Snoozing with Carrie

In theory, it could have been an opportunity to dangle a shred of hope that Hong Kong might yet offer its people a home with a future. Instead, to no great surprise, yesterday’s policy address focused on Mainland, Greater Bay Area, NatSec Law and Mainland, in that order. ‘Striving Ahead With Renewed Perseverance’ confirms that the city’s fate is to be the designated suburb-without-capital-controls. 

Its wealth will be diverted to: Chinese construction SOEs dumping sand off Lantau; HK$20 billion worth of ‘land flattening’ at Lok Ma Chau Loop Mountainous Tech Zone; the third airport runway; the adoption of the deserted Zhuhai Airport – and we’ll let you know the rest later. 

Rather than representative government, you will get New Improved One Country Two Systems, oath-taking laws and endless multi-pronged support from the Central Government.

The most desperate-sounding policy proposal is subsidies to employers who hire Hong Kong graduates to work over the border. The idea assumes that salaries in the Mainland are too low and/or life in the land of forced confessions too unattractive to appeal to young Hongkongers – and/or that employers would prefer Mainland staff. Most of all, it is perverse: in a world where most cities want young professionals to move in, Hong Kong spends money on shoving them away. 

Apparently, the government has so far received an enthusiastic response from mainland companies. I guess with HK$18,000 a month to play with, there’s an opportunity to make a profit here.

I thought the whole policy address was going to be rewritten by Beijing, but it seems not. The plan to nationalize the ailing Jumbo Floating Restaurant as part of a Southern District Vibrant Tourism Hub Zone, complete with ‘water taxi’ to link Aberdeen with neighbouring coastline spots, could have been thought up only by Hong Kong bureaucrats. Apart from obvious loyalty-oaths-and-patriotism measures, most of the ‘policies’ are parochial, and too insipid to have come from target-driven Mainland officials (they would consider this stuff ‘formalism’). Beijing’s input was the overall ambience of inevitable, relentless submission and merging. You are being tied to this giant carcass, and it will absorb you as it rots.

Lasting seven hours (though it felt longer), Carrie Lam’s speech nearly broke Fidel Castro’s record. Pro-Beijing figures forced to listen in LegCo had a hard time paying attention, with one government minister, Erick Tsang, passing out from the tedium. I hear he was resuscitated afterwards and has come bouncing into work today feeling great. RTHK makes the most of the story while – amazingly – it still can.

Government departments duly register their unswerving support. (Normal among Xi Jinping’s underlings, but also oddly reminiscent of Donald Trump’s photo-op cabinet meetings, in which everyone took turns to express their loyalty to the Great Leader. Another parallel: Trump’s insistence that he won the 2020 election and Beijing’s bizarre attempts to convince itself that Covid came from Italy. Biden will at least spare us this eerie mirroring.)

We will need that ‘perseverance’.  

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12 Responses to Snoozing with Carrie

  1. Joe Blow says:

    All HK supermarkets should have one dedicated check-out line that reads “Orphanage Only”. So if a tai-tai with three fully-loaded carts with all the necessary shopping from now until Easter wants to check out, she will know where to go.

  2. Red Dragon says:

    Lovely to see that the big bold slogan behind the Chief Clerk contains yet another entirely predictable Hong Kong government solecism.

    I don’t know whether “Striving Ahead” works in Chinese, but it certainly doesn’t in English. Perhaps the poor sod who thought up this catchy little jingle was thinking of “Striding”. You know, a bit like the Johnnie Walker dandy.

    But thank heaven for small mercies; at least “Striving” wasn’t preceded by “Resolutely”.

    Oh, and while I’m at it, the collocation of “Renewed” and “Perseverance” also gives rise to a certain sense of unease. The noun “determination” works far better.

  3. where's my jet plane says:

    Chief Executive Carrie Lam said on Wednesday that there won’t be universal suffrage in Hong Kong until the city’s constitutional order and political system are “restored”.

    Isn’t the communist party still technically illegal in HK?

  4. Cassowary says:

    Good grief, the Lok Ma Chau Loop Zombie Idea still hasn’t been put out of its misery? Jake Van Der Kamp used to go on about what a stupid idea it was 15 years ago, and none of that has changed. Surprised they didn’t also resurrect the Green Island Reclamation, paving the country parks or filling in Plover Cove Reservoir.

  5. Mjrelje says:

    Cassowary: it’s also the naming of the LMC Fruit Loop “Shenzhen-Hong Kong Innovation and Technology Cooperation Zone (SITZ).”

    I suppose they can’t call it SHITZ and include HongKong, although it would be more than appropriate.

    Perhaps SXITZ would be better and just admit that it’s now Xianggang.

  6. Big Al says:

    @ Cassowary: Give them time – they need to leave something to put in next year’s CE speech.

  7. Din Dan Che says:

    With all the crosses we have to bear, let us offer up a Novena or moment of silence on the passing of the el grande Maradona; whose hand of god we could surely do with now

  8. Mjrelje says:

    Chief Secretary will be taking questions tomorrow morning on the policy address as a phone-in to Backchat between 8am-9am hosted by Hugh Chiverton and Danny Gittings. Hope all Hemlockers will call in on 23388266 or leave questions / comments on Backchat FB page or by email [email protected]

  9. Guest says:

    Another cultural hub–this time in Southern Hong Kong Island?

    I guess the West Kowloon Cultural District is fully operational and saturated, so some of that needs to spill over to another part of the city, right?

  10. dimuendo says:

    Din Dan Che

    Why?

    He was a footballer, nothing else.

    As for the “hand of god”, another description of the same thing is “cheating”.

  11. Toph says:

    …he wasn’t the Foot of God?

    Anyway, if the government wanted to get rid of all its young folk, it should pay them money to move to Canada. They’d be gone before you could say “maple syrup”.

  12. Mary Melville says:

    The strive expression appears to be another gremlin in the works.
    Definition: “to try very hard to do something or to make something happen, especially for a long time or against difficulties”
    The inference is therefore negative.
    An official wanting to deliver a resoundingly positive message would have used “Forge Ahead” as in ‘to suddenly make a lot of progress with something’
    But then we have ample evidence that our administration is always striving but rarely delivers.

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