Carrie-come-lately

Hong Kong’s Chief Executive was going to take a pay hike, then, following criticism from even her supporters, backtracked. After dithering over wage subsidies, she now commits to them, ‘taking reference’ from Singapore, the UK, Australia, etc. Most hilariously, the courts will decide today whether she can go through with banning face masks – at a time when everyone else talks of making them compulsory.

If there were only one banana skin, one cliff edge and one sponge cake in the world, Carrie Lam would find a way to slip on the peel, tumble straight off the mountain and land face-first in the icing. The woman is a walking disaster.

After a pause, Hong Kong Free Press is back with a new upgraded website. Most of the enhancements are apparently behind the scenes, and – perhaps for the first time in the history of the Internet – there don’t seem to be any pointless/annoying/for-the-heck-of-it changes to the layout.

Among recent items by HKFP and partners: the plight of a Kenyan domestic helper, how local farmers benefit from the pandemic, smuggling of meat to the Mainland by boats hiding among the third-runway construction, the HK Police terrorism scare as smear campaign and the use of sign language by pro-dem activists. None of these subjects have been covered by any other local English-language media (that I’ve seen, though RTHK might have done one or two). (Update: there’s more, here and here.)

I declare the four-day weekend open with a round-up of potentially interesting reading/viewing…

The Washington Post does a video on the impact of arbitrary arrests on the reputation of the HK Police and government.

Fed up with snotty arrogant whining, a journalist at Sydney’s Daily Telegraph rips a letter from the Chinese ambassador to shreds with full Australian finesse and subtlety – one of the funniest things you’ll read all week (if you haven’t already).

The Atlantic invites you to consider the possibility that Trump is right – about China, at least. Not so much a tribute to the reality TV star’s perceptive foreign-affairs analysis as a wake-up call for consumers of pointy-headed East Coast media about the West’s vulnerabilities.

Foreign Affairs looks at China’s coming upheaval: the stronger the country appears to be, the more fragile it is.

The Pittsburgh Quarterly (of all things) on why China won’t become the world’s biggest economy. Nothing new, but a neat summary. He could say more about drags on productivity growth (like discrimination against rural underclass) and demographics. But he makes the point.

The AEI thinks China’s pandemic statistics aren’t arithmetically sensible.

Expats.cz on how the Mayor of Prague has gone off China.

Thoughts on a 30-year old piece by Simon Leys on skills necessary for reading CCP tea-leaves.

Taiwan seems to be taking to its new-found international respectability and stature like a duck to water. Here it comes to slam the Hong Kong government for menacing press freedom.

By ‘respectability and stature’ we mean Babs Streisand speaks up for Taiwan.

In a move straight out of the ‘Hurt Feelings’ chapter of the CCP’s PR manual, the WHO’s Beijing-friendly boss Mr Tedros accuses Taiwan critics of racism against Africans.

For all I know, the Ethiopian Register might be as dependable an outlet as Epoch Times, so maybe this needs a pinch of salt. But a non-glowing opinion of Tedros – a member of the (originally Marxist) Tigre People’s Liberation Front. Also in Amharic if you want.

And on general big-picture matters, a fund manager foresees the world’s political economy going back to the 1950s

This virus will most likely terminate the laissez-faire globalized economic model. Since this model had already stopped working long before the crisis started, that is no bad thing. We should remember that the prevailing economic system had entered a self-reinforcing negative loop of declining productivity, slowing trend growth, stagnating real living standards and rising inequality a good 15 years ago.

The current crisis should therefore strongly reinforce the political pressure to ensure that economies are managed in a way that benefits most of their citizens.

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8 Responses to Carrie-come-lately

  1. old git says:

    Is a “pandemic” short for “endemic to pandas” or “emetic for pandas” or just “emetic for all”?

  2. Chinese Netizen says:

    Thank you, THANK YOU for that Daily Telegraph blasphemy!!

  3. Knownot says:

    The World is Wide

    The world’s a race.
    Other runners cheat, the judges never notice.
    We do our best, and barely finish, worn out.
    The world’s a race
    And we are also-rans.

    The world’s a stock market.
    Other buyers, other sellers, know the inside.
    When they make a mess inside, they’re bailed out.
    The world’s a stock market
    And we are suckers.

    The world’s a corporation.
    Executives get bonuses when making losses.
    Rationalized, the lower ranks are let go.
    The world’s a corporation
    And we are gig workers.

    The world’s a hospital.
    The wards are full, they’ll put you in the corridor.
    Quick – the gloves, the masks, are going to run out.
    The world’s a hospital
    And we are patients.

    The world is wide.
    The bats, the pangolins, breathed market air together.
    Close the gates. Stay in your cell. Locked down.
    The world is wide
    And we are prisoners.

  4. Bamboo-zled says:

    @old git
    Pan(da-induced epi)demic ?

  5. Cassowary says:

    The problem with all these “the coronavirus/economic downturn/foreign pressure will weaken the CCP’s grip on power” speculations is this: no viable alternatives. It’s like that old saw about how you don’t have to run faster than the bear, you just have to run faster than the other guy. Xi’s entire specialty is making 1.2 billion other guys wear lead shoes.

    That’s why the world is full of authoritarians lording over moribund economies full of resentful people for years and years. Look at your Irans, your Venezuelas, your Turkmenistans. Assad’s literally burned his country to the ground. He’s still there. Even when the public revolts, the regime doesn’t fall unless the military decides to f**k off, and if it does, half the time you end up with a military dictatorship. Dictators tend to hang on until they get too geriatric to rule, or they’re deposed in a coup (usually by the military).

    Once in a blue moon you’ll get one who sees which way the wind is blowing and figures they’d be better off transitioning to leading a political party in a competitive electoral system, but only under the right conditions, and the tipping factors almost never have anything to do with how crap of a job they’re currently doing.

  6. FeiLo says:

    the article on the Ethiopian magazine regarding Tedros is now 404ed. It was up yesterday.

  7. Tangled Web says:

    @FeiLo
    Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine to the rescue… for all your vanishing eCommissar needs:
    https://web.archive.org/web/20200319000554/https://www.ethiopianregistrar.com/tplf-desperately-fighting-dr-tedros-next-dg/

  8. Mary Melville says:

    So how has TVB been allowed to circumvent so many conditions of its Domestic Free Television Programme Service Licence? https://programme.tvb.com/pearl/
    It has launched a radically revised and truncated programming model. 50% of the programmes are now in Mandarin, Cantonese or focused on China. The usual International lifestyle and documentaries have been stripped away. Ethnic minority interests are completely ignored.
    Hong Kong focus documentaries are reduced to the insipid 30 mins Pearl Magazine that replaced the hard hitting Pearl Magazine some time ago.
    The recommendations of ExCo on 12 May 2015 are completely ignored:
    https://www.cedb.gov.hk/ccib/eng/legco/pdf/05122015.pdf
    Perhaps a media expert could comment?
    Strangely even the adfotainment, and extremely insipid, Dolce Vita, has not been spared as it has been shunted to off peak slots.

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