|Not The South China Morning Post
|28th August 1998 LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Dear Dr Adams, I was fascinated to learn from your Daily Punch of 20th August that the New China Morning Post now employs two former Sun persons (I cannot bring myself to call them journalists) on its news desk. It is well known that native Brits have but a rudimentary grasp of their own language and this helps to explain the steady decline in the paper's standard of English. Are they perchance Geordies?
I was also struck by the initial two sentences in Nury Vittachi's "Only in Hong Kong" column last Sunday : "You can skip this article and move on to something else on this page. Or you can bring hope to a desperately needy person." Was this, I wonder, unintentional irony, or a frank cry for help.
By the way, who is this Feng Chi-shun who has recently been given a column to write the most appalling bilge on page two of the Sunday Post? Any relation to Fenby's boss, Comrade Feng Xiliang? I think we should be told. Get your mole at Pacific Coffee in Telecom Tower to work.
Keep the gloves off.
R F, Hong Kong.
25th August 1998 RICE AND CIRCUSES
Between 9:00pm and midnight on Sunday, ATV World broadcast something it called Hong Kong City Of Life Stars Spectacular (delayed live) (sic). Having stumbled across it by accident, we became mesmerised by the breathtakingly arrogant naïvety and tackiness of the concert.
Organised by the Hong Kong Tourist Association, it was an attempt to project Hong Kong as a dynamic, vibrant and fun place to be (in view of the tourism crisis, an understandable, if not quite honest enterprise … but aimed at a local audience?) We confidently predict that overseas TV stations will not be falling over themselves to buy 180 minutes of Canto-pap, so it makes about as much sense as those huge billboards on the Star Ferry pier, entreating those who are already here to come and visit.
All sorts of people who should have known better were conned into participating, from hotel and restaurant chefs to uniformed members of the security forces. However the most telling images were the close-up shots of primary-school children, no doubt dragooned into service by misguided teachers and parents. As they stood, half-heartedly waving flags and balloons, the expressions of complete boredom and misery on their little faces said it all: "We're not waving, we're drowning."
Had it not been for the gaudy production values, it could have been a birthday celebration for Kim Jong Il. For those who resisted the temptation to turn it off, crack open a bottle of scotch and dig out the Scrabble, this pathetic attempt to provide the masses with some eye-candy to take their minds off the pain of the recession and the ridiculous antics of our so-called leaders surely provides all the proof needed that Hong Kong is now a decaying post-industrial Third-World society no different from Thailand, Malaysia or Indonesia.
19th August 1998 SELECTIVE AFFINITIES
Incensed by atrocities reportedly committed against Indonesian Chinese during the May riots in Jakarta, and despite token dissuasion by security officials, Beijing students have staged an unprecedented protest outside the Indonesian embassy in the capital.
Hong Kong Chinese and others had already staged more vociferous local demonstrations weeks before, possibly partly because of their better access to information via telephone and the Internet. Those in Beijing may hide behind the special circumstances prevailing in China to excuse their comparative passivity. But how many Hong Kong Chinese voices were raised in outrage when Indonesian security forces massacred East Timorese mourners at a funeral in Dili? … when they opened fire on a crowd in Aceh? … when the Mexican army slaughtered peaceful demonstrators in Guerrero? … when SLORC mowed down protesters in Rangoon in 1988? … when Turkey invaded Southern Iraq to wipe out whole communities of Kurds? … during the ethnic cleansing of Croats and Muslims by Serbs in Bosnia and in Kossovo?
Elsewhere in the world, people demonstrate against cruelty and injustice wherever it may occur, from Tibet to Tegucigalpa but, in Hong Kong, it only becomes an issue when Chinese are victimised. Odd, isn't it?