Crowning glories of the 'Big Noodle' laid bare in symbolist's dream diary
PATRIOTIC Hong Kongers will accept no other desk diary in the coming years.
Our picture today is of the fabulous Bank of China Securities 'Return to Motherland' two-year diary.
Each page has the countdown to July 1, 1997, on it in friendly red letters. After June 30, there is a series of blank pages with the heading 'Important Events'. Deconstructionists make of this what you will.
Each page also has a picture of some edifying subject such as a Tai Hang public housing estate and a bit of blurb on 'Achievements of Hong Kong'.
One achievement of Hong Kong seems to be having coins - but not a 10 cent piece, according to the photograph.
Others are various public housing estates and another is a Scandinavian mobile phone.
The section on transport manages to contain a picture of the airport with no Cathay aircraft in shot - equivalent to randomly pointing and shooting a camera on the longest hole at Fanling golf course and snapping a hole in one. Indeed, although there is a picture of a China Southern plane, there is no mention of Hong Kong's 'national carrier' at all. Hmmm.
A huge committee of honorary advisers helped draft the book, which also contains a full copy of the Basic Law above the pages for the second half of 1997. Several of the committee members are quite well known and a few are on the Preparatory Committee. Some come from Macau.
All in all, it is a truly splendid tome and we can quite understand why the sender of our copy wants it back - to give to the grandchildren when they are old enough to understand.
Holesome praise OVER the harbour in Kowloon Bay, our competitor the Hongkong Standard is delighted by the choices made by China for the Preparatory Committee.
The paper slams Chris Patten's introduction of democracy and direct elections by the ordinary people of Hong Kong as an 'aberration' and lauds the selection of loads of China business heavyweights.
The writer draws attention to the fact that the old-style gweilo hongs enriched themselves by exploiting their positions on the Executive Council. Patriotic Chinese businessmen would never do that, presumably.
The double-page spread of members' pictures has one or two holes, however.
Apparently the Sub-Standard doesn't have a picture of Li Ka-shing. Or Willie Fung. Or Herbert Liang . . . we could go on.
Re-connected HEARTY congratulations to Maria Tam on her appointment to the Preparatory Committee.
We were worried that Ms Tam might never again be close to the centre of power after that little incident in 1990 when it emerged that in addition to being head of the powerful Transport Advisory Committee she was also a shareholder in a taxi company and had an interest in Citybus.
Luckily China doesn't let little slips of this sort interfere with its appointments.
Another interesting fact about Ms Tam is that in September 1993 she was all for universal suffrage in Hong Kong. As she matured she dropped such firebrand radical policies, or else she was misquoted and really meant 'universal suffering'.
We'll be studying the resumes of all the committee members very carefully next year, but young whippersnappers such as Lai See could easily miss the more recondite elements that go to make up the history of the future great and good of Hong Kong.
Our readers normally prove to be far better informed than us; perhaps some of them might be good enough to drop us a line, an e-mail or a telephone call to guide our steps in this tricky area.
The mushy bit LAST Lai See of 1995 and time to thank our loyal readers and contributors.
Heaps of people have helped us along by drawing attention to the things some people would rather attention was not drawn to.
Of course, sometimes there have been mistakes in our own column, and one of our pals amusingly drew our attention to the similarities between the words 'Simon' and 'moron'. One anonymous correspondent once went so far as to advise us to 'pack up the tents and close down the circus'.
If you dish it out, you've got to take it on the chin.
A number of my learned friends also passed on opinions on various items that featured and our own legal adviser would almost certainly like to thank you each personally for bunging the business his way. Indeed, Deacons is likely to name an extension to its office here after the column.
Negative comments were an exception, however, and most readers seem to appreciate the idea of a column dedicated to kicking the pomposity out of those in need of the service and indulging in some fin de siecle humour.
For various reasons, we can't thank each one of you individually and we won't just thank the people whose names we can publish. Instead, a genuine and massive 'thank you' to everyone who has helped to make the column - and that includes our victims.
Some small-animal-torturing columnists get all sniffy if readers complain about mundane things or don't come up with the inside story on Daya Bay. Lai See says if the readers care, then we care, and no target is too small or too big.
Watch out for weirdness and keep your sense of humour in the coming year - we think you may need it.