Actuaries’ conference a great success

Time to pull up a seat and enjoy the irresistible sight of righteous wrathful hordes savagely turning on a lame, whimpering, out-of-touch government that has made a basic and predictable blunder.

Hong Kong front-line services like the fire department, observatory, hospitals, the drainage guys and even methadone clinics handled the city’s worst ever typhoon on Sunday pretty well. A prudent, perceptive and competent administration would have followed up by declaring Monday a day off for non-essential business, as during a Number 8 storm signal. But it seems the smug mediocrities at the top thought it would look really cool if everyone just went into work as if nothing had happened.

Result: commuter mayhem – at least in certain districts – as transport systems still hadn’t recovered. Understandable criticism ensues.

Standard damage-limitation practice would be for Chief Executive Carrie Lam to come clean, admit she and her top officials were in error and apologize profusely. Whoops – we forgot you people don’t all have chauffeur-driven limos to take you to the office ha ha.

Instead, the government digs itself into siege-mentality mode and insists It Is Right and Everyone Else Is Wrong, so there.

The Standard reports actual (semi-paraphrased) quotes from Carrie: ‘…the government has done sufficient and effective preparatory work to cope with the typhoon [what more do you whiny taxpaying rabble expect us to do?]’ and ‘…encouraging a mutual understanding between employers and employees suits the city better [you know how mutual understanding levitates fallen trees and repairs rail lines]’. The administration’s ardent defender Ronny Tong joins in: ‘…the government is in no position to order the suspension of work in a capitalist and free society [if shoe-shining Leninists by spouting Libertarianism doesn’t get me a Gold Bauhinia Medal, nothing will]’.

Other desperate reasons we are being offered… By the time the government figured out its own legal powers to declare an emergency, it would be late November. A day off would reduce GDP by 1/x (where x = working days per year) – ask any Nobel-winning economist, and imagine how much wealthier we’d be if we all worked 7-day weeks. It’s all the fault of the environmentalists for insisting on having these damn trees everywhere.

We can only look on in amazement and imagine what is going through Carrie’s mind at times like this (the ‘not much’ theory is as good as any). She could have been seen looking concerned visiting affected areas, but instead she went to a conference for actuaries* – indeed, it is tempting to believe that her immediate gut response when she saw the videos of flooding and broken windows and closed-off roads was to blink incomprehensibly and then snap at an aide: “Right – find me an actuaries’ conference to go to!”

It’s still not too late for her to do a contrite, teary-eyed, bow-down-to-the-cameras ‘Sorry’ act. Maybe her Beijing enforcers at the Liaison Office, mindful of her symbolic role in the ongoing dissident-crushing campaign, will order her to do one. Otherwise (as her detractors will make sure), Carrie has let a good crisis go to waste, and consolidated her clunky, clueless, toilet-paper-buying-incapable, klutziness image, and widened the gap between Hong Kong’s government and governed – the seemingly impossible.

* Mentions of ’Belt and Road’ and ‘Greater Bay Area’ in speech: 5 each

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9 Responses to Actuaries’ conference a great success

  1. Joe Blow says:

    The Liaison Office Building was also damaged yesterday (saw a pic on Twitter). Perhaps Carrie can go over, do an on-camera inspection of the cracked window with a worried look on her face and wave at her subjects when she steps back into the limousine.

  2. Chris Maden says:

    Nah. CY will blame Carrie’s sublime insouciance on “pro-independence forces,” and she’ll order that the fallen trees be given to the police as paper to prepare more 700+ pages dossiers on anyone who has ever heard the I-word mentioned.

  3. HillnotPeak says:

    Walking my dog, I often see one of those top of the line AM limo’s driving to and from the home of one of the secretaries. Rather relaxed working hours this person has, pick up normally around 10 am, drop off never later then 6 pm, weekends of course off.

  4. It’s odd that since Hong Kong joined the People’s Republic, its leaders seem much less keen to actually get out among the People on such occasions than their British predecessors were.

  5. Windy Gap says:

    Carrie is standing firm. Her statement makes it clear that she’s not prepared to make a decision without consultation. In other words, typical AO mode – form a steering committee, a couple of working groups and maybe even appoint consultants. Anything to avoid making a decision.

  6. Goldenbear says:

    Seems also a lost opportunity for Beijing. Weren’t PLA soldiers in Macau a year ago to help with the clean up after the typhoon then? I saw around 30 private citizens out cleaning beaches today, and The Standard also mentioned private citizens out cleaning up. How many PLA soldiers are garrisoned in HK, and why aren’t they being used to assist clean up now? Would be good PR for them and show people locally there is a benefit to being part of China.

  7. old git says:

    We are not allowed to discuss the weather: that’s the Observatory’s prerogative and they said so.

    In the PRC it’s a crime to discuss the weather. But we can think about it and its disdain for PRC borders and fences.

    Nor are we allowed to discuss this Gray Area idea; but we can think it’s tripe.

  8. Donny Almond says:

    It was a nasty storm but at least now everybody knows the Thai word for mangosteen.

  9. Din Gao says:

    The Observatory Director could have directed a pedestal fan at his anemometer and left T8 up all Monday…

    Or Horatio Poon of GIS using his telescope from Tamar could have sworn the T3 was a T8…

    The Ways and Means Ordinance…

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