|13-19 May 2007|
|Sun, 13 May
I am woken in Perpetual Opulence Mansions by cries of “Never give up ever Spirit!” ringing through the canyons of the Mid-Levels’ high-rise residential jungle. After some initial befuddlement, it occurs to me that the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in a distant and little-known snow-bound northern land must have suffered another outbreak of hallucinogenic drug use, and what I am now hearing is the Inspirational Essence Spanning Hong Kong and Canada. But what lies at the root of this inanity? Why, the answer is obvious – the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is sneaking up on us, like a civet cat silently stalking its prey in the forests of Guangdong. What the Big Lychee needs at this time is an antidote to the impending stomach-churning celebrations. A sort of Pepto-Bismol for the reunification-weary mind. Could such relief be at hand? Yes it could…
Mon, 14 May
As the sun rises over Exchange Square, in the heart of the central business district, crowds of well-wishers, admirers and literati mob the IFC Mall branch of Pacific Coffee. They have come to witness the grand launch of my book. As security guards struggle to maintain order, bouquets of flowers, lycee packets, hastily scribbled marriage proposals and items of ladies’ intimate apparel sail through the air in the direction of the humble author.
Those unable to fight their way to the front of the crowd are relieved to learn that they can visit the book’s very own website to admire the bold, minimalist cover design and read through extracts from every chapter. A fortunate, handsome few who enjoy an exclusive and cosmopolitan lifestyle of luxury and prestige will be receiving review copies…
|…while the less privileged can order from Hong Kong’s Paddyfield or wait patiently for the international launch in June, when the work will be available through Amazon, etc. Local bookstores may or may not stock it in due course, depending on whether they can pluck up the courage to risk commercial doom by sparing shelf space for a work not about cookery, astrology or pets. Dymocks is a possibility.
One of the book’s key points is that, so long as the Communist Party is in charge, Beijing will never allow Hong Kong to have genuine universal suffrage – the non-rigged sort where no-one can be absolutely sure of the outcome until the votes have been counted. The pro-democrats’ inability to come to terms with this is a leading cause of the stalemate that leaves ‘the freakiest political system in the world’ intact, gnawing away daily at the Big Lychee’s long-term potential. How fitting that, on the day of the book’s grand launch, Cheng Yiu-tong – the Executive Council member closest to the CCP – is quoted as saying that a system bearing the label ‘universal suffrage’ could be possible in 2017, which…
|…will allow more time to groom suitable candidates. It could be an incumbent fourth-term chief executive seeking re-election in 2017 or another popular candidate who is able to command overwhelming support as Donald Tsang did in the March election.|
|The ‘It’ meaning ‘the person Beijing has decided will win’. Since he didn’t get a review copy, he obviously got the idea somewhere else.
Tue, 15 May
On the Hong Kong Thrills Spectrum, wealth creation through hard work, competitiveness or ingenuity rates 1, sex rates 3, collecting rent from inherited property or price gouging in a rigged market comes in at 7, and asset price inflation scores 9.8. So it is no surprise that the Hang Seng Index bounced yesterday after the Chinese Government announced that it will make it easier for Mainland financial institutions to invest in overseas securities. If every person in China bought one board lot of HSBC…
Commentators around the world seem to have deluded themselves into believing that Beijing’s main intention is to divert some of the liquidity that has driven the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock markets to ridiculous levels, with P/E ratios of 50 or 60. Others foolishly imagine that China’s leadership is also hoping to relieve upward pressure on the Renminbi and stem the relentless accumulation of reserves by putting excess capital to new uses. One or two even fancy that Mainland policymakers see an opportunity to develop local fund management skills and diversify portfolios.
|They are, of course, all wrong. Beijing’s decision, says proud Financial Secretary Henry Tsang, was nothing other than “a practical response to the Action Agenda on China's 11th Five-Year Plan and the Development of Hong Kong.” The Action Agenda was widely ignored as a worthless pile of politically correct waffle about integrating with the motherland and embarrassing pleas for favours from interest groups when it came out last January. Not to mention the ultimate bore-fest. But it can now be seen as a visionary document that is directly driving Central People’s Government policymaking.
