Just catching up with the daily NatSec…

A woman is given three months in prison for waving the wrong flag while the national anthem is played on a TV broadcast in a mall. Magistrate says she ‘seriously disparaged the anthem and damaged the nation’s dignity’.

You would think the public broadcaster would interview the security chief – but it’s the other way round. Needless to say, RTHK’s boss gives all the right answers.

Pro-Beijing figures blast the ruling to allow Jimmy Lai to use British barrister Tim Owen, who…

…may bring “Western viewpoints” that create “bias and unfairness”, lawyer Christopher Wong was quoted as saying in Wen Wei Po.

More quotes at the SCMP.

Samuel Bickett post on why the authorities don’t want an overseas lawyer representing Lai. Basically, he won’t be intimidated or care what Ta Kung Pao says.

Some other reading for the weekend…

Pity about the gimmicky overdesigned text/graphics, but an otherwise must-read in-depth Reuters report on Chow Hang-tung – ‘now arguably the most prominent dissident voice in Hong Kong’ – in jail for 14 months, with 15 bail applications rejected…

“Force can only achieve so much. The state can lock up people but not their thinking, just as it can lock up facts but not alter truth. The use of force is indeed a sign of weakness, a failure of authority. The state simply has no other means to produce compliance.”

…Convincing the judges isn’t necessarily Chow’s aim. It is “about seizing on the few spaces left to publicize the goals and position of the movement,” she said. “So long as the state is not yet willing to abandon the legitimacy that comes with an open court, the courtroom will remain (one of) the few public spaces where officially ‘criminal’ thinking must be given air time.”

Some additional comments from Kevin Yam.

Wang Xiangwei, former SCMP editor, has a blog mildly critical of Beijing…

Have many people really read the English version of [Xi Jinping’s 20th CCP Congress] report from the beginning to the end? I did but even for someone who writes and reports about China for the past three decades, I find it a tough going as the translation of the party’s favorite jargons, littered through the report, make them even more difficult to understand.

As for China’s state media, their reports reek of pure propaganda and lack credibility … 

ASPI Strategist piece on how China’s censorship regime – in Hong Kong as well as the Mainland – relies on fear

By wiping their digital identity, Beijing wants citizens to know the repercussions of speaking out. Placing censors in Chinese social media companies isn’t enough; users must be proactive in censoring the information they receive. Without self-censorship, the system would soon be overwhelmed and news would spread to the point of no return. For the system to work, people need to be aware of what content is shareable and be frightened of the consequences of sharing or receiving ‘prohibited’ content.

From CSIS, translation of a lengthy 2021 ‘analysis’ of the Taiwan situation by Mainland academic Tian Feilong, with extensive reference to Hong Kong. Much of it delusional…

…the more the cross-Strait power balance shifts to mainland China, the more Taiwan authorities rely on the United States and Japan, causing Taiwan to transfer more actual “governance authority” to external forces, shifting to a “quasi-colonial” state. With this, the basic conditions for cross-Strait political consultation are weakened, resulting in the actual rise of the “proxy” of the United States and Japan in Taiwan, creating obstacles to the peaceful reunification of the two sides of the Strait.

Some perhaps less so…

…the structural changes in the concept and system of “One Country, Two Systems” brought about by the central government’s decisive action in response to the changing situation in Hong Kong have been stigmatized and misunderstood on the island [Taiwan], resulting in a weakening of the demonstration effect of the Hong Kong experience on Taiwan.

The bottom line…

…the “return of people’s hearts” in Hong Kong is still a severe challenge and an incomplete task. The practice of “One Country, Two Systems” in Hong Kong still needs to go through a difficult process of institutional transformation and mentality reconstruction.

The Guardian’s obit for Bao Tong.

Fun illustrated look at Hong Kong’s bilingual street names. Did you know Hiram’s Highway is named after a brand of nasty military-issue canned sausages? The author also repeats the theory that Rednaxela Terrace was the result of someone accidentally – rather than deliberately – writing ‘Alexander’ backwards. But wouldn’t it have come out ‘ecarreT rednaxelA’? (Yes it would. After walking down the lane every day for years, I just know.)

