Feeding an appetite for controversy
Guess who came to dinner? An alleged former triad boss. Guess who invited him? A great mystery. Guess who organised the dinner? An even greater mystery. Rural leader Tang Ho-nin denied for days that he did. Then yesterday he confessed. What's he hiding? Guess who settled the bill?
Depends on who you ask. If none present knew who paid or who exactly had organised the dinner, how come they all knew precisely when and where to turn up? And that includes the triad boss. Somebody please summon Sherlock Holmes. Get Dr Watson, too. There certainly is nothing elementary about the case.
Did Leung Chun-ying's people set up the sit-down to canvass votes or get the dirt on election rival Henry Tang Ying-yen from alleged former gangster Kwok Wing-hung, also known as Shanghai Boy? Is Henry Tang hiding even more dirt? If so, how did an alleged gangster get to know about it? If not, why did Shanghai Boy turn up for the dinner? Was he a freeloader? Who ordered the food if there was no host? And what did they all eat anyway? Most important, was the food good? The plot thickens.
Hot on the trail of a culinary bargain
Some at the dinner say they each paid HK$150. Who collected? Leung Chun-ying's people - four were at the dinner - said they paid HK$500 towards the HK$1,000 dinner. But HK$150 a head totals HK$600 for four, not HK$500. The bigger mystery is how on earth they all stumbled on a Lau Fau Shan restaurant where a dinner for about 10 people can be had for just HK$1,000. Holmes needs to track down that restaurant. It's only fair to share this gem with all Hong Kong.
Why this kowtowing for election votes?
Forget about who invited Shanghai Boy to dinner. Let's ask instead why he was given a seat at the table. It was a Heung Yee Kuk dinner. The Heung Yee Kuk is a powerful rural organisation. It has 28 votes on the 1,193-strong Election Committee that selects the chief executive. Its leader, Lau Wong-fat, is a legislator and sits on Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen's cabinet. So why were kuk members mixing with an alleged gangster? Why wasn't Shanghai Boy thrown out the minute he turned up? But we, of course, all know kuk members themselves behave like thugs. They threatened to rape former legislator Christine Loh Kung-wai when she said rural women should have the same right as male villagers to build so-called small houses on government land. And when development secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor pledged a crackdown on New Territories illegal structures, a mob of kuk members shouted 'you deserve to die' as they torched a beheaded effigy of her in a coffin. These are the people our chief executive candidates have to kowtow to for small-circle election votes. Why?
Tang, Leung and the question of effective leadership
How is it even possible now for either Henry Tang or Leung Chun-ying to lead effectively? One is waist-deep in poop over wife-cheating and an illegal basement palace. The other is sinking into a cesspool of allegations that he connived with a gangster to smear his rival. If Tang wins, the people - who feel the scandal over his basement makes him unfit to lead - will take to the streets. If Leung wins, the tycoons - who detest him - will rebel. Our leaders in Beijing must be muttering to themselves that this was not what they had bargained for when they took Hong Kong back from the British. One way out is for neither Tang nor Leung to win enough votes on March 25. That will force a re-election in May, opening the way for more candidates. Beijing sees a failed election on March 25 as a loss of face? But why? Surely, finding a leader with popular support is more important than a loss of face.