HK snoozes through another John Tsang budget

Hong Kong Financial Secretary John Tsang’s annual budgets verge on self-parody. He stashes away much of the unforeseen surplus, for no reason, while giving the remainder back in an apparently random package of one-off minor tax cuts, rebates and grants to various disadvantaged demographic groups or fashionable/whiny business interests. He could reform the fiscal system in such a way as to end the land/property scam and reduce inequality – but of course, for the ninth year running, does not. (For more on this, see here.)

With nothing new to report, the media dwell on Tsang’s tone and style. They perceive that he does not come across as belligerent, delusional and scary, note the obvious contrast with his boss CY Leung, and conclude that this must mean he is angling to be the next Chief Executive.

Let’s remind ourselves that the CE is chosen by Beijing and Beijing alone; the local campaigning and pseudo-election is a charade. So publicly indicating a desire for the job – as lawmaker Regina Ip does so tirelessly – is not necessarily helpful. Let’s also consider that Beijing might actually think belligerence, delusion and scariness are positive or even vital qualifications for the position. (That we don’t know if this is so is in itself scary.) And let’s bear in mind that you would have to be an idiot to want to head up a political structure that is pretty much designed not to work.

Nonetheless, we can’t rule out the idea of CE John Tsang. The Chinese Communist Party is in a permanent state of panic and paranoia and could do anything – even lurch away from the current ‘Mercilessly Crush Hong Kong’ policy. When asked, Tsang gently denies wanting the job. Maybe he is lying in that irritating way politicians always do. But maybe he is just being too diplomatic to openly vomit at the appalling suggestion.

He was certainly being diplomatic when the press pointed out that his Budget speech had not referred to ‘One Belt One Road’ every five seconds, as CY’s Policy Address did last month. Tsang hastily assured the reporters that he spouts off gibberish about ‘One Belt One Road’ as incessantly as any loyal and patriotic member of the government…

Stan-JTsang

…or for that matter, any shoe-shining property tycoons. Sino Land’s annual results announcement cites ‘One Belt One Road’ among its fairly brief list of reasons to be optimistic about business prospects in the year ahead…

SinoLand-Res

Meanwhile… No sooner do I mention the word ‘whiny’ than a Hong Kong government press release appears waxing exceeding wrathful about ex-Governor Chris Patten’s remarks on Communist Party interference in local universities. The defensive and overwrought tone and language is starting to look disturbingly Mainland…

HKG-PRpatten

Can ‘…hurts the feelings of the Hong Kong people’ be far off?

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15 Responses to HK snoozes through another John Tsang budget

  1. Caligula almost made his horse a consul. Sadly we may be in for the pipe-smoking, brain-dead, grinning idiot walrus as CE one day if he makes it. A lot of the grandees and leading career civil servants are sick men and already clapped out. All that immobility, shoe-shining, wine quaffing, reading and compiling inane documents and lines to take does them in early. Good.

  2. LRE says:

    On reading the Education Bureau’s response to Chris Patten’s article, Claud Cockburn’s sage advice comes to mind: “Never believe anything until it has been officially denied.”

    As to Porntache’s budget — The alleged government continues it’s sleepwalking sprint towards bloody revolution, by pretending that doing exactly the same thing as you have the last 8 times will definitely make everything better this time, for sure.

  3. PD says:

    No, George, John Tsang could never be CE, and in any case wouldn’t want it. For a start he’s not thuggish enough; he’s also dangerously close to espousing evil alien cultural values.

    I wonder what would be in it for CY to want a second term? Especially once the threshold has been crossed of protester/police fatalities.

    Of course, if the pan-dems lose NT East on Sunday, Legco will become a lame duck and then there will be only the judiciary still resisting total power for the CE.

  4. The Meister says:

    Can ‘…hurts the feelings of the Hong Kong people’ be far off?

    Surely you meant ‘…hurts the feelings of the Chinese people’? There is only one China, you see, and one must remain vigilant at all time and defend the integrity of the motherland against foreign splittist plotting to humiliate China for another century.

  5. Qian Jin says:

    @PD: “then there will be only the judiciary still resisting ”
    Yes that has not gone unnoticed. It’s fast approaching the time for some those OC-worshipping magistrates to have a well-deserved hard clip round their ears.