For an impoverished backwater, Guizhou has some big brands. One is Kweichow moutai – the incomprehensibly high-priced and disgusting sorghum spirit. The other is the far more palatable Lao Gan Ma chili oil – a global success celebrated in the Guardian, which quotes an academic paper as saying…

“Lao Gan Ma deliberately places an extraordinary average-looking and old Chinese female on its product package, which conversely arouses strong curiosities of foreign consumers.”  

Recommended time-wasting TV (you might have to hunt around to find them) – not great, but more amusing than silently eating bananas alone

Akai Nurse Call (Japan) – tasteless and grotesquely violent but sort-of tongue-in-cheek murder mystery set in a hospital where patients (and others) are murdered, episode after episode. Among other weirdness, one patient is a TV crime scriptwriter who starts drafting a drama based on what is happening; at one stage, nurses wonder who should play their characters if the show is produced, and one suggests her own (real-life) name to portray herself. The two lead characters are insipid (perhaps deliberately?), but everyone else is deranged – right up to the gruesome end. 

Gaus Electronics (Korea) – not on a par with Squid Game or Amazing Attorney Woo, but a genuinely funny satire on young salary-persons’ office life, complete with impressive editing and quirky sound-effects. Starting (a few episodes in) to get a bit romance-drama-ish, but still mostly quite witty.

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15 Responses to Just catching up with the daily NatSec…

  1. Coops says:

    Did you manage to read through that Tian Feilong article? I got part-way through section one but packed it in after the fifth use of ‘so-called’ in a paragraph….

  2. Boris Badanov says:

    I made it through about two pages of Tian Feilong’s turgid guff before giving up. (And he footnotes it prolifically!). Imagine the lost intellectual productivity of diverting otherwise (hopefully) good minds into discussion of such self-referential but useless “disciplines”. I wonder what the net GDP loss is in China and now HK of having to discuss this tripe seriously like it really matters? “Thesis: Leaving aside
    the flat earth policies pursued in its name, Xi Jing Ping Thought on its own causes a net economic deadweight loss to China harming its international competitiveness and slowing its national rejuvenation. Discuss.”

  3. Mary Melville says:

    Re RTHK interviewed by Tang, whats with the very Brit afternoon tea set, sugar bowl, milk jug, flowery crocks. Surely Chinese tea and a spittoon would be more appropriate?

  4. Abba-Dabba Yucca-Ducca Hifalutin Hoochy-Doochy says:

    Coops, let me summarize Tian Feloong’s Marx-Leninist brain acrobatics for you and all the readers, so you do not have to.

    When I was a student in 19674 I read a lot of this kind of pseudo-intellectual masturbation and I know how to extract the essence:

    Here we go.
    Yakkadiakkadi One Country Two Systems gabbeldigookadikat One Country Two Systems Xi Jinping One Country Two Systems yegabidbaobaodao One Country Two Systems nagentokotosepalotte One Country Two Systems lanischiopamazi Taiwan One Country Two Systems rabadigoodumfotiploatosm One Country Two Systems hopidihapido One Country Two Systems nebutafu One Country Two Systems pekutobutomerosilamentopsu One Country Two Systems Hong Kong Xi Jinping One Country Two Systems kelgrfabtynembaolistprrrut One Country Two Systems. Hong Kong One Country Two Systems Taiwan One Country Two Systems America and Japan very bad CCP very good!

  5. Knownot says:

    HK place-names.
    Why is the Chinese ‘Wongkok’ the English ‘Mongkok’?
    I once read a picturesque explanation, that a sign-painter turned the ‘W’ upside-down, making an ‘M’. The writer of the piece linked to has a prosaic explanation, more likely, though disappointing.

  6. Joe Blow says:

    Today, Sesame Street was brought to you by the expression “turgid guff”.

  7. Old Mind Doctor says:

    I remember driving along Jordan Road in the 80’s and major MTR construction was underway, and road diversions. One hastily stencilled road sign directed me to ‘Hong
    Knog’. I smiled as I this realised this was my escape route from disconcerting Kowloon.

