Your tax dollars at work

The Hong Kong government announces that it will spend HK$640 million on celebrating the 20th anniversary of the handover of the city from the UK to China. Some opportunistic griping ensues, and largely misses its mark…

The budget is far larger than that for the 10th anniversary. This makes sense: the less there is to celebrate, the more you need to spend on festivities – economists would call it counter-cyclical demand stimulus.

The South China Morning Post quotes detractor Kwok Ka-ki as complaining that the events are not really related to the handover. Indeed, many of them don’t even seem to be about Hong Kong – like an exhibition on ancient Egypt co-organized by the Louvre.

Seasoned observers of the city’s bureaucracy will immediately spot what is happening. The word has come down from the manically pro-Communist Chief Executive CY Leung that we must make a Huge Patriotic Deal of the anniversary. Civil servants, not only indolent but aware that CY is leaving office on the date in question and is widely detested, have responded with a box-ticking and label-sticking exercise.

Thus the (no doubt already-arranged) display of some pharaoh’s artefacts becomes an Exciting French-linked Cultural Contribution to the Great 1997-2017 Patriotic We-Love-the-Motherland Hoo-hah. ‘Mega’ sports events include such mind-numbing pastimes as snooker and cycling (though the Swedish cars-driving-over-the-sea thing sounds vaguely interesting). There will be the inevitable, dreaded ‘youth activities’, guaranteed to be embarrassingly tedious and uncool. To cap it all, we must have a slogan-theme-concept that is a sick joke – cue ‘Together, Progress, Opportunity’.

With 55 temporary civil servants working overtime on them, how can the celebration activities fail to be cringe-making and blatantly idiotic?  Chinese national pride demands events that are stirring, joyous, dignified and full of patriotic passion. Instead, guerrilla-saboteur-officials are planning (to quote Kwok Ka-ki) ‘Hong Kong Tourism Board-style promotions’ – and it doesn’t get any more insulting than that. Let the rest of the community be similarly inspired in preparing to mark the occasion.


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11 Responses to Your tax dollars at work

  1. Glanced briefly at what you wrote. You have te spread the muck around for things to grow. So what. All those bags of rice and banquets for the demented old folk of the New Territories don’t come cheap, me dear. And the Heung Yee Kuk “organizer fees” don’t either.

    Sadly you missed the golden nugget of satire and humour today. The SCMP print edition front page. What are we to make of a newspaper which leads with this in block capitals?

    “Ex-immigration chief Eric Chan tipped to be next security minister”

    Articles about any local person called Eric are by definition non-starters.

    The self-satirical mole at the SCMP is clearly still in place. Will he/she be exposed? Tips please to us at NTSCMP. We only expose the guilty.

  2. pie-chucker says:

    To recycle the joke* prevailing before Handover, 20 years ago:

    Where’s the best place to watch the celebrations from?

    Opinion is currently divided. Some say Bali, others Cebu.

    * possibly Hemlock origin. Seems so long ago.

  3. Tiu Fu Fong says:

    I appreciate Hemlock letting the NTSCMP post his comments here.

    It’s like an adult standing back and letting a disobedient toddler smear its soiled nappy over itself; “be my guest, go ahead, by all means”.

  4. Stephen says:

    How much does it cost for a ring of steel around Bauhinia Square, a couple of Government flying services choppers, flying the flags, the Police band leading the deluded in a sing song and some gawd awful banquet where Xi Dada, or one of the lesser black boot polish boys, mouth a few halfhearted platitudes about ‘One Country Two Systems’ ? The vast majority of Hk’ers rightly don’t give a f*ck and won’t be allowed within 1 kilometer of Bauhinia Square.

  5. CassowaryWong says:

    Have you geezers been carrying on this grudge-match since the late ’90s? It’s amusing.

  6. Duncan says:

    I feel like the slogan with its mixing of one adjective and two nouns is a thumb in the eye of English grammar.

    It ought to be “Togetherness, Progress and Opportunity” … It’s basic grammar people.


  7. AHW says:

    I’m sure the UCI, the body that oversees world cycling, would be fascinated to know that their world championships are being touted as part of the 20th anniversary of the handover celebrations. They announced they’d chosen HK following the very successful staging in 2016 of one of the earlier rounds of races. (Hemlock, you may disparage sporting events such as this — it gets a tad tedious, to be honest — but this is actually a big deal, and last year’s event was bloody good; the competitors, who included several of the world’s top track cyclists, were very impressed with the facilities and organisation. HK can do things very well when it wants to, ie when all the worthies stay away because they are too ignorant to know what it is about. HK has some very good cyclists of its own, too.)

  8. 'Ol Duckspreader says:

    @CassowaryW0ng – you will notice the grudge is strictly one-sided, not a match. Just poor little Georgie of the NTSCMP constantly whining that Big Lychee is not up to his standards ! And yet he keeps coming back and posting comments, because it’s the only way he can get anyone to read what he writes…

  9. Laguna Lurker says:

    When Georgie was a wee lad in West Hartlepool, his favourite pastime was ringing neighbours’ doorbells and running away. It’s a juvenile behavioural trait that he is clearly unable to relinquish.

    Hemlock, to his credit, simply declines to engage him. The “grudge” is entirely George’s.

    ‘Ol Duckspreader: Does anyone really read what he writes?

  10. Gromit says:

    Jesus, guys, this little in-feud of yours is really tiresome for the rest of us who read Hemlock’s blog for it’s sideways view. I don’t always agree with what he writes, but don’t feel the need to make snide comments at each other. If you don’t like the content, just don’t read it.

  11. Gromit says:

    Sorry, its (bloody auto spell)

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