Even the flip-flopping is flip-flopping

After hinting that compulsory universal Covid testing is not going to happen, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam again seems to reverse course, suggesting that it might indeed still go ahead. This seems to be a way to pacify pro-government lawmakers who – at officials’ request – dutifully supported the plan, only to be left looking stupid when the government U-turned and announced an easing of anti-Covid measures on Monday.

Not that the authorities’ policies are looking much more coherent. The CE is now saying the moving of school summer holidays to March is to reduce infections, though she first presented the plan as a way to free up space for mass-testing. Enforcement squads are still locking down buildings in pursuit of Covid cases – when maybe half the population has now been infected. Carrie actually seems proud that quarantine regulations for arrivals and airline suspensions are still making travel near-impossible, when other countries are now waving vaccinated passengers through. And she is openly rejecting expert advice on ‘transitioning to endemicity’ on the grounds that it’s based merely on academic models. Not least, we are told opening up cross-border travel must still come before all else.

The local leadership seems to be trapped between Chinese government ideologues insisting that the CCP be seen to vanquish the virus and Mainland experts urging a de-facto abandonment of the hopeless ‘zero-Covid’ goal. But when we look back at this one day, the tragedy of Hong Kong’s post-2019 patriots-only Nat-Sec regime will be very stark. The further the city moves away from open(-ish) government exposed to opposition voices and a critical press and towards a top-down Leninist system of control, the worse the quality of administration gets.

Instead, we get non-stop struggles against mysterious hostile forces. US lawyer Samuel Bickett is unceremoniously kicked out of Hong Kong to join the ranks of foreigners colluding with each other (his statement). And the Nat-Sec Police valiantly/earnestly/without a shred of self-effacing irony uncover a plot by a 60-ish couple to found a ‘Darth Vadar’ army of ‘black knights’ (‘radicalized by fake news’) to launch a revolution to overthrow the CCP with crossbows, a stockpile of foreign currency, and seditious chatter on social media. A Nat-Sec judge refuses the pair bail.

Meanwhile, in a galaxy far, far away, Financial Secretary Paul Chan plans to invite international businessmen to the Rugby Sevens to witness Hong Kong’s vibrancy. Wonderfully fawning Standard editorial here.

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26 Responses to Even the flip-flopping is flip-flopping

  1. Sam Clemens says:

    SCMP Column – 24 March 2022

    Headline: How to Reverse Hong Kong’s Brain Drain: Give More Support to the Arts, Commerce and the Vulnerable

    Brian Wong, a DPhil in Politics candidate at Balliol College, Oxford, and a Rhodes Scholar (Hong Kong 2020), writes in today’s SCMP that the unprecedented and ongoing wave of emigration from Hong Kong by talented people and their families can be reversed through greater support for the arts, commerce and social welfare.

    “It’s high time that the government and private sector took the question of cultural vibrancy seriously and adopted a more egalitarian, empathetic and open-minded position towards the arts and culture showcased in the city.”

    “Only then can we convince our young people that Hong Kong remains a place where their voices and views can be heard, respected and reflected in the city’s ethos and zeitgeist.”

    Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?

    If this is the calibre of thinking at Oxford these days, God help us.

  2. Casira says:

    Doubt they can fill up the south stand with whatever’s left of expats.
    Doesn’t matter much as they’re going to destroy hong kong stadium before any sevens happen anyway.

  3. donkey says:

    Passenger shows up to board flight to US in May.
    Ticket agent: Sir, please wear this cabbage leaf on your head.
    Passenger: I’m sorry, what?
    Ticket agent: The new Covid19 policy requires any passsenger leaving for the US who has stayed in Hong Kong for the preceding 35 days must wear one leaf of cabbage on his head.
    Passenger (begrudgingly): Alright, then. May I have a window seat, please? Thanks.

    Passenger approaches customs and border control.
    Border control officer: Sir, I’m afraid I cannot let you into the main boarding area or terminal with that cabbage leaf on your head.
    Passenger (sighing with relief): I thought. Look, I had my questions….
    Border control: Sir, please attach this golden bauhinia anti-septic three layer filtration mask device to the front of your mask.
    Passenger: What is this?
    Border control: Sir, rules state that any passenger entering the main terminal area of the Hong Kong International Airport must comply with standards for hygeinic oxygen intake and egress.
    Passenger: Fine.

