SCMP op-ed page re-launched, maybe (hard to say)


Could this be the South China Morning Post’s ‘new look ’op-ed page? It seems to have a vaguely – slightly – different layout. And it certainly seems unsullied by any hard-hitting comment of the sort that might alarm one’s wife or servants. For example, the sub-heading of the main article tells us…


No Mugabe, no Sudan, no ivory in diplomatic pouches, just lots and lots of lovely technology transfer courtesy of a Kenyan official. Soothing with a reassuring dash of internationalist-trendy or what? It’s not mere journalism – it’s aromatherapy.

SCMP-SyedMunirNext to it, another hitherto unheard-of writer from some Third World think-tanky thing lauds China’s leadership and vision on the world stage. (I think. What is it about the Asian Infrastructure Development Bank that makes it so hard to be interesting?)

Rather than let the whole page be taken over by this Bandung Conference Re-enactment Society, the two smaller items below discuss topics closer to home.

One of the paper’s own staff ponders the possibility that the HK$60/70/90 billion Hong Kong-Guangzhou high-speed rail link might be a white elephant if it doesn’t have a unified immigration facility at the Kowloon end of the line. We will all naturally be hugely relieved to learn that – provided someone installs a bunch of desks and turnstiles in a particular location – the project will not be a white elephant.

Finally, a local academic comes up with an almost-charming but basically condescending portrait of Hong Kong’s troubled young people. They protest, he says, to escape ‘urban suffocation’ and the rat race in search of creativity and some sort of pastoral bliss. It is a sanitized version of the Umbrella Movement, with no creeping Communist threat to rule of law, no parasitical property cartel demanding life-long serfdom, and no serious forecast of what this summer might bring. (He doesn’t use the phrase ‘economic rationality’ – that’s the SCMP sub-editor’s little joke.)

One of the old-school professional columnists recently dropped from the SCMP predicted that the op-ed page would be given over to think-tank types writing free of charge. And so it comes to pass. He didn’t mention how insipid they would be.

Recent rumours I am hearing about the SCMP… 1) Half the ground floor lobby at the Causeway Bay offices is to be rented out to a coffee outlet open to the public. Maybe a Starbucks, or maybe something really proletarian like a Deli France – the aroma of slightly underdone stale toast attracting hordes of Mainland shoppers off the busy street. 2) Staff working on the Sunday edition are to work from home. Or a Deli France. (No, not that Deli France. Anywhere but the office, basically.) 3) Tuesdays and Thursdays will henceforth be ‘bring your own toilet paper’ days. (One of these I’ve made up, but then they’re probably all scurrilous lies. I pass them on merely to bring a little excitement and fun into our drabber-than-ever world.)


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20 Responses to SCMP op-ed page re-launched, maybe (hard to say)

  1. Jason90 says:

    If the Bandung Conference Reenactment manages historical accuracy it will end in tears. The declaration reads much like Moses 10 Commandments- essentially two commandments phrased in different ways – and ignored by most of the signatories…

  2. NIMBY says:

    Some how I have a feeling that CP Scott of the Guardian’s admonishment “Facts are sacred, but comment is free”, is not what the SCMP is aiming for. I also doubt they are going to use Redit to supply the non-salaryied staff, but frankly, idiots could do better than the lot at CNN or even Bloomberg.

  3. pie-chucker says:

    Meanwhile, over in the Standard we learn this:

    Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference Standing Committee member Henry Tang Ying-yen wrote in a commentary about “triple losses” if the proposal is vetoed.

    “If Beijing and the SAR government cannot implement universal suffrage, there will be no progress in political development and the opportunity will be missed for the implementation of universal suffrage in 2020, he said.”

    Can any of you expert cadre de-coders explain what this means in English?

  4. s says:

    Translation as requested

    “If Beijing and the SAR government cannot implement universal suffrage (FOR THE CE IN 2017), there will be no progress in political development (SELF-EVIDENT) and the opportunity will be missed for the implementation of universal suffrage in 2020 (FOR LEGCO), he said.”

  5. Joe Blow says:

    There is a wall around the Government Offices to keep the people out.

    There is a metal fence around the Legco Building to keep the people out.

    When the Government goes out on a promotion trip in a fun bus, they are so scared of their own people that they refuse to step off the bus.

    Now they are mobilising 7000 pigs to control and subdue the people whose tax dollars pay their inflated pig salaries.

    Is this Government feeling besieged ?

