Things to manage expectations about

Hong Kong should manage expectations of sub-par fireworks displays. This follows a ‘scaled down’ damp-squib event amid bad weather on May 1, which disappointed Mainland tourists, who…

…mockingly called the display a “smoke show” after it fogged up the skyline.

It looks likely that the ‘green bag’ waste-charging scheme will be postponed yet again. The logic is that, while postponement will damage the government’s standing, going ahead with the originally April, then August plan would hurt its reputation even more…

…two sources said the government could postpone the plan for months, if not years, in the name of the low participation rate in the trial, more time for preparing for the relevant facilities and public education.

Maybe we could all be cheered up by a Denise Ho concert. But that’s not going to happen either. The star isn’t allowed out of Hong Kong, and local venues won’t accept bookings – though tickets would sell out in minutes – because the janitor’s cat has a dentist’s appointment…

Police are currently in possession of the singer’s passport as she was arrested on charges of sedition in connection with the 2021 Stand News trial. She was also arrested on charges of suspected “collusion with foreign powers” in 2022…

And the Wall Street Journal is moving much of its Hong Kong operations to Singapore. The editor-in-chief wrote to staff…

We are shifting our center of gravity in the region from Hong Kong to Singapore, as many of the companies we cover have done. Consequently, some of our colleagues, mostly in Hong Kong, will be leaving us. It is difficult to say goodbye, and I want to thank them for the contributions they have made to the Journal.

A new book: Pandemic Minds – COVID-19 and Mental Health in Hong Kong by Kate Whitehead…

This eye-opening book tells the stories of ordinary Hongkongers who faced extraordinary challenges during the pandemic. Through a blend of first-person accounts, psychological insights, and hard data, it offers a compelling and accessible exploration of the toll that the COVID-19 pandemic has taken on mental health in Hong Kong.

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21 Responses to Things to manage expectations about

  1. Been here too long says:

    Why is the Wall Street Journal going to Singapore? It’s just as strict, if not worse. Why not Tokyo, Seoul, Manila, or Taiwan SAR?

  2. C.Law says:

    The review of the Pandemic Minds book states that ” In Hong Kong, the situation was worsened by uniquely strict COVID-19 regulations, quarantine measures, and travel restrictions. ” This is not the case. The restrictions in HK were, indeed, severe but we never closed down as other countries did. In the UK they had weeks of lockdown, as did China, in Spain citizens needed to get a Police permit to leave their houses, similar restrictions were in place in other countries.

    Credibility is not enhanced by inaccuracies.

  3. Stanley Lieber says:

    @Been here too long

    They’re following the financial industry to Singapore and they have concluded they’re less likely to be arrested for practising journalism there than in Hong Kong.

  4. Chinese Netizen says:

    @Been here too long: Singapore – as far as the CCP is concerned – is not on the near future “to do” list compared to the four you listed.

  5. Mjrelje says:


    We may not have been locked down but we had the most stupid Covid policies on the planet:
    * 2-week washouts in a third country if you had travelled to certain nonsensical countries and not others
    * 12-hour waits at an airport table for a PCR result
    * 3-weeks in a hotel for absolutely no reason when you had already tested negative before a flight to HK and on-arrival and every day in a hotel
    * Bars closing at 6pm when Covid obviously must only come out
    * etc, etc, etc

  6. zatluhcas says:


    Depends on your point of view. Whether in hotel quarantine or the Penny Bay quarantine camp, people were effectively imprisoned, complete with daily routines and diets imposed by the government like you would be in jail. Yes, Hong Kong was not locked down but, certainly, it provided a unique type of trauma at least.

  7. Been here too long says:

    CLaw Only speaking as regards the UK, but the lockdown there was very much a lockdown lite by comparison for the simple reason there was no one to enforce it. It still managed to bring down Boris Johnson though and his main crony.

  8. Hermes says:

    Depends what they mean by ‘uniquely restrictive Covid regulations’. It could be referring to penalties for not wearing masks or being sent to quarantine facilities for having dined at the same table as a Covid postive person – it doesn’t actually mention lockdowns. I spot no inaccuracies here.

  9. Reactor #4 says:

    Kate Whitehead is definitely one of those “It’s nine-tenths” empty sorts. Her never ending whinge (in the SCMP) during the Covid period struck me as being really odd. As a consequence, I am not sure why she would voluntarily revisit that chapter in her life. Perhaps cash is a motive.

  10. A bag too far says:

    Re: Retarded unpopular government rubbish scheme postponed because they’ve finally finally been forced to admit it would make retarded unpopular government look rubbish

    That’s a rare moment of clarity and self awareness from our local tin-eared dictatorship. Although one can’t help think that the trial scheme, procurement costs and publicity expenses could have been saved if anyone had just indulged in ten seconds of reality-based reflection on the so-called “idea”.

