wharf Holdings comes closest, and the boy Richard appears). With pro-democracy students building barricades in the streets, it must have dawned on even the dimmest Lexus Campaign member that the cartel bosses best stay away. Instead, the organizers roped in some publicly subsidized Olympic cyclists in a desperate attempt to bring the average age down, and presumably connect with the kids. Also apparently absent: any meaningful representation from the pro-Beijing DAB, young or old. They’re not dumb.

By contriving the Needs of Our Youth as a platform, the campaign is obviously trying to make a virtue out of a necessity. Not cynical, just embarrassingly naïve – a deluded and out-of-touch gang of yesterday’s old, grey, clapped-out clown-cronies who failed last time and expect to get another chance without riots breaking out. The Chinese Communist Party and Hong Kong’s rebellious, unpatriotic students could surely speak as one here: Forget it…


Further to my recent suggestion that they rename our schools’ most troublesome subject ‘Radical’ rather than ‘Liberal’ Studies, I am delighted to see that great minds think alike. Indeed, China Daily never ceases to amuse: how about White Guy Opposes Brown People Working in Hong Kong?

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15 Responses to Last gasp of the has-beens

  1. Stephen says:

    Now that I’ve heard it from you I’m inclined to think Antony Leung is indeed thinking about it ? Why should he succeed whilst all other CE’s have failed and failed quite spectacularly ? He’ll have no mandate as the Pro-Dems have vowed (correctly) to veto any proposal, based on Beijing’s (non) reforms, hence his anointment will be through the ludicrous election committee. This could get nasty and these dullards are taking us straight there.

  2. Chinese Netizen says:

    Poor Paul Surtees…only given the occasional space in the SCMP’s letters section, he has to become the token Lao Wai comedy relief for a puppet rag to get his little annoyances and prejudices aired in public.
    Probably has an SME on the mainland so he needs to curry more and more good will from the benevolent Mandarins.

  3. Hills says:

    Yes, I like the thinking of that white dude in the China Daily. And it is all based on a visit to a restaurant where he had to wait for a menu from a foreign waitress. His further investigations brought him to the discovery that hat makers are a protected profession in Thailand, so that is good news for the ever thriving hat making industry in Hong Kong.
    Tung should appoint this guy in his think tank.

  4. Maugrim says:

    Paul Surtees, all I can say is his pic doesn’t do him justice, he’s even far more insipid looking in real life. Speaking of whitey, is there a place more openly derisive of the role that ‘white’ people can play in society than HK? On Armistice Day I’d like to acknowledge the young white men who died in Wanchai gap and other places, defending HK. Lest we forget.

  5. PD says:

    Actually, to want to be an illegitimate CE, representing little more than the Heung Yee Kuk, the “P” “L” A and Xi Jin-ping, doomed to be universally hated from day one, you have to be stupid or insane, and very brave. So pinhead Leung would be welcome to it.

    In any case, just think of the alternatives…

  6. Grumpy Old Sod says:

    @Maugrim – it was a jolly good turnout this morning at the Cenotaph btw. 40-odd souls gathered, stood their ground stoically for their individually-timed 2 minutes silence and then ambled off their separate ways without nary a word said. All very dignified and understated.

  7. Tom says:

    Curious about the clusivity* of “our” in “Our Hong Kong”, I went to find out what the Chinese name of Tung’s outfit is, to see if it used the inclusive 咱們or the could-be-either 我們.

    As it turns out, it’s neither. The Chinese name (i.e. arguably the “real” name) is 團結香港基金會 – United Hong Kong Foundation, or perhaps Solidarity Hong Kong if you prefer.

    Rather than anything meaning “our”, the first word is 團結, as in Mao’s phrase 军民团结: “unity between the army and the people”.

    Looking for other example sentences with 團結, I was interested to find quite a few CN-EN dictionaries feature this one:
    We should unite and share a bitter hatred of the enemy.

    * Surprisingly, this is a word.

  8. Cassowary says:

    Why do I have a mental image of a bunch of rich geezers sitting in a conference room going “Hmmm. Now how do we sell CEPA to young folk? I know, let’s stick one of them whatchacallit Japanese cartoon Pokey Monsters on it, isn’t that what kids are into these days?”

  9. Cassowary says:

    “Only make it red. With yellow stars on. So it’s patriotic, see? My nephew is studying graphic design in California. I’ll ask him to draw it.”

  10. C.Law says:

    Tom, very interesting, thank you. I think you have nailed it there. The thing with this think tank is to watch the membership in future. I will be surprised if it does not include the third generation tycoon kids, there so that they can get a good start in profitable networking, thanks to Tung Suk, who despite his lack of talent in other fields is an excellent networker.

    Re the Surtees article: HK already has restrictions on imported labour and it would be very difficult to get permission to import someone for a waiter’s job. The people Surtees (allegedly) saw were either illegal workers or were HK residents entitled to work here. Either way he just proves himself to be very ill-informed.

  11. Joe Blow says:

    The best thing about Our Hong Kong Establishment is that it doesn’t include Vagina, Aching-Bones or Semen.

    But where are Arculli and “Bonnae” Gokson ?

  12. Joe Blow says:

    If the pigs dismantle Mong Kok there will be blood in the street.

    Busses will be hi-jacked
    Cars will burn
    Shops will be looted
    People will get hurt and TV footage will flash around the world. Except in China, where it will flash on the internet, lame attempts at censorship notwithstanding.

    The crowd in Mong Kok are the folks who have been shafted all their lives by the ‘nice people’.
    They don’t give a shit about nothing.

    Putting Mong Kok alight will change things forever.

  13. Scotty Dotty says:

    Sad to say it, but there’s plenty of signs the youthful leadership around Occupy are on the same track as Tung, they’re just a few notches / years down the evolution

    Let’s face it, the Occupy students are starting to look as pathetic as Tung. It’s sad to say it but we all know it. The Occupy response/ strategy to nobody listening is to seek guanxi and cooperation with Hong Kong elites (not in the intellectual sense, you understand), if that fails to get face time with whatever snivelling corrupt peon they can find. Rule of man, not rule of law in other words. Same as Tung.

  14. Chinese Netizen says:

    @Maugrim 2:12pm – Amen.

  15. Laguna Lurker says:

    “Think tank”? Don’t they mean “dementia tank”?

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