A last, longing look at the SCMP (for a few days)

I spend extra time looking through the South China Morning Post today, as it’s my last chance to see the paper up close until next week after I return from a trip to exotic foreign parts.

SCMP-MacauHeldUpThe front-page news is that Macau is wonderful because anyone there who says the Basic Law is not good is considered to be no better than a rat on the street. So says Li Gang, Beijing’s former top man in Hong Kong. The implication, of course, is that the Big Lychee is full of sewer-dwelling vermin who refuse to accept that their city’s constitution allows only quasi-universal suffrage.

The Basic Law does require a committee to nominate Chief Executive candidates, and the wording does not rule out a screening function; the drafters wrote it that way back in the 1980s for a reason. Pro-democracy protestors seem to half-acknowledge this in their use of wistful John Lennon lyrics. If Li Gang were more diplomatic, he could have said that Macau is wonderful because the people there are not dreamers.

Why does the SCMP give this trivial if melodramatic bit of totalitarian mouth-frothing such prominence? There was a spectacularly lurid murder of the compensated-dating/teenage-girl/body-in-dumpster variety. And there’s the intriguing story everyone’s missing: was abused Indonesian maid Erwiana Sulistyaningsih’s employer Law Wan-tung trained by the CIA? Apart from water-boarding, she seems to have followed the Agency’s torture methods pretty closely (allegedly). Presumably, the editorial rule is that grim Communist tyrants’ horribly unsubtle, counterproductive, veiled threats to naughty, disobedient Hong Kong have to be highlighted as a public service.

Elsewhere in the paper, three columns examine where Hong Kong goes from here – or will go as soon as we get through the seemingly interminable and rather too self-absorbed tents-in-Admiralty stage and continue with the actual goals of decent governance and political reform. Writer Philip Yeung skewers ex-Chief Executive Donald Tsang for his role in ramping up property prices and condemning the youth to despair. This is arguably overdoing one particular cause of our ills, but who can resist seeing Sir Bow-Tie getting a polemical stomping? Economist Richard Wong puts our strife in a global perspective, downplays purely local economic and generational aspects and concludes that the political structure is the problem, at which point his word-count is up. But the real treasure is yet to come.

SCMP-YouthMustSeizeLegislator Jeffrey Lam rehashes standard establishment belittlement of the publicly loathed and illegal scourge of civilization and the economy that is tents-in-Admiralty. Using the phrase ‘think out of the box’, he then proposes government-developer mini-apartments for the young, a fund to train youths to be entrepreneurs, and a re-think about whether kids really need college when apprenticeships would prepare them better for careers in key industries like, um, logistics.

But where you really want to hand this guy over to Law Wan-tung is this…

It is understandable that young people are concerned about missing out on opportunities, and about the cost of living and lack of upward mobility. However, they are in a better position than the previous generation like us, most of whom were pioneers who came from Guangdong to Hong Kong with almost nothing. The business environment was rough.

‘Like us’? This guy is a multi-millionaire who essentially inherited a plastic-toys empire (if you ever had a Barbie or a GI Joe, it probably came from his dad’s factory). He and several others left the Liberal Party to form Economic Synergy because they felt the city’s textile/property-tycoon caste would get more goodies if they shoe-shined the government more, rather than engage in non-stop petulant schoolgirl whining like James Tien. (You can always tell the ‘elite’, out-of-touch, multiple-properties clueless from their driving issues.)

I would like to think that people like Jeffrey Lam are as thin on the ground in Taiwan – where I’m going – as copies of the SCMP. We shall see. If I find any, it might be on the Twitter thing, wi-fi in Asia’s Pineapple Cake hub allowing.


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19 Responses to A last, longing look at the SCMP (for a few days)

  1. joe Blow says:

    Tomorrow is the last day of Occupy Central.

    In the short period of 10 weeks CY Leung has singlehandedly destroyed the reputation of the Hong Kong Police AND created a generation of radicals.


    May I be the first one to nominate 689 for a Golden Bauhinia ?

  2. Oneleggoalie says:

    See you on Twitter…Casper…we practically follow the same people man…GOD…What Stoners Do…Archer…Utopia…we got your back dude.

  3. Cassowary says:

    Jeffrey Lam’s spiel is remarkably similar to the talking points the US Republican Party put out about the Occupy Wall Street protesters.

    – Lazy, entitled, spoiled and ignorant
    – Don’t know the meaning of real hardship
    – Naive for thinking they could waltz into a good job with a useless degree in child development or communications
    – Think they’re too good for manual labour
    – Having a toddler’s tantrum about the 1% because they were stupid enough to get themselves into debt

    And etc. etc. etc. No need to talk about what’s wrong with society when you can bitch about what’s wrong with the youth. A game that goes back to Socrates. All problems can be solved by waving your fist and shouting “Kids these days!” and “Get off my lawn!”

