Unhappy Hong Kong
|Jul 4, 2009|
Here is my translation of the blog post:-
"Looking back at these past twelve years, I wouldn’t say there’s a lack of significant happenings, but I would say, to mimic a Mainland way of saying: 'Hong Kongers are unhappy'. Starting six years ago, on every handover day, we have been seeing more participants in protest marches than in handover parade ceremonies. Hong Kong has kept her reputation of 'the City of Protests' since before the handover.
On the lst day of Tung Chee-Hwa’s 7th year of governance, 500,000 protesters went to the streets to give him an earful, which led to his being let go on grounds of ill health. Then Donald Tsang took over. Citizens were so disgusted with Tung that they showered their love on Tsang. They were ecstatic about the change. In less than two years though, people began to have a change of heart. Today, some even start to miss Tsang’s predecessor.
Now that people have had a chance to compare the two, they have come to understand this: Tung was born of a wealthy family, is blunt and stubborn by nature, was unable to detect public sentiments, and only relied on his good heart and diligence to do his work. He was made out to be a good father. Were he placed in another position, he could have perhaps accomplished much more for Hong Kong. Tsang is just the opposite – he came from the grassroots level, he understands the needs of the lower social stratum and can also see what his bosses want of him, he is extremely street-smart. But he takes the approach of a paid employee, is spineless, and all he aims for is his own career advancement. He would make a super assistant, but, just like Tung, he also lacks the qualities demanded of a leader.
Thus analysed, it is a case of two extremes: one is too daft and the other is too crafty; one is too patriotic and the other too speculative; on a personal level, one is too selfless and the other too manipulative. Moreover, up to now there does not seem to be a presentable average candidate who is qualified to take over the reins in three years’ time.
Frankly, I am rather pessimistic about the future. In the last twelve years, political and economical development has been stagnant with the progress of infrastructure projects at a snail pace, relying solely on the support of CEPA initiatives. The original four pillars of industry have been reduced to just the finance industry. But those in the political opposition are only concerned with power and benefit grabbing without seeing the need for self-improvement; those in the administration lack the morals to motivate the civil workforce; none of them is able to convince the citizens of the need to make Hong Kong more competitive.
The latest sign of warning is the global financial tsunami, which has sparked off the global economic crisis. Financial assets have seen a bloodbath and Hong Kong leads the world in the drop of the number of millionaires. In other words, we rely on 'empty' figures for our well-being, but we have no solid industries like factories, product manufacturing and product patenting etc.
Granted, if Hong Kongers can take a fall in finance, they can also rise up again in finance. But the problem is that financial asset cycles are short and volatile. Without real industries, Hong Kong can only forever stumble forward inside a roller coaster. The only losers are those citizens who bet their retirement funds in the market.
No one can see a way out of this impasse. I have a photographer friend who emigrated in the year when SARS broke out after joining in the street protests. Since then, he has been coming back every year to take photos of the July 1st protests. He does not belong to any groups and he pays for the trips out of his own pocket – he merely wants to keep track of the movement. This may be something for Tsang to reflect on."