The Hong Kong government’s 2015-16 Budget, we are told, creates ‘buzz’ about Financial Secretary John Tsang becoming Chief Executive in 2017. Since his fiscal policies were the same tired and aimless surplus-churning of previous years, this must be to do with style rather than substance.
Not being CY Leung, Regina Ip, Antony Leung or Arthur Li obviously helps. Specifically, he expressed in his speech some apparently sincere sympathy for the younger generation (the one that rose up against the government so magnificently late last year). And he mentioned the near-fatal knife attack exactly one year ago on his friend Ming Pao editor Kevin Lau – a crime we can reasonably trace ultimately to the Chinese Communist Party. Although Tsang may be inept, he is not mentally deranged, so we can be pretty sure he has no wish to take on the thankless and impossible CE role. We can therefore assume that his comments were a way to express remorse and beg forgiveness for being part of a puppet-despotism of an administration blindly following absurd commands from Beijing to eradicate pluralism in this city. In an attempt to disguise these heresies, he also dragged in some stuff about food trucks, which similarly had no place in a Budget speech.
To the holders of real power far away in Beijing, Hong Kong is a minor matter of local regularization and rectification. General Secretary, Chairman and President Xi Jinping has spent his first few years at the top living dangerously. We have had: rumours of a coup or assassination attempt; a two-week gap in 2012 when he disappeared; the purges of Bo Xilai, Zhou Yongkang and General Xu Caihou, whose true evils and depravities we will probably never know; and aggressive campaigns to ban all but authorized and ‘correct’ information, messages and ideas in the media and schools. All this while steering a distorted, debt-laden, capital-misallocating economy through reforms, demographic problems and a dysfunctional outside world.
But now – he disappoints. He insists for some reason on emulating his drab, over-cautious and unimaginative predecessors by formulating a fake ‘theory’ that will be tacked on to Marxist-Leninism and Maoism as radiant guiding philosophy. For Xi, it is the Four Comprehensives. The first reads: “Comprehensively develop a moderately prosperous society,” which sounds shocking for its lack of ambition. Surely it should be: “Comprehensively take over the South China Sea, the Indian Ocean and half the Pacific, and moderately large bits of Siberia, Burma and Sri Lanka.”
This follows Hu Jintao’s Three Supremes, which somehow enabled the Communist Party, the people’s interests and constitutional law to be simultaneously paramount, and Jiang Zemin’s famous Three Represents, which we all remember for allowing capitalists to join the Communist Party, which by the standards of these theories was clear and logical. Coming one day: the Five In Chinese It Sounds Less Clunkys and maybe in a fit of brutal honesty, the Six We’re Making This Up As We Go Alongs.
At a historic site across the border last weekend, I checked intricate carved frames around an ancient building, only to find they were made of extruded resin. (Real antiquities were destroyed in accordance with Mao’s Four Olds.) The Ferrero Rocher chocolates are counterfeit, along with the milk powder and toothpaste. The aircraft carrier is a leftover Soviet hull with no offensive capability. The generals, mayors and department heads bought their promotions. The audience on the ‘live’ CCTV gala was filmed separately and edited into the final recording, badly. Of course you have fake theories. The whole totalitarian edifice is built on shams and make-believe. If John Tsang is emboldened enough to distance himself from our end of the travesty, maybe there’s hope yet.
John Tsang “”The people of this city, our younger generations in particular, are hungering for spiritual contentment. This is what a mature society should manifest … [and] needs to be addressed and dealt with.”
This from the man who, when the XRL protests broke out several years ago, said that he believed the youth were discontented because no longer were they satisfied with having a roof over their head, they wanted a swimming pool and a big clubhouse as well. The activist blogosphere handed him his arse on that one.
However, minor and insignificant, this is nevertheless a provable example of an administrative officer Learning Something. It needs to be preserved in amber and put in a museum for future generations to marvel at.
Can someone please explain how giving loans to subsidsed housing tenants to buy their dog box, increaes the supply of housing?? Surely they will sell or rent the aprtment but they themselves have to find anoher dog box to live in which does not exist apparently because there is a housing supply shortage?? I’m confused.
Four comprehensives and not a single grammar school. It does not bode well.
That’s an easy one. Prior to selling or renting out their subsidised flat, the new owner will simply sub-divide it, taking one half for them selves. Thus, one unit flat becomes two without having to actually build something new. Think, we could easily DOUBLE the number of flats in Hong Kong over a weekend with some plywood and nails.
