Tag Archives: hong kong democracy

Hong Kong says goodbye to its dreams, JLaw says ta-ra to her dignity

5 Sep

jlawI’m a bit depressed.

It’s not because August in the UK was a steaming turd of a month. A grey, miserable, disappointing four weeks of anti-climax and ennui. Not even because on the other side of the world friends cavorted on junk boats under cyan skies and swam in seas the temperature of bathwater. Nope.

It was my 37th birthday at the end of August. The beginning of my late 30s. The downward spiral. The end of days. If Alex James did actually say he celebrated his 20s with booze, his 30s with drugs and his 40s with good food then he’s got it wrong, because I managed all three that weekend. Yet even this failed to disguise the very real fact that I was getting older. A lackadaisical approach to facial hygiene meant my beard grew a little (it only ever grows a little, the shit) and presented me with a little gaggle of white follicles. In plain sight they were, mugging me right off.

My Dad, who has a wonderfully anachronistic way of speaking sometimes, narrowed his eyes and asked me if I was “pursuing a beard”. Pursuing a beard? As if I’d just jumped breathlessly into the back of a cab and asked the driver to follow the car in front…the one with my beard in it. No father, I am not actively pursuing a beard, but I’m rapidly chasing down old age. It didn’t help that I fucked my back and got followed on Instagram by my 14 year-old-nephew in the same birthday weekend.

It’s a toss up which is the more traumatic. Initially it was definitely the intense pain of twisting my lower vertebrae, but now that’s subsiding the long term misery of being bombarded with inane pictures of nephew #1 and his mates is starting to sink in. I daren’t even leave an angry comment in case I’m branded an old twat, a paedophile or, even worse, completely ignored like an elderly uncle at a wedding.

So to cheer myself up I thought I’d revive the Noodle, so to speak, and write about something funny that’s happening in China. Except there isn’t really anything funny happening ANYWHERE on the planet, least of all Hong Kong, where the people have finally, definitively been told by Beijing that they can’t elect their own leader. At the risk of sounding like a know-it-all here, what did they think was going to happen? CPC in failing-to-honour-international-agreement-betrays-its-own-to-stay-in-power shocker. Fuck knows what the nightly news is going to report on now. Public backlash over a new waste incineration plant? Another preventable death at the annual Cheung Chau Bun Festival?

It’s not as if things are any better abroad. ISIS* continues to build a terrifying new world order, Putin remains a massive dick, Scotland unfathomably seems to think it would actually like to just bugger off on its own somewhere like a spoilt child, and Dave Lee Travis continues to … well we’ll find out pretty soon. And then some poor old grannie gets beheaded in her back garden in Edmonton. Are we actually playing out our final days here? It does feel like we’re building towards the denouement of something. I might place a bet on who we get invaded by first: Russia, Islamic State militarists, or China.

Then, just when it all looks so horribly, soul numbingly bleak, the internet goes and bloody saves the day by serving me up pictures of JLaw’s snatch. At least it’s not all doom and gloom out there. And I was writing a story on the iCloud hack so I didn’t even need to feel guilty. The Pete Townsend defence in full force for you there.

So, to the Oscar-winning actress and her perfectly hairless foo-foo I say “thankyou ma’am”. Life will always find a way…

 

*incidentally this is the name of the cleaning company which services my block of flats. They either need to change their moniker or embrace it, perhaps with a new slogan like “declaring jihad on dirty windows since 1997”.

Advertisements

You dirty Ho! HK lawmaker gives democracy a kick in the teeth

7 Mar

Those of you (both of you?) that regularly read this blog may detect a certain implicit distrust of the establishment and tendency to side with the underdog in many of my posts.

albert hoWell, in the interests of balance, I’ve decided to focus this week’s rant on former Democratic Party chairman Albert Ho, who decided to do something rather silly during last Wednesday’s budget speech.

Having resigned his chairmanship of one of the SAR’s numerous “pan-democrat” (ie anti-Beijing/establishment) parties following poor performance in the 2012 elections, Ho is now the secretary general of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China.

More importantly, he’s the rather portly and well-tanned member of Legco who helped Edward Snowden escape to victory, or er, to Moscow, during the time the sysadmin was holed up here following his high profile dash from the evil US empire (ie Hawaii, where he lived in relative affluence with his pole dancing girlfriend).

62-year-old Ho, who’s an outspoken pro-democracy and universal suffrage advocate, was photographed in the chamber last week browsing through pictures of bikini-clad hotties on his tablet. All of this as finance minister John Tsang gave arguably one of the most important policy speeches of the year.

Now I’m all for lawmakers browsing the interwebs to buy gifts for their loved ones and I’m sure that all Ho was doing was looking for a nice swimsuit for his niece, or daughter, or … wife’s birthday? Or perhaps his secretary’s.

Anyway, you’ve got to play the game Albert. You can’t be on your iPad when you should be taking notes on an, albeit dreadfully dull 90 minute-long, important budget speech.

It’s what you were elected to do matey. Fannying around, almost literally, when you should be at work is the preserve not of elected politicians but those employed by social media and digital marketing companies.

Your campaigning for greater democratic accountability among Hong Kong’s leaders, including support for the Occupy Central civil disobedience movement which is pushing for true universal suffrage, has been rather undermined by the fact you couldn’t wait 90 minutes to look at some fanny.

What Ho should have been doing was taking apart Tsang and his “fiscal advisors” dire warnings that Hong Kong could face a structural deficit of HK$1.54 trillion (£115bn) by 2041, miring the place in Greek-style levels of debt.

Now Hong Kong is, I believe, the only country/state/call-it-what-you-will which actually runs a budget surplus. Yup a surplus. Every year it gravely predicts a deficit – the last fiscal year a HK$3.5bn one (£269m) – but each year lo and behold a surplus appears. This past fiscal year it was a whopping HK$64.9bn (£500m).

The reason? It makes the US seem positively generous with welfare and social spending. Yes the SAR is starting to increase spending on the poor and ageing but it’s still a pittance.

For years the government has relied on good old Confucianism to ensure families look after their elderly members and it still allows a fifth of its population, over one million people, to struggle below the poverty line – with tens of thousands ‘living’ in cage homes little bigger than a coffin.

So should we believe the dire financial warnings from the government? Nope, I smell vested interests trying to scare the populous and justify continually, shockingly, low welfare spending.

I’d love to think the pan-democrats could effect some serious change in this regard, so come on guys, do it for the Noodle. It’s my way or the Ho-way.