Sage of Baltimore and scourge of (among other things) chiropractors HK Mencken defined Puritanism as ‘the haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy’. Hong Kong’s youth concern groups are similarly stricken. Yesterday, they were wetting themselves about kids’ gay penguin books; today, it’s a new Starbucks mega-store selling alcohol and becoming a haven for delinquent teenage debauchery mayhem.
Venues like Starbucks already repel low-spending youngsters by playing 70s-era pop or light classical music, which is too melodious for adolescent hip-hop fans to handle. If anything, the prospect of vile over-priced coffee-infused craft beers will drive away the over-30s crowd, leaving the place to a few bearded representatives of the avocado and smashed toast demographic – barely a single wild under-age hardcore cocktail fiend to be seen.
And so on to the weekend’s recommended reading, listening and viewing.
A Hudson Institute report says China’s United Front ‘sees overseas Chinese as CCP extended family’, and democracies need to shield the diaspora – especially dissidents. The Jamestown Foundation does one on the United Front’s role in business, such as the CCP’s rescue of Tung Chee-hwa’s shipping empire. The United Front has been (found to be) especially active in the Czech Republic: an illustrated update here, and a podcast on CEFC’s presence there and in surrounding countries.
Even without the United Front, Chinese officials can always directly bully you, as Australian media are finding out. Or if the Communist Party decides No More Mr Nice Guy, it can just use triads/gangsters as proxy enforcers, judging from Hong Kong and Taiwan.
To put the CCP’s baleful effects on Czech, Oz, HK and Taiwan into context, spare a thought for poor old Cambodia, soon to be renamed Greater Belt and Road Co-Prosperity Casino Zone, or will be when it’s finished.
If it sometimes seems that China is falling over itself in its attempts to get in everyone’s face – the regime is in a hurry, with a staggering aging-society scenario looming. Get ready to hear the word ‘natalist’ (as in policies) a lot more. After forcing late marriage and abortions for decades, Beijing needs women to become baby machines.
Another cause of obnoxious over-confidence may be that China’s policymakers believe their own propaganda. When underlings regularly send you the latest International Praise for the Super-Strong Leadership of General Secretary Xi Jinping in the New Era, and even more-putrid shoe-shining goes on at home, it goes to your head.
What would Marshall McLuhan have made of it? The Medium is the Massage (the typo stuck) was a book, but then a hip-and-groovy movie you can enjoy here thanks to modern technology, and most of all the zany audio version/musical adaptation – if Starbucks can make our young folk depraved enough to get into this, I’ll be impressed.