The doings of our new legislature continue to provoke riveting – well at least copious – coverage in the sycophant press. Generally, this is not very interesting reading, but for those who are prepared to dig through the chaff, wheat occasionally emerges.
The Legislative Council’s latest masterpiece was a four-day tour of nearby cities. No less than 83 councillors made the trip. No doubt the remaining seven who declined the honour will be appropriately chastised in private. Also on the bus were five government officials and Chief Executive John Lee.
Lee was reported as saying that the trip had achieved “three results and three understandings.” Diligently scanning the report I was unable to locate the “three understandings,” but the “results” were “legislators and officials achieving unity, showed Hong Kong’s attitude to integrating into the Greater Bay Area, and reaching consensus with GBA cities to develop unity.”
No doubt this sounded better in Chinese.
“Hong Kong and the GBA cities,” Lee said, “also established a consensus to work jointly to promote the development of the GBA to a higher level, to achieve twice the result with half the effort.” One does not wish to discourage worthy ambitions, but this is not the way the mathematical relationship between effort and result usually works.
Lee also promised to take “patriots administering Hong Kong to a new level.” Quite what that might involve is a puzzle. Has the purge of non-patriots not been comprehensive enough? Perhaps this is just a euphemism for the up-coming unveiling of almost election-free District Councils.
Anyway this is all quite routine stuff. Large group of people get four days of VIP treatment in return for spending a great deal of time sitting in traditional Chinese furniture, drinking tea and listening to speeches in Mandarin. Lee seems increasingly fluent in mainland Chinese official-speak, which is no doubt a necessity in his job.
There was, though, a surprise. Lee said that the delegation had “pleasant communication with each other” and the trip was “full of laughter”, something which – in The Standard’s summary – was missing before the electoral system was reformed. No wonder they had to change it.
This is nice for defenders of our new reformed electoral system. It may not be as democratic or as exciting as the old one, but look on the bright side: for the new legislators it is a laugh a minute. Actually this is a risky look in the mainland. Officials there tend to take themselves very seriously. Giggle at your peril.
On the other hand, it would be perfectly safe and satisfactory if this talent for entertainment were to be displayed in local Legislative Council meetings, where funny moments have generally been rather thin on the ground.
Lee did not, alas, provide any specimens of the jests which had our representatives rolling on the floor laughing, but aspiring stand-up comics in the territory may be able to make something of the last stop on the trip, which was in Guangzhou.
Here they were treated to a visit to a treat called the Lijiao Wastewater Treatment Plant, some of which is sited 17 metres underground. This is what we used to call a “sewage farm,” where excrement is magically separated into drinkable water and sludgy fertiliser.
Elizabeth Quat Ph D (Phoney Degree) thought this was something Hong Kong could learn from.
Insert your own joke here. All my ideas are too seditious to print.
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