Best news since the Hindenburg Airship Corporation announced its supplier of fire extinguishers – the Hong Kong government has found a PR agency. PRovokeMedia reports that the lucky winner is Consulum, a Bell Pottinger offshoot specializing in Middle East governments and sovereign wealth funds, and one of many agencies hired by Saudi Arabia. Juicy bit: the company cobbled together a Hong Kong office with hours to spare in order to qualify to bid for the account. You might think it sounds like both client and agency are scraping the bottom of the barrel – but I couldn’t possibly comment.
In true consultant fashion, Consulum will start with ‘baseline research’ to tell Hong Kong officials what they should already know – that the city’s international reputation is a pile of steaming wombat doo-doo. They will then, with a totally straight face, present a slick strategic plan to fix it. All parties concerned will know damn well it can’t possibly work, because, to the CCP, the very features that made the city great are a regime threat and must be destroyed.
Forget biased foreign media – the messaging reality is that both client and agency will be conflicting with Beijing here. It’s a futile mission.
For a one-year gig, then zip off back to Dubai, it looks like a pretty easy US$6 million.
(Pure guesswork on my part, but I’m wondering what the profit margin will be. A Hong Kong government contract is like taking candy from a baby. Say: office at 19/F Two IFC = US$0.5 million; housing in Mid-Levels for two suave expat shysters = US$0.1 million each; salaries for same plus a few local staff = US$0.5 million; sprawling off-the-peg survey from market research company = US$0.3 million? The Grand Relaunch visionary campaign plan = a bunch of PowerPoint templates. That’s a 75% margin – assuming implementation of the subsequent stomach-churning publicity/ad/press activities, which must extend beyond mid-2021, have a separate budget.)
This unfortunately spoils a HK Free Press opinion piece on the government’s search for PR help by a contributor who is an English writing coach. If you think that’s an easy target, the author also – as a public service and/or teaching aid – critiques SCMP chief editor Tammy Tam’s columns for substance and style. This is like reviewing a night-old puddle of vomit in Lan Kwai Fong as if it were a signature dish at Gaddy’s. Get your literary tips here and here. (She’s a severe task master – doubt if I’d come out with any more than a C minus.)
Inspired, I can’t resist checking the latest Tammy-gram. In precis:
Hong Kong’s financial secretary is giving every resident a HK$10,000 handout; he might be wondering how people will spend it, as will they; even more, he must be wondering if this (Coronavirus-related) handout will become a regular thing; meanwhile, we don’t know whether Beijing will support Hong Kong as opposed to Shanghai as a financial hub in future.
That’s it. A non sequitur comes to a point (albeit it illogically), but this doesn’t even have one.
Some links for the next few days. Don’t gobble them all up in one go – they will have to last until next week, when I settle down, log-in from home, and resume…
The US starts downgrading Hong Kong’s export license status.
SCAD, a very pricy US design college’s Hong Kong campus and cornerstone of the Creative Industries Hub-Zone Vision, closes.
Uwu’s collection of protest art. (Gone in pre-NatSec Law shutdowns. Try here.)
Some districts in Hong Kong did better at fighting the Coronavirus than others. What sets them apart?
Yesterday, I airily mentioned McDull as proto-HK Localism. Behold – the thesis.
A group of UN human rights experts’ statement on China.
Definitions of genocide have grown fuzzy over the years, but here’s depressingly creepy chart of the week. Also this. Starting to hear a few voices calling for a boycott of China’s 2022 Winter Olympics.
The Marxists who tried setting up a union at the Jasic factory in Shenzhen.
From the Spectator, a Dummy’s Guide to the CCP. The US National Security Advisor offers his version.
Remember when new songs entered the charts with a bullet? Here’s the Chinese national anthem – with several.
A thread on a town in Gansu that tried to claim a link with ancient Rome to boost tourism.
Great moments in the history of fruit: China’s mid-1960s outbreak of mango-worship…
Wang Xiaoping, an employee at the Beijing No 1 Machine Tool Plant, received a wax replica. The fruit itself was destined for higher things.
“The real mango was driven by a worker representative through a procession of beating drums and people lining the streets, from the factory to the airport,” says Wang.
The workers had chartered a plane to fly a single mango to a factory in Shanghai.
A bus I could understand – did factory workers in Cultural Revolution China charter planes often?
Back to wiping the office PC. Til next week…