Dystopia is in the details

Hong Kong enters the ‘Dynamic zero half-the-population’ phase, as HKU experts estimate that 48% of residents have already been infected with Covid. Meanwhile, the government is still banning flights from various countries and locking down individual apartment blocks, in an effort to nip the outbreak in the bud.

A thread from the FT’s stats specialist on the severity of Hong Kong’s Covid situation, including extremely unflattering comparisons with New Zealand. We are currently seeing more deaths per million than pre-vaccine 2020-21 Italy, UK and US. 

Following online complaints from whiny brainwashed losers in Shenzhen, the Hong Kong authorities close beaches. That way, bitter Mainlanders will feel better about their lockdowns – and that’s the most important thing, isn’t it? 

Nikkei Asia presents one of the most acerbic summaries I’ve seen in the last – oh, 48 hours – of Hong Kong’s Covid awfulness

Even as the health system creaked and supermarket shelves emptied, [Carrie Lam’s] government only urged calm through news releases delivered in the dead of night and a recorded eight-minute video released on Feb. 27, in which the chief had said mandatory testing would be imposed. Otherwise, she was filmed welcoming health officials, food and medical supplies from the mainland and inspecting new isolation facilities built by a Chinese state company.

As a free no-extra-charge bonus, readers get some ideas on how to keep their test results to themselves with a clear conscience…

When Ms. Cheung’s rapid antigen test for COVID-19 turned up positive … [she] could notify the authorities as required, or hunker down at home.

Cheung … chose to self-isolate… She feared that if she came forward, she would be carted off to one of the city’s makeshift isolation facilities…

Memorize this bit in case you need it…

Cheung said she was… “not keen to take away resources from people who had more severe symptoms or had more need for support from the health care system.”

Some news to further encourage such selflessness: inmates at the community isolation facility on the Bridge to Nowhere border control island at the north-east end of the CLK runways are undergoing soothing audio healing – sort of like  vibrational sound therapy at the Oriental Oasis – in the form of fully laden B747 cargo planes taking off and climbing at 800-1,200 feet above them. Around 100 decibels.

(Cue your link to the second installment of the Shanghai quarantine diary.)

Ex-official Fred Ma and other pro-establishment types blast (mildly and politely) the administration for its incompetence. If we had just a trace of a participatory political system, you could interpret this as a ‘dump Carrie’ campaign. But the CCP decides everything: if they want to punish Hong Kong one way, they’ll reappoint Carrie; if they want to punish the city another way, it’ll be John Lee.

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21 Responses to Dystopia is in the details

  1. Onecyst says:

    Reading the quarantine diary made me reflect upon my experiences of quarantine:
    1. Sydney July 2020. A small, hotel room in Pyrmont.The “highlight” of that stay was a crime scene across the road at an apartment block where someone was murdered while I was brushing my teeth. The quarantine stay was free.
    2. HK Aug 2020…after 13 days in Sydney. Home quarantine. I could slip off my bracelet. My phone buzzed every 30 min for a scan until I accidentally dropped it in a bucket of water.
    I had to borrow a neighbour’s old mobile (village houses). When I informed the government official, his first response was to laugh. I was told that they were not coping with the demand created by the new quarantine system.
    3. Surfers Paradise Qld, Aug 2021.
    I couldn’t get a flight to Sydney. I was given an enormous room with a king-sized bed, balcony and views of the ocean. I could link my phone to the TV to watch Netflix. I rented an exercise bike.
    When I was being escorted out by a policeman, he asked me about the food. He had been impressed by what they were given. I told him my favourites were the Sunday roast lamb and Monday’s pancakes for breakfast. $AUD3,200 but worth every penny.

  2. donkey says:

    Just two points today, and then I have to go back to my steamed pork dumplings.
    “Cheung said she was… “not keen to take away resources from people who had more severe symptoms or had more need for support from the health care system.””

