I think the correct word is ‘lightweight’

Sesame Street over the last 20 years was brought to you by the word ‘heavyweight’. As in ‘pro-Beijing…’.

The South China Morning Post reaches yet again for the trusty compound noun to categorize property tycoon Peter Woo, whose inconsequential remarks are considered newsworthy today.

A quick Google search reveals that the paper (and to some extent other local English media) rely on the phrase to describe a range of pro-Beijing figures who are prominent but do not strictly speaking have real jobs.

It does not refer to intellectual capacity (see the tycoon-groveling Standard’s extensive reporting of Woo’s inanities). Nor does it indicate influence in high places (‘heavyweight Rita Fan’, member of a Chinese rubber-stamp body, parrots the Party line but is no true insider). It doesn’t even have any connection with their physique (for every curvaceous ‘heavyweight Maria Tam’ there is a willowy ‘heavyweight Starry Lee’). It does tend to be used as a euphemism for ‘elderly’, but not always (like the aforementioned girlish quasi-politician Starry).

One thing all ‘pro-Beijing heavyweights’ have in common is that they are bores – but then so are many others who do not qualify for the label.

We can only conclude that the word has something to do with the pounds-per-square-inch exerted by these people when shoe-shining.

Fortunately, Sesame Street can offer a replacement, or at least alternative for occasional variety: ‘Muppet’.

Other 20th anniversary news… You would have thought that, after pro-democracy activists had embellished the Golden Bauhinia the first time, the Hong Kong Police would be alert to possible use of the hideous monument as a protest site, and surround it with barbed wire or something. But no – so the activists go back for Black Bauhinia Episode 2. This is when we are supposed to be under Top Code-Red Terrorist Warning conditions.

And the Chinese Communist Party’s PR/visual design/communications death-wish continues, with the covering of public areas with self-defeatingly ugly patriotic signage, guaranteed to trigger subliminal nightmares about famine, Red Guards, struggle-sessions and anti-rightist persecution.

The international press is churning out its own propaganda, too. For anyone fed up with hackneyed stuff about ‘Hong-Kong-being-crushed-because-Shenzhen-no-longer-a-fishing-village’, here’s a vaguely decent analysis of how Beijing condemns Hong Kong to stagnation and discord.


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8 Responses to I think the correct word is ‘lightweight’

  1. Joe Blow says:

    Xi dada has landed in HK. This is the happiest day of my life.

  2. old git says:

    That banner itself prohibiting banners seems to be in breach of itself.

  3. Old Fishmarket Close says:

    Let the festivities commence. Time for a quick trip to Vietnam, methinks.

  4. You have to admit though:

    After twenty years it is clear that Hong Kong is getting what it deserves.


    And how are sales of your book WE DESERVE BETTER doing?

    Surely a second edition is due: WE HAD WHAT WE DIDNT DESERVE.

  5. Regina's O Face says:

    Adams, I may be speaking for a few of us here : do fuck off you old bore, there’s a good chap. Much obliged.

  6. Cassowary says:

    I have to imagine that those hideous banners were the work of passive-aggressive civil servants. The order must have come from above to plaster Hong Kong in celebratory banners for the benefit of Xi Jinping, and so the graphics design team did them in the most offensively servile way possible while their oblivious and irony-impaired superiors looked on approvingly.

  7. LRE says:

    “Muppet” is a goodly substitution, but I think we should stick with the compound noun vibe and go with “bell-end” (extra points for it’s headline-friendly alliteration with Beijing).

  8. reductio says:

    Here in the NT villages it’s refreshing to see the Good Ol’ Boys doing just enough to get noticed but not too much that it burns a hole in those rentiered trousers. Couple of flags, some bunting from CNY. Yup. that’ll do. Now off for a perm and check on the cousin’s ding uk application. Love China!

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