Also, the announcement has “highlighted the fact that Hong Kong is our country’s principal international financial centre.” Who would have thought it? China’s other business hubs are still ultimately controlled by central-planning communists (of the sort Henry’s Shanghainese parents fled from). There are still strict controls on capital flows, not to mention the flow of information. Regulations change overnight. Officials take bribes and grab assets. There is no rule of law or independent judiciary. The tacky skyscrapers that comprise the Potemkin financial centre of Pudong are sinking into the marshland. Otherwise, you would never have guessed there was anything different about Hong Kong. Apart from the fact that President Hu and Premier Wen spend their every waking hour wondering which of its establishment’s humiliating, grovelling requests for a free lunch they should entertain next.
|Wed, 16 May
Some early sales of the Good Book via Paddyfield were disrupted by a software glitch – a gremlin that affected only my tome. Some authors would claim dirty tricks by Beijing censors, write another book on that, and dine out on the story for years. But the truth is actually more interesting. A defective link to the relevant page at the on-line bookstore caused a system failure when too many people tried to order simultaneously. I feel an urge to type that again... when too many people tried to order simultaneously. A computer screw-up that warms the heart. Inadvertent over-shipments to Caine Road and Timbuctu have now apparently been retrieved, the problem fixed and everything is now perfect.
|Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the Hemlock theory of democracy postponement elasticity, which holds that every three years in Hong Kong, the earliest date at which universal suffrage can be achieved moves forward a further five years. The theory once held water. In 2004, we were told 2012, not 2007. This year, the word is that it will be 2017, not 2012. According to the theory, in 2010 we would be told to wait until 2022. But the theory now lies in tatters, thanks to Ma Lik, leader of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong. While he could be doing something useful, like thinking up a shorter (and perhaps more factual) name for his political party, Ma declares that universal suffrage will not be possible until a new generation of voters has grown up with the benefits of what he calls a ‘new national awareness education’. Specifically, they will believe that no massacre took place in Beijing on June 4, 1989. This, he calculates, will take until 2022.
So the theory is bust. The rate at which the date for democracy is speeding away from us is in fact accelerating. The researchers at the Hubble Space Telescope who have just discovered an enormous, ghostly ring of dark matter 5 billion light-years away – almost certainly an early form of the DAB – are probably more qualified to pick up from here.
|Thurs, 17 May|
|I start the day by scoring a perfect 6 on the exciting Basic Law Quiz, one of a number of scintillating games our visionary local leadership has been so kind as to put on-line for citizens’ enjoyment in English, or traditional or simplified Chinese – though the latter will be of limited use, given that Hong Kong Government websites are blocked in the Mainland. I then send a number of Special Administrative Region 10th Anniversary E-cards with designs of varying degrees of taste to friends and family around the world, taking care to ensure that my personal messages convey an appropriate patriotic and celebratory mood, and obviously not casting doubt in any way on the blissful state of our post-1997 existence.|
|I then attend a breakfast marketing meeting with wild American friend and literary promotions expert Odell behind the display of instant noodles in the Cochrane Street 7-Eleven. “This is the ad,” he tells me, presenting me with an eye-catching piece of artwork…|
|“It’ll be wrapped around the top 10 floors of IFC2, and we’ll have it made into a banner to hang from a helicopter flying up and down the harbour,” he informs me. “Also, we’ll have girls in very tight pink bikinis handing it out as a flier on the Mid-Levels Escalator.” I ask him about his original plan to put this striking design on the huge 100-foot billboard at the entrance to the Cross Harbour Tunnel. “Ah!” he says. “Problem. The DAB have booked it as part of their Ma Lik crisis management campaign. It’s gonna have a big soft-focus picture of Ma hugging a puppy dog and saying how deeply he feels for anyone run over by a tank.”
This Ma Lik bashing is going too far. What is Hong Kong turning into if you can’t ask out loud on the radio whether the Chinese people should allow stinky cheese-eating, boozing, red-faced, big-nosed barbarian gwailos to write their history for them? As for his denial that people are turned to mince when heavy, tracked armoured vehicles are driven over them, he is surely correct. The equipment in question in and around Tiananmen Square in June 1989 was the Type 59 main battle tank – based on the Soviet T54-A. It weighs 37 metric tons. They do not turn human bodies into ‘mince’. The word is ‘pulp’. His critics owe Ma an apology.
