You won’t have CY Leung to kick around anymore, gentlemen…

Hong Kong Chief Executive CY Leung fittingly concluded his term in office with one last bulging barf-bag full of gratuitous-shoe-shine bombs.

No sooner had China’s Chairman-President Xi Jinping touched down for the Big Handover 20th Anniversary Visit than CY and his wife rushed up the steps and barged into the Air China 747 – only (so far as onlookers could tell) to be kicked out by the Beijing protocol flunky and told to stand in line on the apron with everyone else. Then (I am told) at one of the ceremonial events, CY leapt to his feet and started applauding Xi before anyone else, just to find the Chairman-President had still not finished his speech (or song, or whatever).

Trendy correct gender-neutral cultural studies and media-critic types admonished the press for avidly reporting the clothing worn by the dainty women who graced the celebrations. It is, they said, demeaning, sexist and superficial. However, CY’s wife magnificently proved them wrong, sporting a dignity-shredding travesty of fashion (half-nightgown, half-Mainland-bumpkin) that must have had deep political meaning. My guess is that this was some sort of ritual quasi-suicide to demonstrate obeisance to the Emperor’s wife – not merely dressing down a bit to enhance the visitor’s Wow Factor, but transforming yourself into Curse of Chucky in a grotesque attempt to show mega-CY-size deference.

Incoming CE Carrie Lam’s term got off to its own airport-based symbolically awkward start. Little flag-clutching schoolkids fainted on the sun-bleached, broiling tarmac waiting for the imperial entourage to get onto their plane and fly home, while she and other officials sat in air-conditioned vehicles, pondering their own fires-of-hell fate in the months and years ahead.

Which brings us to the question that must go through Carrie’s mind every morning: what on earth am I doing in this situation? The plan was to retire in the UK with the family for a quiet life of muffins and warm beer. At some stage last year, observers detected an increasingly desperate look in her eyes. In December came the unsurprising ‘shock’ news that CY would not be CE for a second term. Carrie was Beijing’s default obvious person to nobly step in – notwithstanding a visible lack of enthusiasm or apparent clue how to do the job.

‘Nobly’ is the key word. Here is a theory of what seems to be happening. Basically, she is taking the job to spare Hong Kong the wrath of its conqueror. The references to semi-obscure Asian collaborators with the Japanese during World War II might seem remote. But given how this analogy would make Beijing utterly hit the roof, we should file it away for future use. (Given her Catholic background, Carrie herself might see the role as more of a dying-for-their-sins thing.)

This does not mean that Carrie will inevitably be passive, let alone a puppet. It could be, as Philip Bowring muses, that she will stand up for Hong Kong – or that Beijing will wise up and order her to fix root causes of local discontent. But it doesn’t exactly guarantee it.

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9 Responses to You won’t have CY Leung to kick around anymore, gentlemen…

  1. Red Dragon says:

    I have a question.

    Given that C. Lam has long been at the top of the Hong Kong “civil service” tree, and is now Chief Executive, she must have been obliged at some point to forego any form of British passport (BNO or full British Citizen) which she might once have held.

    Under what circumstances, therefore, would she have been able, five years ago, to simply “retire” to the UK, and under what circumstances would she be able to do so at some time in the future when her “leadership” of Hong Kong turns, inevitably, to ashes?

    I am guessing that her hubby is a full British Citizen and that he lives in the UK legally, and l have no doubt that, like seedy Arab sheikhs and dodgy Russian oligarchs, she has oodles of lolly to wave under the noses of the UK’s immigration authorities, but l am baffled as to why everyone thinks that she can just breeze into Esher and live happily ever after making chutney for the local WI.

    I am told by people who find themselves in this position that, these days, it’s the devil’s own job to get your non-British spouse into the UK without jumping through all sorts of bureaucratic and financial hoops. Unless Mrs. Lam has squirrelled away an illicit British passport amongst the lisle stockings and liberty bodices in her bottom drawer, l can’t see how she can simply pitch up at Heathrow and just march in.

    Answers on a post-card, please.

  2. WTF says:

    She’s doing it for posterity, the posterity of her gene pool. Her brats already got use to money handouts from David Li and ilk. Mum is just assuring they get an extra foot up the gravy train.

  3. Can’t wait for the CY corruption trial. I could do this one. Give the barristers a rest. As could you after reading BLUFF YOUR WAY WITH THE LAW. It’s awful that these people – CY, Raffy, Donald – went to British schools, soaked up a British curriculum, got British jobs with Britihs bosses, acquired British accents and wore British clothes, loved British hotels, but remained back-street bent teenage schemers on the make all their lives. Such failure. Educational failure. Moral failure. British failure.

  4. Maugrim says:

    Mrs Leung looks as if she’s in drag. Carrie’s husband must be the only person of means in HK who can’t afford a properly made suit. Perhaps the spouses looking like Mainland bumpkins, was deliberate ?

  5. Durian Sundial says:

    CY obviously has the means to afford a stylist for his wife, so the pink thing either IS deliberate or she has a misguided and stubborn sense of personal style.

  6. LRE says:

    CY Lam will definitely be a puppet — the CCP obviously have something on her be it a buried body or the not-buried-yet-body of her kid working in Beijing — because no one with a lick of sense would willingly take the job of Communist Exonerative after CY Leung’s disastrous reign of stupidity.

    Given that, and her track record of headstrong high rebellion in 689’s government (a textbook rendition of the civil servant’s ‘sit there and grin mirthlessly until it all goes away™’), there is really no cause for hope she might fight in Hong Kong’s corner.

    And I think it’s giving her far too much credit to say she is making a noble sacrifice: as a career bureaucrat, her guiding principals are inertia, risk-avoidance, total disdain for the general populace and safeguarding her pension. Watch any Hong Kong public service advert: the contempt that ordinary folk are held in by the civil service is almost certainly visible from space.

    Far from a noble sacrifice to protect the people of Hong Kong, her motives are better characterised as ‘Lie back and think of the Pension while Beijing has its way’.

  7. Joe Blow says:

    There are stories going around the civil service telling about 777 chairing meetings and throwing files at subordinates, sometimes bringing them to tears, being a typically authoritarian bitch with a closed mind. Enjoy, HK.

    Oh, by the way: remember those ‘foreign influence things/forces/whatever’ behind Occupy Central, that 689 was going to reveal ‘soon’, like 3 years ago. Well, wait no more: it was I. So there you are, from the horse of the mouth itself.

  8. Chinese Netizen says:

    Does anyone here actually think CY banged that thing to produce the dysfunctional spawn that bear his name??

  9. Old Newcomer says:

    Surely your heading should be “You won’t have CY Leung to kick you around any more”?

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