Mental health corner

Hong Kong Free Press is on a roll at the moment, scoring an interview with former Governor Chris Patten, gaining accreditation from the government, apparently finding new office space – and keeping the stories coming. And now it gets the ultimate compliment: creepy letters from a deluded individual trying to sound threatening…

The epistolary forensics freak in me can’t help but go through the menacing missives. On the face of it…

In terms of style, the writer has native or near-native English ability, down to the typos. The few distinguishers reflect British usage. The writer has carefully used restrained and deliberate language. The voice is female or at least ‘effeminate’/’maternal’.

As for substance, the writer identifies as Chinese and pro-Beijing and expresses xenophobic feelings – but is also fervently Christian.

This isn’t a contradiction among some local cultural conservatives who manage to combine loyalty to PRC with Biblical fundamentalism. Such people typically have Mainland or ‘establishment-style’ material/business interests (earthly success being a sign of God’s blessing), and distrust of activists, gays, feminists (both un-Chinese and un-Godly). The author here quotes from: the judges in the sentencing of Joshua Wong et al (“unhealthy trend…”); the Basic Law (nationalistic intro and Article 23); and an astoundingly putrid hymn by one John Rutter (who has recently appeared in Hong Kong, and is in fact an agnostic).

The genuinely creepy part is that the writer writes directly to and mentions HKFP staff’s family members – which would have involved finding home addresses and other details. Such calculation and awareness of how to cause alarm could mean that the ‘racist Christian’ persona is a deliberate façade. But why go to the trouble of faking this sort of religious earnestness? More likely this is an actual racist Christian who is also sinister and malevolent.

The writer offers a link to an English-speaking Evangelical church in North Point. Given the anonymity in the rest of the materials, this does look like an attempt to mislead.

My tentative conclusion is that the perpetrator is a Western-educated Hongkonger or a locally resident Singaporean or Malaysian Chinese, consciously pro-establishment in terms of business and politics, a devout (probably convert) fundamentalist Christian, possibly with enemies at Island Evangelical Community Church. By ‘tentative’, I mean ‘probably BS’. Definitely pitiful.

I declare the weekend open with the hope that it’s not a certain person I know who – in total seriousness – prays to God for extra help when her secretary can’t book her desired table at a restaurant.


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11 Responses to Mental health corner

  1. You’re right about the pro-God and pro-PRC oddballs – pro-police and anti-Occupy loudmouth Leticia Li for example. I’m never sure how they can justify their devotion to a regime which is not only avowedly atheist, but actively represses religious freedom.

  2. property developer says:

    I have spent a lifetime thinking about what constitutes native-speaker ability and performance, and have published more than a million or two on connected questions.

    Additional details to your cogent analysis:
    – agreed that this is British-Isles style (“one… one’s”, not “… his/her”)
    – “the life that he has decided to live…”: the presence of “that” may indicate a lack of youth
    – while there are no hard-and-fast rules to show what is (near-)native-speaker writing, the subtleties of the “rhythm”/cadences are one important sign. Here the beginning is very fluent
    – agreed on the deliberate errors (“ones” and “one’s”)
    – “better the development” reflects a Chinese way of thinking, like much of the second half
    – the commas are misused: sometimes to link phrases where a semi-colon might be better (sign of spoken/feminine/young style?; and one is missing
    – northerners sometimes pronounce “none” as “non”: but naturally it could be yet another deliberate mistake
    – in sum, as you imply, these sorts of analyses are rarely conclusive, if only because the writer(s) can lay traps, by for instance cutting and pasting from varied sources. But in my view you may be underestimating the difficulty for locally brought up Hong Kong and Singaporean Chinese to write English.

    Talking of criminal intimidation, my neighbour today dropped a computer from about 25 feet that landed less than 3 feet from me

  3. reductio says:

    Not exactly Bach’s St Matthew Passion is it? At least Lutheranism has some balls – eternal damnation awaiting the unelected, tearful contrition etc etc. This is the aural equivalent of rolling in a field of marshmellows while pink, fluffy clouds in the shapes of unicorns drift by. Talking of which, when is Carrie Lam’s Legco speech?

  4. property developer says:

    Sorry: “more than a million WORDS”…

  5. Hank Morgan says:

    Evangelical Christianity with Chinese characteristics … at least the letter writing along with the CPC agents and a dash of Romans 13:1

  6. Gromit says:

    I notice that George has been quiet lately…

  7. @Gromit – ssshhh! It appears he’s simultaneously working on a new novel and providing blow-by-boring-blow accounts of the Donald Tsang retrial on his blog.

  8. Chinese Netizen says:

    @Gromit: Shit! You broke the seal!!! Now the little fucktwat will be back with full obnoxious overdrive…

  9. Paul says:

    Maternal, native English, Christian? The letter was obviously written by Carrie Lam as revenge for having to allow HKFP to press briefings now.

  10. Gromit says:

    After reading @property developer, I was just wondering if he had been spending his time writing a letter.

  11. Gromit says:

    After reading @property developer, I was just wondering if he had been spending his time writing a letter. Didn’t mean to wake the dog

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