An early start to the week

Today is the day Hong Kong ‘elects’ an enhanced and supposedly more representative – but also all-patriotic – Election Committee. Some weird stats: 99.92% of adults can’t vote; in other words, there are fewer than 4,900 voters – a larger number of police are dedicated to ‘election’ duties. And of the EC’s 1,500 seats, only 364 are contested.

Why are some 6,000 cops needed? The authorities say it is to ensure protesters don’t disrupt the exercise – though they are flattering themselves to imagine anyone even cares that much.

Keep seeing references to the Election Committee as now ‘super-powerful’, as if its members have some major political influence the rest of us do not. They don’t. The CCP is a Leninist institution and does not share political power. What will make the 1,500 EC members different is that they are happy to go along with a ceremonial charade that makes them look superficially like insiders. Worth bearing this in mind when reports call the EC – or subsets of them like property tycoons – ‘kingmakers’ or some such. The CCP does not delegate serious decisions to local ‘elites’, or anyone. The EC 1,500 will not choose the Chief Executive next year. Even the Legislative Council members they appear to elect this December will no doubt be those on ‘recommended’ lists Beijing officials circulate beforehand.

A quick film review…

Saw Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, starring Tony Leung. It starts off with some quite absorbing mayhem in a bus and dangling off a Macau skyscraper, but then lapses into mostly tedious wushu fight scenes and an exceptionally tiresome bout near the end between two dragons. It has some funny moments, mostly thanks to a hitherto unheard-of actress called Awkwafina. And some impressive special effects, such as the surreal landscapes and animals of a magic village – of which we get only a brief glimpse because we must move on to yet more fight scenes.

Apparently, the film is noteworthy for its authentic representation of Asian-ness in a Marvel Comics Universe genre context (karaoke, a pushy grandmother, etc). Some critics detect an allegory whereby Leung is ‘hegemonic, patriarchal imperial China’, the village is ‘cultural China’, and the young Asian-American hero played by Simu Liu is the Chinese diaspora. A totally different interpretation rests on the (supposed) similarity between Simu Liu and a youthful Xi Jinping. There are doubts that Beijing will let it be shown in the Mainland, though not for either of these reasons.

I would rate it maybe 4 out of 10. It would have been better if the combatants just shot each other with guns, which would free up more time for amazing CGI scenic shots, if not plots or characters. But I guess feeding the teenage boys and incels their whirling-in-circles wushu battles is where the money is. 

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24 Responses to An early start to the week

  1. AwkwafinaDaddy says:

    You haven’t heard of Awkwafina? You seriously do need to get outside more often.

  2. Kwun Tong Bypass says:

    We now have installed Mainland Democracy in my family:
    Internet changed to a 10 Mbps line; one hour per day;
    Kids can choose what they want to pursue in their spare time:
    The girls can ELECT either knitting, stitching, or stamp collecting;
    And the boys can ELECT either kite flying, Origami, or bottle caps collecting.
    You see, soooooo democratic.
    Everybody can choose his favorite!

  3. Chinese Netizen says:

    Nothing like a clean, tidy “election” that guarantees no “dark horse” candidate or surprise polling errors.

    Haven’t seen most of the “MCU” flicks, don’t know who’s doing what and where so I doubt seriously I’ll see this rollover to the China market to further ingratiate Hollywood.

    That said, Awkwafina is indeed a pretty funny and talented young lady. Quite enjoyed her performance when I saw “Crazy Rich Asians” on a trans Pacific flight a couple years ago in the Beforetimes.

    Back then that was pretty much my only way to watch relatively recent studio releases as I’ve avoided theaters long before the Wuhan Plague due to insane ticket pricing and absolutely boorish theatergoers all around you further reinforcing that yes, you did waste your time and money that day. Now I’m strictly on iPad and watching old art docos with Waldemar Januszczak and the occasional new in-house series like “Sex Education” with Gillian Anderson or “Lucifer” with Tom Ellis.

  4. Ho Ma Fan says:

    Awkwafina is so famous she even has a theme tune: https://youtu.be/z726OPwCnjE

  5. YTSL says:

    I went out for lunch this afternoon and saw six cops surrounding a young couple (dressed in black) a few metres from my building. Was there extra harrassment — along with deployment — going on today? Actually, I feel like I’m averaging coming across scenes like this about once a month, if not more, now. And yes, it’s upsetting each time.

    On a lighter note: 4 out of 10 for “Shang Chi”? And to judge from your unfamiliarity with Awkwafina, either you don’t watch many contemporary Hollywood movies or any (light) cinematic fare at all! 😀

  6. Wolflikeme says:

    so…are the 14 percent who didn’t vote today no longer patriots?

    my guess is they already left.

