10-16 Feb, 2008
|Sun, 10 Feb
The South China Morning Post kicks off the Year of the Rat by reporting that Hong Kong will host the world’s biggest UFO conference next year. A few minutes’ research shows that this is far from the whole story. The Exopolitics World UFO Disclosure Summit will in fact unmask a secret coalition of America’s media and military industrial complex that is keeping the world in ignorance of intelligent beings from outer space who visit Earth and have valuable knowledge to share. In particular, this evil cabal (of which the SCMP is no doubt a part, if a minor one) is withholding Zero Point Energy technology (free energy from the quantum vacuum of space) from us all, presumably because they are nasty meanies. Now the conspiracy has only until 9 November 2009 before its cover is blown, right here in the Big Lychee.
|The exciting conference is apparently being organised by one Neil Gould, who, judging by his intriguing website, is the man to ask about such subjects as the cyclical return of planet Nibiru as depicted on 6,000-year-old Sumerian Seals, how 9-11 was an inside job, and the links between the trilateral commission, pyramids and freemasons. JFK as well, of course. He apparently believes that he has extraterrestrial DNA, but he would no doubt be assured to learn that there are several people on Lamma who look a bit like that.
As well as being a word I would like to have coined myself, Exopolitics is, I discover, a movement concerned with the politics of extraterrestrial contact. This includes the study of the political characteristics of extraterrestrial civilization – and can there be any better place to do that, at least in this solar system, than Hong Kong?
|Mon, 11 Feb|
|‘Internet Sex Pix Saga Comes Throbbing and Thrusting Back Into the Public’s Face’, The Standard breathlessly insists this morning. In other words, the story is tragically dying down, and Asia’s leading English-language tabloid is determined to keep it alive. The latest photos from Edison Chen’s harem to emerge online feature Vincy Yeung, who, it must be said, is reasonably pleasing to the eyes by nude Canto-bim standards. Demurely soaping herself down in the shower, the niece of Emperor Entertainment Group boss Albert Yeung is one of the few people who emerge from this episode looking vaguely good.
Edison’s other conquests, with their pimply bottoms and au naturel approach to body hair, have had their innocent, girl-next-door appeal (where applicable) left in tatters. They are laid bare (so to speak) as disappointingly normal, not to say below-average – right down to being dimwitted enough to have their cavorting captured on digital camera. As products of the EEG star-making factory, their magic and profitability have burst. Film star Edison too is now defective merchandise, though showing comedic promise by pleading with a million Internet users to delete the photos he did not.
|But few players in this drama are damaging their respectable public image by acting desperately, clumsily and amateurishly as the Royal Hong Kong Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice Force. Hapless, unemployed nonentity Chung Yik-ting is in jail, bail denied, after being arrested for doing no more with some of the leaked photos than thousands of others around the world. Just having or emailing the material, our valiant boys in blue announced at one stage, was a crime. As with the GOD 14K triad T-shirts raid a few months back, the Hong Kong Police seem to be on a mission to challenge common sense and reality.
Some local exopolitics fans see this as part of a conspiracy – a Beijing-ordered plot to gradually condition Hong Kong people into becoming more submissive and Singaporean. If so, judging by the public’s generally mirthful, even mocking, response, the evil plan needs work. The more hard-headed and rational among us see something no less interesting. A senior police management out of its depth, incapable of questioning an outdated obscenities/indecency regime, pandering to mouth-frothing, pin-headed Canto-Christian cranks and falling over themselves in an attempt to convince artificially outraged tabloids that they are ‘doing something’. Was any Edison Chen movie so funny?
|Tue, 12 Feb
Within minutes of entering the gwailo’s pigsty on the top floor of S-Meg Tower this morning, I get a call from Ms Fang the hunter-killer secretary – from her Hello Kitty mobile, since she is still on the way into work – telling me to be outside the building in exactly three minutes, where the Big Boss’s car will pick me up. Nine minutes later, the gleaming dark puce chariot pulls up, with no tycoon inside. I greet Parker the driver and get into the left rear seat, the place reserved for the Most Important Person In The Universe currently in the vehicle and the only spot in the car with a tinted window. We nose our way through Central’s 9am congestion, which has a freshness and optimism about it that you don’t notice with the 10am, noon, 2pm, 4pm or 6pm traffic jams, and I try to catch the eyes of any nubile young businesswomen walking along who might be impressed by occupants of huge, latest-model Mercedes with ‘Big Shot Parking Only’ and ‘Friend of Donald’ badges on the radiator grille.
Within 10 minutes, we are pulling into the Big Boss’s driveway up on the Peak. Trying to wave aside the disagreeable smell of trees that permeates the area, I nod to the Nepalese security guard and the Chinese overseer and enter the marble reception hall with the tasteful chandelier, where I sit on an absurdly low, shiny cherry wood chair and stare at the wall, trying yet again to admire pen and ink renditions of birds in tree branches. A Filipino girl brings me a glass of jasmine tea. A mere half-hour later, the great man appears in a serious hurry and ushers me back outside, where we get into the limo and head off back down the hill. Between frantic phone calls in which he shouts at several of his senior managers, our visionary Chairman regales me with the extremely important details of his dinner last night with some visiting diplomats and says he has a job for me but can’t remember what.
Rather than head back to the office, we go through the cross-harbour tunnel to the little-visited region over the water to the north of Hong Kong Island, where, the petulant plutocrat complains, he has not one but two appointments with publicly funded bodies that help the disadvantaged and feel unloved by the corporate world. At the urging of Government officials, establishment figures are dropping in for friendly chats with these unsung heroes. After listening to their heart-rending tales with concern for a few minutes, so the theory goes, understanding between the two worlds into which the Big Lychee is divided will improve, masses of partnership and cooperation will suddenly appear, and all the old women who drag piles of cardboard around by string will have a warm and fuzzy feeling that someone out there cares deeply about them.
