‘Legco in deadlock farce’ shock horror


Pro-Beijing lawmakers walk out of the Legislative Council, leaving it without a quorum, thus leaving three young radicals unable to take their oaths and Council seats. The pro-Beijing boot-licker members are demanding an apology from Sixtus Leung and Yau Wai-ching for insulting China the first time they took their oaths. The implication is that they would allow the two splittists to be sworn in – if the pair groveled for forgiveness from all the Chinese with hurt feelings around the world.

If so, this stance falls short of the Government/Liaison Office view that the two splittists must be denied their places in Legco under any circumstances. Perhaps better coordination is on the way (it all seems a bit rushed).

The government attempted (unsuccessfully) to get the courts to bar the Youngspiration Duo on the grounds that they failed to take their oaths correctly first time and there is no second chance. But the real aim – by order of the Liaison Office – is to completely ban anyone from running for or entering the legislature if they hold pro-independence views.

If and when this principle is established, it will presumably be extended to school teachers, college professors and other public-sector employees. Ultimately, anyone expressing pro-independence opinions will be guilty of a thought-crime and subject to persecution in some way.

This is a tried and tested method. In Xinjiang, the Communist Party forces men to shave their beards off or teach their kids to pray, and as a result Islam has just gone away and been forgotten, and everything is harmonious and perfect. In Tibet, the Communist Party shuts down temples and ‘disappears’ monks who object, and as a result the local culture and separatist sentiments have completely vanished, and everyone is totally happy and calm. Obviously, similar policies will eradicate Hong Kong’s distinct identity and turn everyone in the city into happy and obedient Mainlander-replicas.

But we are running ahead of ourselves. The pro-Beijing lawmakers’ walkout emulates pro-democrats’ tactics in the last LegCo. The United Front and government propaganda machine leapt to portray such disruption as nihilistic, money-wasting and generally proof that pro-democrats were anti-social fiends – to the approval of some hard-working citizens sick of constant bickering. Even the South China Morning Post’s voice of grumpy old fogeys who hate the young says the loyalist members have disrespected the court and lost the ‘moral high-ground’ they had when they didn’t engage in disruptive behaviour…


The Standard’s editorial is harsher, accusing Chief Executive CY Leung of dangerously risking damage to the relationship between legislative, executive and judicial branches. It sees panic and desperation…


The Standard is part of the anti-CY tycoon establishment, but is hardly alone in (perhaps over-simplistically) seeing the pro-independence phenomenon as a creation of the Hong Kong government and the Liaison Office.

The government is eager to stress that it can handle this locally. In other words, officials want to avoid a Basic Law ‘interpretation’. This joke-mechanism, by which Beijing ‘reveals’ a hitherto unseen meaning to part of Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, would provoke incredulity and renew rebellion if it were used to affirm the idea that ‘cracking down on pro-independence forces [thoughts] in Hong Kong is supported by the law’.

Some fear that the localists might fail to convey the big picture to the public, allowing United Front innuendo about ‘infantile mayhem’ to turn moderate opinion against them. But the real danger to the radicals is that CY and his buddies wise up and cease responding with increasingly stupid and deranged attempts to crush the localist menace. And Beijing’s hypersensitive allergy to any mention of the ‘I’ word makes that unlikely.


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CY goes full-frontal (eeeewwww)


After several days of United Front-orchestrated mass-freaking-out over newly elected lawmakers’ botched oath-taking, Hong Kong Chief Executive CY Leung declares what the South China Morning Post calls ‘full-frontal war’.

