Sixth Tone, ice cream and dogs

Too busy playing Pokemon Go to waste time on writing things, so just a few random bits and pieces…


Sixth Tone does look good, indeed glossy and hip. Launched earlier this year, it is the Chinese propaganda machine’s best attempt yet to do English-language media/culture CD-Separatism‘soft power’. This is compared with, say, creepy Confucius Institutes infiltrating overseas schools, the psychopathic Global Times, China Daily’s absurd ‘experts’ and Beijing’s recent high-profile contributions to the Hong Kong book publishing and retail sector.

Sixth Tone actually produces some interesting stories. Most are light reads, such as recent ones about the weird put-everyone-on-drips thing in Mainland hospitals, and a planned reality TV show about ‘leftover women’. Some are depressing, covering the plight of migrant workers’ kids, flood victims or the mentally ill. Like the South China Morning Post’s op-ed page – daily columns about human trafficking, climate change, and other something-must-be-done issues – it’s not a question of what’s there as what is not. There is essentially no politics; the Communist one-party state with its paranoia and obsessive control is mysteriously missing. Or, in a way, in plain view.

‘Soft power’ is a by-product of vibrant civil society and free markets working successfully. Government policy can’t create it to order.

On the subject of things not being there… Imagine an ice-cream store with several dozen flavours, ranging from dull plain vanilla, to more-interesting mango, to fun rum-and-raisin, to edgy sesame. And then imagine if they introduced a new choice with absolutely no flavor at all – devoid of any sweetness, sourness, fruitiness, and even of colour or texture. That is what Hong Kong voters are being offered in Ronny Tong’s hyper-moderate Path of Democracy


This being Hong Kong, there has to be not one, but (at the time of writing) two meek-and-mild Beijing-friendly pro-democracy-up-to-a-point parties – the other being the Third Side. The signs so far are that voters are underwhelmed by these groups and their insipid positioning. Meanwhile, we wait to see whether the far spicier localists will even be allowed to be candidates.

Stan-CY-BackersAt the other end of the political-flavours scale, we have a rancid, bitter and nauseating offering in the form of Leticia Lee. Beijing’s United Front apparatchiks have asked her not to run; they calculate, maybe with reason, that pro-government voters might prefer the rabid she-wolf to the loyalist dullards spouting the official line.

HKFP-DogRescueWhich brings us rather neatly to this – the woman who somehow accommodates 100 canines on Lamma.

There is a stage at which dog-worshipping goes from a fetish to a neurological disorder, and this must be it. The noise and – at the height of a Hong Kong summer – smell…

And yet we are still not at peak insanity. Behold the Shenzhen property market…


(Full-scale chart here.) These are monthly year-on-year increases, so prices in March and April were 60% higher than a year earlier. People have been crowd-funding property purchases – say, 20 people each chip in 5% of the cost, with the hope of flipping it for a profit maybe six months later. This is not going to end well.

And yes, Pokemon monsters are real…


Mid-Levels, yesterday: Regina Ip’s pet 300-lb muscle-bound gorilla-hulk/plaything persuading citizens to vote for her

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4 Responses to Sixth Tone, ice cream and dogs

  1. Walter De Havilland says:

    The silly antics have started, and I don’t mean the Pokemon Zombies. Tanya Chan, former soft porn starlet, was standing on the Tai Hang Road roundabout waving frantically at passing cars. She received at least two single-digit salutes in the 10 minutes I was waiting for the PLB. At least Tanya is easy on the eye, unlike the horror show that was Pamela Pak’s election bid.

  2. Monkey the Unborn says:

    First, the old empire fell and the dowager got her come-uppance.

    Then, Marxism was the tune and the CCP a pantomime. China lived in functional freedom (cf. Age of Openness by Dikotter).

    Then, Marxism in China became Leninism, and the CCP got serious, and got successful.

    Then, Marxism in China became Stalinism, and the CCP got deadly, terrifying, and highly dysfunctional.

    Then Stalinism died with the great, slightly mouldy and off-smelling personage who steers boats, and the CCP once again got serious, and got successful.

    And now we return to Marxism, and the CCP becoming a pantomime once again, and the peoples of China returning to live in more-or-less functional freedom…

    The question is what follows next? A return to oligarchy masquerading as absolute monarchy?

    Or … something new, that we perhaps have yet to see before?

    Personally, I vote for oligarchy, as its me and my pals doing the oligarching.

  3. Joe Blow says:

    Pamela Pak was rejected for the part of Norman Bates’ mother. Too scary.

  4. Monkey the Unborn says:


    – *Marxism became Leninism again*, and the CCP got serious, and got successful again.

    – Personally, I vote for oligarchy, as *long* its me and my pals doing the oligarching.

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