SCMP presages final demise with cannibalism/shoe-shining overload

The week gets off to a rather queasy start, with a torrent of the most unseemly shoe-shining gushing from the pages of the South China Morning Post. Page 3 reports that wartime cannibalism prompted aging casino/property tycoon Lui Che-woo to launch a copycat Nobel Prize ‘world civilization’ award…

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Even if this were news, it still isn’t really ‘news’ as such, having appeared on September 24. (The cannibalism dimension seems new. Maybe guardians of Lui’s image felt the awards looked too obviously like a vanity project, and a gritty diversionary backstory was in order – so instead of feeling merely ill, readers would feel seriously, vomitingly ill.) If that weren’t enough, the City section carries a near-full-page, glowing bio of the man, listing his embarrassing honorary doctorates, medal from the Queen and the asteroid named after him.

Observers of the uniquely intense Hong Kong/Overseas-Chinese style of obsequiousness will know that this sort of thing doesn’t happen by chance. The octogenarian billionaire who owns the SCMP has ordered that his organ heap ridiculous quantities of flattery upon his peer for some reason – which we neither need nor wish to know.

But hold on to that barf bag! In fact, grab a few more.

The SCMP also carries a double-page spread devoted to the ‘100 Most Influential People in Hong Kong’. It comes courtesy of Debrett’s, ‘in association with the SCMP’ – without a discreet ‘advertorial’ disclaimer, so we are invited to imagine that this is sort-of news. (Debrett’s is a UK company that teaches heathens how to eat peas.)

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What definition of ‘influential’ is being used here? Historically, the word – from which we get ‘influenza’ – refers to possibly malevolent forces that defy rational explanation. So there’s your answer.

There are no political figures in the 100. Hong Kong’s Liaison Office controllers are missing, as are their local minions in the government. Instead, we get the depressingly familiar has-beens from the world of cartelized business and socialites, probably dredged at random from the Tatler 500, plus a few that I suspect were inserted by subversive SCMP staff. In case you think I am making any of this up, you can see it all here.

Business and Entrepreneurs include ‘Sir Ka-shing Li’, Cheng Yu-tong, Lee Shau-kee and Peter Woo, as well as the SCMP’s owner Robert Kuok. The missing property tycoons are the Kwok brothers (too icky as one is in prison), Ronnie Chan (see below) and… Lui Che-woo. I believe we have an answer to the extreme groveling of the cannibalism-traumatized mogul.

The Arts features Jackie Chan, Louis Cha and, to add gravitas, Nury Vittachi (really – I said you can check). The Sport category brings us such renowned athletes as Winfried Englelbrecht-Bresgesomething (whadya mean, who?) and the lithe and speedy Timothy Fok. Under Food, we see the inexplicably ubiquitous Bonnae Gokson, landlord Allen Zeman and the SCMP’s own Susan Jung, who actually knows about cuisine (as in recipes I would try if I had a week to spare).

The Media section highlights various ad executives whose campaign budgets the SCMP understandably lusts after. Also Richard Li, son of Sir KS. The Science and Medicine category includes property tycoon Ronnie Chan (don’t ask), plus various geeky-looking guys in white coats who make Hong Kong the cutting-edge, space-age research hub it is.

The List has a shamelessly tokenistic scattering of unheard-of, presumably real, people with possible actual achievements. It also includes Mainlanders like Jack Ma with no meaningful Hong Kong links. The blurb says this Directory of Despair should ‘inspire and empower the people of tomorrow’. To emigrate, perhaps.

Meanwhile, the SCMP is getting a new editor (don’t miss the HKFP’s gloriously nasty comments) – someone who apparently lives in a Liaison Office world where Hong Kong students ask deep and meaningful questions about the just-ended Fifth Plenum of the Communist Party, which passed the outline of the 13th five-year plan…

The day draws closer when readers (if any) are on their knees begging for more tycoons’ memories of cannibalism and frequent updates to the Debrett’s Rich Bores 100.

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16 Responses to SCMP presages final demise with cannibalism/shoe-shining overload

  1. LRE says:

    I eat my peas with honey;
    I’ve done it all my life.
    It makes the peas taste funny,
    But it keeps them on the knife.

  2. Dame Diane Butler says:

    And where am I ?

    I never knew that Chow Yun-fat’s first name was Donald ?

    This list reminds me of the heyday of Dickson Poon (whatever happened to him ?). Dickson would create new and grandiose awards and, to kick things off, he would offer the first award to himself.

  3. reductio says:

    I’m inured to this kind of thing as I am a Style-afficionado (Note to Tammy: Don’t you dare touch it!). “Style” for all it’s over the top status driven consumerism (2 million for a speaker system, 100G for a martini shaker etc etc) has its own logic, perverse though it be. But TIMOTHY FOK a sports achiever!?? For Chrissakes.

  4. Big Al says:

    What a nauseating list on the Debrett’s website – thankfully, I read through it before eating lunch otherwise I would certainly have vomited copiously. However, I am happy to report that based on the website’s tacky gold colour scheme and crown-related motifs (in gold, of course), I think that Debrett’s is actually one of those dodgy “Who’s Who” websites selling “memberships” in fraudulent directories of “important” and “visionary” people. “Influential” even. The question is not how much did these so-called worthies pay to get on the Debrett’s list, but how much did the real worthies pay not to be associated with such tripe?

    Interesting to note that only 25% of the “media” description goes to something that most people would actually consider as media, i.e. broadcasting. The remaining 75% is for “advertising, marketing and PR” – surely these worthy pursuits should be under their own category of “bollocks”?

    Also interesting to note “Fatty” Fok’s appearance under sport, modestly described as “the champion of sports in Hong Kong”. Unless that particular sport is the 10m sprint to the seafood buffet at one of the many luncheons he so obviously attends, I have no idea why he’s on the list.