  7. Low Preofile says:

    @Chinese Netizen – I don’t like to admit the mainland is better at anything, but the cinemas in Shenzhen are actually more comfortable than those in HK, if you don’t mind seeing the censored versions of films (the Freddie Mercury biopic shortened by a couple of minutes by the removal of any reference to gay sex, for example). Plus they show films from other countries like India that would never get a theatrical run in Hong Kong.

  8. Mary Melville says:

    How long does it take to count 4,000 votes???????????????????????????????????????

  9. Chinese Netizen says:

    @Low Profile: That may be true but perhaps I’m overly OCD (or whatever the correct ailment is) with my simmering rage hatred for paying money to be forced to hear other people’s straw slurping, crinkle wrap noise and open mouthed chewing.

    I guess my antisocial dream theater is ONE seat, sound deadened walls, perfect climate control, pitch black (no lighted EXIT signs) and perfect audio. For now though, I’ll suffer the iPad in bed. (and Netflix also has a good selection of obscure “foreign” films/docos as well)

  10. dopey says:

    That explains why the police left a haphazardly parked van and car blocking one of the lanes to the eastern tunnel causing a 15 minute tail back. I assumed it was to make everyone’s day a little more miserable with a petty demonstration of their power over us all, and it seems I was correct.

  11. EAC & HKPF: Useless counts says:

    @Mary Melville
    Apparently it took them over 5 hours to count the 50 votes in the first sector, so that’s about 6 minutes per vote, so at that rate the full results of all 4,380 votes should be in by the evening of the 19th of October assuming a round the clock five day week and public holidays off.

    Perhaps they should have used the 6,000 cops to do the counting, Sure they’re hopeless at counting (qv protest crowds & drug bust values) but you could just give each one a vote and get them to stand in different rooms according to what the vote says.

  12. Load Toad says:

    @YTSL,

    Pretty much the only time I see cops these days they are hassling young people. Other than that maybe I’ll see a couple of older cops walking in HH, but mostly they just drive past mob-handed in their armoured vans….it’s all about sowing and maintaining fear innit?

    What a crock this place is now

  13. Strangely Brown says:

    Watched Dune at the flicks yesterday. Solid movie.

    And given Covid constraints, no eating or drinking in the cinema. Didn’t hear any obnoxious/inconsiderate noises for the two and a half hour duration.

    Best movie experience I’ve had in years.

  14. Guest says:

    The property tycoons’ star must have dimmed considerably in the last two years.

    In his recent column, Alex Lo said they’ve been chummy with the Pan Democrats and practically accused them of colluding with the protesters in 2019.

  15. Load Toad says:

    @Guest,

    Oh well if Alex ‘Safe on his fat arse in Canada’ Lo says it – it must be bolleaux.

  16. Stanley Lieber says:

    @Load Toad,

    What/where is HH?

  17. Chinese Netizen says:

    Alex Lo is a real sack of shit. What a putrid little worm waving his red hammer & sickle flag from the comfort of Hongcouver.

    @Strangely: Must have been heavenly. Watch as much as you can before theaters loosen the restrictions.

  18. reductio says:

    Good to see that HKEX head Nicholas Aguzin again justifying his HK$100 million salary (I kid you not). How’s Stock Connect doing? Oh, it’s closed. I see from Wiki he has a Croatian passport. I’d hang on to that.

  19. Low Profile says:

    A double dose of government cockups to enjoy today – not just the snail’s-pace “election” count (what was that about piss-ups in breweries?), but also the news that Regina Ip’s patriotic Sinovac vaccination has worn off completely after just six months, forcing her to collude with foreign vaccine developers by getting a BioNTech jab.

  20. Red Dragon says:

    Stanley Lieber,

    Hung Hom? Maybe?

  21. Joe Blow says:

    Hemlock is AWOL. Any chance he has done a Steve Vines?

  22. where's my jet plane says:

    M&Ms and hand cream are tools of subversion.
    From RTHK
    National security police on Monday arrested three people linked to the localist group Student Politicism on suspicion of conspiracy to incite subversion, with officers seizing boxes of M&M’s, hand cream and other products as evidence.

  23. Chinese Netizen says:

    @Joe Blow: Nah, Steve Vines put too much out there (his name tied to opinion pieces and his culinary businesses) with too much to lose so he did the smart thing and skedaddled while the skedaddling was good.

    @where’s my jet plane: “Farce” doesn’t even begin to describe.

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