…to pass the time (for those who have it).
Former prominent business figure Simon ‘modern-day Beau Geste’ Murray writes to the South China Morning Post to add his support for Hong Kong’s convicted ex-Chief Executive Donald ‘hates poor people’ Tsang. Like so many of us who at some point had a radio broadcasting licence and left it gathering dust somewhere, he finds the charges trivial. He is bolder than many of Sir Bow-Tie’s sympathizers in openly accusing the CY Leung regime of vindictiveness.
The triviality/vindictiveness line of Donald-defence is a good one. Unlike Donald, CY Leung put the Communist Party above all else and undermined public institutions in his zealous pursuit of counter-revolutionary elements that needed to be crushed.
One result is the Hong Kong Police force’s sad fall from politically impartial grace – a useful commentary on which appears here. An array of fringe or nominally independent ‘patriotic’ United Front groups and figures are now openly condemning rule of law and the courts, often in revealing xenophobic and racist terms. Hong Kong’s top officials meanwhile keep their heads down, too petrified or otherwise unable to agree or disagree.
If you really wanted a reason to put Donald in prison for years, it would be for using his time in office to deliberately push up housing prices and therefore the profits of property developers (like Simon Murray’s old company, Hutchison). Not only did he suspend supply of land and subsidized homes, he introduced incentives for developers to build projects with ‘luxury’ features like club-houses – which ended up being sold to money-launderers and investors.
You could even claim that Donald’s housing policy helped feed the discontent that CY Leung leveraged in his anti-dem witch-hunt Cultural Revolution. Then again, you could claim that CY has deliberately maintained and worsened the housing mess – to the extent that, according to this informative SCMP op-ed column, 14% of private housing is vacant.
On the subject of construction, if you ever look at plans for big projects, you will see a reference to ‘Principal Datum’. I have always assumed from the context that this was fancy engineering-speak for ‘ground level’ next to the white-elephant monstrosity concerned. Apparently, it is a notional ‘ground level’ for the whole of Hong Kong from sea to shining sea. One of many fascinating factoids in this convoluted tangle of stuff about a copper bolt.