I learn three things from this fascinating and highly productive use of time, which lasts up to noon. First, there may be intelligent life in Shatin. At least, I saw someone there carrying a copy of the Financial Times. Second, there is an old factory district somewhere in eastern Kowloon where the streets and sidewalks are straight and wide and totally devoid of people or vehicles. It is the Marie Celeste of Hong Kong neighbourhoods. Third, 13 Across in the Times crossword today, ‘Roll around the centre’ is ‘nub’. Or ‘bun’. No, ‘nub’. All this excitement, and still half the day to go.
Wed, 13 Feb
An email from the Foreign Correspondents Club invites me to a talk by one Fatima Bhutto, an offspring of the famous Pakistani feudal clan. She will “discuss the complexities of writing during wartime and national catastrophe,” it says. (Wear ear plugs, bring spare pens.) After some details about her career, we are told…
|Fatima Bhutto published a volume of poetry entitled Whispers of the Desert when she was fifteen years old.|
|Mercifully, the Government has a strict policy of swamping such insufferable trespassers on our shores with masses of other tourists and business travellers. Needless to say, this doesn’t come cheap. Under its latest proposal, taxpayers will spend HK$135 million to attract 10,000 extremely bland non-poets who will (we presume) ask themselves which city will have the privilege of spending a hundred times that much to have even more and even dimmer people run round in circles and jump into water for a few excruciatingly tedious weeks in 2016 or whenever.|
|Our hard-earned money will be partially offset by the HK$80-110 million that the International Olympic Committee delegates will spend while they here, strutting around importantly in their coloured blazers with their tape measures and stopwatches. On the other hand, much of this money will go on imported goods, and thus straight out of the Big Lychee economy. And the rest will go on services (like luxury hotel rooms and escort/massage/date-rape drug expertise) that are already in short supply and someone else would have bought anyway. In addition, there are what economists call externalities – the costs of all the crowding and air pollution the extra visitors will produce. And then we have what economists call opportunity costs (and Government bureaucrats call “huh?”) – the loss of the benefits we could have had from spending the HK$135 million on something more tangible than “prestige and profile in the sporting world,” like some Neil Young concerts.
So essentially, Hong Kong officials want to take HK$135 million out of my and my fellow citizens’ pockets, burn it, drop the ashes into the toilet, get blubbery Sports Functional Constituency legislator Timothy Fok to waddle up and relieve himself all over it, and then pull the flush, while shrieking with laughter in our faces about how clever they are. And if they drown out some serf-owning, teenage poetess prodigy? Worth every penny.
|Thurs, 14 Feb
I open the newspaper this morning holding a heavy blunt object in my hand, nervous about what vileness might leap up at me from the page. As it happens, it is only averagely unpleasant. As a reminder that emotions are the result of electrical and chemical imbalances in the brain and thus the equivalent of a diseased mind, this year’s crop of Valentines Day messages do an adequate job, but no more.
|Two thoughts come to mind. First, does a visit to New Zealand pose a significant threat to mental stability? Let’s just say that ubiquitous grasslands and pure sheep echo my faithful love sound. Second, are evil forces putting something in the tea to teach us all Putonghua without realizing it? I am fairly sure the end of the note in unaccented Pinyin means ‘Love you truly’, which is disturbing because in theory I shouldn’t know – I have next to zero Mandarin. This is the sort of thing that encourages the nagging suspicion that if they scrapped characters and really went for Romanization, the ugly Northern tongue really could sweep all before it.
I have just checked Rick Harbaugh’s excellent zhongwen.com and found that it means ‘You smell a bit like pork when you sweat but otherwise you’re really cute’. That’s a relief.
|Fri, 15 Feb
Our appetite for all-you-can-eat Cantopop gynecology fast waning, the spotlight turns back to some unfinished business – the presence on the Executive Council of David Li Kwok-po, who paid US$8 million to American authorities to settle insider trading charges. The Standard puts the chorus of calls for Li to resign on the front page, while the South China Morning Post ignores the story altogether, probably because it was edged out by the See’s chocolate chip candy recall and of course not because Li sits on their board of directors.
Dr the Hon Sir David Webb GBM, OBE, JP gives his readers up to the end of today to vote on whether Li should stand down from public office, and the result as of this morning is that he should. Several legislators are also calling on Chief Executive Donald Tsang to at least say something, though there is a curious reluctance to demand the banker’s head. Listeners to RTHK3 are entertained this morning by the sound of the Civic Party’s Ronny Tong pitifully refusing to state whether or not he thought Sir Bow-Tie should kick Sir Bo-bo out of the cabinet.
|One reason is simply that nearly everyone has a soft spot for Li, who is famously good company (which is part of his problem) and on equally warm terms with pro-democrats, bureaucrats and the less xenophobic parts (unfussed by his British birth) of the pro-Beijing camp. Another reason is that this is Hong Kong. If you are rich, the police will harass people who put your nude photos online, the courts will kick out your speeding conviction on a technicality, and your peers will gladly overlook your sexual, financial or legal indiscretions. Sit on the board of Enron, like Ronnie Chan, and no-one cares. Order the beating up of an adversary’s lawyers, and you get a medal on the unspoken understanding that you don’t stand too close to some of us in photos. Arrange for a DJ to be chopped nearly to death, and – well, we’ll steer clear of you, but plenty of top officials in Beijing will always greet you with open arms. By the standards of some parts of the Big Lychee’s plutocracy, Li is as cuddly and loveable as a puppy dog and at least as deserving of a seat in the cabinet as, say, a dozen robotic ex-civil servants, let alone a former supporter of Communist terrorists.
So – obstreperous old gwailos in particular – hands off our Bo-bo!
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