Handover Anniversary Word of the Day: ‘FILTH’

That rumbling noise in the distance is an avalanche of clichés heading our way. The international media’s nostalgic reminiscing about that rainy day 20 years ago – the Union Flag being lowered for the last time, Prince Charles taking the last rickshaw to Kai Tak, etc – has already begun, but is fairly easy to filter out. Harder to ignore will be the hackneyed 20th anniversary space-filler-dressed-as-analysis on What Has Changed? written by order of distant editors.

Today’s example notes that semi-qualified Brits known as ‘FILTH’ (which means blah blah) can no longer step off the boat in the colony and get a banking job before tiffin, with Royal HK Yacht Club membership as a perk – because demand today is for Mainland Chinese.

The FILTH-banker thing is perhaps part-myth, though I have hazy memories of a jolly late-middle-aged nonentity bumbling away for a long-vanished financial institution, spending millions on a Jaguar and an apartment for his dumpy mistress, losing all when the wife found out, and ending up in a straw hat and sandals drinking himself to death on Lamma. Would have made a good Graham Greene-style character, if he had had interesting secrets.

As the sun-setting-on-empire symbolism suggests, that is a lost and quaint little world of amateurs doing seedy deals for Southeast Asian shysters. It is now the 21st Century, and the big news is the Mainland whizz-kids: what are they doing, who are they working for, and whose money is it?

In fairness, sleuth-reporters are digging away (eg here and here), but no-one really knows what is going on. This is wealth on a vast scale, plundered or otherwise misdirected by the ruling elites of an evil dictatorship that is apparently on the verge of world domination (if you believe their charm-story) or about to collapse (judging from the capital flows). It is probably early days. So far, it seems safe to assume that in 20 years’ time, we will not look back and recall how they end up broken and fading away in a stupor on an outlying island.

I declare the weekend open with more exciting 20th anniversary stamps – and I must say the artist’s lack of enthusiasm and empathy for the subject comes through magnificently…

 

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14 Responses to Handover Anniversary Word of the Day: ‘FILTH’

  1. Aching Bones says:

    Nostalgie de boue.

    You are a very old person. 60 going on 80. That’s what not loving socialism, dogs and children does to one. When I knew you, you were 40 going on 70. I think it’s time for you to move to Wanchai and talk to Akers – Jones about the good old days.

    As for myself, a new book begins. CY is going to be in the dock.

    Watch your pension plans. We in Labour are going to raid them.

  2. Chinese Netizen says:

    Hitlerian German stamps from the 30s and 40s are much, much more interesting and artistic than these internet downloaded, then photoshopped stock photos.

  3. LRE says:

    Well if those stamps don’t just scream “designed by a committee of unimaginative micromanaging petty bureaucrats working to a list of uninspired buzzwords from a different commmittee of unimaginative micromanaging petty bureaucrats”, I don’t know what does.

    I think the FILTH acronym can adapt to our new crop of refugees with only one word changed : Failed In Leaving, Tried Hong Kong

  4. Monkey King says:

    THUGS

    Tried
    Hong Kong
    Unfortunately
    Got
    Shanghaied

  5. Monkey King says:

    The 21st century variant

  6. pd says:

    I see that your flat has gone up nearly $2m since you sold it, although of course one in the hand is worth…

    Is it just me, or does the perspective of those stamps not conform to the new journalistic habit of cutting out people’s faces, while affording delightfully voyeuristic views of their erogenous zones?

  7. Knownot says:

    It flashed across the heavens like a comet.
    Think of all the profit coming from it.
    Think of all the money it has raised.
    We were amazed.
    What a thing it is!
    Whiz.

    It shook New York, it shook Shanghai, like thunder.
    All the world looked up at it with wonder.
    Think of all the assets it acquired.
    We all admired.
    The praises rang!
    Bang.

    Then it faltered like a guttering candle
    And disappeared in mystery and scandal.
    How credulous we were and how inflamed.
    We ought to be ashamed.
    The fireworks stop.
    Flop.

  8. Orange Clock says:

    Harder to ignore will be the hackneyed 20th anniversary space-filler-dressed-as-analysis on What Has Changed? — aren’t you doing that for HKFP?

  9. Stanley Gibbons says:

    Orange Clock?

    Ginger Twat more like. Hemlock, either cut him or let him stay but no backdoor George, please….

  10. Donny Almond says:

    Carnegie’s is closing down. That’s where I once decided to stop drinking. It’s easy to stop drinking. I have done it many times.

    Not many places left: Old China Hand, the Irish pub, Joe Bananas, Bull & Bear, Horse & Groom, Jockey, Red Lips and those loser places in LKF have all closed. Dickens Bar still alive, but also marked for demolition.

  11. Sojourner says:

    Am I the only one to see some subliminal sexual imagery in the bottom two stamps, or do I just have a dirty mind?

    The thrusting tower blocks on on the left look decidedly phallic, and the balloons in the picture on the right with their squiggly strings remind me uncomfortably of spermatoza.

  12. Orange Clock says:

    I think Stanley’s suggesting you don’t have a sense of humour, Hemlock

  13. mjrelje says:

    ” jolly late-middle-aged nonentity bumbling away for a long-vanished financial institution, spending millions on a Jaguar and an apartment for his dumpy mistress, losing all when the wife found out, and ending up in a straw hat and sandals drinking himself to death on Lamma.” –Jenkins??

  14. Cassowary says:

    Now we get random Eastern Europeans passing themselves off as Native English Teachers for the middle classes’ tots.

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