    Passenger seated in gate area.
    Boarding agent: Ladies and gentlemen, we are beginning our boarding process for flight ASSOW #233 to Los Angeles. In order to facilitate boarding in a timely manner, we have been requested by the Hong Kong government and health authorities to comply with certain standards and procedures to ensure the safety of our cabin and crew. All passengers wearing black socks or white underwear must stand up and do the hokey pokey and turn themselves around. Let’s fight the virus together!

  4. Comrade Color says:

    Classic factionalism? With the yellows vanquished the reds and blues turn on each other. Sayonara united front. Compare SCMP and Standard editorials for looky a red and blue stances. The Money appears fed up with the Commie Control Freaks. Carrie is pighead in the middle. The practical approach – hold your nose until you turn blue?

  5. Chinese Netizen says:

    SEVENS??? In the middle of this utter shit show?? Open OPPORTUNITIES to the city?? The kind of creativity that’s been missed for some time??

    Just….Wow.

  6. Load Toad says:

    …at the 7’s…when we are chanting ‘You’re just a bunch of wankers!’ &c it will look and sound so good on international TV.

  7. reductio says:

    Remember those T-shirts you could buy down at the Star Ferry pier “Singapore is a fine place” that then listed all the things you could be fined for (bubblegum on the MRT etc).

    HK freedom versus Singapore anal paternalistic authoritarianism:

    https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/health-environment/article/3171636/singapore-shed-outdoor-mask-mandate-remove-travel?module=live&pgtype=homepage

    Et in Arcadia ego

  8. max says:

    Will these financial nobs be exempt from quarantine, then?

  9. MeKnowNothing says:

    Down towards the end of today’s last link:

    “Perhaps most crucially of all is that these business leaders can see for themselves, first hand, the Hong Kong of today. Most likely, a stop in the Greater Bat Area would be added to the itinerary too.”

    Defo!

  10. Big Al says:

    From The Standard quote, above “… it’s successful implementation will open up opportunities to the city”. The obverse is also true. And also more likely.

    I expect that by late October/early November, the totally unexpected and unprecedented sixth wave of COVID will be upon us. This will be just in time for the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens to be cancelled, flights to be banned and month-long quarantine to be invoked. But on the bright side, Hong Kong won’t be flooded with scousers selling tickets! Or financial nobs.

    The financial nobs should therefore be looking to have their ever so important meetings in Singapore or in Dubai, where I’m sure the respective Financial Secretaries will welcome them with open arms.

  11. Mark Bradley says:

    “Only then can we convince our young people that Hong Kong remains a place where their voices and views can be heard, respected and reflected in the city’s ethos and zeitgeist.”

    🙄

    “If this is the calibre of thinking at Oxford these days, God help us.”

    What an absolutely fucking clown Brian Wong is. Brian Wong is a Politics candidate at Balliol College, Oxford, and a Rhodes Scholar? He’s a fucking muppet and at the very least is being intellectually disingenuous and not sharing his REAL thoughts. Pure scum.

    (I hope this comment gets picked up by Google when people search for this blue ribbon sycophant)

  12. Coke, Sevens cock Up or Spite? says:

    Also from the Standard linkie:

    “Although hope is high, it is not immediately known if Hong Kong’s public image can be restored to its previous enviable level, or even higher, in view of the negative reports and sanctions currently in place.”

    Once I read the italicised bit I realised that it wasn’t just hope that was high — Mary Ma was absolutely off her face, possibly a good way into some sort of legendary coke binge where her next sentence will be a custodial one.

    Although I’m quite enjoying the idea that Paul “Suethegirls” Chan MoFo is going to deliberately ruin the Sevens for the ever-dwindling Gweilo population, in the event they go ahead at all.

    Prediction: HKSARG will buy up half the tickets in an effort to pimp the pre-exploded clown car remnants that are present day HK, as “a great place to do business”, only to find none of his hundreds of special guests show up. He will then hand them out to a bunch of po-faced officials and the few remaining DAB grannies that haven’t been culled by his colleagues’ disastrous COVID policy to avoid the gigantic outcry from the people who actually wanted to go, but couldn’t. The exodus of both Gweilos and local picks up speed.

