Not The South China Morning Post

Wally Wilde
October, 1998

Things Hong Kong Government Officials Say…
...And What They Really Mean

"We are analysing the information available."
We are completely in the dark about this.

"There is absolutely no truth whatsoever in these reports."
We need time to think up some excuses and break the news gently.

"The situation is not well defined at this time."
Nobody has even thought about it.

"The problem is not well understood."
Now that we have thought about it, we don't want to think about it anymore.

"A special task force has been set up to look into the problem."
Seven yes-men who are incompetent in their regular posts
have been loaned to the project.

"A basic consensus has been reached."
There is not an inch of common ground between the parties.

"These are very serious allegations that must be thoroughly investigated before a response can be made."
Expect a visit from the Security Bureau tonight.

"Results are being quantified."
We're massaging the numbers so that they will agree with our views.

"Work is essentially complete."
It's half done.

"We confidently predict…"
We pray that it is so.

"Serious but not insurmountable problems."
It will take a miracle...

"An official announcement will be made in due course."
We can't move until we have Beijing's backing on this one.