LUNCHTIME IN S-Meg Tower, and on behalf of the Big Boss, who is feeling his age, I conduct a little discreet research with the help of Google – hong kong+human placenta soup+retailers. You never know what will crop up. Among the 371,821 responses happens to be Stuart Wolfendale’s hitherto unheard-of blog. The Internet gets more alarming by the day.
|Fri, 18 May
Just as I am poised to announce that this week’s Wishful Thinking And It Wouldn’t Be Pretty Anyway Award goes to France’s new President (Sarkozy launches French version of Cool Britannia), I see that the honour rightfully belongs to Cheng Yiu-tong, Hong Kong’s highest ranking patriot. The National People’s Congress Deputy and Executive Council member declares that the Great Ma Lik Tiananmen Mincemeat Massacre of 2007 is best left for the Democratic Alliance for the Blah Blah of Hong Kong to resolve.
Dream on. Ma has handed the opposition an opportunity to sink their teeth into him and thrash him about, and nothing could be more distant from their minds than loosening their Rottweiler grip and depositing him meekly on the DAB HQ’s doorstep. In a way, however, he does not deserve this mauling. All he has done is let his guard down and give us a glimpse of the truth – the way the patriots really think. And in doing so, he has reminded us of the enormity of the gap that remains, 10 years after the handover, between Hong Kong’s faithful minority, brought up to adore the party, and its mainstream society, whose parents came here to get away from communist rule. The believers, with their quasi-religious devotion, are on a totally different wavelength to everyone else.
Is it possible for the Hongkongers who worship the Communist Party to be de-programmed? Could they be rehabilitated into normal life, with normal values? This must be the ideal of the opposition. But not so fast. The loyalists are not the eccentric fringe group they appear to be. There are a billion more across the border. It is the moderate Hongkongers, with their pluralism, skepticism and individualism, who are the little, brainwashed rump of non-conformists. It is they who are tainted with alien delusions and require conversion. Just ask ‘non-partisan prudent Overseas Chinese’, who made it all plain in his comment (sixth one down) at Time’s China Blog…
|The people of Hong Kong are the most pathetically unChinese of all the Chinese within Greater China-this is a direct result of having been politically, culturally, mentally & physically `raped' (defeated, humiliated, occupied, transformed, remoulded, instilled, corrupted & remade into a somehow WOG (Westernised Oriental Gentleman) for more than 150 years by the British colonialists. What is even sadder & amazingly unthinkable is that these HongKees, after having been `neutralised' into characterless & nationless souls, show remarkable/surprising goodwill/positive affiliation towards their former tormentors/oppressors. These phenomena are abundantly evident through the display of these weird behaviours/scenarios:
- the wanton & mindless adoptions of weird/uncharacterised Western Christian names
- the upper echelon of the society speaks, behaves, lives, conducts their daily lives more like their former tormentors than real Chinese people
-.mindless & misguided admiration towards everthing Western
- developing a curiously strange hostility/look-down on everthing from the Mainland; & conversely, look-up on everthing Western
- a terribly skew/twisted admiration for the English language, thus deliberately & willingly degrade the use of their own national language (putonghua)
- no urgency to demolish all vestiges of the shameful & humiliating former British influences-British street names, colonial Christian schools, Commonwealth-tainted festivals/ceremonies etc...remain largely intact, all on the lame pretext of remaining engaged on the sacred-cow of `globalisation'
.- other stupid scenes deemed too lenghthy to elaborate
It is in this context that explains why the HongKees are so easily hooked/persuaded to subcribe to the Western point of view on political/strategic matters pertaining on national security concerns. This is also why HK is so dangerous if this phenomena is allowed to spill over into the Mainland. I urge the central govt to speed up the transformations & `rebranding' of the HK psyche immediately & wholesomely.
The HongKees must be made to realise that Tiananmen Square Incident, was a pure & simple uprising, not a judisciously planned & executed per se massacre or conspiracy, albeit instigated, abetted, encouraged, flamed by the evil US/West, covertly, blatantly & openly to ferment an eventual meltdown of China in line with that notoriously coined magic phrase `peaceful evolution'. All these arguements about who was right, wrong, how many were killed, who opened the first shots, who ordered the crack-down etc.. pale in significance to the unfortunate/unlikely scenario of China's decendence into utter chaos & split into numerous tiny warring banana states, by which account, the blood spilled would have been 100 if not 1000 times that of that `Incident'. It is high time these HongKees get this message into their thick brains instead of constantly yelling & demonstrating fruitlessly year after year! Come on, let's get on with your lives!
|Why does Ma Lik have his cancer treatment in Guangzhou? Is there a special herbal remedy they have up there? Is there a particular consultant he likes? Or is that he can’t bring himself to set foot in a hospital with a sign saying Queen Mary or Prince of Wales above the entrance? The latter seems too ludicrous to be true. Maybe it’s not.