If I were to run for Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, I’ll win by a landslide margin, and gain unanimous support from the reflexively antagonistic legislators. Politicos from the left, right, centre, however confused or deranged, will rally behind me because nearly all registered voters will. Upon taking office, my one and only campaign promise will sail through Legco in the first month, after snipping a few red-tapes just for show, and seeking legal advice as a matter of formality. My plan is so simple even Legco members with sub-secondary education (and there are quite a few of them now) can understand immediately, and eagerly embrace. Finally, I will secure the blessing of Beijing. Don’t believe me? Read on for the beautifully simple details.
When (save the if, as that will be unnecessarily cautious if I do run) elected, I will seek to abrogate the foreign reserve system designed to fix the exchange rate between HK Dollars and USD, and distribute the 360 billion USD to all registered voters. The number of registered voters might jump to about 5.2 million as a result. Even some deceased persons may be revived by relatives to participate in the political process. After taking all of them into account, everyone will still receive approximately HK$530,000.
Now, any objections, dear honourable members of the Legislative Council?
To legislators with no other skills than filibustering to make a comfortable living, this offer touches their hearts and pockets. All they would need is a self-righteous banner, which I have it readymade for them: “Wealth back to the People” or any derivatives thereof. Look, this proposal will receive resounding support from paupers and plutocrats alike. The poor are understandably happy about becoming semi-millionaires overnight. Tycoons are just as pleased because they know the easy cash, once distributed, will be promptly and voluntarily uploaded to them through various real-estate pathways. Money will once again unify Hong Kong.
As for Pro-establishment law-makers, their “decisions” are shaped by 1) what the democrats say (not do, as doing is dated) 2) what the newspapers say is the people’s wish 3) what they second-guess Beijing’s preferences to be, and 4) how it may affect their personal businesses. In this case, their only reservations would be Beijing. But I assure you it will not be a problem.
China, run by technocrats rather than lawyers, is unfashionably rational. It likes to first analyse facts and data before making quiet long-term plans. I expect them to be alarmed by my ingenious plan at first. That’s why on my first day as CE, I’ll take a morning flight to Beijing.
Comrades, I’ll explain to them, Hong Kong is ungovernable at the moment mainly because it had stashed away too much money. Nobody wants to say this out loud but accumulated wealth from previous generations has become toxic, distorting social fairness and detaching many from the inconvenience and boredom of reality. Distributing the billions sitting there doing nothing right now, tethered to a foreign currency which faces the risk of imminent collapse, will help to restore sanity in the long run. Initially, there will be repercussions but we are here for the longterm aren’t we?
So far, except in the self-induced hallucinations of some Hongkongers, you have refused to interfere with Hong Kong for sound reasons. My tiny city, which started out significant, now only accounts for a mere few percents of national GDP. Our faltering school system produces very few talents the country needs. Given the one-country-two-systems firewall, you have wisely left Hong Kong alone to entertain itself with delusions, since your to-do list is full of much bigger items. If something useful miraculously emerges from our chaos, well, the rest of the motherland can learn from it. Everyone’s happy. If not, we’ll be a priceless negative example to shut the mouths of neoliberal apologists in the mainland. “Want to monkey neoliberal Democracy?” I know you’ll tell them. “Look at Taiwan and Hong Kong!”
The bottomline risk in continuing this “lazy affair” with Hong Kong is independence, an infinitely unlikely scenario which the PLA can take care of in an hour, including travel time. Furthermore, within the Hong Kong firewall are thousands of top-class colour-revolution experts trying out their tricks, while you comrades take notes from a safe distance in Beijing, like scientists observing pathogens on a petri dish. So why interrupt this wonderful experiment with many upsides and nearly no down ones?
But you might think demolishing the reserve system is a step too far right? I assure you not.
With the money back in the citizens’ pockets, and the reserve mechanism abrogated, a historical problem will be removed. Hong Kong’s fate will no longer be tied to the wobbling American currency. “What if Soros launches an attack?” Well, when that happens, depending on the conditions at the time, the Central Government can elect to rescue us. That would teach Soros another lesson, and integrate the Hong Kong currency with Renminbi in a way you deem fit. Alternatively, you may wish to let Hongkongers find out what it takes to be objectively useful, useful enough to sustain a worthy currency. It will be a healthy and desperately needed lesson for Hong Kong. I may chuckle at this point for effect. Beijing officials never laugh over something so devastatingly serious, but they’ll get my point, and discretely click like in their hearts. I’ll then take the evening flight home for dinner, with their blessing. What a wonderful day it’d be!
The only bad news is, unfortunately for Hong Kong folks, I’m not stupid enough to run for office.
James Tam 2016.9.12