Of course the downside is that flats become even smaller. Given that even a small bed will now take up a significant part of the available floor space, I’m looking into patenting a vertical beds so Hong Kongers can sleep on their feet, as it were … gotta be a fortune in that!
The selfish me say this is a brilliant budget. I’m sure it’s the Administration’s attempt to seduce the millions like me accept the continuing rigged political system. Trouble is I don’t. Rights of the little man, underdog doesn’t exist in the lexicon of this administration. We get that the CCP knows it can’t open up the system without risk losing power. However increasing the wealth gap you will further polarise society. As the increasing have-nots cannot vent at the ballot box – it will be (as we have seen) the streets. Not good for stability and brings with it all those nasty foreign reporters. Something the CCP doesn’t want. So when the ‘4 Comprehensives’ pats you on the head and tickles your mustache – why not take the opportunity to tell him you’re helping to create a powder keg that will blow up some day. We hope not comprehensively.
Splendid Hemmers. I laughed like a drain today. You perfectly captured the communists’ party’s post war history in a nutshell. I expect the hk administration to adopt the Three Knocks On The Door constitutional reform in due time. Keep up the good work in the front trenches….shoveling through all that shit you have to see and read and try to comprehend. John Tsang? Barf.
I really do think you’re wasted on a blog. When will the world’s media swoop on you, if only to inform and advise their tired old hacks and naive young things about the real HK and China? When will book publishers brandish lucrative contracts at you?
Aren’t even first-hand Ferrero Rochers fakes? If not, how can you tell which are the real ones?
China has a uniquely sneaky way of acquiring new territories, like the soldiers that inexplicably got lost in deepest India and the racist appeals to the Hans in Burma. But I still think Siberia is the one to watch, as presenting the greatest opportunities for the glorious motherland to exercise hegemony over the whole world. All that empty space for the teeming millions!
The whole aircraft carrier situation just makes me laugh. An almost century old technology is being touted as the greatest achievement of the PLA Navy… except that it’s entire purpose is to launch airplanes which it cannot do. It’s a big tug boat the pilot around to scare everybody, like inventing a gun but not knowing how to make it shoot bullets.
I fear that you are too quick to denigrate China’s maritime prowess. China is on the verge of having the same carrier-based Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System technology and Directed Energy Laser Weapons technology as the U.S. — just as soon as they steal it.
Big Al’s suggestion for vertical beds for HK’s subdivided flats makes me wonder why no one has thought of importing that nifty American invention, the Murphy Bed. Those beds that appeared some decades ago folded up into the wall, freeing up floor space. Alternatively, there’s the pulley bed like the one Gene Kelly had in the opening scene of that great film “An American in Paris” where you yank the bed up onto the ceiling. Why hasn’t some enterprising entrepreneur thought of importing those, or producing them in China to solve the problem of the matchbox homes here?
Incidentally, your discussion on China’s “comprehensive fake theories” reminded me of a late brilliant journalist friend in Manila who set up FART—Foundation for the Abrogation of Redundant Theories. Sadly, he passed away before being able to set it in motion to get the Philippines out of the mess it’s in.
Pensadory – In fact, I do know someone whose bed folds into the wall because her bedroom is also used as an office. Pricerite also sells a hydraulic bed that converts into a desk, the clever part being that you don’t have to move everything off the desk before you fold the bed down, it all stays in place. And then there is this guy with the transformer apartment: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WB2-2j9e4co
However, all these gimmicks are for those who can afford them, or in the last case, pretentious design snobs. The poor simply cram their whole family onto an aluminium framed bunk bed that fills most of the room.
I doubt the plan to sell public housing units to their tenants is supposed to create additional housing supply. I think it’s supposed to mollify the wealthier tenants moaning about how they can’t afford to buy apartments for their adult children. Those crammed into unsafe subdivided units in crumbling tenements are out of luck; they’re mostly single elderly people and divorced Mainland migrants too downtrodden to complain much anyway.
Whatever happened to Zimmerman ?
@Big Al – Hongkongers already sleep on their feet – just take any overcrowded bus from Tin Shui Wai or some such place during peak hours and see the standing passengers catching an extra hour’s shut-eye while commuting.
@pensadora – if the wall holds the folding bed, where are they going to put the flat screen TV?
@PD – no doubt China could claim that Siberia was part of the same empire as China in the days of Genghis Khan, and should therefore be Chinese territory forever (conveniently overlooking that Genghis was Mongolian).