Dubious Achievement Award 2009
Winner: The Chrissie Chau Phenomenon
Let’s face it—compared to the financial roller coaster ride that was 2008, this year has been relatively relaxed, with nary a sexyphotogate or an underage Olympic gymnast scandal to spice things up. But that’s not to say we’ve missed out on weird, wild and downright ridiculous news. From the rise of pseudo models to government officials and their non-sex scandals, we present to you: The Dubious Achievement Awards of 2009.
Christmas is the time of the year when I feel proud to be a Hong Konger, particularly this year.
Not because of the US government’s announcement last week that their economy is recovering, nor because of the miraculous rebound of the Hang Seng Index on Monday upon learning that Dubai will be able to repay its debts. And not for Hong Kong’s haul of 26 gold medals in the East Asian Games, which finally earned us a dignified place in the world.
Gossips were suggesting on local website forums earlier this month that holders of British National (Overseas) passports (BNO) had been granted permanent residence by a few European governments.
The theory goes like this: the BNO passport issued by the UK government, although a second-rate travel document tailor-made for 3.5 million Hongkongers born in the former colony before 1997, is considered equal to that of a full UK citizen because the EU views all human rights under the umbrella of “British nationals,” whether “overseas” or not, as the same.
Conform, repeat, and be dull? Don’t blame those who find the East Asian Games nothing more than a big yawn. Firecrackers display. Strobe lights and laser beams. Dancers, drummers and Cantopop stars. The official launch ceremony was highlighted with the same old rheumatic orgy of commotion that emerges seasonally whenever the Hong Kong SAR is itching to make a mountain out of a molehill to stress a point of self-importance, be it Chinese New Year, July 1, National Day or Mao’s birthday.
The ever-daring Lee Kuan Yew, the father of Singapore, never lets his fans down. The Cambridge-educated veteran statesman said last week: “I don’t think the Chinese are ever interested in democracy.” If not democracy, then what? “Money” is what was left unsaid.
Lee’s comment caused dismay among certain quarters of Hong Kong, and he was even branded a “racist” by some democrats. But can you blame the wise old man for his stereotypical, prejudiced, and politically incorrect verdict?
The speech to Shanghai university students blacked out. The interview with a liberal magazine censored. No major human rights issues were raised. The return for all this kow-towing goodwill? A blunt “no” from the Chinese to the American’s meek demand for the appreciation of the Renminbi, dashing any hope of easing the trade deficit and rising unemployment at home. Mutual agreement on the containment of Iran in regard to its nuclear proliferation? A deaf ear. Cut down CO2 emissions? Only if you do it first.
I called my solicitor last week. I asked him if I could sue a woman’s voice, which claims itself a “road safety commission”, which had abruptly interrupted my peaceful driving while crossing the Hung Hom tunnel.
Will we ever have democracy? It’s a question that’s been on Hong Kongers’ minds for over a decade now. Beijing and Chief Executive Donald Tsang have effectively said we will by 2017 and 2020 (for the election of chief executive and Legco respectively), but some of their opponents remain skeptical. At the same time, a growing number of people are beginning to feel that we should be focusing on other questions.
Justice Lai looks at the road to democracy for Hong Kong and considers how important an issue it still is.
Disneyland has finally been seduced by Shanghai into building a theme park in Pudong. No doubt this is a humiliating case of economic betrayal to the Hong Kong SAR government, but their response has been surprisingly humble. The Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Rita Lau, welcomed the decision and predicted that the two theme parks would be “complementary to each other.” Not a word of protest. How dare she? This is akin to adultery committed between a treacherous gweilo—in this case, the Walt Disney CEO in Los Angeles—with her motherland.
Hong Kongers are mi