Phew – that was close! The National People’s Congress vote on Hong Kong’s New Improved Elections was: 2,895 for, zero against, plus one abstention (an ethnic-minority lady from Yunnan who had dozed off under the weight of her headgear).
In a now-familiar ritual of cringing self-debasement, every Hong Kong government department issues a press release to welcome the exciting news. (It doesn’t count as cringing self-debasement until the Govt Flying Service’s statement comes out.) Carrie Lam declares that ‘we will be able to resolve the problem of the [legislature] making everything political’.
The proportion of directly elected seats in the Legislative Council looks likely to fall to what it was in 1991. But if it’s any consolation, your preferred candidates are barred from running – so it doesn’t really matter does it?
With no pesky pan-dems asking questions and opposing things, the government will finally be able to deliver affordable housing, fund hospitals and elderly care properly, and bring inequality to an end. So there’s that to look forward to.
Some reading for the weekend…
From CJR – Hong Kong journalists’ experiences under the NatSec Regime. Stand News has done something similar on censorship. And reflections of a young local journalist.
A CNN report on why foreigners are choosing not to visit China (now including Hong Kong)…
“If they’re willing to arbitrarily detain someone who was a very moderate, thoughtful academic, or a think tank type of person,” he adds, “then it’s difficult to see how anyone can feel safe.”
China Media Project looks at some fairly putrid propaganda surrounding the recently announced supposed ending of extreme poverty in China.
And ASAN Forum ponders post-Xi China. (It’s a Korean think-tank – not bad.)
Finally, if you’re feeling too happy and cheerful and really want to be annoyed, try Wellcome to Hell – a gallery of produce in supermarkets pointlessly wrapped in plastic.
Re plastic: Marks and Spencer should be included in the hall of fame. Virtually everything is wrapped in plastic
Plus why do bananas need to be wrapped in plastic?
I have been banned by my family from commenting when the cashier at our local Wellcome puts (anothercustomers) a product such as something chilled or frozen into a (second) plastic bag, and all products are then packed into a third plastic bag!
Yet when I say, in cantonese, no need for plastic I am looked at as if Iam daft.
Our revered government should actually ban something, namely manufacture of plastic and supply/offering for sale anything wrapped in plastic.
Oh wonderful, now we can get back to the business of lining rich people’s pockets without making everything political. This will be a set of new, improved, extra patriotic rich people, so what could possibly go wrong?
Draw a curved line and call it straight.
Eat more and lose weight.
To go higher, dig a hole.
To put out a fire, add oil.
Change a flawed electoral process.
Restrict the vote and call it progress.
Screw one c-nt, two spinsters.
Puke one pint and two pizzas.
This is a poem. Praise it.
It’s elegant. I’m not crazy.
“produce in supermarkets pointlessly wrapped in plastic”
But there is another side, I’m told. For example, there’s a photo of a single leek wrapped in plastic. But a single leek costs about $20. The plastic keeps it fresh and prevents it from damage, especially by customers who would pick it up, finger it, but not buy it.
@Knownot – or you could buy two leeks for $10 in the wet market and just wash them when you get home. In the supermarket you are paying extra for the plastic wrapping and the labour required to plasticate the product.
Or ,,even in supermarkets, zet out produce where people cannot randomly handle, but are provided the fruit and veg by dedicated assistants.
As we are going back in time, milk in reusable bottles, provide your own container and chopsticks for takeaway food.
Used to happen.
Not all change is progress!
Sorry for typos. On the tram.
I’m beginning to believe that the local, so-called political heavyweights are so named because their brains have been replaced by lead-infused concrete. There’s not a functional braincell between them (and that includes Lam and her minions)
If a person objects to products being wrapped in plastic, he can choose not to purchase the product or patronise the shop.
If a person doesn’t want a plastic bag, he can choose to decline it.
Others prefer their products wrapped in plastic.
Free people, free choices.
What I cannot find in the reams of hyperbole about the election ‘reforms’ is a single mention of how much LIDDs UNLimited going to cost us.
Additional 20 leggers: The last financial report of the Legco Commission reported that the annual expenditure was $950m, over $13m for each of the 70 members. So 20 more translates into another $250m+ per annum.
Additional 300 members and roles for the Election Committee: “It is formed and performs its selection function once every five years” is about all the background one can find online. Essentially the various components conducted internal negotiations, backstabbing, dirty tricks, etc. for the privilege of being included and having their 5 minutes of fame at the inauguration, and that was it for another five years. But going forward there will be convoluted processes to vet candidates and keep tabs on them. This will involve numerous committees, meetings, the usual hierarchy. So there will be calls for a very large building to house a secretariat and a conference hall with a capacity for a few thousand. The costs will be horrendous.
And then there is the bill for 24/7 surveillance and monitoring of the 90 Legco members. As Elsie Leung said “the committee would not just vet potential candidates but also scrutinise their actions throughout their time in office.” Lau Siu-kai said he expected the committee to have “independent investigative” powers. So more costs for 3 shifts per member per day of plain clothes detectives to keep tabs on their physical movements with another team back at the now very large EC Tower taking care of the online monitoring, and support staff, lots of foto-copiers for the glossy reports, etc. Of course all this will also require a fleet of vehicles, state of the art spyware, etc etc.
So the administration of what is no more than a medium sized city of 7.5million will entail not only what some consider a bloated civil service, but also thousands of additional busybodies.
As our FS refuses to even consider granting any financial assistance to those residents who lost their jobs because of a once in a lifetime health crisis, or to reconsider the impact of white elephant projects on the public purse, we can assume that the expenditure required for all the above will eventually be covered by a reduction in allocation to social services, health and education.
So much for the assurances that the rejigging of the system will resolve the city’s economic and social problems.
Very well put @Mary Melville
Another lame opinion column from John Burns:
This guy belongs in SCMP, his wishy washy middle of the road columns will fit right in.
Tragedy of the commons – everyone following their own desires doesn’t always result in the optimal overall outcome. A lot of this plastic will end up in the biosphere. Sometimes the powers that be have to limit freedoms for the good of all.
Good points, hadn’t that of that. I guess that’s where Paul Chan’s 8 billion is going. Plus I bet that Hong Kong will be a test bed for mainland developed AI security systems so you’ll need the cash to pay for that. Your tax dollars at work!
Increasingly in many shops there is no option, you have to have plastic. Further without wishing reactionary #4 to think that he has a point, not everything should be down to “free choice”. Thoughtless use of , particularly, one time disposable plastic is endemic and completely wrong. Leaving aside how plastic is produced, far more importantly is that, unlike say paper or even metal, it does not degrade in a measurable period of time, and simply pollutes, in many ways.
The triple user of plastic bags, the user of one time disposable polystyrene or similar, the manufacturers and suppliers thereof, are irresponsible, uncaring morons.
Does anybody know how many “representatives” Hong Kong sent to BJ, and who they were? So that I can say thank you to my “representative” when he/she comes back ?
It’s not the use of plastic that’s the problem. It’s the way we dispose it.
I guess that’s where Paul Chan’s 8 billion is going.
I doubt it. That 8 billion is specifically earmarked for Insecurity Law matters. The Election Crapola will be another 8 billion on top.
@where’s my jet plane – I thought they were called heavyweights to distinguish them from pro-Beijing lightweights like “Dr” Elizabeth Quat and Holden Chow.
@ where’s my jet plane: the monitoring of elected members activities as described by MM can easily be filed under INSL. And so does pretty much anything relating to elections.