Your choice – of three losers

Beijing, an academic told the South China Morning Post over the weekend, “is telling Hong Kong [people] in 2014 who they will be voting for in 2017. The plot seems to have been written.” This followed National People’s Congress Deputy Rita Fan’s suggestion that a three-way Chief Executive race between incumbent CY Leung, ex-Financial Secretary Antony Leung and lawmaker Regina Ip would be ‘a choice’. The assumption is that Fan is passing on word from Chinese officialdom.

The cynical and devious among us will spy a classic bit of expectations-management. They will roll on the floor laughing for several minutes, then compose themselves and reckon that this is just a joke. After shocking the Hong Kong people with the prospect of a ballot comprising three tragically failed no-hoper has-beens, SCMP-RitaFanNamesBeijing’s operatives will leak one or two less-ludicrous names into the gossip-and-rumours system. Relieved, the public will embrace the political reform package and we will get a guided, rigged version of universal suffrage with no further fuss. (What less-ludicrous names? You’ve got me there. But for the sake of argument, let’s just say.)

But maybe this isn’t a joke. Maybe they’re serious. Maybe this is guided democracy in action: CY Leung is toxic, and Regina forever tainted by Article 23, so we will naturally elect Antony Leung, just as Beijing had already decided.

There are a lot of snags here. Antony Leung, what with the Lexus hoo-hah and forgettable track record as Financial Secretary, is not dazzlingly inspiring. Regina, on the other hand, is high-profile and actually has a following (among what we might call the hard-working, lower-middle-class, not-too-questioning demographic, notably female, quite possibly the sort who beat their maids). If the pro-democrats got their act together and organized a plain, simple boycott of the quasi-election (rather than get bogged down in complicated parallel polls and squabbling), you could be looking at maybe a 40% election turnout; the result would be unpredictable, and any winner would have zero credibility.

Then there is the minor issue of getting the political reform package through the Legislative Council. After the last few months, it surely looks dead. The pro-democrats have the votes and fury to reject the bill. In theory, overwhelming public support for the reform could convince a handful not to veto. But that would take radical changes to the current package, which Beijing won’t – probably can’t – do. The default method of the 1,200-strong rubber-stamp Election Committee looks most likely, which means Antony Leung gets the job on a plate, or maybe Mr or Ms ‘Less-Ludicrous’ suddenly appears.

It is possible that Rita Fan was not reading from a prepared script, but genuinely speaking her mind. After all, everything these people say seems to sound like a mixture of illogical gibberish and stock phrases with no known meaning, so how can you tell? However, if you go back far enough (she was once a popular Legislative Council president), Rita has shown herself capable of rational expression. This suggests that all her utterances these days are designed to please Beijing in some way.

An extreme example of this transition from reason and sense to consistent loyalist doublespeak would be Regina Ip. There have been times in the past when she has been candid and thoughtful (OK – often about things like cooking, but a few weightier matters as well). With undisguised lust for the top job in 2017, she has undergone a major extra-pro-Beijing makeover, culminating in this recent full-blown tirade against crazy young people who want to keep their city…

Since 1997, Beijing has been nothing but extraordinarily helpful to Hong Kong whenever the latter’s economy is in trouble, and extraordinarily tolerant in allowing protests unimaginable on the mainland to thrive in Hong Kong. For a country of 1.3 billion people, which has never known universal suffrage in its 5,000 years of history, it is taking huge risks and a plunge into the unknown by promising Hong Kong ultimate election of the chief executive by universal suffrage…

Under the “one country, two systems” arrangement, Hong Kong is also extraordinarily privileged in not having to pay tax to the central authorities or the costs of defence of the territory. (In the colonial era, Hong Kong paid as much as 70 per cent).

Why this rage against the motherland which has done nothing but tried its best to welcome back an “abducted” child with open arms?

Wow. Has she failed to tick any box? We’ve got China ‘helping’ Hong Kong economically, China being generous in allowing people freedom, 5,000 years of history, etc, etc. Just one bit to go: the standard (and insulting and shallow) domestic state propaganda line that Hong Kong people find it humiliating that Mainlanders are no longer as wretchedly impoverished as they used to be…

Now heavily dependent economically on mainland China, the sense of injured pride has led many to view China as a threat, and fantasise that Hong Kong would be better off as a free-standing “Hong Kong race”.

