In today’s South China Ma Post

When yesterday’s South China Morning Post put a puff-piece for its owner’s company on the front page of the Business section, I thought it vaguely amusing to Tweet it. The paper carried another such advertorial today…


It seemed worthy of another Tweet, but then I turned to the main section, and things started to get less funny. Page 3 has all the real newsworthy excitement like Tai Tam Tunnel crashes, Mainland cops beating up lawyers and how Brexit will affect Hong Kong. And a long report on His Wondrousness Jack Ma’s comments to Hong Kong youth…


…complete with condescending quotes on how young Hong Kong people should ‘think clearly’ and how it would be So Meaningful for them to visit the Mainland so they could SCMP-JackMaCautions‘understand the real situation’. In other words, the standard intelligence-insulting platitudes pro-Beijing propagandists recite to local dissatisfied youth: your anger at bad governance and the threat of totalitarianism is a sign of your dim-wittedness. Interestingly, Ma did not mention ‘Belt and Road’, and the astounding opportunities that await our young people in Azerbaijan or wherever. I guess he is a little bit hip and groovy.

(Presumably, the SCMP will be boosting Alibaba regularly for the foreseeable future. Temasek Holdings has just bought a billion bucks of the company’s shares. When Singapore’s sovereign wealth funds buy, it is a sure sign that a stock is an appalling investment and about to plummet.)

The juxtaposition on page 3 of warnings about radical Localist splittists and Financial Secretary John Tsang’s snore-inducing musings on Brexit begs for a comparison.

Similarities between the PRC and the EU abound…

Both are artificial, centralizing polities designed to embrace and subsume disparate peoples who don’t much like each other. Post-war foundation on high-minded ideals but subsequently ruled by a corrupt unaccountable elite. Pseudo flags – PRC-EU-flagsessentially logos rather than symbols of nationhood and history. A make-believe assembly pretending to be a legislature like real democratic nation-states have. A stubborn inability to accept obvious truths (‘the South China Sea is ocean, you can’t own it’, ‘forcing such different economies to have one currency is stupid’). A fondness for mystical gibberish-slogans (‘If the bicycle stops moving it will fall over’, ‘One Belt, One Road’).

If we want to look on the bright side, we could identify some benefits they have in common. Both the PRC and EU allow for free flows of trade, investment and labour within one economic zone. Both arguably help modernize benighted regions of their empires: Tibet and Xinjiang are at least no longer medieval and feudal, and decrees from Brussels have forced dumps like Rumania to drag themselves into a state of semi-civilization. And let’s not forget such contributions to human culture as the New Year Gala and the Eurovision Song Contest.

Hong Kong independence and British exit from Europe also have some similarities. The warnings against are often ludicrous scare-mongering. We are told that without the motherland Hong Kong would have no trade, no opportunities and no future; Brits are warned that outside the EU they would be forbidden from exporting any goods and services to the Continent and would need visas to cross the Channel. The warnings have menacing overtones. Hong Kong is told that China would cut off its water supply, and the UK is told jealous French and Germans would kill off London’s financial centre. Apparently, such threats of spiteful malice are supposed to increase warm feelings of belonging.

Lastly, both situations have ‘Not going to happen’ written all over them. Hong Kong is constitutionally part of the PRC and can do nothing about it. The UK is independent and can do what it wants, but Brexit offers more emotional satisfaction than guaranteed, significant, clear and measurable practical advantages. For both, the most persuasive argument is a bored and unenthusiastic one in favour of a lackluster status quo: “It’s crap, but at least we’re insulated from the really nasty/stupid bits, and departure is probably more hassle than it’s worth, if not unrealistic – at least until the whole mess implodes.”


