Another bad day for CY


Month by month, week by week, day by day, it is getting worse to be CY Leung. Leaked documents and common-sense cynicism leave most thinking Hong Kong people in little doubt that their Chief Executive did a secret deal to allow murky rural thug-linked ‘strongmen’ to profit at the expense of badly needed public housing supply. If (for the sake of argument) CY had one claim to credibility, it would be his apparently sincere commitment to struggle – albeit against mysterious and apparently insurmountable odds – to tackle the city’s housing problem. So much for that.

It would be a tremendous credit to government spin doctors if they had deliberately crafted yesterday’s press conference to distract the public by highlighting the supposed rivalry between CY and Financial Secretary John ‘grim faced’ Tsang. They are, of course, nowhere near that devious – it just turned out that way, thanks partly to reporters’ inability or reluctance to ask the right questions. The PR advisers probably did suggest the emotional ‘weepy’ performance at the end. It was sub-Nixon-Checkers-speech stuff, and won’t impress anyone.

(James David Barber classified Nixon as an ‘active-negative’ leader, meaning: ‘lack of deriving joy after expending much effort on tasks, aggressive, highly rigid, and having a general view of power as a means to self-realization’. And shifty-looking, of course.)

The Legislative Council’s new, youthful, energetic, invigorated, blood-smelling, knife-sharpening opposition camp aren’t buying the government’s flimsy making-it-up-as-they-go-along excuses. Their challenge is to use the Wang Chau land scandal to inflict maximum damage on the administration and its grubby and grasping Heung Yee Kuk and other colluding allies – and test Beijing’s commitment to them. The pro-establishment lawmakers have the unhappy job of appearing happy with and loyal to the administration, even as such misfortunes as the counterproductive United Front meddling, Sing Pao weirdness, leaking of documents, and a blatantly sullen Financial Secretary suggest that it is coming apart.

And the court did indeed slap down the government’s whiny attempt to put the Joshua Wong Trio in jail. Just to add to that everything’s-going-wrong feeling.


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12 Responses to Another bad day for CY

  1. Walter De Havilland says:

    The body language of D’Artagnan was telling. No eye contact with the Dark Overlord, no smiles and a tongue in cheek comment about ‘kissing the bosses arse.’ Dame Carrie was nowhere to seen, having dodged questions about government disarray all week. Meanwhile, the fact remains a brownfield site is being spared development, whilst three villages in a green zone are destroyed. And yes, you guessed it, the brownfield site is occupied by a dodgy sort from the HYK, who is facilitated in his endeavours by a passive Land Department.

  2. Cassowary says:

    So CY’s going for the “Yes I did it, but there was nothing wrong with it” defence. There’s shade’s of Raphael Hui’s “Yes I received an obscene amount of money, but it wasn’t a bribe” gambit. We know how well that worked out.

  3. Real Fax Paper says:

    I think credit is due to Eddie Chu for not getting sucked into the minutiae of who-said-what-where-and-when, but keeping eyes (and pressure) on the big picture. I suspect the whole press conference theater was, at least in part, standard HK govt practice of trying to get the debate bogged down in meaningless details. The older generation pan-dems would joyously have taken the bait.

  4. LRE says:

    One gets a sense from this conference that corruption has become so deeply ingrained in the top echelon of Hong Kong, that 689 hasn’t even twigged yet that he has just copped to being totally corrupt and in collusion with the Heung Yee Crooks and by extension the triads, because it’s “just how things get done”.

  5. Stephen says:

    How many years has Government been sucking up to the Heung Yee Kuk – Aching Bones was at it in colonial times ? Would the result of the Wang Chau project been different under another CE ? Let’s not kid ourselves that jolly art movie loving Mr. Pringles would have built the 13,000 flats there. Nor would the woeful Lands Department. You correctly allude to the point that the Heung Yee Kuk days are only numbered when Beijing decides they are – sadly now is not that time.

    Credit to the new Legislative blood for airing this, coupled with your winning the seat should mean CE change. CY Leung’s now practiced teary eyed performance will be seen again during the “spending more time with my family speech.” However keep the pressure on and once Beijing thinks that the Kuk are now a liability (as they must now be realizing with CY ?) their Triad mercenaries, now with a new deep pocketed employer, will be turned on them.

  6. reductio says:

    @Real Fax Paper

    Very good point. Missing open goals was a speciality of the previous lot. BTW Christine Loh is something to do with the environment isn’t she? She’s been keeping a low profile on this (as in most things).

  7. Cassowary says:

    @LRE: I think they’re going to double down on “that’s just how things get done”. It’s completely normal to consult land owners, the container storage industry is important to Hong Kong’s economy, we have to think about the economic impact of displacing brownfield operations, the squatters don’t have legal title to the land, they’re just angling for more compensation so don’t let them manipulate you, we’re making a completely legitimate pragmatic decision to pocket 4,000 housing units first, I’m trying to provide more housing sooooo haaaaaard, why don’t you people appreciate anything I do?!

    And so on and so forth. The only thing to do when you are caught red-handed is to act completely shameless and make your opponent doubt his sanity for questioning your behaviour.

  8. Enid Day says:

    But you haven’t explained what it’s all about. That’s parochial discourse for you, always assuming people know about the estate of flats you hardly mention, for example. For once, just once, you are not wordy enough. More background. Greater depth.

  9. Gromit says:

    Anson Chan sums it up: calling it absurd for the government to say it is deferring to a rural leader who is occupying an illegal site where he runs a car park, and instead evict the residents of three villages in the green belt area.
    That’s the nub.

  10. LRE says:

    More than likely. It’s not as if they’re good at innovation, improvisation or thinking for themselves (that sort of thing would get a chap fired in short order), so they’re stuck with using“the same procedure as last year”.
    They’ve already tried the business as usual approach on Eddie Chu of trying to oil the squeaky door by offering an unofficial negotiation for a bit of back scratching compromise action in exchange for quiet, and good on him for saying “get stuffed” to them.

    Who knows? Perhaps Eddie is about to finally have his first success against the powers that be. I do hope so.

  11. Walter De Havilland says:

    @Real Fax Paper. Christine LOH has gone over to the dark side.

  12. Gromit says:

    Mind you, having just seen a photo of Tsang Shu-wo it’s easy to see why the government would prefer to defer to ‘rural interests’, and instead confront with full force non-violent types such as te the Occupy trio; the woman who attacked a police officer with her breast; or the (non-existent) forces that were going to disrupt the Legco elections.

    Re: the two women sentenced to jail for forging voter registration forms for District Elections, is anyone investigating the ‘organisation specialising in “family reunion”’ which had told one of the women that ‘filling out voter registration forms would speed up her residency application process’ (as reported in HKFP)?

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