  4. PCC says:

    Free WiFi in Taiwan is everywhere. The login is usually posted right there on the bottom of the menu or on the sign beneath the TV hanging from the ceiling.

  5. Qian Jin says:

    @”after I return from a trip to exotic foreign parts.

    Going down the Wanch?

    You’ll be able to find those exotic parts in a large plastic bag near the refuse station. Why bother travelling far?

  6. NIMBY says:

    Hopefully we can then move away from 2 months of giving the government two fingers and really slap them down. Our local version of that regressive tax known as Obamacare/PPACA is so regressive it boarders on Ottoman Empire tax tax farming. (Obamacare is a tax, that’s how it got past the US Supreme Court, and it’s regressive because even those getting it at a discount still have to fork over US$4000 per year before they can get their first dollar back out). What a friggen gift to CY Leung’s friends in the Insurance Industry.

  7. Knownot says:

    Goodbye, South China Morning Post,
    You’re the one I love the most.
    All alone in sad Taipei
    I will miss you every day.

    I read you hard before I leave
    And swear I really do believe
    That you are true. And I regret
    That I read others on the Net.

    Tempted by the foreign press,
    Her golden hair, her mini-dress,
    What views, what liberties, I seek!
    But I’ll hold you again next week.

  8. Ted Marr says:

    QJ, you can also find exotic foreign parts on the corner of Luard and Lockhart.

  9. Chris s says:

    You’re coming to Taiwan? Please do some writing on Taiwanese politics while you’re here!

  10. Ralph Pixton says:

    Bye bye ‘Now The Xinhua Morning Post’
    We are all glad that you are toast
    Kuok paid a fortune for you to whoever sold
    But you turned out to be fool’s gold

  11. Chinese Netizen says:

    Ah…the independent, democratic nation of Taiwan where a cocky, self assured tycoon’s son thought he had the Taipei mayorship locked…until the pesky masses voted for the OTHER guy…

  12. Gooddog says:

    North Korea held up as a role model for Basic Law.

    Pyongyang is praised by top officials for its compliance.

    “Throughout the past 15 years, ‘one country, two systems’ and the Basic Law has been implemented comprehensively … in Pyongyang,” Li Gang, formerly deputy director of Beijing’s liaison office in Hong Kong, told state media outlet Xinhua in an interview published yesterday.

    One example was North Korea’s executive-led government, working hand in hand with the legislature. “The whole community adheres to, supports, learns and promotes the Basic Law,” he said.

    Li’s words on Pyongyang contrasted with Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying’s view of Occupy student protesters in Hong Kong, whom he said betrayed their lack of familiarity with the city’s Basic Law in pressing for Beijing’s withdrawal of conditions on the 2017 vote for Leung’s successor.

    Li said North Kore was a place where “anyone who says the Basic Law is not good will be [as despised as] a rat on the street”.

  13. Joe Blow says:

    Did you see all the pan-democrat leaders taken away by the stormtroopers today: Audrey, Emily, Claudia, Jimmy Lai, Martin Lee, Longhair etc ?

    Christine Loh must be feeling so good and self-satisfied right now.

  14. Joe Blow says:

    Now that traffic has resumed to ‘normal’ -don’t you love the fumes ?- wouldn’t it be tremendous good fun to stand up on the bridge and throw paint bombs at the Alphards and mini-buses ? You know, egg shells filled with paint or ink.

  15. Rory says:

    You Couldn’t Make It Up Department.
    From the Standard-

    In the early morning, thousands of police – armed with helmets, shields, batons, pepper spray and with mobile platforms at the ready – were deployed from various points to begin the clearance of the multi-lane Connaught Road- Harcourt Road-Gloucester Road stretch.
    A police sergeant was admitted to the intensive care unit of Ruttonjee Hospital in critical condition after fainting while taking a break.

  16. Jon says:

    Uhh, Joe Blow, CY already has a GBS and a GBM. Maybe an honorary doctorate from Tsinghua would suffice?

  17. Joe Blow says:

    As from today “Asia’s Finest” will be referred to as “Asia’s Fascists”.

    It’s official.

  18. Knownot says:

    On October 13th our blogger wrote:” What’s the betting they will still be there, strumming guitars and offering help with English assignments, at Christmas?” I thought, No chance. But he wasn’t far wrong.

  19. nulle says:

    According to Reuters, HK just become a police state with widespread surveillence by the PRC Chinese Ministry of State Security shadowing and digging dirt of Hong Kong citizens in HK (and probably elsewhere where there are PRC Chinese embassies..)

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