A joke to end the week…

Bloomberg story (quoting a Bloomberg Intelligence report) declares that Singapore has won the race to be Asia’s international business hub…

The city state hosted regional headquarters for 4,200 multinational firms in 2023, extending its lead and dwarfing the 1,336 found in Hong Kong…

“Hong Kong has lost the race to be international business’ preferred choice for Asia headquarters, as more global and even Chinese companies choose Singapore because of its better relations with the West, broader talent pool, diversified economy, and tax incentives,” according to the 50-page report. “Companies may rank Singapore higher in terms of political stability and freedom amid elevated geopolitical risks in the region.”

Hong Kong codified its position as China’s finance center by containing political protests and adhering to the country’s Covid-Zero policy during the pandemic, while Singapore highlighted its independence and emerged as the preferred site for international business offices, the report said.

The Standard adds

A list of companies with regional headquarters in Singapore reads like a Who’s Who of multinationals – FedEx, Microsoft, Alphabet’s Google, Mead Johnson, Rolls-Royce and General Motors. Companies that operate in more sensitive environments – such as TikTok and the online fashion giant Shein – have business hubs in the Southeast Asian city.

Chinese companies like electric-vehicle maker Nio are also established in the city-state, while tech companies Alibaba and Huawei are expanding operations there.

The corporate critical mass and more diversified economy could help Singapore attract even more global business than Hong Kong for the next five years, the report said.

HK Security Secretary Chris Tang thinks two years in prison for publishing sheep cartoons is too lenient, so the Article 23 NatSec Law should introduce tougher penalties when it addresses sedition. Presumably the same applies to wearing the wrong T-shirt. 

See also an extract from a forthcoming China Media Project interview with CUHK’s Francis Lee of the CUHK School of Journalism…

It’s not easy for journalists to run afoul of the NSL as long as you stay away from Hong Kong independence and foreign funding, and follow a few other simple rules. That requires a bit of self-censorship, but at least there are ways for you to stay away from that. But sedition is different because anything that arouses hatred against the government can potentially be seditious. And basically, that means that whenever the news media tries to perform its watchdog role, it’s potentially in the gray area already. Of course, the sentence for sedition is at most two years in prison, which is nothing compared to NSL. But at the same time, it’s much easier for the news media to run afoul of.

…I think the legislation more journalists will be worrying about — or have been worrying about — deals with “fake news laws,” which the government has said they are studying but which we still know very little about. [State secrets] might require you to, again, to self-censor on a number of topics, but you can still avoid it. But disinformation, depending on how it’s defined, could be much harder to avoid.

From HKFP, Not One Less Coffee closing down after repeated inspections by inspectors from (take a deep breath) the Food and Environmental Hygiene Dept, the Fire Services Dept, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Dept, the Inland Revenue Dept, the Police force, the Labour Dept and the Buildings Dept.

Some other reading and viewing for the weekend…

CMP on how the Hugo Awards for science fiction seem to have been co-opted by China.

The winner of 2023’s Best Novella category was the hitherto unknown Chinese author Hai Ya (海漄), whose quick read, The Space-Time Painter (時空畫師), revolves around a tough-as-nails cop who investigates spooky reports of a ghost in Beijing’s Palace Museum, known worldwide as the Forbidden City. The cop traces the spectral source to a real-life treasure of the museum — an ancient scroll painting by Song dynasty artist Wang Ximeng (王希孟), whose ghost is trying to make contact with contemporary China.

…Readers point to clunky writing and clichéd plot points, expressing disbelief that the work is a prize-winner. “Could it be that the award was forcibly given because the home turf is in China,” one user posted. “With so many better works than this one, how did they pick something so unappealing?”

In a commentary on the video site Bilibili, one online influencer said Hai Ya’s novella had the quality of a decent topical essay by a high school student. The work was not meant to satisfy Chinese readers, he said, but “to swipe an award from the English-speaking world.”

From the Guardian – how China is the second most expensive place in the world to raise children.

A good YouTube interview with David Rennie of The Economist about Chinese people’s loss of faith in their government following the end of Covid and the decline of the property market, and Beijing’s efforts to increase national resilience in a hostile world.

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8 Responses to A joke to end the week…

  1. Knownot says:


    “The age is dull and mean. Men creep,
    Not walk,” knowing walls have ears;
    And, tangled in their daily fears,
    Careful conduct duly keep;
    While seeing that a camera, too,
    Is looking down at them – and you.

    And now arise the new elites,
    Well knowing that the chosen must
    Defer and ever well adjust
    To keep their safe, well-cushioned seats.
    The principles of yesterday,
    Once precious, may be thrown away.

    I call out to the old elite,
    Now locked in prison, barred, alone.
    “The hot words from your lips, my own,
    To caution trained, might not repeat,”
    But in the silence, I admire
    Your patience, courage, and your fire.

    [The quotations are from ‘For Righteousness’ Sake’
    by John Greenleaf Whittier]

  2. Crazy Cat Lady says:

    Knownot, a VERY powerful poem! I always admire your talent and this time you have excelled yourself!!

  3. Reader says:


    That’s elegant and piercing. Thank you.

  4. steve says:

    There were also incidences of censorship at the 2023 Hugos. Works that awards officials were afraid might offend the Party were yanked from the competition, even though they had qualified for consideration. Authors victimized include Neil Gaiman, R.F. Kuang, Xiran Jay Zhao and Paul Weimer. The scandal has gone ballistic in the sci fi community and beyond.


  5. Stanley Lieber says:


    Superb. Captures the moment exquisitely. Thank you.

  6. Natasha Fatale says:


    Censorship is the new black.

  7. Chinese Netizen says:

    @ steve: Seems the sci fi nerds involved in the Chengdu Hugos weren’t as courageous, frontier exploring and edge cutting as they might have made their characters out to be. Pretty pathetic handling of a situation they would have been better off just not taking part of, if they had a speck of ethics and honor.
    Let the Chicoms create their own sci fi awards much like the so-called Confucius Awards and see how many will be crashing their doors down to participate.

  8. reductio says:


    One of your best. Beautifully crafted and written to be read aloud (in the privacy of your own home, of course).

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