Weather better than Friday’s

Number 8 Signal, which went up over 12 hours before the bad weather hit. It is dangerous to go swimming or sailing off the coast, therefore all offices downtown must close. Can Hong Kong think of a better system than requiring innocent meteorologists to decide, on the basis of atmospheric pressure or precise proximity of a cyclone, whether kids should go to school or not?

Beijing’s Liaison Office conducts a vast opinion-gathering exercise among the Hong Kong community, and gives Carrie Lam a suitably huge list of 500 things to do. Can’t remember them coming to my neighbourhood, but no doubt they canvassed United Front ‘various sectors’. In other words, a facile public performance – the bureaucratic version of PLA soldiers living off snow for a week, or the guy who dangles a block of concrete from his genitals. The Office itself says it aims to give the impression that the central government cares deeply about local people.

The symbolism is also of course designed to humiliate the local administration. Carrie – not fully aware of the scale of the consultation – both welcomes it and implies it’s unnecessary. If Beijing’s officials calculate that they might win a few hearts and minds by slapping the puppets around, they’re probably not wrong.

Some assorted reading for the next few days…

The Hong Kong government takes a break from railing against fake news to spread fake news – on whether disqualified District Council members would be liable to repay past pay and allowances. 

Despite official boasts about attracting overseas companies, a breakdown shows those from the Mainland are rising while the rest are declining.

Neville Sarony dislikes quarantine

So how can 21 days of quarantine be justified for people who have received double vaccination, tested positive for antibodies, undergone PCR tests before being incarcerated and then every three days thereafter?

If the plan is to destroy Hong Kong as an international business centre, it is little less than brilliant. If not, it is dumb.

A Q&A from Owens Trodd medical practice is similarly unimpressed with Hong Kong’s current Covid approach.

To put 21 days in perspective, China kept its two Canadian hostages for nearly three years. For an idea of how inhumanely boring solitary confinement must be, Michael Kovrig is following me on Twitter. (He also follows lots of really interesting people.)

A great interview with Michael Pettis on the future of the Chinese economy if and when it abandons ‘fictitious’ GDP growth…

…it’s very hard to justify an economy that is two thirds the size of the US, with having property that is worth twice as much as US property is worth. It’s not as if US property is cheap. It’s probably too expensive in the US too, which means it’s incredibly expensive in China. 

American Prospect on how Biden can make China trade policy more coherent – opens with a forthright description of Chinese mercantilism.

The undertow against changing course on China remains fierce. Multinationals and big banks profit handsomely from the status quo, and hold enormous influence in domestic politics. Career policymakers are invested in the old model. Most economists and their echo chamber in the media still preach free trade and condemn protectionism and the sin of government “picking winners” when it comes to the U.S., but not on the part of China. The apostles of constructive engagement are loath to admit that they got China wrong. 

Quartz on Beijing’s new regulations banning private capital from news media.

Former Oz PM Tony Abbott ‘dumps on Beijing’ in a speech in Taiwan, saying ‘Australia should not be indifferent to the fate of a fellow democracy of almost 25 million people’. Beijing’s response is that Abbott’s was a ‘despicable and insane performance’.

China Media Project on the Mainland netizens who cheered the news that China has one of the highest Gini coefficients in the world – they thought the gauge of inequality sounded like a matter of national pride.

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13 Responses to Weather better than Friday’s

  1. where's my jet plane says:

    Innocent meteorologists and PhDs perhaps but certainly no competent forecasters who can interpret the tea leaves of the weather.
    Back in the 1990s the director of the Observatory admitted in print (in the SCMP) that all the forecasting was done by computer and what was published might be checked by a human. Since then the situation has become worse with billions of dollars squandered on even more high-powered computery stuff that is only as good as (and subject to the biases of) the person who wrote the software.
    One has to ask if the management of the Observatory, and indeed, the organisation itself is fit for purpose

  2. charlie says:

    I didn’t know Hemlock tweets. Is the twitter account secret? If not, can somebody please link it?

  3. TheUnrealMichaelKovrig says:

    Thanks for the shoutout! Actually you are by far the most interesting person I follow on Twitter

  4. Mark Bradley says:

    Sounds like working for the Observatory is a super easy job with an iron rice bowl. And soon there may be a law that makes it a crime to insult civil servants so we can no longer call these people oxygen thieves.

  5. Mary Melville says:

    Why knock a system that gives workers a day off mid week?????? A particular bonus this time around as it is tacked onto a public holiday. All that shelf stripping at the supermarkets was in joyous expectation of two days ‘lying flat’.

  6. Zatluhcas says:

    Having lived under Tony Abbott’s doomed prime ministership, I can’t argue with China’s view of him. He is despicable and insane.

  7. Load Toad says:

    I’ve commented elsewhere – I don’t think HKO could predict a fucking sunrise or plan for nighttime. Do they ever actually look out of the window to see what the weather is like?

  8. Richard Kopf says:

    Apparently though, even a despicable and insane broken watch can sometimes get the time right.

    And lest we forget, Abbott’s tenure did have one brilliant high point:

  9. Low Profile says:

    @charlie – look at the right hand column.

  10. Er... Twit? says:

    Try the righthand sidebar of this page.
    The stuff under the oh-so-cryptically marked “Tweets by @HKBigLychee”.
    And facepalm.

  11. Mary Melville says:

    Re the Liaison Office’s 500 things to do, were we not told that the district advisory bodies,whose existence we were never aware of but will ‘represent’ us in Leggers,have been working tirelessly on our behalf for decades?
    How come they have not been identifying and resolving community issues?
    The unfolding contradictions in the narrative indicate the dysfunctional nature of the new order.

  12. so says:

    Worldwide, tropical cyclones track towards volcanoes and igneous rock and gas fields. There are no cyclones in the South Atlantic over which there is a magnetic anomaly. The argument is that use of algorithms to predict probability of tracks is just guesswork. If magnetics – cathodal cyclones and anodal volcanoes / gas fields – is a correct analysis, tracks can be calculated by logarithm .

    By Article 22 Meteorology Law of PRC, 31 October 1999, it is illegal to discuss this in PRC.

  13. AHW says:

    Hurricanes/cyclones/typhoons need warm water to form, their movement is dictated by global wind systems (esp trade winds) and factors such as the coriolis force.

    The South Atlantic is generally too cold for cyclone formation, but cyclones there aren’t unknown (doesn’t help that there is a lack of monitoring in the area).

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