CY’s Final Policy Address?
Despite sidestepping the question on whether he would be standing for a second term in an interview with RTHK that followed the Policy Address (highlights), some (Harbour Times), EJinsight) thought that the Policy Address itself gave the game away. There were no grand people-pleasing gestures to remember him for, but rather, CY’s approach was more designed to please those who might vote him in again. Number one on the list was: “Actively facilitate and participate in the National 13th Five-Year Plan and the Belt and Road Initiative to create new opportunities…”. SCMP described the address as “pedestrian” and commented that the address avoided any of Hong Kong’s real issues that might cause upset, such as labour law. A HKU survey gave the address an all-time low score. CY defended himself saying (something along the lines) that a buoyant economy (as a result of the Belt and Road initiative) would make all things come right.
“As the old saying goes, it is always the little things in life that count, and it appears Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying is a firm believer in this proverb… Our chief executive’s attention to detail is absolutely staggering.” EJinsight
“Alice Wu says the chief executive’s focus on trivial matters in his policy address, seemingly to avoid further controversy, is a worrying indication of the political dysfunction in Hong Kong” SCMP
Hang Seng Slides Below the 20,000 Line
2016 hasn’t started well as far as the markets are concerned with the Hang Seng Index falling for a couple of weeks now. On Monday we learnt that it had closed below 20,000 for the first time since 2013; on Tuesday the index was at its lowest since 2012. On Friday the index closed at 19,520.77. Market analysts attributed the decline to investors’ lack of confidence in China’s economy, according to a SCMP report, “with many remaining worried about further shocks in the market and fluctuations in the currency”. Not unrelated, the Hong Kong dollar also suffered its worst week of declines in 12 years.
Medals for Hong Kong
Hong Kong is not known for sport but this weekend was an exception as Hong Kong hosted the finale of the 2015/16 UCI Track Cycling World Cup and celebrated the 20th Hong Kong Marathon.
Around 300 elite cyclists from over 38 countries/regions, including the Great Britain, USA, Australia and Russia competed in the UCI event, an important point-scoring event ahead of the Rio Olympics. Hong Kong’s women did well with Sarah Lee Wai-sze bringing a bronze medal to Hong Kong and landed second in Women’s Keirin , and Lang Qianyu taking bronze in the C1 Women’s Scratch Race.
Despite the rain, 61,000 of the 74,000 registered runners (marathon, half marathon and 10km) turned up to run in the 20th Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon. With an international field (runners from African nations took most of the top prizes), Hong Kong’s Olympic runner Christy Yiu Kit-ching finished in sixth place in the women’s marathon, taking home a prize of $56,879. That’s a good reason to get out of bed!
Posh Pig Checks Out The Conrad
Hong Kong island hikers will have seen the occasional wild boar while hiking in the country parks, but this week a pig with aspirations decided to go upmarket and hang out outside The Conrad Hotel. The event was reported as far afield as the UK in The Guardian. As usual the Chinese papers, in particular the Oriental Daily, got the best pics. The Conrad pig evaded capture, but later in the week another/the same pig was seen in Hong Kong Park, and this time tranquilized and captured.
Rivers Wins Top Honours at Cantonese Music Awards
Despite what most expats think, it turns out it’s not impossible to learn Cantonese and speak it like a true Hong Konger. This week Australian-born Gregory Rivers wowed the audience at the Cantonese TVMost music awards as he lifted awards for “Gold song” and “Most Popular Singer”. TVMost, as described by Hong Kong Free Press’s “explainer” article, is a hugely popular satirical website and social media platform founded in 2015.
And of course you want to know River’s back story: inspired by his Canto-pop loving Chinese friends back home in Gympie, Queensland, Rivers arrived in Hong Kong close to 30 years ago and soon found himself in TVB where he spent 20 years acting Cantonese TV dramas. He is said to be Hong Kong’s best-known expatriate.