  6. Red Dragon says:

    When the Chinese commies and their stooges get into a tis-was, they can usually be relied upon to shoot themselves in the foot

    It was therefore extremely easy to surmise from Education Bureau’s petulant tone, and frantic vocabulary, that old Fat Pang has, yet again, hit the nail squarely on the head.

    The mendacious response was also peppered with the same tired old solecisms that we have come to expect from the English language ejaculations of government departments, those of the Education Bureau in particular.

    The only grammatically acceptable part of the text was the quotation taken from Professor Mathieson. Even this, however, contains a line which gives one pause.

    When observing that “we [Hong Kong University] are responsible to the public, and hence to the government that represents them”, was he revealing a delicious, albeit usually well-hidden sense of irony, or was he talking through his arse?

  7. Knownot says:

    From the Standard:

    Distrust within the University of Hong Kong Council reached new heights when a member accused a colleague with a vacuum flask of possessing an eavesdropping device.

    … the identity of the council member … was disclosed by another member, Billy Fung Jing-en, in a radio interview.

    “Yes, that was an interesting question raised by Miss Ki [Leonie Ki Man-fung] … she was serious and even requested Dr Cheung to pour out some tea to prove the flask is real.”

    Fung also said Cheung had complied with her request.

    – – – – – –

    “Professor, may I ask
    What’s in your flask?”

    “Do you really want to see?
    It’s tea.”

    “In no sense
    Do I wish to cause offence,
    But we must be careful, surely.”

    “There you are. Tea, purely.”

    “Thank you. I hope you’re not offended.”

    [spoken] “The respect you have shown to a teacher at the University, your concern for secrecy, and your good sense are to be commended.”

    [unspoken] “Your distrust
    Humiliated me.
    Or did it humiliate you?
    To be discussed.”

  8. Stephen says:

    I don’t think it matters one jot that Big ‘Mustached’ J exits the scene to enjoy his 40% final salary pension. The next Financial Secretary is going to do exactly the same – such is the utterly broken system of Hong Kong Governance. I put my hand up and admit I do very well out of his annual handouts – rates, tax waivers and so on. But not well enough to blind me to the great con that has and is still going on. Meanwhile we still see oldies diving head first into bins to fish out a few cans. After all it’s not that the MPF can assist them with its employer driven choice, sky high fees and the offset mechanism all safely still in place 15 years after implementation. Needs consensus you see !

    BTW is another sign that economic calamity is nigh is the re-emergence, after a number of years, of the expat beggar? However the chancer currently on the Exchange Square footbridge asking me to pay for his flight to Philippines will hopefully get thumped sooner or later.

  9. PCC says:

    Why would the CCP replace CY Leung? From their perspective he’s doing a great job and inflicting him upon the Hong Kong populace for another five years would give them immeasurable pleasure.

  10. Gooddog says:

    I too saw the beggar. I wanted to go up to him to tell him how there is real poverty in Hong Kong and his fat, rosy, western face holding a sign might be a little bit offensive to the locals….

  11. Stanley 2 says:

    @ Stephen …”enjoy his 40% final salary pension”??

    40% Pah! While 40% should be quite enough to cover Arabica supply and Antononi DVDs in his dotage, For a lifer such as porntache, the actual pension amount is about 70% of the highest (not always final) salary point (Highest – in case of (a) demotion, or (b) civil service pay cut(s) late in career)

  12. inspired says:

    @Meister What is this ‘motherland’ talk, ‘fatherland’ is the actual term used…

  13. Old Newcomer says:

    @inspired – as I understand it, the motherland is China (though “Mother Russia” also claims the title); the fatherland was Nazi Germany. I wonder if they are related?

  14. Red Dragon says:

    Tread carefully, QJ, you little gadfly, you.

    We all appreciate your ironic humour.

    But in this comment, you come perilously close to revealing your hand.

  15. inspired says:

    @Old Newcomer I repeat the word commonly used in Chinese is 祖国 ’祖‘ refers very clearly to the male line of descent and not female. Mothers don’t have anything to do with it. I will split the difference and say that ‘Ancestral homeland’ is okay, but motherland… translate.google.com/#en/zh-CN/fatherland

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