    One also wonders if they’re now going to eventually have to throw away all those green bags they’ve procured as no-use plastic.

  11. Boris Badanov says:

    Hong Kong’s covid measures initially appeared relatively free other than the law enforced mask wearing. I suspect the problem was how long it continued after many other countries freed up.

  12. Great Barrington Signatory says:


    My friend spent three weeks in 24-hour lock-up in Penny’s Bay because he spent less than an hour in a large boardroom with someone who later tested positive for Covid.

    Even convicted murderers get an hour of outdoor exercise per day.

    And don’t even get me started on separating children from their mothers at the airport, dining restricted to two persons only, useless plastic screens between tables, no-seating on every other seat on church pews and public benches, Leave Home Safe QR code signs on every door of every building, mask mandates (except when it was illegal to wear them at all), and all of it culminating in a death rate in the top third of all countries.

  13. Mark Bradley says:

    “Why is the Wall Street Journal going to Singapore? It’s just as strict, if not worse. Why not Tokyo, Seoul, Manila, or Taiwan SAR?”

    I do agree that on paper NSL and Article 23 are slightly less strict than Singapore’s internal security act. At least in HK your fate is decided by a kangaroo court meanwhile in Singapore you can be held at the President’s pleasure for decades without due process.

    But in practice Singapore doesn’t have weekly stories about locals getting arrested for Facebook posts and wearing the wrong T shirt. That is something that does happen occasionally every few years in SG but definitely not at the frequency of HK. The last time they had such frequent politically motivated crackdowns were in the 1960s. Also Singapore actually has track record of being egalitarian and not blaming the west for all of their problems.

    The HK govt acts way more insecure and thinner skinned than SG govt and it creates a feeling that it is much easier to fall foul of the national security laws in HK than SG. Maybe if they calm down a bit and put some more effort into egalitarian policies it can create a similar impression.

    Unfortunately I have a feeling it is against mainland’s interests for HK to look too egalitarian as it may create an impression that the HK system is superior if for example the HK govt actually funded hospital authority and housing authority properly instead of wasting billions on white elephants and patriots only elections nobody is interested in aside from sycophants who think they benefit from the local puppet regime.

  14. Mark Bradley says:

    It also helps that Singapore has more credible elections. Before 2020 I would say HK elections were more credible than Singaporean elections. But now that we have the patriots only clown show, Singapore elections look far more credible. And there is no contest when it comes to governance.

    Nomination of candidates in SG is done by registered voters and confirmed by a returning officer just like how it used to be in HK. Mind you SG has many laws, particularly in defamation, that give PAP an unfair advantage but nomination procedures are still handled by the people not by an unelected body that doesn’t represent the views of the majority of registered voters. There are some additional restrictions for some high public office positions such as the Singaporean President but compared to the patriots only “improvements” it’s still a much more valid outlet than what we have.

    And PAP just has a better track record of listening to the majority of SG voters. If DAB had the vision and brains of PAP we wouldn’t have so many protests before the NSL era.

  15. #46664 says:

    Any review of HKSARG’s Covid policy must include how it was weaponized to serve their new ‘security’ goals. Social activists, let alone anyone protesting, selling cheeky yellow goods, or just whom the government didn’t like, were subject to the most extreme checks and punishments under the guise of the draconian Cap 599.

  16. Mjrelje says:

    @C.Law — also the totally imbecilic great Hamster cull. Still, probably better than being welded into to your home mainland style.

  17. Trash Panda says:

    Re: waste scheme – we still have the basic problem of too much trash and nowhere to put it. Backing off a poorly thought out policy doesn’t mean they have the faintest clue or desire to actually solve the problem. At this rate, our trash is going to be dumped in a wetland in the new Northern Metropolis or shipped to Carrie Lam’s artificial islands.

  18. Knownot says:

    The editor-in-chief of the Wall Street Journal wrote:
    “Some of our colleagues, mostly in Hong Kong, will be leaving us.”

    I suppose this means: “They are losing their jobs.” A clever, though dishonest, euphemism.

  19. Knownot says:

    Honest Singaporeans

    Companies are moving from Hong Kong.
    It started slowly three, four years ago.
    Now it’s like a steady flow.

    A funny thing, they go to Singapore,
    A place where law serves government, where speech is unfree,
    Ruled by a sham democracy.

    Somewhere there are honest Singaporeans
    Who pause a moment, by a question struck:
    What have we done to deserve such luck?

  20. Won Ton Soup says:

    Lee Kwan Yu explained clearly his policy regarding foreign journalists in Singapore. They were free to report on all manner of developments in Singapore to their overseas audiences, but they were strictly prohibited from involving themselves in local politics. People may not like it, but those were the rules, there was no mystery about it and it’s still pretty much the SG government’s attitude today.

  21. Wolflikeme says:

    Difference between SG and HK is the authoritarians are next door vs. 1,000 miles away. Plus they only care about the small red dot.

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