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.
Also 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?