Lost in translation
Panic tank?

Small election, not many hurt

When I was walking to the supermarket on Sunday I was slightly surprised to see a police wagon driving along and a couple of policeman standing by the side of the road looking bored. Then I remembered that we were having an election.  How could I have forgotten?  Well, maybe because (like most people in Hong Kong) I don't have a vote in this election - and of the 200,000 who do, only just over a quarter actually bothered to vote, so I'm not surprised the policemen looked bored.

Welcome to the surreal world of Hong Kong politics.

The only point of interest in the election was whether the pan-democrats could win more than 100 seats on the Election Committee, enabling them to nominate a candidate (Alan Leong Kah-Kit) to stand against Donald Tsang in the election for a new Chief Executive next March. They did, and they will, but they also know that he will lose (because the Central Government appoints most of the members of the Election Committee).

This brings us to the central problem of Hong Kong politics - the pan-democrats are by nature an opposition grouping, which will no longer be relevant when there is the possiblity of gaining real power. Like all single issue parties, the irony is that if you are successful you should cease to exist.

Therefore it isn't relevant whether Alan Leong would make a good CE or not, because he isn't going to win the election. His policies really don't matter. Equally, you may well think that Donald Tsang has proved himself to be a competent CE and deserves to be re-elected, but that isn't the point either. In fact, in a totally free election, Tsang might well win, but then if we had a totally free election he would probably be up against a stronger candidate...

I suppose the only positive thing that can be said about all this strangeness is that it's better to have an election than not to have one - even if we do know the result in advance.


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From todays SCMP:

Shoe shiners fail to merit a tip

Pundits are still scratching their heads about the Democrats' strong showing in the Election Committee polls. Was it a vote for democracy, for a contested chief executive election or a protest vote against the Tsang administration? According to one core Democrat it was a vote against a "culture of shoe-shining".

"There is a strong feeling, particularly among professionals, against the prevalence of `shoe shiners'; people who try to second-guess, to please Beijing, to take advantage of their position to build guanxi [connections]," he said. "People accept there should be more co-operation and contact with mainland authorities. When they found some used that as a ruse to seek political gains, it backfired. That is why some big names in professional sectors got few votes."

Seems like a reasonable analysis.

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