The 2021 honours list.
The post-1997 Hong Kong honours system of Gold Bauhinia Stars and other medals is a direct relabeled version of the colonial-era system (MBE, OBE, etc), and as such is a cheap but effective way to reward pro-establishment shoe-shiners.
In the first few years after the handover, the government could give the new-look medals to previous recipients of the colonial ones – and thus vain property tycoons augmented their British titles with post-1997 ones. Compilers of the list also handed out honours to the city’s outstanding (but not politically outspoken) science, medical and cultural figures, but this small pool of potential recipients soon ran dry. In recent years, more and more of the top medals have been going to retiring, and even serving, public servants.
Health-care workers deservedly get some (lesser) awards this year (though some medical experts were missed out). But inevitably the list is heavy with NatSec cheerleaders (Regina Ip, etc), and there’s a large portion of embarrassingly puffed-up selfless police heroism. But the NatSec angle doesn’t hide the ‘honours inflation’ that has taken place in a system that gives recognition only to a small circle of insiders and shoe-shiners – not to the thousands of politicians, activists, entrepreneurs, volunteers, artists, academics and others whose service to their fields and the community has failed to include kowtowing. For most Hong Kong people, the honours are irrelevant, if not alienating.
Classic example: longstanding pro-government stalwart Bunny Chan has progressed from Bronze Bauhinia Star in 2004, to Silver in 2009, to Gold in 2014, and now gets the top – supposedly super-elite – Grand Bauhinia Medal, simply for hanging around, because the Medal Management Committee can’t find anyone else.
Among other dubious awards…
Being perceptive and analytical, Mr [CK] CHOW has made remarkable
contribution to tendering wise counsel on policy-making and administration of the Government.
(In other words, he stays awake during Executive Council meetings.)
Former Director of Public Prosecutions Grenville Cross, who got a Silver Bauhinia Star years back, now gets a Gold one – presumably for writing humiliating op-eds praising the NatSec Law in China Daily.
Martin Lee Ka-shing, son of Henderson Land property baron Lee Shau-kee for, er, helping the poor access housing.
Senior civil servants called Cherry, Maisie and Betty.
Daryl Ng, another property scion (dad Robert runs Sino Land) for ‘profound achievements in heritage conservation’, oh yes.
A token gwailo, a token brown person, a few ‘clansmen’ association bosses, and too many guys with the pretentious ‘Ir’ title (even one or two bores who are both ‘Ir’ and ‘Dr’).
The citations for the cops’ Medal for Bravery push the ‘saving civilization’ narrative to the limits and probably insult many previous recipients…
…was challenged and assaulted ferociously by violent rioters with hard objects during the execution of duties. She bravely protected her colleagues with her body to save them from sustaining more deadly injuries.
…was challenged and assaulted ferociously by violent rioters with umbrella and fists during the execution of duties.
…responded to a call to attend to one of the most dangerous cases involving homemade explosives in Hong Kong’s history. At the scene, there were sensitive and unstable homemade explosives known as triacetone-triperoxide (TATP), which had been used in terrorist attacks around the world.
…responded to a call to attend to the case involving two largest homemade bombs in Hong Kong’s history. The two large bombs, weighed around 8 kilogrammes and 2 kilogrammes respectively and designed to be set off by mobile phones, were more powerful than that of the Boston Marathon Bombing in 2013. The explosion would cause maximum devastation and injuries.
Some Hong Kong history. Enjoy the rest of the Handover Day/CCP 100th anniversary festivities!