    She’s exactly right, though. More stable-minded health officials in other countries have said this, and this is how best to treat the outbreak. Let those who need resources use them, instead of panicking everyone into hiding their results or rushing to the emergency room because obviously they are going to die. Everyone is going to die!

    My second point is more mundane.

    The more I read of what is happening in Hong Kong on this esteemed organ, the more I cannot believe I am actually reading it. Someone! SOMEONE! was like, Yeah, it’s totally cool to park them under the runway. They are healing. They can’t go anywhere anyway, what are they going to do, stay at home watching Japanese cartoons for two weeks?

    God forbid the government gives anyone a choice in anything. That could lead to horrible consequences! Like crossing the street at the light! Or saving money.

    I guess I also do have a third point, if I may, dear sirs and madams.

    Is the lack of democratic government actually the same thing as anarchy? Because in some sense, the less power that people have for themselves, and the more they lack agency, I would think the more they also feel like fighting and getting back at the people who have arbitrarily decided they rule over them.

    If you think about it, the worse off in this sense is the poor and middle class, who live in the most crowded public housing blocks and smaller apartments, as well as cage homes. I don’t see lovely luxury tower apartments that actually have 35-40 cases in a building (i have evidence) getting locked down. I only see the working class neighborhoods getting this treatment.

    I wonder is China thinking “These are the people we have to take care of the most, so we must impose the toughest restrictions on them?” I think that may be the case. I think it may very well be the truth that China thinks that tough governance is CARE. When we all know it’s nothing more than pestering, invasive diminishment of people’s lives and livelihoods.

  3. Joe Blow says:

    My gym since 2008, Fitness First, has been forced into bankruptcy by Currie Cunt’s imbecile mismanagement, aided by her phalanx of chinless nest-feathering civil servants.

    Now I am REALLY angry.

  4. Chris Maden says:

    “if they want to punish Hong Kong one way, they’ll reappoint Carrie; if they want to punish the city another way, it’ll be John Lee.”

    My money’s still on C.Y. Leung.

  5. Former Public Servant says:

    I would ask fellow readers not to lump Carrie Lam and her appointed ministers and senior directorate grade civil servants together in the same basket as middle management and front-line junior civil servants and medical staff.

    The latter have no influence whatsoever over the abysmal policies of the former and, for the most part, perform their duties creditably well in the most trying of circumstances.

  6. Caractacus says:

    Once again, as previously, the ungazetted beaches with no controls whatsoever will be inundated with hordes of day visitors. In Hoi Ha they pay up to $300 to the local dai pai dong operator who “arranges” a day vehicle permit for them to visit as “friends”.

  7. Mark Bradley says:

    @Former Public Servant

    I would argue that the middle management civil servants are the group within government capable of stalling out Beijing’s BS directives like mandatory testing and lockdowns.

    You can see how quickly lockdowns happen in Shenzhen vs in Hong Kong despite Beijing’s best efforts.

  8. Red Dragon says:

    Former Public Servant,

    A fair point well made.

  9. Low Profile says:

    It seems that Hongkongers’ real sin, in the eyes of Shenzhen residents, is to succeed in enjoying themselves even in the present circumstances. Heaven forbid!

  10. Boris Badanov says:

    Let’s face it no CE choice will be good. Carrie may not have many inhibitors but those few she has are better than John Lee or any of the security service Guang An wannabe automatons (Chris Tang et al) could be. HK’s just slowly spiralling down the plug hole, the only question is how fast is it going to be. (And why does anyone wish for a mainland CCP apparatchik to be put in control – do Xia Baolong or any of the awful Madame Tussaud’s figurines at the Central Govt Liaison Office give anyone any hope that they could possibly do any better…?)

  11. Knownot says:

    In one of his analyses a few months ago, linked to by Big Lychee, David Webb made two points that are almost taboo. This is my paraphrase of his points, as far as I remember.

    Not all deaths are equal. If someone of 40 dies, he may have lost 40 years of life. If someone of 80 dies, he may have lost only a year of life. The latter is – to be blunt – a lesser event, a smaller loss. Some of the so-called Covid deaths in Hong Kong have been of people aged 100 and over. One was 105!