Yet again, we see the perverse impulse to self-mutilate: in order to prove loyalty to the Communist regime, you have to talk total crap and shred your credibility in the eyes of fellow Hongkongers, even to the point of denouncing them as idiots.

Perhaps the most dismaying thing about Rita Fan’s three names is simply the staleness. In 2017, CY will be 63, Antony Leung 65 and Regina Ip 67. All have been active in some way on the political/government scene since pre-1997. All have failed – Antony and Regina both resigned in one evening, when Hong Kong was last in a crisis even slightly comparable to today’s. You don’t associate any of them with the concept of ‘the future’, let alone an exciting one. Indeed, like the aged property tycoons who crush competition, innovation and entrepreneurship out of the economy, they are relics and reminders of how and why Hong Kong has been going wrong.

On the subject of political has-beens, Jeremy Thorpe – long-ago leader of the UK’s minor Liberal Party – has just died. By some cosmic twist of fate, this happened at much the same time as the judge in the Rafael Hui/Kwok brothers bribery trial began his summing-up for the jury. Which brings us neatly to…

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25 Responses to Your choice – of three losers

  1. Cassowary says:

    This sad List of 3 probably reflects the dwindling pool of nonentities deemed acceptable to Beijing. After Tung Chee Hwa they probably wouldn’t bet on another politically green tycoon. After Donald Tsang they probably wouldn’t trust another creature of the civil service, so no Carrie Lam even though she seems like the only one there with more than 3 brain cells and paleontological evidence of having once been a decent human being. They probably don’t want to piss off the tycoons enough to promote any leftists with genuine grassroots appeal like Tsang Yok-sing or Chan Yuen-han, because yay money laundering. And they certainly wouldn’t pick Christine Loh, who was obviously absorbed into government to neutralize her.

    So who does that leave? Mr. Poo, Ms. Vomit and Mr. Booger. Lucky us.

  2. Gooddog says:

    Jeez – CY Leung, Antony Leung and Regina Ip – what a bunch of losers.

    Hong Kong has so much potential yet we are being crushed by these shitty, shitty leaders and these tortured governance issues.

    China has ingested a diamond and it is shitting out brown coal.

    The fat, rich kid who hogs the playstation and ruins everyone’s fun.

  3. Real Tax Payer says:

    It’s priceless – Mr Perry should have quoted the whole thing

    Wll Mr Justice Macrea repeat the whole thing ?

    But we had our laughs and they had their turn in the glass-paneled dock (with policeman standing by)

    Disgusting is the only word for this collusion

  4. Chinese Netizen says:

    I nominate “Mr Democrazy” himself, Pierce Lam of Hong Kong!

  5. Scotty Dotty says:

    Great summary from Hemmers

    These 2017 “choices” are just dreadful. If Regina, especially, got anywhere near Hong Kong CE it would fire up a dozen Occupy movements after 2017 that will make CY’s bumbling in 2014 look like good news.

    But as I’ve said before, there is still a “fourth” candidate which the pan-Dems should get behind. This is “Mr No Confidence” – ie, a mass campaign to spoil CE ballot papers in 2017. Beijing can appoint whatever mentally deficient shoe-shiners they want to the CE ballot paper but we can all write “No Confidence” on our voting slips. If the Dems can hustle up enough support for this disobedience the numbers of spolied ballot papers could be massive and possibly more than votes for Beijing’s favoured kowtow crony A or B.

    Spoiling the CE voting slips in 2017 will add to the ungovernability of our wonderful home, as the mandate of the 2017 CE will be so obviously useless, but at least it will be peaceful disobedience.

  6. Stephen says:

    As you correctly state the next CE will “most likely” be chosen by the election committee which means zero credibility and loss of face for the CCP that their brilliant scam for 2017 failed. If the Pro-Dem’s bomb in 2016, lose their veto, then its guided democracy in 2022. Meaning it could well be that the usual suspects are on the ballot for 2017 – 5 more years for CY?