  6. Cassowary says:

    Note how they’ve chosen the blandest of the bland think tanks. Even Oxfam might be too edgy for them now, because they might draw attention to the fact that there are woefully underserved, unjustly suffering poor people due to miserly government policy as opposed to happy smiling poor people grateful for Jockey Club sponsored charity.

  7. gweiloeye says:

    I only buy the Scmp for the ‘Universal’ crossword. Sort of like the ‘World Series’. full of american clues n answers, including the spelling. took me a while to work out why the correct spelling didn’t fit.

  8. Stephen says:

    @Joe Blow
    The Sub Standard reports “… Another 350 retired police inspectors will be hired temporarily to assist officers”. If this is necessary (which I doubt) I just hope none of these are exposed as PLA or Triad. Naturally if they are they could use the PCMP’s offices in Causeway Bay to change back into their civvies and de-tool free of any danger of a Post Scoop.

  9. Chinese Netizen says:

    A) So glad I stopped throwing money at SCMP just before they boldly dropped any pretense of being a neutral, objective news source in addition to letting go some of their best columnists.

    B) I guarantee 100% the “think tankers” churning out the slop for the few readers left are from the thingys fully funded by the CCP/powers-that-be. This happens in the west as well.

    C) Good luck, HK, in your downward spiral. May the spirit of the June 4, ’89 victims and the people that won’t drop their memory live on!

  10. s says:

    The 350 retired police officers being rehired is as a “reward” for action at the occupy troubles, and an attempt to pacify the Police’s anger at “non-automatic” extension of employment beyond normal retirement age. The government had let it slip before, that while they would not change the retirement policy, they would give “priority” to such applications from the police.

  11. Boris Badanov says:

    Police have to retire at 55, which seems unfair. Whatever you think of their handling of occupy, it makes more sense to re-employ on temporary contract police experienced in handling difficult crowd control situations to give tactical and logistical assistance. Better than inexperienced people who are (even) more likely to resort to heavy handed tactics unnecessarily. I dont’ think even this govt is retarded enough to hire PLA or triads in disguise as retired police.

  12. NIMBY says:

    As stupid as the SCMP can get, no one is quite as dumb as Hugh Chiverton. Just heard the archive of today’s Backchat, where Chiverton says HK should attract more mainland filth, and implied anyone who can’t afford to live here should move out. He then went on to say in so many words that the locals who have children deserve substandard education. Lucky for him almost no one listens to the show, except when they need comic relief.

    What a racist prat, and I hope someone looks hard at his contract soon.

  13. @pie-chucker – another translation of Tang’s oblique words: if we don’t accept Beijing’s pretence of democracy now, they won’t even pretend next time.

  14. Cassowary says:

    I don’t regularly listen to backchat. Is Hugh Chiverton the same guy who, a while back, claimed that building over the country parks won’t cause soil erosion because it’ll all be covered in concrete? All over Hong Kong was heard the sound of a thousand scientists’ foreheads hitting their computer keyboards in unison.

  15. NIMBY says:

    Cassowary: Yes, that was him, but I think he miss-spoke on that one. He has sprained his tongue while probing Lufsig’s cheeks, he probably meant to say spray everything with shot-crete. He then went on to blithely say only the poor, those with no money for dim-sum, used the parks anyways. Even his somewhat obliviously racist co-host went quiet on that one.

    A free and open air wave could have space for idiot racist shockjocks to fail, even one’s as bland and inarticulate as Chiverton. We don’t have free, nor even competitive access to airwaves; Further the parasite is payed expat terms off the public wheal, for abusing a monopoly.

  16. Joe Blow says:

    In the old days, retired coppers would get jobs as hotel security.

  17. LRE says:

    Translation into to pure cyniceese:
    Beijing says: If you don’t let us have the false democracy for the CE which lets us do whatever we want and pretend you wanted it, we won’t give you the real democracy for Legco that we weren’t going to give you anyway.

    tl;dr version: If you don’t give us power, nothing will change and we’ll sulk.

  18. Cassowary says:

    In a competitive market, Huge Chiverton would quickly be replaced by a more articulate, less bland racist shock jock. Or at least, one who could churn out a more efficient rate of trolls per minute. How else can you explain the existence of people like Rush Limbaugh?

  19. NIMBY says:

    Cassowary: True, but we’d have other options, lots of them.

  20. Boredcaster says:

    @NIMBY – Chiverton doesn’t have a casual contract, he’s a bells and whistles civil servant with all the perks and pay that entails. He’s there till his pension comes. All this from a former SAGA tour guide, a profession which brought him to Hongkers and the airwaves

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