The paper also uses the word ‘unprecedented’, by which it presumably means ‘desperate, bizarre, and borderline insane’. Desperate because the legal action to prevent democratically returned Sixtus Leung and Yau Wai-ching from taking their seats in the Legislative Council came without warning late yesterday afternoon – the court sat late into the evening. Bizarre because CY launched the action in his own name (plus the Justice Secretary’s), making the exercise more personal than necessary, appropriate or, some would say, prudent. And insane because whatever happens, the government is going to lose, one way or another.

ad-689At least the initial cause is no mystery: step forward the Liaison Office (motto – ‘We never sit back and do nothing if we can interfere and make things worse’). Someone in the Communist Party hierarchy has determined that splittist sentiment must not and cannot take place in the Hong Kong Legislative Council. Seen from Beijing, this is logical. This is the PRC, and any institution, including LegCo, is ultimately an organ of the state and servant of the Party. That ‘separation of powers’ ‘freedom of expression’ stuff doesn’t come into it.

The Liaison Office and local puppets have calculated that the two Youngspiration members can be demonized. The mass-formation mouth-froth over the last few days stressed two angles. It highlighted the kids’ ‘childish antics’ at the swearing-in ceremony, thus inviting disapproval from respectable, hard-working, regular citizens. And it screeched of ‘hurting the feelings of Chinese people’, which rouses the patriotic nationalist faithful, and ticks the right boxes in Beijing. It’s classic, vindictive United Front isolate-the-enemy tactics. Then along comes this blundering, constitution-warping legal action, and it suddenly looks more like two innocent young idealists being persecuted by a psychopathic dictatorship again.

The Youngspiration pair (along with several others) will now get their second oath-taking opportunity today [or not], as previously ruled acceptable by the Legislative Council President Andrew Leung. (Just days after installing the hapless shoe-shiner as LegCo speaker, the Liaison Office has already chucked him under a bus as they continue with their hyperactive malevolence. He who lives by the shoe-shine, dies by the shoe-shine – though it’s not often it happens this quickly. No sympathy required, here.)

If the courts eventually reject the application to have the Youngspiration duo barred from LegCo, it will be big face-loss time for CY and his Liaison Office masters. If the judge – not having been dragged away from dinner this time – does kick the kids out, we have new elections. It is hard to say which would be more fun.

Meanwhile, Taiwan take note.


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HK’s next punishment: new cross-border revenue streams


Hong Kong is urged to seethe with envy because Beijing has declared plucky little obedient Macau the ‘Yuan clearing centre for the Portuguese-speaking world’. Lucky residents of the former enclave will be up to their knees in Renminbi gushing in from Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau, while naughty rebellious ungrateful Hongkongers starve and their city fades into insignificance.

Meanwhile back on Planet Earth, Jake van der Kamp writes that Beijing’s anti-corruption clampdown has resulted in Macau’s casino-dominated economy shrinking by an incredible 35% since 2013. This is the sort of decline that resulted in starvation in North Korea in the 1990s, and something close to social breakdown in Greece over the last few years.

And yet… Everyone in Macau is pretty happy and carrying on as if nothing had happened. That’s because ordinary people there didn’t see many of the benefits when the gambling industry boomed earlier in the 2000s, pushing per-capita GDP above Hong Kong’s. And they’re not experiencing much of a crunch as the bubble deflates. A similar phenomenon applies in Hong Kong, where a massive increase in tourist figures contributed to supposedly impressive GDP growth around 2003-13, while median household incomes remained level, and probably fell if you allow for inflation (let alone quality of life).

scmp-populationIn short: mass-tourism is not only Hell, but bad economics.

So what a delight it is to read that the Hong Kong government has had the uncharacteristic sense to scrap plans to cover much of the old Kai Tak area with hotels, hotels and more hotels for the MICE and selfie-stick pestilences, and actually build housing – some of which may even be available for local people rather than Mainland money-launderers.

Sadly, this refreshing approach has not reached Kai Tak’s replacement out at Chek Lap Kok. The airport bosses have announced a ‘vision’ for a new destination going far beyond the traditional notion of a shopping mall – a retail-dining-entertainment hub-complex three times the size of Harbour City with ‘trendier concepts’ (plus mega-hotel, naturally). If that’s not depressing enough, they say the idea is to target ‘new cross-border revenue streams’ from free-trade zones like Nansha, Qianhai and Hengqing.

These places are basically lame real-estate/arbitrage plays, but the officials presumably mention them because it sounds cool and gives face to Mainland authorities. The ‘vision’ is yet another glitzy maze full of Louis Vuitton, Body Shop, Chow Sang Sang and McDonalds aimed at yet more zombie-shopper hordes from Zhuhai, Zhongshan and Shenzhen.

If we are to have a gargantuan bridge linking Lantau to Zhuhai, and a third runway, we must have an exciting Destination Concept Theme-Hub to induce people to use them. We must cram more people in to justify the infrastructure. And the suitcase-dragging zombie-shopper Mainlanders – last seen heading to Seoul or Paris or speculating on their fourth apartment in Ningbo – is the best that we can think of. Such originality! Gold Bauhinia Medals all round!


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Choreographed rant of the month targets oath-takers


This month’s official outburst of orchestrated, obsessive, overblown mouth-frothing concerns the newly elected Legislative Council members who failed the swearing-in kowtow test. Their immature antics, which upset the highly sensitive Ronny, are vulgarity induced by self-hatred and opposed by 99.9% of teachers for hurting the feelings of all Chinese people. (Logically, 99.9% of teachers would agree, it follows that anyone whose feelings were not hurt is not Chinese.)

cd-liaisonofficeIt falls to Global Times to consider that those responsible for the ‘floor show/ridiculous farce/profanity’ have support, and the city is increasingly complicated. ‘Complicated’ (also known as ‘contradictions’) is Communist-speak for ‘maybe we are partly responsible for screwing things up here’.

This is a battle of wits. The Hong Kong government, under Liaison Office direction, is potentially walking into a trap by fixating on punishing a handful of young democratically elected representatives for not conforming to the ceremonial symbolism. The radicals also risk falling into a trap, if they give officials evidence to convince the public that they are mere troublemakers, money-wasters, sympathetic to Japanese militarism or – heaven forbid – getting boring.

But the battle is between a lumbering and predictable, simple-minded elephant and some agile, bright and funny gnats. When Sixtus Leung and Yau Wai-ching get their second chance to take their oaths correctly on Wednesday, they could do worse than recite the wording 100% accurately, in finest Mandarin, preferably wearing little Mao badges and carrying mysterious red-bound books – with, of course, totally straight faces.


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Everything happening at once

The week starts shuddering to a chaotic halt with everything happening at once.


All those rich, lengthy obituaries for Thailand’s King Bhumipol – they have a slight remoteness about them, as if he is already a distant memory. That’s partly because they were written so long, long ago, and have been dusted off in a hurry. The South China Morning Post gives its a black border, presumably in recognition of Beijing’s appreciation of the friendless junta’s constructive approach to panda-hugging.

So now… The likely heir is by many accounts a detested philandering thug who gave his poodle Fufu a senior rank in the Air Force. The country’s government is an incapable and absurdly intolerant military regime. The underlying social/political/economic divisions are scary – the elite’s automatic contempt for the poor masses makes Hong Kong’s leaders look like extreme egalitarians. Or, as the SCMP puts it, ‘the start of a new era’.


Thailand could end up challenging the Philippines for the hotly contested Worst Governance in Southeast Asia Award. But does Bob Dylan deserve a Nobel Prize for Literature? Do these verses (try and ignore the melody, if you know the song) count as poetry? My interpretation of this is that the Nobel Globally Important Institution Inc are feeling the heat from emerging-market competition – Hong Kong tycoons alone, shamelessly seeking to emulate Alfred’s immortality and reflected glory, have in recent years founded the Shaw and Lui Che-woo Awards for Amazingly Brilliant Genius.

After upsetting China by giving Liu Xiaobo the Peace Prize, the Nobel people tried to kiss and make up to the panda-with-hurt-feelings by giving the Literature award to the semi-obscure Mo Yan. This tarnished the brand among its traditional Western audience, so they are now trying to restore their reputation by honouring the hip and trendy American bard – perhaps over-compensating in the process, but in a well-meaning Scandinavian way.


On the subject of the panda and its easily offended sensitivity – Hong Kong’s government finally lapses into the cliché.

Newly elected young radical lawmakers used the swearing-in ceremony to scurrilously promote localist views on Wednesday. While entertaining, and indeed highlighting the principles their voters supported, the new legislators will need to be careful in the long run. Officials will do all they can to portray them as vandals, money-wasters and troublemakers who make life worse for the public. As filibusterers have found, some of this mud can stick.

Still, it is early days, and for now the government comes across as defensive. The official press release goes into righteous-huff mode and whines that the new legislators ‘harmed the feelings of our compatriots’ (Chinese version here).

Although the wording does not specify location, it arguably implies or subliminally suggests that the countrymen whose sensibilities have been injured are Mainlanders. With 1.3 billion over there and only 7 million in Hong Kong, certainly most of them are. The point is that the press release does not claim that the young radicals’ theatrics have upset Hongkongers as such. I declare the weekend open with the thought that there is something (if unwittingly) profound and telling in this omission, no?


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An exotic new destination

One of many thrilling things to happen over the long weekend was a trip to Cyberport. We have all heard of Cyberport the flawed luxury-apartments-as-tech-hub real-estate scandal. We have listened to poor wretches whose companies are located in the project’s Siberia-like office blocks, with its poor transport links and horrible selection of places to eat. And we have all seen the architecture on the distant coastline from ferries – the huge curved slabs that are Residence Bel Air. But few of us, who are in our right minds, have ever actually been to the place. So I decided to check it out.

The bus station has a bustling Fusion supermarket and McDonalds. After that, however, you enter a sort of twilight zone. This is what those colonies on Mars will be like when only a few zombie-like settlers have survived, but the systems keep running…


Where in Hong Kong do you have a holiday weekend and the mall is largely deserted…


And it is true that there is a dearth of interesting dining spots, even by mall standards – plasticky Japanese, Thai-Viet, Mexican, etc, plus an Irish pub. There’s a cinema, which together with unoccupied units in the upper floors confirms that the retail complex has more space than tenants. A bunch of property agents (which you don’t often see plying their tawdry trade inside pristine malls), one of which offers a Residence Bel Air unit for HK$190 million. And quite a few pet/kid-related outlets, reminding us that this whole place is primarily an up-market residential area.

A stroll around for some eavesdropping and mild snooping suggests that the inhabitants are well-remunerated Western expats and Mainlanders, plus some South Asians and locals – plus of course their Filipino maids. The huge residential blocks wrap themselves like a wall protecting the enclave from whatever is out there. It’s home for people who find Discovery Bay too exciting, earthy, edgy, or unbearably soulful.

The waterfront park offers a slight relief from the antiseptic built-up surroundings. It has a kids’ playground, the inevitable doggy zone, and some quite extensive, well-manicured lawn. It is acceptable to erect little tents for picnics. One slightly weird, freaky and disturbing sight was a group of kids playing at being maids, ‘sweeping’ the ground with fallen palm-tree fronds…


Apart from that, social deviance is not tolerated, and the professional and efficient local authorities guide and rule with firm Singaporean-style benevolence…


Almost. A few riffraff barbarian anarchists from Planet Hong Kong – specifically the nearby public-housing estate – sneak into the millionaires’ ghetto to spread disorder and chaos by climbing over railings and fishing…


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CY’s keystone policy: do nothing

In an attempt to control its housing bubble, the Mainland city of Jinan in Shandong has barred people who already own three properties from buying any more. Sounds a bit late in the day – but at least they’re trying to do something. The Hong Kong government’s reaction to spiraling property prices is to sit on its hands and grin helplessly.

Oxfam bemoans Hong Kong’s growing wealth gap, with the richest 10% now earning 29 times what the lowest 10% get. Richard Wong thinks this is an exaggeration and sees demographics – like the rise in the number of small elderly households – making things look worse than they are.

Much of it comes down to housing costs. It is perfectly possible for a family living on HK$10,000 a month to have higher purchasing power than a family on HK$20,000 – if the former are in public housing and the latter are paying private-sector rent or a mortgage. Public housing is so cheap that many university graduates deliberately take low-paying jobs for a few years to qualify for it: the long-term savings once they secure their subsidized unit will be far higher than the short-term opportunity cost. With private housing costs sky-high, this is a smart tactic.

scmp-chinasopenIf middle-class kids working the system to get public housing are the winners, the losers are the poor who are in private housing – the wretches stuck in shockingly expensive sub-divided cubicle-firetraps. A letter in today’s South China Morning Post suggests the conversion of empty factories, schools and other buildings for housing. An obvious stopgap solution to the housing problem is to regularize illegal dwellings in industrial premises, rooftops and so on – ensuring basic fire safety while ignoring all the other zoning, planning, premium and other bureaucracy. But the government’s policy is to do the opposite: clamp down on illegal apartments in old factories as if the tens of thousands of inhabitants have somewhere else to go.

When CY Leung became Chief Executive in 2012, there was talk of emergency housing measures (adapting disused buildings, putting prefabricated shelters on vacant land). Presumably, the idea was thrown out by civil servants who thought it was too much like hard work for them; certainly some top officials feared it would ‘encourage’ listless, scrounging riffraff to move into bad housing in order to be resettled. There was probably also an assumption that a 1998-style correction would soon come and fix things.

In theory, CY has made increasing long-term housing supply his Big Thing. In practice, he complains that it is impossible to find the necessary land – except by taking green-belt areas or, incredibly, sports and recreation facilities. Meanwhile, of course, the Heung Yee Kuk can occupy their brownfield sites, and the property giants can hoard land and unsold units for as long as they please.

Despite this supposed shortage of space, not a week passes without a government land auction. The property developers will use the lots concerned for ‘luxury’ apartments, presumably aimed at Mainland money-launderers to keep empty. No-one asks how this is possible when we have this dire shortage of land (let alone how it is supposed to benefit Hong Kong).

At the same time, tens of thousands of (mostly low-educated) Mainlanders get their one-way permits every year to come to settle in Hong Kong. It is not politically correct to mention this, though Richard Wong is pretty blunt about the impact on our poverty statistics. These are the same people who end up in the appalling subdivided housing. It is reasonable to ask why this influx is allowed to continue if – as the government insists – we do not have enough land/homes for them to live in. (If you press officials, they will say something along the lines of ‘we need the children’ who make up many of these newcomers. We can guess that from Beijing’s point of view, such migration will dilute the tiresome native population here, just as it will in Xinjiang and Tibet. Even squeeze them out into Nansha.)


The 1998-2003 crash coincided with a major increase in housing supply masterminded by one CY Leung. As many observers point out, Hong Kong does not have an actual shortage of housing units, just a shortage of affordable homes. At some point, bubbles have to end and asset prices have to match what end-users are willing to pay. The sitting-on-hands-and-grinning-helplessly policy goes on.

While we wait, great moments in lateral thinking: a hotel guy suggests that the government allow people to buy and sell hotel rooms as permanent housing


To the extent that this would increase supply and soften rents in serviced apartments, with a (marginal) knock-on downward effect on other apartment rents, this is not a bad idea. (Essentially it returns space allocated to the all-important tourist industry back to Hong Kong people.)

But what he probably has in mind is simply enabling hotel rooms to become an investment asset class for Hongkongers whose pathological lust to own real estate is currently thwarted by unaffordable prices for residential, commercial and of course car parks. If it makes the suckers feel better – why not?

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And winner of the Ten Outstanding Tedious Events is…

stan-outstandingYou would expect the South China Morning Post to line up loyally behind the latest official Big Important Thrilling BS Concept-Theme – whether it’s ‘Belt and Road’, ‘positive energy’, Yuan hubs or the latest regurgitation of some tourism/landlord-worship meme. So it comes as a bit of a shock to find the paper treating this year’s Ten Outstanding Young Persons Award with less than total reverence.

As the Standard also notes, one of the winners – a Fonia Wong – is connected with one of the judges and is outstanding mainly for having made big bucks as a student in multi-level marketing and property.

Run by the Junior Chamber, the Award is aimed at recognizing the Hong Kong establishment’s idea of excellent role models. The procedure is: one dedicated unsung-hero teacher; one handicapped-but-photogenic overcomer-against-odds; one tycoon’s offspring (or product of that milieu); one sports medal winner; one or two entrepreneur-ish types; one (respectful, decent, non-challenging) artist or musician; one (constructive, cooperative, non-campaigning) environmentalist or community worker; a nurse who spent time in Africa; and a few more business types. In highlighting the ruling class’s notion of the ideal non-troublesome young (-ish) Hongkonger, the Award co-opts emerging figures and gives face to select parents.

Money-making Fonia is an executive at a subsidiary of one the city’s biggest family-run property empires and is 40 years of age, and so fits the bill perfectly. Traditionally, the media would give the Award modest but straight coverage. The real story here is that her selection as one of our Ten Outstanding Young Persons is attracting mockery. It is another sign that the old order in Hong Kong is dying, respect for elders and betters lies in tatters and our social fabric as we used to know it is being torn asunder, etc.

(Only five were awarded this year. Perhaps we are supposed to infer establishment displeasure and despair at the radical localist teen menace in our midst.)

What if the public chose the winners? Obvious recipients would be world-famous Joshua Wong, his sidekick lawmaker Nathan Law, the young directors of the vignettes that comprise the film Ten Years, the activists who stand up to land-grabbing thugs in the New Territories, the zither-carrying schoolgirl who faced down the MTR, the lunatics who take selfies atop skyscrapers and thousands more whose names we’ll never know.

Not content with denigrating the Ten Outstanding Young Zombies Award, the SCMP also fails to admire and idolize the tourist-attracting pestilence that is Formula E – an electric-car race and classic example of what we mean by the phrase ‘regurgitation of some tourism/landlord-worship meme’.

The paper upset the organizers of this pseudo-event by pointing out (along with everyone else) that right-thinking members of the public resented the visual barriers strung up along the walkways near the race circuit. “The media have a responsibility to sell the product,” said some self-important nonentity flattered by Hong Kong tourism officials chucking taxpayers’ resources in his direction. And today a columnist questions Formula E as a sport, declaring it a lame, non-glamorous, unexciting, sub-go-karting waste of space.

Formula E is obviously a desperate attempt by some shysters to replicate the astounding money-making success of Formula 1 (itself, like most professional sports, contrived and tedious but at least noisy). Only Hong Kong officials are gullible enough to take it seriously – and massively inconvenience their own public in the process.

I was herded through the affected afflicted area over the weekend, and proudly present…

2016 Hong Kong Formula E excitement in pictures!


Later, on an inspection tour of Discovery Bay, I passed a bar with a big outdoor TV showing the electric go-karts hissing uninterestingly around IFC. Three or four local residents sat nearby, sipping beer and occasionally glancing up at the racing. They told me they thought it was boring.

When people in Disco Bay think something’s boring – it’s Seriously, Indescribably Boring.


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Quotes of the Day

I declare the weekend open especially early with a little roundup of Quotes of the Day.

The Standard’s editorial blathers away unproductively about Hong Kong student leader Joshua Wong being turned away from Thailand, concluding that the high-profile activist’s career is – like that of all politicians, ultimately – now ending in failure…


Except the kid is 19 and still too young even to qualify as a Hong Kong legislator.

Speaking of politicians and failure, the South China Morning Post holds a debate on, for all practical purposes, Chief Executive CY Leung.

I had received an invitation suggesting that the discussion would work on such assumptions as ‘protests are the cause, not effect, of our problems’…


…and so didn’t go. It seems the event went the other way, with nearly everyone falling into line with the perhaps over-simplistic consensus spreading out into establishment circles that CY is a disaster and we would be better off without him.

Spreading a little happiness and sunshine, newly elected radical lawmaker Nathan Law (aged 23) expressed genuine delight at having found he can now call up officials and be taken seriously…


On a more sinister note, one participant did not express an opinion on CY – Holden Chow of the ‘tight-lipped’ DAB…

scmp-newlyelThe SCMP is too coy to point out that members of the DAB, the core of the Chinese Communist Party front in town, do not have opinions of their own. They will ‘decide’ who they think should be the next CE when Beijing’s agents tell them what to think. Everyone else on the panel – and in Hong Kong – is in charge of their own mind and their own thoughts. This is what alienates local people from the sovereign power and its pitiful puppets like CY, Holden Chow, etc. Presumably, panelists’ detailed chat about filibustering or post-CY harmony obscured this fundamental fact.

Ironically, it is harder to escape such contradictions in Liaoning Province, where the authorities must try to rectify the rigging of a rigged election for a rubber-stamp legislative assembly. Perhaps the measures passed by the legislature should be invalid, as the rigged membership was itself rigged? But the procedures and outcomes are all rigged anyway, so the rigging of the rigged elections would not have affected the outcome…


Well that’s a relief, more or less. Any bunch of zombies would have produced the same results. But it gets worse. This is in a society where rule of man overrides rule of law. How does a rigged legal system take action against people who rig a rigged election?


The system works great against the innocent – but can’t handle it when the accused are genuinely bad.

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God to Leung: stick to property


Hong Kong’s Protestants plan to fill their quota of seats on the Election Committee by drawing lots. It sounds a bit un-Christian – isn’t it how the Roman soldiers shared out Jesus’s possessions? But the opponents quoted in the story are wrong in saying it is ‘ridiculous’. Taking the Election Committee even this half-seriously is silly, and taking it any more seriously would be idiotic. If they had any principles, the religious groups would make a point of boycotting the whole farce.

god-tweetLuckily for them, God has other things on His mind. The Almighty is mulling over whether Antony Leung should offer himself as available for the post of Chief Executive, or whether the former banker/Financial Secretary should continue working for property developer Nan Fung. Unlike American politicians – to whom God speaks directly – Hong Kong hopefuls must await the call from His representative on Earth, otherwise known as the Liaison Office.

Somehow, in the midst of all the mayhem that is the Xi Jinping regime, Hong Kong localists, CY Leung, property bubbles, and all the other insanity and chaos in our little universe, Antony Leung just doesn’t seem to belong. God’s plan – I feel fairly certain – is that Antony carries on working at Nan Fung.

Among the bizarreness right now is the quite shocking rants, complete with tasteless graphics, coming out of Sing Pao, being monitored here. Some informed guesswork from Willy Lam appears here. To be Chief Executive of Hong Kong is to be the ever-dispensable poodle of a thuggish and paranoid Communist Party getting itself into deeper mafia-like infighting as the Chinese economy comes slowly grinding to a halt. Why would someone like Antony Leung (or John Tsang, or whoever) want to step anywhere near this snake-pit?

For example, there’s the bad PR Beijing sends you on a daily basis, like when it hounds your innocent and idealistic young citizens. If it’s any consolation, it seems the world’s most famous living non-thespian Hongkonger, Joshua Wong, is not alone in being barred from Thailand. The Land of Smiles has also banned a computer game called Tropico 5. The digital pastime is of an enticing-sounding genre called ‘dictator sim’ (and I’ve been wasting time on dull old Tetris all these years). The aim of this role-playing fantasy amusement is to turn a charming tropical paradise into a military-run tyranny. The censors in Bangkok think it’s ‘not appropriate’ – by which they presumably mean ‘waaay too appropriate’.


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