    However we could have other candidates in 2022. So as a prediction, with their ages in brackets in 2022, how about a Bernard Charnwut Chan (57) verses Starry Lee (48) with a dried up old Vagina (72) failing to get over the 50% threshold.

    Lastly ever since the CCP broadsided the those who know China types in 2005 and appointed Sir Bow Tie I would guess that Rita, not for the first time, is talking shite.

  7. BSL says:

    Off topic, but who the hell is this Alice Wu person and where has she come from? Her comment in yesterday’s post was typical for her, a masterpiece of banality and idiocy.

    She is Shocked and appalled by students rearranging clothing in a shop as a protest. . My god. The violence of it. How rude.

    Is this woman real?

    ‘Political consultant and a former associate director of the Asia Pacific Media Network at UCLA’

    THIS is what will lead Hong Kong in 10 years. God help us all.

  8. Cassowary says:

    I don’t know. Every time I’ve read her column, it’s been a waste of time, so I stopped doing it. But she’s not even anywhere near as pointless as that George Chen. I think the editors try to compensate for the utter uselessness of the articles by putting catchy headlines on them because that’s the only way he’d get page views. Every time I accidentally click on one, I feel cheated.

  9. Chinese Netizen says:

    Real Question: Would high leadership positions in the SAR be out-of-bounds to longtime (as in born and raised) but not Han Chinese residents such as Indians, Whiteys, or mixed blood Chinese even if they had all the prerequisites?

  10. stanley gibbons says:

    @ Chinese Netizen

    Real Answer: Yes, unless your surname is Arculli.

  11. Stephen says:

    @ Chinese Netizen


  12. FOARP says:

    “as I’ve said before, there is still a “fourth” candidate which the pan-Dems should get behind. This is “Mr No Confidence” – ie, a mass campaign to spoil CE ballot papers in 2017. Beijing can appoint whatever mentally deficient shoe-shiners they want to the CE ballot paper but we can all write “No Confidence” on our voting slips. If the Dems can hustle up enough support for this disobedience the numbers of spolied ballot papers could be massive and possibly more than votes for Beijing’s favoured kowtow crony A or B.”

    As nice as it would be for something like this to happen, it won’t. We know exactly what would happen if it were tried – they just wouldn’t report the figure for spoiled ballots, or the spoiled ballots would be broken down into groups or lumped in with some other figure (i.e., figures for those who abstained from voting and spoiled their ballots would be given without distinction between the two).

    A protest movement that relies on the government they are protesting against to relay their message is not going to succeed.

  13. Cassowary says:

    The question is, can they be bought and sold by the Liaison Office. Do they have business interests/professional stakes/funds/relatives/mistresses/beloved puppies in the Mainland that can be used as leverage? No? Then no job for you.

  14. gweiloeye says:

    Article 44 The Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be a Chinese citizen of not less than 40 years of age who is a permanent resident of the Region with no right of abode in any foreign country and has ordinarily resided in Hong Kong for a continuous period of not less than 20 years. 

    @chinese netizen so technically yes realistically no

  15. Scotty Dotty says:

    @ FOARP

    I agree the shoe-shiners would wet themselves in case the Motherland lost face in 2017 due to spoiled papers (to paraphrase your point). With moral compasses like Regina and Robert Chow et al who knows what they would try

    However, without major rewriting of voting laws it would be near impossible for Beijing or anyone in Hong Kong to hide massive quantities of spoiled papers.

    The Electoral Affairs Office (or whatever their name is) have a solid track record since the handover of reporting voter turnout numbers, cast votes per candidate, and spoiled papers. The maths are easy to work out.

    Attempts to bundle “No Confidence” voting slips with the genuine voting errors wouldn’t matter. The dems can claim them all as “No Confidence” votes.

  16. Knownot says:

    Under the “one country, two systems” arrangement, Hong Kong is also extraordinarily privileged in not having to pay tax to the central authorities or the costs of defence of the territory. (In the colonial era, Hong Kong paid as much as 70 per cent [presumably she means 70 per cent of the cost of defence]).