    Second, old people have a lower “quality of life” (Webb’s phrase). We have to acknowledge that, however positive their attitudes, old people are almost certain to be impaired in some way. So, again, it is a lesser loss.

    Third (I don’t think Webb made this point). Hong Kong people live long lives, on average. There are more old people living than elsewhere, so there are more old people dying.

    I doubt that these points can be – or even should be – reflected in the statistics, but perhaps they are worth making.

  12. justsayin says:

    The quarantine diary is already on part 3…

    https://fallows.substack.com/p/shanghai-quarantine-diary-part-3?s=r

    As has been shown elsewhere in the world, with Delta/Omicron variants, self isolation at home after a positive test for non-acute cases will be a better response than rushing everyone into hospital. PRC (and HK by extension) needs to get with the program and stop all the lockdowns. But in The Heavenly Kingdom we need things that make Dynamic Zero Sense to keep Emperor Shit looking good.

  13. A Poor Man says:

    Knownot – True, all deaths are not equal. However, the sheer volume of mostly avoidable deaths is depressing and should embarrass a government that can’t seem to accurately count them. Compare the situation here to that in Taiwan, where it seems that there have only been 3 covid related deaths in 2022.

  14. Uncivil Service says:

    @Former Public Servant
    “No sympathy for the devil; keep that in mind. Buy the ticket, take the ride.”

    “I declare that, as a civil servant of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, I will uphold the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, bear allegiance to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, be dedicated to my duties and be responsible to the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.”

    Frontline junior civil servants have de facto clearly made a choice of their own welfare and job security over the welfare of their fellow citizens by becoming civil servants in the first place.

    They can proclaim they were “just following orders” but they knew right from the start whose orders they would have to follow and implement: it’s spelled out in the loyalty oath and frankly anyone who joined since 2014 has already seen what sort of government they are pledging to serve under that oath.

    That said, I also think Mark Bradley has a point: there does appear to be a palpable streak of quiet subversion in there — whether this is deliberate resistance or just good, old-fashioned, systemic incompetence is harder to gauge.

  15. Quentin Quarantino says:

    Now that Curry Cunt’s government is closing everything again -because that’s the only thing she knows- I wonder if it would be a good idea to simply close down the Government. After all, things can’t possibly go any worse than they are now, “patriotic guidance” notwithstanding. As Li Kaching!! said, “Let Hong Kong be Hong Kong.”

    Oh, never mind. Who am I fooling?

  16. Penny says:

    CL – “I could not stand seeing a lot of old people dying in MY hospitals.”
    Seems she can.

  17. Henry says:

    Knownott
    ummmm…… very, very dodgy ground. Disabled people? Chief execs vs lowly employees? Famous people vs unknowns? High achievers vs others?
    I moderate my comments. Yours should never have been made

  18. Sean O’Herlihy says:

    @Henry

    Thank you. My retort would have been scatalogical.

  19. dimuendo says:

    Henry, Sean

    Knownot’s comments were carefully confined to age. A 100 year old person’s death, for whatever reason, is almost certainly a blessing. A 10 year old’s is almost certainly not.

    My life, good and bad, is certainly worth less than either of my children’s.

    For you to imply otherwise is sanctimonious claptrap flying in the face of reality.

  20. Mary Melville says:

    Strangely the images of Honkers frolicking on the beach are all of indigenous species.
    So for once the gweilos are not to be blamed for transgressions. But then perhaps the beach goers of a pink hue have already skipped town?

  21. Chinese Netizen says:

    Low Profile said: “It seems that Hongkongers’ real sin, in the eyes of Shenzhen residents, is to succeed in enjoying themselves even in the present circumstances. Heaven forbid!”

    Give HKers (the ones that are basically forced to remain) a few more short years…they’ll have been beaten into submission and will become more like their obedient mainland brethren.

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