    There are those such as the good Mary who are Kowloon lovers and Knoggers such as myself who feel uncomfortable leaving the Island.

    Any Harbour tunnel gives me the heebie-jeebies. Am I alone in this?

  8. Older Mind Doctor says:

    @ Old Mind Doctor

    Kowloon-side has always smelled orf to us old Old Hands.

    In the 1980s the Sai Kung village house opened up to the lower expatriate sorts on lower D-grades who didn’t mind permanently walking up stairs. It took them years to twig it was a Herculean effort to get people to leave the Island for one of their tiresome Bohemian fail events.

    I’ve always been Island and will always consider Kowloon-side a compromise.

  9. D Grader says:

    @ Old and Older Mind Doctors aka Enfeebled Island Flat Dwellers

    Bounding up and down Sai Kung village house steps keeps one sprightly and us rural rustics have everything we need in this vibrant township, thank you very much.

    The only downside to living in our idyll is the hoard of less enfeebled smoky urbanites who clutter up our avenues with their SUVs, Alphards and Teslas and push their pooches in prams along our promenades and then leave their litter when they leave.

  10. asiaseen says:

    HK Island is also a compromise for third largest island dwellers, though we do suffer from the itinerant pooch-in-pram pushers. AFAIR I have been Kowloon side twice this year.

  11. Old Mind Doctor says:

    @ D Grader

    You call me one of the ‘Enfeebled Island Flat Dwellers’ as I declare I live on the Island.

    I don’t live in a high-rise. I live in a bungalow with a walled garden on the Southside. A stone’s throw from a beach. But your assumption I can understand. I tend to internally harumph when someone tells me they live in Disco Bay. Or Sai Kung. The former zombies, the latter drunks.

  12. Sam Clemens says:

    I lived in Causeway Bay for 11 years and loved it. Hog heaven.

    Now I live at a respectable address in Mid Levels. It’s just not the same.

  13. Kwun Tong Bypass says:

    Ohh, all you ‘Enfeebled Island Flat Dwellers’, likely Bowen Road Walkers (formerly bikers and joggers?), Escalator Dwellers, and South Side Bungalows Owners.
    Aren’t you a wee bit arrogant about those poor souls that did not arrive in Hong Kong eons ago and have their own property, and to live in a decent space with their two, three children had to move to – OMG !! – the ‘dark side’ of Hong Kong, to The NEW TERRITORIES, to Sai Kung ‘doggie poo country’? And where you do need a car to get to work and your kids to school because our public transport during rush hours can not cope and on weekends is jammed by Island Flat Dewellers who want to get away from the crowds, and get some greenery and fresh air?

  14. Older Mind Doctor says:

    @D Grader and @Old Mind Doctor

    Same for me. Lived Hong Kong island for decades and see everything you have “in the sticks” and raise it. No stairs, not one but two terraces, count ’em, hot tropical sun and fresh (ish) air on tap, no frickin’ commute and no nouveau neighbours. Every way you look at it the Island is better.

    Unfortunately we also suffer idiots who walk their poodle inbreds in prams.

    So, in the interests of agreeing on something, think both us Islanders and Kowlooners will agree there should be a punishment against them? “Animal cruelty under the guise of fashion”? $5,000 first offence then up to six months imprisonment seems fair. Oh, plus euthanise the poodle inbred. Last one too harsh? Negotiable.

  15. coco says:

    I know some of the readers of Hemmers are out of touch fossils still living in 1960/70s but these posts about the ‘dark side’, nasty nouveau rich and the ‘great unwashed’ must be parodies, right? Makes you appreciate even more why most locals despise gwailos.

    HK is so small to begin with, imagine limiting yourself to an even smaller section of it? Is it a British thing? Not the snobbery, insularity and condescension, those are obviously traits of a certain kind of English who chose to live here in surprisingly large numbers (for some unknown reason, they seem to hate the place and most of the people who live here); I mean a type of little islander syndrome taken to the extreme.

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