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10 Responses to In today’s South China Ma Post

  1. This is just Pacific Rimming.

  2. Chris Maden says:

    Who’s to say that Tibet’s and Xinjiang’s moves away from feudalism aren’t in spite of rather than because of pan-sino unification…

  3. Monkey the Unborn says:

    I remember when I used to believe, during the heady days of my undergrad studies at a Uni with the “finest political minds in the world” as faculty, that incompetence and bureaucratic inertia in our structuralist post-modernity were the main causes of Crap in the world…

    Now that I am older and have seen a little more of the world, the only conspiracy theory that seems ridiculous is that there is no deep state conspiracy, and that our leaders and governments fundamentally have any concern with the interests of society (or humanity) as a whole* … for example, who do I vote for in the US/UK if I am against all forms of war, except for defending one’s own borders?? … I was in London when Blair – a ‘centre-left’ politician, mind you – went to war in Iraq despite over a million people marching in protest and independent polls indicating 60% or 70% of the polis was against war …

    As for Alibaba, I sympathise with Jackie-boy… once you take the CCP’s money, they own you completely… I’m sure Mr. Ma is a lot ‘looser’ down below now than he was before his first round of venture financing in Beijing…

    * disclaimer – the flat earth conspiracies, and the lizard conspiracies a la David Icke, the fake moon landing conspiracies, etc etc … yes those are ridiculous.

    p.s. if you ever wondered who really shot JFK, and have 3.5 hours to spare lol … … most compelling exposition of the deep state and JFK’s assassination I have seen …

    Viva la evolucion!

  4. Monkey the Unborn says:

    p.p.s. interview with Aaron Russo, producer of “Trading Places”, and later on in life an independent documentary filmmaker (best known for “From freedom to fascism” on the unconstitutionality of personal income tax in the US), talking about personal overtures from Nick Rockefeller to join the CFR, 9-11 and the “War on Terror”, the Euro and the EU, speaking out on film less than a year before he died of cancer… (Freedom to Fascism)

    Or in the words of the late, great Mr. Hicks: I’ll show you politics in America. Here it is, right here. “I think the puppet on the right shares my beliefs.” “I think the puppet on the left is more to my liking.” “Hey, wait a minute, there’s one guy holding out both puppets!” “Shut up! Go back to bed, America. Your government is in control. Here’s Love Connection. Watch this and get fat and stupid. By the way, keep drinking beer, you fucking morons.”

  5. Knownot says:

    “You really should pay a visit to the Mainland … It would be so meaningful.” – Alibaba boss Jack Ma.

    Over Shenzhen Bay
    A glorious day, that’s where I went.
    Under brand-new soaring towers
    Such happy hours, in China I have spent.

    What did you do there? – I got high.
    How did you feel there? – Well I cried.
    Why the tears there? – I’ll tell you why.

    It’s all too meaningful …

    I feel inclined to blow my mind.
    I feel as rich as Alibaba.
    Throw the lawyers into jail.
    Throw your votes in Hong Kong Harbour.

    I’ll tell you what I’ll do. – What will you do?
    I’d like to go there now with you.
    You can miss out school. – Won’t that be cool,
    Why go to learn the words of fools?

    I feel inclined to blow my mind.
    I feel as red as Chairman Mao.
    I feel as black (or white) as any cat.
    I really feel I’m Chinese now.

    It’s all too meaningful,
    It’s all too meaningful,
    It’s all too meaningful …

    with acknowledgement to ‘Itchycoo Park’ recorded by The Small Faces

  6. C.Law says:

    ” For both, the most persuasive argument is a bored and unenthusiastic one in favour of a lackluster status quo”
    So far as the UK in EU situation is concerned this is a fallacious argument, it is plain that the EU is changing rapidly, either stay or leave is equally a leap into an uncertain situation.
    I would prefer a leap into a situation where the British Parliament had the final say, rather than being over-ruled by Brussels.
    Declaration of interest: I voted out in 1975. So far as I can see I was right!
    I regret that having lived in HK for over 15 years I have no vote this time.
    (That is not to say I regret living in HK)

  7. Chinese Netizen says:

    Wanna know why the CCP never issues passports and exhorts its youth to “venture abroad to see how the rest of the world is, then come back to make China greater”?


  8. HKcynical says:

    @C.Law to set your mind at ease on Brexit I would have voted Remain but am also unable to vote due to being I’m HK over 15 years. We net out

  9. Hermes says:

    @Knownot: Great Small Faces tribute.

  10. SCumPOST says:

    I wonder what that Yonden Lhatoo moron will have to say about the “balanced” coverage of the SCMP recently. It’s just an Alibaba show, almost every day.

    Do the people working at the Post not see this? Haven’t they got anywhere better to work?

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