Today’s Standard carries a rather fetching picture of a latter-day Florence Nightingale flashing a ‘V’ sign at a patient undergoing surgery. If it were me under the knife – and I recovered to see the photo – I would be warmed and cheered by the young lady’s spirit and enthusiasm. But the nurse in question is a member of the veterinary profession, and her behaviour towards the cat on the operating table is apparently a Very Bad Thing, prompting a major outbreak of mouth-frothing among the animal-worship fraternity who have serious concerns about doctor-feline confidentiality.
From here on it all starts to go downhill.
Today’s big story is the latest sort-of-semi-unmentionable episode in the soap opera that is Leung Chai-yan. The daughter of Hong Kong Chief Executive CY Leung has used Facebook to tell the world about supposed suicide attempts. She has been filmed wandering around town apparently under the influence of something. She has briefly semi-dabbled in TV and movie starlet-dom. During last Sunday’s Open Day at Government House, she apparently emerged into the garden and floated in some disturbing or other manner among the crowds before being bundled away by minders. Passers-by on Upper Albert Road report strange screeches coming from the attic during the night. And now she claims her mother assaulted her and she’s leaving home…
It is Mrs CY, of course, who launched the Hong Kong Army Cadet Youth Detachment Corps in such dazzling style, in green uniform and jackboots, nostrils flaring and magnificent mane wafting in the breeze. (Selfie-taking animal nurses don’t stand a chance.)
It’s not the sheer prurience, assuming public figures’ troubled post-teens turn anyone on. It’s not the search for clues about our enigmatic leader’s true inner character. It’s the imagery, the zeitgeist. The dysfunctional Leung family as an allegory of Hong Kong’s cracked society. The despotic style of parenting as a metaphor for the Communist Party’s grip on its subjects. Or, for Beijing officials, Chai-yan as a reflection of Hong Kong – spoilt, rebellious, lapsing into English, corrupted by Western textbooks and in need of correcting.
I can’t resist recalling, with no little pride, that my own domestic helper more or less predicted all this some three years ago when she informed me that the incoming new CE’s wife was a ‘terminator’. That is, she fired maids repeatedly. (You need to pronounce ‘terminator’ with a Filipino stress on the final syllable and a rolled ‘r’ for the full, chilling effect.)