    Further out prediction: In the aftermath, HKSARG blames Cathay for the government-induced fiasco. After three years of HKSARG policies hobbling their business, this fresh betrayal prompts Cathay to say “fuck it” and walk away from the Sevens permanently. HSBC shrugs and says “Terrible to see such a heritage event die, but we’re not paying for all of it”.
    HKSARG steps in and relaunches Sevens as a patriot-run alcohol-free event promoting Greater Bay Area opportunities with no cheering or loud noises allowed.
    This event is discretely dropped after the first year where no one at all turns up, apart from the 30,000 heavily-armed riot police outside and the interpretive dance troupe of 200 patriotic schoolchildren reenacting the battle of Lake Changjin at half-time (who are later savagely beaten and arrested for subversion by the riot police under the NSL because they are dressed like armed guerillas and carrying “offensive weapons”).
    Cathay enjoys the schadenfreude and a brief uptick in one-way ticket sales to North America Australia and Europe before going bust and being absorbed by Air China.

  13. Low Profile says:

    “Greater Bat Area” is a less than amusing typo when one recalls that SARS is believed to have originated amongst bats.

  14. justsayin says:

    maybe we should stop with the flip flops and admit that all of the policies coming from the government are crocs of excrement.

  15. Joe Blow says:

    Zoodlewordle

  16. Knownot says:

    donkey, 9.40 a.m. –
    Coke, Sevens cock Up or Spite, 3.40 p.m. –
    Both good. Very amusing.

  17. Chef Wonton says:

    Cheery thought for the day: if the Hong Kong government clear the Sevens for November, 2022, they will need to promulgate a “zero quarantine” policy no later than July/August. So leaving three months for rugby fans and finance nobs to firm up their travel plans for visiting Hong Kong November.

    There’s no way rugby players or rugby fans or finance nobs would ever travel to Hong Kong if it required week long quarantine in hotels.

  18. Ho Ma Fan says:

    To be fair to Brian Wong, he is nothing if not prolific. I have had some brief interwebs chats with him, and he does seem to have his heart in the right place. He’s not a tankie apologist. What he says isn’t wrong, per se, it just seems naive in the extreme. Like back in 2019 when people thought that the government must pay attention to 2 million people on the streets…

  19. Chef Wonton says:

    Coke, Sevens cock Up or Spite? says:
    March 24, 2022 at 3:40 pm

    Good post!

  20. Wolflikeme says:

    Mary Ma is not a real person. But I shouldn’t have to tell you that.

  21. Chef Wonton says:

    @Ho Man Fan

    Old school response: to be fair to Rhodes scholars and Scholarships they’re not awarded for being prolific or having hearts in the right place or being naive in the extreme.

    Brian Wong comes over as being held to lower standards due to affirmative action.

  22. Hamantha says:

    @Wolflikeme

    Seriously?! I totally thought Mary Ma was a person.

    A very naive, eternally-optimistic person.

  23. donkey says:

    Just a note in reference to esteemed scholar Brian Wong, and others of his ilk, I have heard of several of Hong Kong’s finest academicians of the secondary school level, whose parents were enthralled with the high standards their young scholars seemed to vault over to gain admittance into very highly sought after places among Britain’s finest schools. Only to learn later that the UK, in their pragmatic wisdom, had created entire “international sections” of their existing school programs to take in the huddled masses and their money, for rather highly marked up tuition rates.

  24. MeKnowNothing says:

    Low Profile, what caught my eye was the first sentence quoted – how it was crucial that these folks see first hand with their own eyes the PRC’s latest Shitholezhou that HK has become.

    The typo was just an added bonus & oh-so-appropriate given its association with the first & perhaps second plague the Glorious Motherland has given us!

  25. HKJC Irregular says:

    Listened to Brian Wong on RTHK this morning. The only interesting thing about him was how his accent wavered from international-school London, to suddenly Lancashire and in one monologue a lowlands Scottish drone.

  26. Mary Melville says:

    Re HKJC – great minds, came to same conclusion He can change accent mid sentence. I also detected a whiff of Ozzie in the mix. He probably picked up various phrases from school mates of diverse origins at ESF.
    Bearing in mind that the recipients of some local scholarships have more to do with connections then merit, remember the controversy re CY’s son and the Karolinska Institute back in 2015, they can be taken at face value.

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