A slight dash of the surreal today. New CE John Lee releases his ‘campaign’ expenses statement (more here). Donors (Heung Yee Kuk, Chinese Chamber, etc) had to transfer cash, as Lee is under US sanctions and has no bank account, so office security cost more than rent. Doubly weirder, of course, is the fact that, with only one candidate and no real election taking place, there was no ‘campaign’ to fund in the first place. Triple weird: strict adherence to statutory declaration of election finances for a sham election for a notional leader overseeing a dismantling of rule of law.
Second oddity: developer New World starts to offer staff a four and a half day week. On an experimental basis, for summer – but nonetheless a pretty edgy gesture for one of Hong Kong’s family-dynasty mega-conglomerates, whose approaches to employee relations are traditionally more semi-feudal than touchy-feely Scandinavian. Some might attribute this enlightened move to the influence of younger hip third-generation tycoon-scions (New World’s Adrian Cheng is into artisanal blockchains, etc). Others might wonder if the old-style local rent-seeking plutocrats are nervous about the new CCP-run order in Hong Kong and feel a need to contribute some ‘positive energy’ to society.
Speaking of CCP influence – a nice little rant on Hong Kong’s ongoing craziness about quarantines, hotel bookings and sudden government-ordered flight cancellations. But hey – the government now recognizes vaccination certification from Kosovo and Madagascar.
Other mid-week reading…
From ABC Oz, Louisa Lim in search of Tsang Tsou-choi – the King of Kowloon, whose work once seemed to be everywhere…
I started noticing a mysterious pattern whereby pieces [of] the King’s artwork that had previously been painted over seemed to be resurfacing. Back in 2019, the newspapers reported a piece had been discovered by the Peak Tram terminus.
When I visited, I could see the King’s characters peeking out from beneath strips of paint that someone had peeled off — a reminder they had been there all along.
Vice explains why Thai restaurants are so common around the world. The government in Bangkok subsidizes them (though the Hong Kong ones are no doubt organic and non-state-backed). South Korea and Peru are following similar ‘stomach soft power’ strategies.
And since we mentioned Madagascar: a look at stomach-churning conditions in the country’s main prison.
Mmmmm…government subsidized, roast Guinea Pigs….
Still waiting for the Ukraine-Russia War food crisis and climate change to make Soylent Green a reality imitating art kinda thing.
re New World, you give them too much credit.
The actual scenario is that it, a property developer, is cutting back on office space on Kowloon side and vacating some premises. Affected employees have been working permanently from home for some time.
So nothing to do with employee satisfaction or positive energy and all to do with cutting costs.
Oh for the good old days when some snoopy reporter would hang around their offices and have a chat with the serfs to dig up the core issues. Now the media reports only the corporate PR.
Office hours mean nothing to developers. When people compete to be the last one to leave the office (cc-ing the big bosd on one last email before leaving at 23:30), what difference does a half-day on Friday make?
Mrs Melville has the right of it, this is a purely cost-cutting measure. The proles will still head back to work after lunch, they just won’t be paid for it.
On that note, we up here can’t be the only ones to notice a poor trend on this blog of late, of the illustrious author being corrected or pipped to the post by the commentors – at times even posting “news” by linking to one of yesterday’s comments. No longer being the company gweilo seems to be taking its to toll on the exclusive insider revelations once a trademark of Hemlock. Perhaps Mary should consider her own platform.
Campaign expenses must have included hair lacquer and hard liquor to fit in with the bosses up north.
Re Pope Innocent – always a Ms ….
Night owls like me have the advantage of catching some snippets early but I would never have the patience to put together so many links from diverse sources. I am stretched as it is keeping tabs on the various issues in my ‘hood’ since the enterprising young DCs were fooled into resigning.