The rumours are untrue. Unfortunately, it is not feasible for the government to issue face masks to all 7 million residents. But thanks to our multi-pronged® efforts, we can assure the public that large shipments will be arriving in the next few days, and existing supplies are sufficient provided people mellow out and do not hoard the things. If you have spare masks, please consider passing some on to those in need. In the meantime, the government will give priority to hospitals and medical personnel. We would also remind everyone that it is far more important to wash your hands with soap frequently. Heung Gong ga yau!
Is it really that difficult to sound vaguely like you give a damn? Apparently, it is: all low-paid brown people requested to stay indoors.
As the hostile tone of press statements shows, officials feel under siege and are in hyper-defensive mode – as if the whole world hates them.
Which it does. Even the Hong Kong government’s supposed allies are stroppy. The pro-Beijing DAB suggests closing the border and a member distances himself from the Fanling quarantine plan. Lawmaker Regina Ip demands a ban on Mainland tourists. Colleague Ann Chiang proposes steaming masks for re-use (which is apparently a stupid idea – but any original thought from CCP loyalists is impressive, and indeed subversive). Michael Tien ponders a state of emergency, while Alice Mak calls panic-buying ‘sad’. The tourism industry – a bloated parasite sector force-fed by officials – is even more miffed than usual.
While no-one in Hong Kong has died of the WuFlu (we have a name at last), ‘events’ are dropping like flies. Dozens of conferences and bore-fests about green fintech blockchain opportunities have, to everyone’s relief, been cancelled. Galleries want to pull the plug on Art Basel. Could the mega-tedium Rugby 7s be next?
I declare the weekend open with various topical and thought-provoking links…
HK Free Press on how the Electoral Affairs Commission is suppressing what little democracy we have. (HKFP is preparing for a big upgrade.)
The Progressive Scholars Group report on Hong Kong police brutality.
The Millions explores the overlap between the HK protests and The Hunger Games.
Nikkei on why Xi Jinping is in such a grumpy mood. (Yes, it’s the US trade deal and HK/Taiwan – but heart-warming to read the detail.)
David Webb explains how the HK government could in theory – without Beijing’s say-so – significantly democratize the Chief Executive ‘election’ system by expanding functional constituencies. (This is a good poke around the gory innards of the rotten boroughs structure, right down to the 10 seats for Taoists. Of course, this is not a ‘voting system’ at all, just a rubber-stamp for Beijing’s initial choice of CE. This is not a design flaw, but the whole point. In practice, any reform needs permission from the Leninists.)
CMP recounts the early days of WuFlu, and explains how the CCP manages the media at a time like this. Reuters also reports on the initial outbreak and delayed responses. And Minxin Pei says the disease is the result of Beijing’s autocracy.
Bitter Winter on the CCP’s rectification campaign against its religious members.
SE Asia Globe asks whether Sihanoukville can ever recover from being Belt-and-Roaded?
A think tank says Canada and Taiwan should be good buddies. Multiply by the number of free countries. What are the HK protests, Taiwan election, WHO and ICAO leading to?
Kings College London launches a great website on China’s Mao era in everyday objects. Worth seeing for the site design alone.
NPR with the (or one of many) definitive and authoritative answer to the Big Mask Question. In short: the basic blue masks are of limited use in particular circumstances, but otherwise not much point. But wash your hands. Also, eat your fruit…
The Hong Kong Government need
To show that they can lead.
Chains of infection must be broken off.
Excuse me while I cough.
The Central Government too. They must
Win the people’s trust.
The credit or discredit will be Xi’s.
Excuse me while I sneeze.
I hope that if I’m calm
I shall not come to harm.
Excuse me while I leave a
Little early. I’ve a fever.
The Government/ Education Department has cancelled school until March 2nd now. But owing to shoddy wording of the order, individual principals still have the power to proclaim assembly of staff at his or her virologically unqualified whim.
The WHO have declared world emergency, school assemblies of children have been put off a second time, the streets are deadish, civil servants have been permitted where possible to work from home, hysteria is growing…
And unqualified school principals can force human beings to travel 2 hours a day or more in public transport to man schools with no children in them.
That’s so very, very Hong Kong.
Not coming soon to a supermarket near you: anti-price gouging measures.
a triad pharmacy in CWB was asking $ 250- for a 3M mask. No takers.
Green fintech block chain opportunities? You forgot synthetic green fintech blockchain opportunities squared!
News Latestish: https://www.aa.com.tr/en/asia-pacific/kuwait-suspends-china-hong-kong-flights/1719723
“Kuwait announced Thursday that it has suspended travel to and from China and Hong Kong in the wake of the deadly coronavirus outbreak.
The decision, taken by the Kuwaiti government, was announced to airline companies operating at Kuwait International Airport, the General Directorate of Civil Aviation of Kuwait said in a statement.
The ban also covers all Kuwaiti citizens as well as those with residence permits or visas in Kuwait who stayed in China or Hong Kong in the past two weeks, the statement added.”
Now Italy likewise I hear. Obviously foreign countries now realise that Hong Kong’s border is wide open to the Mainland and we should be treated no differently.Bravo SARG.
“a triad pharmacy in CWB was asking $ 250- for a 3M mask. No takers.”
For just one 3M mask?
Ann Chiang had the right idea, she just did not articulate it well. There are millions of soggy, germ laden and non biodegradable mini eco bombs being dumped every day. The cumulative environmental impact will be disasterous. All that poly what ever is destined to end up in the stomachs of animals and fish in due course.
Surely nations and conglomerates that can produce nuclear missiles, send men to the moon, set up 5G networks, etc, could come up with something simple like an effective and reusable face mask? What about all that 3D printing hoo haa? Billions given to Science Park and Innovation Technology Fund?
If time was not an issue even I could study some science and come up with a solution.
So tycoons, government, crowd funding, whatever, provide an attractive sum of $$$$
for the person or group with the know how to invent in record time a face mask that provides protection and can be used multiple times.
Now is the time to think out of the box instead of whingeing, finger pointing and small minded paranoia.
What about the face masks worn by the (riot) police? They clearly reusable.
There was a group of six, last night, but in standard blue. As part of their rehabilitation campaign make them hand over their seemingly copious stocks.
Mary – I think the uselessness of the government is shown by the fact that even the boss of the Liberal party Felix Cheung outlined an initiative he supports in that direction: https://news.rthk.hk/rthk/en/component/k2/1505825-20200131.htm
Though the technical people behind it at PolyU said it didn’t’t work on viruses…
But at last he is thinking in a positive direction, rather than prioritising ‘the feelings of the Chinese people’ over the protection of the health of people in HK.
@Mary Melville: a reusable facemask idea looks like a no-brainer for Hong Kong, which generates a lot of trash and is running out of landfill in which to dump it.
But don’t expect the tycoons to get behind this idea when it’s more profitable to sell disposables to the masses.
How about locking Secretary for Innovation & Technology Nicholas Yang and the major recipients of Inno funds in a room at some spartan ‘holiday camp’ until they come up with the solution?
Felix could contribute by announcing that his party will vote against further disbursements, like the proposed Cyberport 5 that will gobble up waterfront open space, unless there is a visible contribution to society on the part of this coddled sector.
The problem with reusable face masks is that people can’t be expected to sterilize them effectively at home. Then they become warm, damp breeding grounds for germs right up against people’s faces.
How good is this?:
All we need now is for the Rugby Sevens to be cancelled.