    – – – – – –

    The words “extraordinarily privileged” are self-abasing, but at first sight her general point is not implausible and will be not unpersuasive.

    How can it be countered?

    There is no threat of invasion, no clear and present danger. – It is the general policy to have defensive forces based in every coastal city; in other words, the matter has already been settled.

    The SAR government has not requested that troops be based here. – It is not for them to request, it is for the central government to decide.

    The “tax” and the “costs of defence” are taken indirectly from HK. – Prove it.

    So, how can her point be countered?

  17. Rory says:

    Sounds like Mike Rowse then…

  18. Rory says:

    Or Allan Zeman or Paul Zimmerman, er that’s it.

  19. Joe Blow says:

    Talking about Zimm: the yellow umbrella thing was brilliant.

    But for the rest we don’t hear anything. Almost as quiet as Christine Loh.

    Talking about sad case Christine: I have a theory that at present she is simply cashing up. When the jig is finally up she will take the loot and make a beeline for the airport, one-way ticket to California. Chrissy and family own a home in Santa Monica. They also own a home in Manila. Maybe that’s why Chris can’t empathize with the students who have no way of buying a home of their own.

    It is sad to see a once decent person sink so low.

  20. Fei Jai says:

    Let’s hope Rita is talking shite. How can pinhead Leung be taken seriously with his penchant for fast cars, tax evasion and chicks in bathing suits? He can’t even spell his own name properly.
    Vagina, on the other hand, clearly has a Tardis hidden in her basement. Unable to make the link to her article above work, I schlepped over to her website to read it, only to find that she has a post up for December 17th 2014 (that’s right folks, over one week hence) on the serious matter of redundancies in the English language (‘insightful politician’ springs to mind). How comforting to know that in all of the current political turmoil, one of the anointed knows there will be nothing more important next Wednesday than scolding people for using unnecessary English words… Chinese.

  21. Scotty Dotty says:

    @ Fei Jai

    In fairness to Regina (one hates to do it, but ingrained habits…), that post-dated article on her website is only showing the date when her piece is being published in Ming Pao.

  22. Real Tax Payer says:

    … a cheat, a humbug, a liar …
    a loathsome spotted reptile
    At least we can write such stuff (which is blocked in China)
    And I do hope that Mr JUSTICE Macreae will lock them all up pending bail for at least a night or two

    Otherwise Mr Perry could have borrowed that Peter Scott skit for free and saved the HK Tax Payers’ billions

  23. F. says:

    @ Fei Jai

    Apparently, Ms. Ip feels that website useability is of lower importance than addressing use of redundant English words. The “(Link to the Chinese version)” actually goes nowhere, even after attempts with 3 different browsers. Because she forgot to put it on the page.

    This is F’s total lack of surprise–> : /

  24. Joe Blow says:

    This just in from

    “Saturaday Movement -replacing Occupation

    The Occupy, “Umbrella revolution”, inspired Hong Kong people to fight for TRUE universal suffrage. This marks an important point in history and will always be remembered.

    *However, the occupy zone will be cleared soon. What should we do next? Should we continue Umb.Mvmt with guerrilla/fluid occupation until our last breath?

    The Movement has to be kept running and alive. So, we propose Saturday Movement, a new form of protest.

    Every Saturday, volunteers will gather anywhere in Central. There will be no fixed occupy zone. Our objective is to keep the movement running. The more participants the better.

    We shall be continuing and the number of participants will grow, until we win.”

    Let me recap that in English:

    -Every Saturday in Central.
    -No fixed time or exact location (so the pigs cannot cordon it off in advance. Unless they want to cordon all of Central, which would be great !)
    -Wear a yellow ribbon.

    It’s now officially unofficial. Happy shopping !!

    I think I am going to bring my Stanley Market-drone and do some practicing.

  25. Cassowary says:

    Joe Blow, I also think what happened to Christine is sad, but I don’t think she’s in it for the money. If her family are already rich enough to own homes overseas, why would she need that government salary? She could have made a bundle in the private sector if she’d wanted to. With half the bullshit stress and twice the respect.

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