Sunday, 8 March 2020
Hong Kong Tomorrow
Many people are asking when will Hong Kong get better. To answer, we must clarify what Hong Kong and better mean. This clarification is fundamental and necessary, not pedantic or rhetorical. Without any notion of Hong Kong, and better, the question is meaningless.
If Hong Kong means the 1100 square kilometres of landmass, then it will remain largely the same, assuming no climatic or geological catastrophes.
If you see Hong Kong as an entity defined by performance indexes and its currency, then you’ve got a huge black cloud, though not without its silver lining.
A relatively achieved ‘objective’ of the Cockroach terrorists is Larm Chow — to go down with everyone in a forced embrace, a kind of social suicide bombing — coincidentally the apparent global ‘reset’ strategy of the American Empire. As a result of Larm Chow, and the untimely arrival of the corona virus which promptly got masked in politics, GDP will slip. Small businesses and low income earners are severely affected. Unfortunately, the government’s only economic skill is the 18th century do-nothing Laissez Faire based on Francois Quesnay’s French translation of the Daoist Wu Wei concept, narrowly interpreted and promoted by The Economist magazine, which hasn’t changed much itself since 1843. The working class will therefore be victimised with active non-interference. The rich will be little affected, as usual. Those in control of market forces will make even more money from Larm Chow.
The Hong Kong Dollar, tethered to the precarious US currency, is beyond our control. When the big shock comes, I see no reason why Beijing should defend the SAR’s independent currency beyond its intrinsic value. What is its intrinsic value? Now, that’s an important question few people bother to ask.
The silver lining to a major economic downturn is that it may help Hong Kong to return down to earth. It will be rough landing, but promises to reconnect us with reality. At the moment, far too many things are thoughtlessly taken for granted.
There’s a plethora of other indexes, designed by outsiders who don’t have our circumstances and welfare in mind, yet taken to heart by many people. These vanity distractions should be disregarded if Hong Kong is serious about reform and recovery (recovery would be well-nigh impossible without reform, I think). On the Freedom Index, we would do well to slide down a dozen or more notches. Being one of the freest places on earth year after year has not prevented cockroach terrorists ransacking the place for freedom. Perhaps freedom is like blood pressure; having a higher reading than everyone else indicates dangerous imbalance — something to worry, not brag about. Hong Kong’s Gini index, if indeed a meaningful reflection of wealth disparity, should also drop, though I suspect it’ll get worse for now.
Meanwhile, sadly, crime rates will rise.
If Hong Kong is seen as a Special Administrative Region of China, then its role in the larger community is a critical issue which has been dodged and neglected for far too long. This must change if we are to regain strength and a sense of purpose. Taken out of national context, there is no substantial ‘Hong Kong interests’ to speak of. Without China in mind, Queen Victoria would not have bothered with Hong Kong in 1842 even if offered. It’s time that we give this reality — an uplifting one if we open our eyes and mind — sober recognition. Presently, Hong Kong is supposedly China’s most ‘international’ city. Yet it’s in fact the most self-centred, static, dazed, and parochial of all. World situation is more volatile and complex than ever. Hong Kong must understand its role, duties, and obligations in the big picture in order to continue enjoying a special status which has been mistaken as entitlement by many. Petulance is no longer affordable.
If you’re a humanist, the wellbeing and happiness of Hong Kong citizens must come first. However, that would lead to abstract interpretations because we hardly know what happiness is. Contentment is highly personal, not necessarily related to external factors, especially when the stomach is full. But the livelihoods of many have taken a brutal hit by cockroaches and viruses, making it more difficult to smile. To alleviate, those who can afford it should take more taxis, dine out more often at local eateries etc. to resuscitate consumption. Being cautious against the threat of an epidemic is prudent. But hallucinating viral shadows everywhere does more harm than good to the community, and one’s mental health.
If Hong Kong were a busload of sleepy passengers, the driver has steered off the highway at the command of a few suicidal fanatics. These democracy cultists are now chanting in unison, urging the driver to run off the cliff: Freedom! Larm Chow! Democracy! Larm Chow! So far, the driver’s only known response has been: I hear you. Listening as always. Worrying isn’t it? There’s a desperate need to reinstall common sense and functional governance. If Hong Kong remains perpetually unsure where to draw the line of reason, reality will scratch it out for us, and it won’t be pleasant.
Hong Kong’s inventory of fortune has been significantly depleted, and time is running out if we want to preserve some of its historical prerogatives in the national framework. There will inevitably be short-term pain ahead, and many daunting tasks to tackle on the road to recovery. The sooner we sober up and revive the legendary spirit under the Lion Rock to face these challenges, the more clear-headed we are about what Hong Kong is, the sooner will we see a better tomorrow. There’s no room left for wishful thinking.