Spare a thought for Hong Kong’s Financial Secretary Paul Chan, who has become the victim of an unusual attack involving an ancient spiritual ritual often held in the former British territory.
Called “petty person beating”, or Da Siu Yan in Cantonese, the ritual is said to be most powerful when held in Jing Zhe. This refers to the first thunder of the year as predicted by the Chinese lunar calendar – which started on Monday this week and finishes on March 20.
The ceremony is meant to dispel evil and the one arranged for Chan was held on Monday. However, it does not involve tattooed triad heavies, but old women, and there is one place in Hong Kong that believers in feng shui say is the best spot on the island to do it – under the famous Neck Goose Bridge in Causeway Bay.
The five-minute ritual often starts with an old lady holding her shoes and beating a paper tiger, which symbolizes beating the “petty person” out of the customers’ life and costs about HK$50 (US$6.41).
The subjects of these attacks are mostly mistresses, which according to unofficial statistics account for nearly half of the cases, followed by demanding bosses, troublesome neighbors, annoying colleagues or customers. So why Chan?
Last Wednesday, the Hong Kong Financial Secretary unveiled a record budget surplus of HK$138 billion, which failed to win the hearts of the people. They were looking to share in the enviable windfall of wealth which sprang mainly from expensive land auctions.
Meanwhile, the Macau government has been delivering $1,120 to each local resident annually for many years after producing successive budget surpluses.
Chan said he had already delivered as many cash incentives as possible to support the middle class and the underprivileged.
With a record GDP, skyrocketing residential property prices and booming equity markets, the Hong Kong SAR government appeared to leave out the low income group, nicknamed “N-nothing”, who are neither on public housing estates nor the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance scheme.
That means the income disparity in Hong Kong grew wider as the rich property tycoons become richer on the Forbes Rich List, but the poor become poorer because they cannot afford a tiny sub-divided flat.
Many Hong Kong people joined in the chorus to demand more from Chan because they feel they do not benefit from a waiver of property rates and a HK$50 billion innovation and technology investment program.
It is hardly surprising then that he has come under attack through this ancient ritual. But judging from the scene at Goose Neck Bridge this week, it looks like Chan has quite a lot to fix – and he better fix it quick if he believes in “petty person beating”.
Bad public economics both. The HK Government getting swell headed with its budget surplus. It is all on paper! Show us the accounts for say the HK Future Sovereign Fund as to its assets and liabilities – what land bank, what shares and securities, what foreign reserves etc etc.?
The government would serve the ‘populace’ better by not just buttering up to the rich by having a public housing commission building ‘public houses’ of private development quality and standard for private sale to individuals only – who have no other residential properties, with constraints as to resale and usage and also priority to those housing old parents – a public ‘private! housing scheme that would keep home prices affordable and accessible like what Singapore has.
And why give cash, unless there is a recession?
Better to spend money on a Job and Skills Retraining and Upgrading Commission so that all workers get free continuing job development training all the time – so they remain employable to befit the changing times.
If the HK citizens were not so assiduous and frugal and obeisant and respectful this type of governance would have been widely and openly ridiculed.
Public vocal dissent is barking up the wrong tree complaining about freedom to vote etc – it should be about freedom from incompetence, freedom from lack of compassion for the needy, the poor, the sick and most of all giving the people a genuine opportunity to have a life free from economic oppression and the condenscendence of the wealthy.
Why freedom to vote when it is more important to be respected as an equal no matter how poor or how menial your occupation is, to be respected as a fellow citizen – say No! to Class Snobbishness.
We need freedom from disrespect by the plutocrats – we too have a nose and two eyes and two ears and a mouth!
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