Best news since the Hindenburg Airship Corporation announced its supplier of fire extinguishers – the Hong Kong government has found a PR agency. PRovokeMedia reports that the lucky winner is Consulum, a Bell Pottinger offshoot specializing in Middle East governments and sovereign wealth funds, and one of many agencies hired by Saudi Arabia. Juicy bit: the company cobbled together a Hong Kong office with hours to spare in order to qualify to bid for the account. You might think it sounds like both client and agency are scraping the bottom of the barrel – but I couldn’t possibly comment.
In true consultant fashion, Consulum will start with ‘baseline research’ to tell Hong Kong officials what they should already know – that the city’s international reputation is a pile of steaming wombat doo-doo. They will then, with a totally straight face, present a slick strategic plan to fix it. All parties concerned will know damn well it can’t possibly work, because, to the CCP, the very features that made the city great are a regime threat and must be destroyed.
Forget biased foreign media – the messaging reality is that both client and agency will be conflicting with Beijing here. It’s a futile mission.
For a one-year gig, then zip off back to Dubai, it looks like a pretty easy US$6 million.
(Pure guesswork on my part, but I’m wondering what the profit margin will be. A Hong Kong government contract is like taking candy from a baby. Say: office at 19/F Two IFC = US$0.5 million; housing in Mid-Levels for two suave expat shysters = US$0.1 million each; salaries for same plus a few local staff = US$0.5 million; sprawling off-the-peg survey from market research company = US$0.3 million? The Grand Relaunch visionary campaign plan = a bunch of PowerPoint templates. That’s a 75% margin – assuming implementation of the subsequent stomach-churning publicity/ad/press activities, which must extend beyond mid-2021, have a separate budget.)
This unfortunately spoils a HK Free Press opinion piece on the government’s search for PR help by a contributor who is an English writing coach. If you think that’s an easy target, the author also – as a public service and/or teaching aid – critiques SCMP chief editor Tammy Tam’s columns for substance and style. This is like reviewing a night-old puddle of vomit in Lan Kwai Fong as if it were a signature dish at Gaddy’s. Get your literary tips here and here. (She’s a severe task master – doubt if I’d come out with any more than a C minus.)
Inspired, I can’t resist checking the latest Tammy-gram. In precis:
Hong Kong’s financial secretary is giving every resident a HK$10,000 handout; he might be wondering how people will spend it, as will they; even more, he must be wondering if this (Coronavirus-related) handout will become a regular thing; meanwhile, we don’t know whether Beijing will support Hong Kong as opposed to Shanghai as a financial hub in future.
That’s it. A non sequitur comes to a point (albeit it illogically), but this doesn’t even have one.
Some links for the next few days. Don’t gobble them all up in one go – they will have to last until next week, when I settle down, log-in from home, and resume…
The US starts downgrading Hong Kong’s export license status.
SCAD, a very pricy US design college’s Hong Kong campus and cornerstone of the Creative Industries Hub-Zone Vision, closes.
Uwu’s collection of protest art. (Gone in pre-NatSec Law shutdowns. Try here.)
Some districts in Hong Kong did better at fighting the Coronavirus than others. What sets them apart?
Yesterday, I airily mentioned McDull as proto-HK Localism. Behold – the thesis.
A group of UN human rights experts’ statement on China.
Definitions of genocide have grown fuzzy over the years, but here’s depressingly creepy chart of the week. Also this. Starting to hear a few voices calling for a boycott of China’s 2022 Winter Olympics.
The Marxists who tried setting up a union at the Jasic factory in Shenzhen.
From the Spectator, a Dummy’s Guide to the CCP. The US National Security Advisor offers his version.
Remember when new songs entered the charts with a bullet? Here’s the Chinese national anthem – with several.
A thread on a town in Gansu that tried to claim a link with ancient Rome to boost tourism.
Great moments in the history of fruit: China’s mid-1960s outbreak of mango-worship…
Wang Xiaoping, an employee at the Beijing No 1 Machine Tool Plant, received a wax replica. The fruit itself was destined for higher things.
“The real mango was driven by a worker representative through a procession of beating drums and people lining the streets, from the factory to the airport,” says Wang.
The workers had chartered a plane to fly a single mango to a factory in Shanghai.
A bus I could understand – did factory workers in Cultural Revolution China charter planes often?
Back to wiping the office PC. Til next week…
Alas, viewing access of Uwu’s collection of protest art is now restricted. I hope it’s not been outright deleted but that’s entirely possible, given that a number of Hong Kong social media accounts have been scraped, “privated” or outright deleted in recent weeks.
A sample deleted message on a since scraped account that’s part of the Hong Kong Twitter-verse: “I know I have some foreign friends so just to remind you guys: If you stop hearing from us, it’s not that everything is fine, OK? We aren’t fine; we’re scared.”
Regarding the 10,000 HKD, I already spent it: Three years of the printed edition of the South China (online there with VPN) Morning (if you get up at 11 am) Post!
Where have you been, my dark-haired son
Where have you been, my darling young one?
I’ve danced on a peak in the moon and the starlight
I’ve stumbled downhill in the mist of the sunrise
I’ve seen the streets crowded and curdled and cursing
I’ve sat all night long in a shiny McDonald’s
I’ve hidden in darkness and vanished in daylight
And it’s a hard, and it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard
And it’s a hard rain gonna fall.
