Cantonese fury

My late mother spoke passable Cantonese (I would describe my own Cantonese as adequate but not good); one of her mahjong friends spoke none; she spoke Yangzhou dialect, barely comprehensible even in my mother’s circle of Shanghainese friends, but her husband was MCTam, a successful horse trainer (stable chief) of HK Jockey Club, with high pay, and social status beyond typical expectation because of attention horse training received from punters, and contact with horse owners, typically rich people with slight hints of the dark side. Mrs Tam had some passport issue which I wont explain and was hauled to immigration dept for questioning, and my mother went along to translate. The girl in the office was extremely rude, dismissing Mrs Tam as some country immigrant from Mainland (in SG this meant Malaya; in HK this meant…), until time to fill in a form with address “you live in the Jockey Club staff quarters?” “her husband is MCTam” my mother said, with some malicious pleasure at the girl’s obvious discomfiture as she became courteous, as she should have been from the start.

I relate this to show certain unique aspect of HK culture, which used to cover more than 50million people, with large communities in North American urban centres NY, Toronto, Vancouver, LA… Today the number is still large, yet the communities are dying, swamped by new, mandarin speaking immigrants from Mainland. The older people in Chinatown speak cantonese still, but their kids do not, and there are few new cantonese speaking immigrants to take their place. Before China had diplomatic relation with USA, the very large immigration quota for China was mainly taken by Taiwanese and Hongkees, allowing large cantonese and Taiwanese communities to develop, but after 40 years of the new quota distribution… In the mean time, Guangdong province, the hinterland of cantonese population, has joined the rest of Mainland: the young might speak a smattering of cantonese, their children none; further, new cities like Shunzhen are mandarin speaking. HK is now the lone place in the world where cantonese not only dominates, but regards it politically incorrect to reduce its use to promote the economically more useful English and Mandarin.

HK used to have cultural influence well beyond its size – it was rich while Mainland was poor, westernized (partially at least) when Mainland was backward, it had its own movie stars, singers, that were more popular in Mainland than Mainland stars….

In economic issues, Tung Chee Hua actually had many ideas: he wanted to build 85K apartments per year to allow most hongkees to own property; he wanted to build a cyberport (contract was given to Richard li, who BTW uses a Singapore company as the vehicle to control his business empire), chip manufacturing (the person that won the contract was criticized as land grabber – he moved to shanghai), herbal medicine R&D centre… partly due to sheer bad luck – his term had Asian financial crisis, wall street dotcom crash, sars… he achieved none of this, but the more important reason was HK was too used to making fortunes in real estate and finance and did not have the combination of skill and attitudes to adjust to new reality. His successor Donald Tsang did not even try – he got high reputation from defeating George Soros’s short sell of HK$ and share in the Crisis, and believed the old ways were enough; he loved hobnobbing with rich people, which led to criminal charges and jail after he left office though he was eventually found innocent. I can only pity his successors Leung and Lam.

The cantonese fury is easily understandable, but understanding and solving are very far apart. I am pessimistic, but have no wish for others to agree.



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I can no longer work for him…

added on 5 aug 2019 with all the mass shooting cases, it becomes even easier for a brave mouse to come out to bell the cat “we need a more prudent president who does not send incendiary tweets, a real conservative not a radical populist: if mike Pompeo or nikki haley wants to be the mouse putting bell on cat, this is a good time; for nikki especially – she could also be told to go home to work for democracy in india; so if they want to be president in 2021…

come to think of it, trump’s family came from germany; he too might want to go home to work for democracy; I hear merkel trembles at the thought… theresa may might not like it either

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one country two systems

1c2s was in intensive care since occupy central, and is now on life support. When gov makes concession but protesters up their demand, we r up for a very bad ending.

If after tonight the crowd go home and not gather without new provocation, hk can still muddle thru. If they gather again and persist in upping the ante, we r looking at another Tiananmen. the hope lies in most of the democracy leaders realizing that they need to restrain their followers now, while they still have some influence; they r themselves at risk of being swept aside by the tide

but as long as 1c2s is not officially dead, it can be used as a negotiation scheme with Taiwan – maybe HK 2s was not so good; we can have a different one with u, so tell me what u want, as long as u believe in 1c; as for Taiwan independence, they first need to define what an independent Taiwan claims as its territory; Jinmen and mazu were counties of Fujian province not Taiwan province, and in practical life they cannot maintain close relation with taiwan next to a hostile china. Taiwan guys r always very reluctant to come to specifics; in fact they often don’t even claim to be aiming for independence, only democracy, freedom, people’s will etc. if u try to pin them down too specifically they soon start to call u names

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monica baey

added on 4/5/2019 I find the result amusing, but I am sure many do not. Waiting for Straits Times to interview Monica about this.

added on 24/4/19 the minister of education criticized nus for being too lenient with the offender (but did not discuss police leniency in his statement) and nus president apologized for not giving monica baey more support; I do not know what blogsphere followup might be like, but would like to point out these earlier comments as rubbish:

1. nus tried to cover up – the girl made police report so no cover up was possible even if nus wanted to; nus discipline board handled it from the nus perspective, whether the guy should continue as student, a separate issue from criminal investigation in the police domain

2. nus failed to instill good morals in students – by the time students enter nus they are 18-20, and males have done national service; while continued enforcement of common moral values is within the brief of all organizations, one would expect character formation to occur earlier

