Saturday 7 June 2014

Weekend Letter from Hong Kong

Buddha: he's Big
An excellent week's business in Hong Kong, not to mention the Dragon Boat racing, and the 25th anniversary of a Certain Event that is commemorated here but not over the border.  With everything wrapped up I've gone tourist:  been up the mountain to commune with the Big Buddha, payed my respects at the Po Lin monastery, and walked the Wisdom Path.  
Wisdom Path:  a bit spooky

So: time to review the week's (English language) papers for the insights they offer to a culture I know nothing about.   My pick of the Hong Kong headlines (South China Morning Post):

Jail terms delay Triad elections

The Triads, it seems, go to the polls to elect their leaders every two years - but it's been postponed.  "The delay is to avoid creating an unfair election for those who will run but are likely to be jailed for criminal charges they are involved in."  Good to know the Triads have such a flexible constitution.

Drop in retail sales biggest in 5 years

Rather scary this:  "Consumption fell 9.8% year-on-year ... some economists blamed the gloomy figures on the continuing effects of the anti-corruption drive Beijing launched in 2012."  That's how much HK's economy depends on mainland Chinese business.

Textbook asks: can you match the races?

Well fancy that: primary schools are using a textbook that asks pupils "to match jobs with nationalities - Filipinos as maids, a South Asian as a construction worker, a white guy in a suit as a teacher, Japanese for restaurant owner; and choose the physical characteristics of different races, such as curly hair, thick lips, very dark skin ...  Who knew that racial stereotyping existed outside the UK ?

Arrested freedom / Facing the past

"Despite the changes made to China's human rights legislation after June 4 [1989], progress has been slow ... in recent years the situation for civil and political rights has significantly deteriorated."
"Reluctance of mainland Chinese to discuss the events of 1989 stems from both fear and shame, and open discussion would help foster trust in the government.  The Communist Party does not want to confront its mistakes because it is afraid."

Free speech still thriving hereabouts though, obviously.

Dragon Boats: they're fun

 pics © Nick Drew 2014


Anonymous said...

Anything on Vietnam from there? The last war the Chinese army fought was in 1979. Wonder if they are up for it again?

There is also the wider issue of search for resources for such a large population - though strangely we do not see the same issues with India.

Anonymous said...

They (the Chinese) got biffed last time, didn't they? Yes, there is all manner of hanky-panky going on in the S.China Sea: latest is, the Chinese are buidling an artificial island (based on a tiny atoll), that will be bigger than Diaego Garcia ! from which to project an "air defence zone"

it's in waters claimed by Viet Nam, naturally. Oh, and the Phillipines ...

ND from an airport terminal

Graeme said...

as you say,scary...

in 1990, I wasa doing the group accounts for a world-wide freight-forwarder. bad results came in from HK....followed by Singapore, Taiwan, Japan...and the rest of the globe.

Another trade recession? I hope not.

Anonymous said...

The US is wary of China but before they get to the stage of being a serious threat, there will be the local issues such as the Paracel islands.

A little local difficulty out there could lead in all sorts of directions. Worth watching

CityUnslicker said...

You can;t get me started on the South China sea...its all to close to home.

Lovely to see about the Triad elections - just like the European Parliament only with more legitimacy.