It seemed like a good idea at the time

A profound cliché advises that, if you are in a hole, you should stop digging. Sadly, this does not apply to Hong Kong officials when continuing to shovel energetically down into a pit of night-soil is a sign of loyalty to the Chinese Communist Party.

Chief Secretary Carrie Lam was at some stage in the happy position of being able to brighten up everyone’s lives – arranging for Hong Kong to get an indisputably classy and desirable new museum, while making the authorities in Beijing look kind, caring and considerate. Sadly, the announcement came across as high-handed and presumptuous, and it coincided with Carrie’s hasty and (necessarily) devious preparations to possibly be the next Chief Executive. No-one, from hate-filled radical militants to leisurely critics-of-anything, could resist pouncing and tearing Carrie and her museum to shreds.

Within two weeks, the Hong Kong Palace Museum has gone from a secret proposal no-one knew about to an embarrassing mess that has Carrie and her team in full-blown panic mode. The PR rule that ‘you must manage events, not be managed by them’ must sound like a sick joke, as the elaborate symbolism spin-doctors designed to ram down our throats gets hijacked as a memorial to the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre.

The main criticism of the Palace Museum proposal is that there was no public consultation. Pleas that it was supposed to be a gift, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the handover, are in vain. Behold the whole Hong Kong-Beijing Gap in Understanding in HK$3.5 billion-style microcosm.

To Chinese leaders, it seems obvious that Hongkongers should welcome a dazzling collection of national treasures and even feel some patriotic appreciation. Hongkongers just want the Communist Party to go away and stop its post-1997 screwing-up of their city. For the Hong Kong senior officials caught in the middle, it is a time to display their professionalism, integrity, dignity, devotion to ‘serving the community and defending its values’ and moral courage – and thus drop to their knees to assure the Beijing rulers that they are right, and nothing could possibly go wrong.

The furious digging continues. The Hong Kong government’s hapless cultural bureaucrats patch together an unconvincing and desperate ‘public consultation’ on the already-decided project, and then lose their nerve, and any hope of regaining a trace of credibility, by postponing it, to ‘consolidate’ the barrage of venom, blame and nitpicking. Carrie – as in ‘Carrie the can’ – knows there is no turning back once the manure is up to your neck. Visiting a school, she grins and tells the kids that rather than be bankers they can polish antique bronzes for a living. The school, inevitably, is celebrating that 20th anniversary. It has to be, doesn’t it? She adds that they can also clean out pandas as a career.


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9 Responses to It seemed like a good idea at the time

  1. WTF says:

    further to comment on yesterday’s post, Hari-Carrie has made it clear she and Eddie, the sputum HAcK KIMg , Ng are on the same page when it comes to calculating the value of local children, and telling them the government will give them their future, whether its what they wanted or not, and it will be a dim one.

    Consultation in her and Ng’s vocabulary is a word meaning shut up while I tell you what is best for you, irrespective of the facts, while I get whats best for me and my pals.

    Anyone that thought Carrie was honest should have got it clear in their mind when CY and Beijing let her take up the CS role that she had dirt on her. Anyone of that nature will lack the awareness of how this show was going to end, when anyone with a modicum of moral fibre would have spotted the risk from the get-go.

  2. But Donald is in an even bigger hole.

    See you in court!

    Pip, pip.

  3. PD says:

    Your targets are rather obvious ones, but you have such a way with words, that you produce an anthologisable piece, one of your best.

    Just a small point you may have missed: is it not slightly sacrilegious to compare in the same breath mucking out the pandas and guarding the second-best relics that the Republic of Taiwan failed to grab?

  4. FB3 says:

    Looking forward to reporters asking if Taiwan has also agreed to loan exhibits to the proposed Museum.

  5. I was just wondering this morning how much differently things might have worked out if the museum offer had come from, not Beijing, but the National Palace Museum in Taipei. Food for thought…

  6. PD says:

    Carrie likes to present a cuddly but efficient image, but, as far as can be seen below and behind her secrecy and deviousness, she has none of the qualities expected in the leaders of the most microscopic states: breadth of vision, integrity, awareness of what is happening 20 miles away, sensitivity to public opinion, thick skin, courage.

    In short, she is likely to break before she bends. I’ve said it before, but for a relatively quiet life and ease of everyday functioning, we may still live to regret the days of CY and the others.

    Now may be a good time to short the property market and the HK$…

  7. LRE says:

    Does anyone else reckon this whole thing sounds like a Nigerian email/Mainland phone scam: somebody rings up Carrie Lam claiming to be a Chinese official saying that she has already won fabulous treasures, but she has to keep it secret and not tell anyone. All she has to do is find a cheeky HK$3.5 billion to pay for somewhere to house these treasures…

    What a chump falling for that sort of sketchy nonsense: does she not have a spam filter?

  8. Probably says:

    Does Beijing not realise that the previous fishing village that Hong Kong once was is now heavily populated by persons and their decendants that fled communist oppression and tyranny? Even importing 70,000 obedient mugwumps per annum isn’t going to tip the balance very soon. How deluded can some people in their Zhongnamhai bunkers be?

  9. Red Dragon says:

    Sorry, folks.

    I tempted providence, and providence took exception.

    Enid’s back.


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