Iron Mike a patriotic missile waiting to be launched

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 15 February, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 15 February, 2004, 12:00am

Humble servant that I be, today I am here to report for patriotic duty. After the events of the past week, it's clear the best way to help Hong Kong is by being a patriot.

Our delegation on constitutional reform returned from Beijing and the message they carried was fairly simple: Patriots should govern Hong Kong. Beijing also said 'one country is the premise of two systems' and 'a high degree of autonomy for Hong Kong means self-governing under the authorisation of the central government'. In a habitually confused world, the message from the mainland is crystal clear.

No need to ask who's running Hong Kong, it's pretty obvious. Yet so many foreigners residing here are outraged at Beijing's heavy hand. They point out the 'inherent contradictions' in the fact that Hong Kong's autonomy hinges on the authorisation of the mainland government. An American friend referred to this latest salvo from Beijing as draconian.

'It's silly,' he said. But maybe he should have a closer look at what US Attorney General John Ashcroft and his droogs are up to with their own Patriot Act. If this was a heavyweight title fight, Ashcroft and company would easily out-draconian the boys from Beijing. Wouldn't even be a TKO, probably a second-round knockout.

So do you still think Beijing sounds silly? I don't and speaking of heavyweight fights, I would like to ask the Hong Kong government's permission to perform not only a patriotic act, but a sporting one as well.

I would like to bring Mike Tyson to town and I would like to use government money to do it. I happen to know that we still have some loot left from the $1 billion booty that was earmarked to 're-launch' Hong Kong post-Sars.

It's a perfect fit. Tyson is a washed-up has-been. Hong Kong habitually rolls out the red carpet for washed-up has-beens. How else can you explain Bobby Goldsboro and Andy Williams playing here?

Because of his notoriety, even a has-been Tyson fighting in Hong Kong would be a major event. And of course any major event here is going to raise Hong Kong's profile. You raise the profile of Hong Kong, you raise the demand to come here. And when you raise the demand to come here, ultimately you raise the value of property. Now what could be more patriotic than that?

The thing is, we can actually afford Tyson now. There was talk 10 years ago about staging Tyson's first fight after he was released from prison here in Hong Kong. But Tyson was a huge ticket then. It would have cost millions upon millions to even consider bringing him here and Hong Kong was in the midst of a mind-numbingly arrogant economic bubble so there was no need to have Iron Mike come over to prop up our profile. Now? The guy is broke; he has exactly US$5,553 in his bank account.

He's trying to get by on a journalist's salary and isn't that ironic. This is a guy who has burned through close to US$400 million in earnings. All Tyson has left now is a slew of memories and his vaunted collection of pet pigeons.

Of course, if we bring Tyson to Hong Kong, Beijing will want to know if he is patriotic. Listen, he's so patriotic he'll make sure his pigeons get bird flu. And then he'll have the deputy governor of Guangzhou chastise the 'irresponsible' Hong Kong media for reporting on the outbreak when everybody knows that these birds 'either died because they were run over by cars or were poisoned by farmers'.

Not only is Tyson patriotic, he's a patriotic missile just waiting to be deployed by Beijing. This is certainly a big deal because amidst all the talk of Hong Kong's constitutional reform and being run by patriots, so many commentators and pundits have conveniently overlooked how this will affect Taiwan.

Here is democratic Taiwan with a contentious referendum on independence coming up. Here is Beijing telling Taiwan that it should follow Hong Kong's lead and reunite with the motherland under 'one country, two systems'.

Apparently, Taiwanese legislators are looking at the latest round of constitutional reform in Hong Kong and asking, do we really want China to run us?

But these silly politicians in Taiwan don't know what they want. Watch their parliamentary sessions and all they do is fight - literally. They pound on each other relentlessly. You show Iron Mike a couple of tapes of the scrums in the Taiwanese legislature and he'll be licking his chops. Ladies and gentlemen, meet the newest legislator representing mainland China, Mike Tyson.

The word will come out of Taiwan rather quickly: You know, re-unification is not such a bad idea. And the perfect opponent to fight Iron Mike here would be 55-year-old George Foreman, another former heavyweight champ who said he wants to fight again.

Well, if Goldsboro and Williams can play in Hong Kong, why not Tyson and Foreman? At least those guys have been relevant in the past 30 years. Not only is it the right thing to do, but, most importantly, it's the patriotic thing to do.