  5. RTP says:

    I reckon that Lui Che-woo is the last real living version of No 177 “Francis Leung” in Martin Booth’s epic 1985 book ” Hiroshima Joe”

    If so, he surely has a very guilty conscience to try and assuage before he goes to his grave.

  6. Sojourner says:

    To my aghast amazement, that fine, strapping youth, Joshua Wong, doesn’t make the Debrett’s list despite having been named as “one of TIME’s Most Influential Teens of 2014, nominated for TIME’s Person of the Year 2014, and listed by Fortune Magazine as one of the World’s Greatest Leaders in 2015”.

    Shurly shome mishtake.

  7. Cassowary says:

    So is this what tycoon porn looks like? It could only get more disturbing if it had clowns in it.

  8. Red Dragon says:

    That Tatler 500 list is a corker!

    While I’ve never heard of about 480 of the people listed, it’s been nice to wander down memory lane and spy a few vaguely recognisable faces.

    Top of the list in the “Thought (and rather hoped) were dead” category comes that classic old bag and Queen of the See Lais, Peggy Lam. A very close runner-up is bureaucrats’ bureaucrat and all-round incompetent, Michael Suen.

    Lovely to see Edward Leong’s goofy phiz right above that of little old communist spinster Elsie Leung, especially as they come first and second respectively in the “Central Parting of the Year” category; Timothy Fok came in an honourable third. Incidentally, Elsie’s photo is right next to that of a young and debonair 689, whose sunny smile suggests that he was snapped just after having (allegedly) trousered that fifty million dollar bung.

    Lee Shau Kee again scoops the “Creepiest looking property scammer with test-tube grandsons” award, while later on there are two snaps of someone called Allan Murray, who seems to be an occasional cross-dresser going by the name of “Carol”. Watch out for Simon Murray doing his famous Michael Douglas impersonation at the end of the M list.

    In amongst the Tang gang I spy the suave, perma-tanned Sir David, just above dear old Henry, who yet again, and despite some very stiff competition, romped home in the “Rich but Dim” category. Further down, we have Harbour-fest supremo Jim Thompson, who looks remarkably well given that he disappeared without trace in the Cameron Highlands in 1967. A quick look at the end of the T’s will prove that Tings ain’t wot they used to be.

    In the W’s, only Cissy and Shinichiro are neither Wong, Woo nor Wu, so no surprises to find sinister Donald Rumsfeld lookalike Peter Woo fighting it out with Sir Gordon Wu (reprising his award-winning role as Toad of Toad Hall) and Victor Lo for the “Least Memorable Chairman of the Council of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University” award. It goes without saying that Victor won hands down in the “Beard of the Year” category.

    Bringing up the rear (as it were), in the company of his entire family, is perennial favourite Allan “I’m Chinese!” Zeman, who, in the absence of Sir David Akers-Jones and Elsie Tu wins the “Turncoat” Prize nemine contradicente.

    Many thanks to Hemlock for the link to this inspirational list of inspiring personalities all of whom inspire me and act as an inspiration to us all.

  9. Groggery says:

    Wasn’t Tammy Tam the ATV vice-pres that quit after exaggerating news of Jiang Zemin’s death?

  10. LRE says:

    Finally got round to casting an eye over the “portrait of inspiration, influence and achievement in modern Britain” that is “Debrett’s Hong Kong 100”. (Attention, CCP commissars: that sounds rather inappropriate!)

    Puzzling from start to finish. I can only assume that etiquette prevented the Debrett’s crowd from either ringing anyone more than once or turning down anyone who slipped them a bundle under the table. Otherwise it’s altogether inexplicably random.

  11. Knownot says:

    “So is this what tycoon porn looks like? It could only get more disturbing … ”

    I report with regret
    That some images have appeared on the Net.

    One shows Lee Ka-shing
    And Elsie Leung embracing.

    Another shows Lui Che-woo
    Sitting thoughtfully on the loo.

    Another shows Susan Jung and Richard Li
    Devising a bedroom recipe.

    Another shows Timothy Fok.
    (But I can’t think of a rhyme.)

    The one most viewed
    Shows Tammy Tam nude.

  12. Who remembered that Li Ka-shing had a knighthood? As for Ronnie Chan, the Science and Medicine category is doubtless a reflection of the Chan family’s massive gift to Harvard University’s School of Public Health (http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2014/9/8/gerald-chan-profile-donation/)

  13. Joe Blow says:

    This list has a rather 1980s feel to it:

    Kimmie Robinson, who has been dyeing Bonnae’s beehive since the Jurassic era.

    Bonnea herself -she must be getting on- and her so 1981 sister Joyce. (apparently still alive)

    Henry Steiner, who used to design banknotes and hotel menus. Well, I guess it’s a job. No less than dyeing tai-tais’ hair.

    Merle Hinrich (??????): Global Sources, if you must know.

    Fattie Kadoorie, who has been tending to his grandfather’s inheritance with great vision, foresight and courage since, errr, forever.

    Tony Cruz, who last sat on a horse during the Ching (or was it Ping) dynasty.

  14. Mjrelje says:

    Not long now and several are going to reach their ‘sell by date’ and die leaving no grieving relatives, clients, customers, public or press. It will all be revealed that they were thick as shit and had it all handed on a monopoly plate. Can’t fucking wait.

  15. Mjrelje says:

    And please God make Lau fat-twat of HYK go first in a most unfortunate act of his own stupidity like stabbing himself in the eye/brain with a sharp chopstick as he nods down asleep whilst simultaneously slurping, spitting, farting and burping again.

  16. Gin Soaked Boy says:

    Now I know why I never read Tatler, the pictures of Brenda Chau and Pearl Lam are just frightening. The magazine should come with a warning.

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