Oh, what did you see . . .
I saw a baby new-born and no milk from her mother
A child in a playground alone, lost, and crying
I saw a park dug with ditches and brown water oozing
I saw a bridge built of jade turning quickly to ashes
I saw a man with a helmet, no face, and no number
And it’s a hard . . .
And what did you hear . . .
I heard a noonday gun booming at midnight, at midnight
Heard the cry of an anthem, uprising, uprising
Heard the words of a language unknown and uncouth
Heard ten thousand roaring and 10,000 weeping
Heard race-horses neigh in the unhappy valley
And it’s a hard . . .
Oh, who did you meet . . .
I met a clean civil servant with breath that was stinking
I met a good-looking lad with a new knuckle-duster
I met people coming or doubting or going
I met all my parents, the live and the dead ones
I met my beloved, she cried and she clutched me
And it’s a hard . . .
Oh, what’ll you do now, my dark-haired son
What’ll you do now, my darling young one?
I’ll plunge in the sea in a Number 10 typhoon
I’ll dive to the depths of the deepest wet market
I’ll dine on anteater and batmouse and civet
I’ll walk in the streets as they glitter with poison
I’ll glory in gas and I’ll frolic in pepper
I’ll walk on the water from old land to new land
I’ll turn on the lights where the lion is crouched
I’ll open the books where the pages are stuck
I’ll paint on the walls, paint them yellow and black
And mend my umbrella before I go roaming
For it’s a hard, and it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard
And it’s a hard rain gonna fall.
– – – –
with acknowledgement to Bob Dylan
Ms Ng (the writing coach) would do well to proof-read her own work when criticising others. She also doesn’t seem to grasp the concept of the snappy headline.
On the PR debacle I wonder if the ISD deputy director’s nickname is “Fact”
Very appropo for the HKCCPSAR Gov’t to now be up there with the likes of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. What next, Zimbabwean banks opening in Central?
I guess the forever war of status between Sing and HK is finally over.
Hong Kong: Asia’s (Third) World City!
Very good indeed, Knownot. Thank you.
Regarding your calculation profit margin for Consulum, it may be larger than you think. IFC 19/F is a Serviced Office. To my knowledge rent for a room holding 3 persons is some HKD 24,000 – 28,000 per month, much less than the 0.5M you have budgeted. It is possible there may be in this facility simple workstations for hire rather than a separate room, which would be even cheaper. I note the government press release on this appointment does not reference the “motherland”.
Separately, for those intending to protest tomorrow and taking comfort that “they can’t arrest (or kill) us all” as is commonly expressed now, please see this link:
The police now have large bus(es) in regulation police livery to facilitate mass arrests. Anyone know how many of these exist? Notably the windows are not opaque like on the Mercedes police vehicles, which means the arrestees would not be beaten (on the bus). It not clear if they have similarly increased their capacity for holding at the police stations the additional persons arrested, presumably this will take some time to budget, approve, put out for tender, and construct. In the mean time they will simply crowd the added bodies into the existing facilities. Part of the intimidation and fear tactic.
Knownot: your borrowed quotation reminds me of a book title about the evacuation of Saigon, “Tears before the Rain”. Lets hope it dosen’t get that bad.
Be careful out there.
You asked about examples of developed, pluralistic societies being subjected to authoritarianism since WWII – there’s democratic backsliding in Hungary and Poland, and to a lesser extent, the Czech Republic. There’s the case of Venezuela, which used to be a pretty prosperous and stable democracy, now complete basketcase. There’s Turkey under Erdogan, although it’s arguable how pluralistic or prosperous they were to start with. You can make a case about Israel (apartheid state flavour).
Hemmers, your consultancy business scoping skills are impressive, are you planning to open up something in retirement just to keep busy?
Already was planning to boycott the 2022 winter games as I did the 2008 summer games after the Xinjiang crackdown
@knownot: always enjoy your craft. Today’s offering in your top three (for me, anyway).
Totally unrelated: the NIL gives a new twist to the phrase ‘NIL by mouth’
Wombat doo-doo isn’t very wet. It’s normally quite dense and dry and is strangely cube-shaped.
BTW, I don’t usually comment, but I regularly read and thoroughly value this blog Hemmers.
To all of you intending to walk and/or shop in popular shopping areas tomorrow – be safe. Thousands of uniformed thugs will be polluting our streets.
The New World Group has expelled the Chickee Duck shop because they displayed the democracy statue in their shop. (what do you mean, ‘freedom of speech’?) So, if possible, do not shop in New World shopping malls again, ever.
My apologies to everyone for being such an annoying condescending insufferable twat. You were all ultimately right about me.
@Penny: it’s the non uniformed but condoned thugs I’d be concerned about. Beware and goonish looking, white shirted lad with overly tobacco stained teeth
So NSL will bring peace, prosperity, prozac. So whats with the thousands of water barriers blocking most roads around Wanchai, CBay and Admiralty?
Where are the marching bands and cheer leaders?
My work is done. Yes, there will be times when a bit of “I” dotting and “T” crossing will required, but a higher power has now stepped in so my inputs are unlikely to be needed. I do, though, draw attention to my penchant for prime-number anniversaries. As the next one (#29) is some time off, I suggest we make the most of the one today (#23). Actually, I strongly suspect that future historians will label it informally as “Get with the programme day”.
An interesting look at some of the people within ‘Consulum’: