Lust, Caution

8 03 2012

“Actually, Mr. Tang admitted to that quite a while ago.”

Thus did Rita Fan, foot firmly in mouth, appear yesterday to confirm rumours of Henry Tang’s UK love-child. The Ming Pao delighted in describing how reporters waylaid a bleary-eyed Ms. Fan as she stumbled from her Beijing hotel en route to the National People’s Congress, catching her off-guard.

She needn’t have worried, as Tangtang himself had already set internet forums buzzing in a TV appearance the day before. Rather than the usual ‘no comment’ on the love-child issue, in an apparent attempt to look sound noble he remarked that he “didn’t want to comment on rumours about third parties, as it would affect their lives, and he didn’t want them to get hurt.”

The only character in this farce succeeding in looking noble so far is Tang’s wife, Lisa Kuo (Bus Uncle‘s latest challenger in netizens’ fantasy Chief Executive race), whose dignified performance in a radio interview this morning prompted one netizen to compare her to legendary female warrior Mulan, who went to war on behalf of her father (thanks to newly discovered blog Dictionary of Politically Incorrect Hong Kong Cantonese for the link and translation).

Coming up: The Hong Kong Media Review will do its best to step back from the sordid yet entertaining details of Hong Kong’s quasi-election, and make some sense – if indeed possible – of how this fits into deeper Chinese political currents.

Advertisements




Bus Uncle for CE!

27 02 2012

Just when you thought Hong Kong’s chief executive ‘election’ couldn’t get any weirder, local cultural phenomenon ‘Bus Uncle‘, AKA Roger Chan Yuet-dong, announces his candidacy.

Chan gained notoriety in 2006 when he was caught on camera going beserk at a fellow bus passenger, demanding an apology for a tap on the shoulder. He inspired mass debate about stress levels and etiquette in Hong Kong society, giving birth in the process to catchphrases such as “I’m stressed! You’re stressed!” (你有壓力,我有壓力, pinyin: Ni you yali, wo you yali) which teachers became so sick of hearing that they were banned in several schools.

He is running on a platform of giving 400,000 HKD to each person in Hong Kong, and promises that if he wins, Hong Kong people will be the ‘happiest urban residents in the world’ (世界上最幸福市民, pinyin: shijie shang zui xingfu shimin).

Unrealistic, vague promises from a complete joke of a candidate. Sounds strangely familiar…





Voting in the Unvotable

24 02 2012

Did we imagine it? Browsing the People’s Daily (人民日报 Renmin Ribao – the Chinese Communist Party’s mouthpiece) website, Hong Kong’s political turmoil is so conspicuously absent that it starts to feel like it was all some elaborate daydream. Coupled with images in the local media of a smiling Henry Tang officially registering as a Chief Executive candidate on Monday, tycoon supporters in tow, the sense of having toppled down a rabbit hole grows.

In case your head has been firmly in the sand for the last week or so: following a half-baked smear campaign against C Y Leung, Henry Tang’s rival in the Chief Executive (CE) race, the mud came flying back in Tang’s direction with reports of an illegally constructed underground room in one of his houses – now fondly referred to by the media as his ‘underground palace’. Just when he seemed to have hit a low, with indications of deliberate illegal activity on top of previous revelations of extra-marital affairs, Tang stooped lower still by blaming the whole thing on his long-suffering wife.

War horses and Wukan-isation

The commentaries from both sides of the Great Political Divide have been verging on the delusional. First up for the fantasy fiction prize is the Sharp Daily’s To Kit 陶杰 (pinyin: Tao Jie) in a 15 February commentary, ‘Hong Kong’s Grand Minister for Wukan-isation’, gisted below:

Beijing turns its back for a few days to deal with the scandal at the US consulate in Chongqing, and Hong Kong’s two main CE contenders are at each other teeth and claws. The C Y Leung camp’s counter-attack on Henry Tang has led to public calls for Tang to withdraw from the CE race, and the pro-establishment camp are left floundering with no signal as yet on how to vote.

If Henry has to withdraw due to his illegal building works, shouldn’t C Y also withdraw due to the Western Kowloon conflict of interest scandal? In which case, wouldn’t Albert Ho automatically win? Hong Kong has already gone off Beijing’s script, and C Y’s ‘battle for the people’s will’ could lead to a ‘Wukan-isation’ of Hong Kong at any moment, with a ‘democratic village chief’ emerging who Beijing  is forced to recognise. Under this freak outcome, Hong Kong and Wukan would become a pair of ‘war horses’ for bringing about the democratisation of China.

Heading through the next looking glass into the harmonious world of the pro-establishment Wen Wei Po, Wednesday’s headline read ‘Henry Tang: Broad Nomination Base Shows Support From All Sectors.’

“Henry Tang indicated that his nominations from the Election Committee, which were quite broadly representative, showed that he had the full support of society.”

This despite some opinion surveys indicating that over half of Hong Kong people think he should step down. Then again, anyone familiar with Hong Kong politics knows that ‘broad support of society’ is one of the city’s most loosely used terms.

So, unthinkable as it should have been, it looks as though the hapless Mr. Tang could be pushed through regardless. What of the much-touted requirement of acceptability to the Hong Kong people? Perhaps through this particular looking glass, the onus is on the people to find their leader acceptable, not on the leader to make himself so.