3. parents would not want their kids to go to nus because of its leniency towards offenders – there have been past cases, and the penalties applied were similar;

whether these cases affected student recruitment is beyond my knowledge domain, but researchers and reporters might want to follow these

why did the blogsphere focus on nus leniency not police? guess universities are softer targets

further added 24/4/19

backflow occurring; he overstates the case, understandable considering how one sided the opinions have been


After the boyfriend of another girl in the dormitory filmed her taking shower using iphone under the door:

I’m the one suffering in fear of going (to the) toilet alone and having flashbacks of your deed.
Monica is asking for NUS to implement two things, in a series of Instagram Stories she shared on Saturday:
Implement clearer campus policies to protect students against sexual misconduct, including stricter punishments, more visibility on how cases have been handled, education for students on sexual harassment and respectful relationships, and an official sexual crime code of conduct
Better support for victims of sexual harassment in NUS, including setting up a one-stop office providing free services for sexual misconduct victims such as befrienders who are professionally trained to provide information and support at hospitals, police stations and courts
She noted that such victim support is provided at women’s group AWARE Singapore’s Sexual Assault Care Centre.

two questions came to my mind

1. if NUS does these two things, does she expect to stop fear of going to toilet alone and having flashbacks?
2. did she ask for help from AWARE Singapore’s Sexual Assault Care Centre? was it useful?

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Lky congress 1985

Therefore America will find that the putting up of tariff barriers is not
enough. She will have to go one step further: she will have to be the policeman,
to enforce order over her sphere of influence, of the world outside the Soviet
After World War I the US left the league of Nations and withdrew into
isolationism. Nevertheless, inexorably, she was again drawn into the vortex of
war by December 1941.
The Soviet Union, since world War II, dominates her allies as satellites in
Comecon. The Soviets also maintain the balance between them and the other
aspiring communist societies like Cuba, Vietnam and Ethiopia. In like manner,
without adjustments through open and fair trade, the US must enforce some kind
of dominance on her own allies in Europe and Japan. And America and Europe
together must police and keep the peace between the other jostling and
contending societies in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The more dynamic
countries, prevented from thriving through trade, must be prevented from rechannelling
their energies towards expansion of their territory or of their
influence to get assured markets. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately for the
rest of the world, the US Constitution enshrines a system of open government
which does not allow its leaders to exercise such dominion over other countries
and governments in the same way that leaders of totalitarian states can.
Let us not forget that protectionism and less trade mean less growth for the
developing countries. This means debt burdens cannot be discharged. Defaults
may be unavoidable, with incalculable consequences for the international banking
system. Even if the banks survive the upheavals, these developing countries will
have to abandon all thoughts of liberalisation towards plurality and more
democratic freedoms. Severe or repressive government is the other side of
austere or negative economic growth.
An over-strong dollar has caused the huge trade deficits. A volatile and
speculative foreign exchange market has exaggerated the factors working
towards a strong dollar. The recent meeting in New York of the G5, Finance
Ministers of five largest industrial nations, has given grounds for optimism that
the over-valued dollar can be brought down by concerted action of the G5
Finance Ministers and their Central Banks. Congress should stay its hand and
allow these efforts time to work.

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Trump and KGB

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70 years young

with the 92 year old mahathir taking power next door and cancelling high speed rail project, LHL is no doubt disappointed that the efforts invested in the close relationship with najib (and the real estate buys around jurong east made by SG government and individuals) will not pay off, but in one way mahathir is helping LHL greatly: it is no longer urgent to hand over to a successor – he is after all 25 years younger than mahathir; it is now no problem at all to serve as PM well into his 70s – there is always some issue of whether his health continues to hold up as years pass by, but then, younger leaders can suddenly take ill, like Heng Swee Keat and Tan Chuan Jin; so just keep fingers crossed and carry on

he has already said a successor will be designated before the next election; going by the precedents of GCT and himself: GCT was designated by LKY in 1984 when he was given the job of running the election campaign that year; when the votes turned out to be somewhat disappointing on election night, he was visibly nervous (as were his associates with him that night), but LKY quickly settled this by praising the electorate’s mature voting pattern (voting opposition in districts where PAP candidates were not at risk, and where opposition was already entrenched, withholding where things were closer); GCT was finally given the baton in 1990; LHL was singled out by GCT as most promising almost immediately, so his apprenticeship was even longer. We do not know whether he would have taken over faster if he did not get cancer in 1993.

therefore whoever chosen by LHL is likely to succeed only after two elections, e.g., 2025-6, when LHL will be about 75

added on 29/9/2018 Law minister shanmugan caused some embarrassment when he advised the audience at a corporate governance conference to watch who gets elected as the next PAP secretary general – the report in one news site was quickly withdrawn and replaced next morning with the statement deleted, meaning there will not be a change of secretary general; a later report than asked people to watch who becomes the next first assistant secretary general; this did not get withdrawn, but also did not cause a stir (nor did the first one, including the withdrawal; to most readers, the concept of party secretary general merely draws a blank)

assuming that in the Dec 2018 party congress someone does get elected as first assistant secretary general in place of Teo Chee Hian, he/she would be in charge of the next election campaign, expected in 2rd half of 2019; good or at least adequate performance would cement his/her status as successor, but we do not know how long the apprenticeship would last

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