• Thu
  • Dec 18, 2014
  • Updated: 11:09am
Lai See
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 25 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 25 October, 2012, 5:05am

Regina Ip versus Paul Zimmerman on Facebook

BIO

Howard Winn has been with the South China Morning Post for two and half years after previous stints as business editor and deputy editor of The Standard, and business editor of Asia Times. His writing has also been published in the Far Eastern Economic Review, the Wall Street Journal, and the International Herald Tribune. He writes the Lai See column which focuses on the lighter side of business.
 

Facebook is not for everyone, but we have to admit it does throw up some entertaining moments. Readers will recall that after C.Y. Leung was elected chief executive, there was considerable speculation about who would be made a minister or appointed to Exco. Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee was the focus of much of this speculation. However, she missed out when the ministers were appointed on June 28 and then again when the non-official members to Exco were announced the next day. One appointment that apparently rankled with her was Starry Lee Wai-king, vice-chairwoman of the DAB.

Later that day, she was involved in an exchange on somebody's Facebook wall, which has been republished on Facebook since Ip's recent elevation to Exco. Ip was evidently feeling somewhat edgy on the evening of June 29, and the first comment in the exchange says: "It's like some TV network; you become a star if you are backed by a powerful producer." Then Shakespeare: "Some are born great; some achieve greatness; some have greatness thrust upon them."

Then Paul Zimmerman chips in with "Regina, darling don't put sour grapes on Facebook!!" Ip retorts: "Paul Zimmerman, who are you to patronise me? I am voicing the truth! Isn't it true that some have greatness thrust upon them? Who are you to lecture me?" For good measure, she follows up with "And don't you ever 'darling' me. That makes my hair stand up!!!" There's an intervention by someone else, and Ip replies: "But I cannot stand Zimmerman 'darling' me. Really this sort of patronising remark really makes me sick. Reminds me of the ugly colonial era." Zimmerman and Ip can't be described as close.

Zimmerman defeated a candidate supported by Ip for the Southern District Council in 2010. In a rather petulant piece in the South China Morning Post, she attributed the victory of the "gweilo" to the desire on the part of the district's large expatriate community to support "one of their own kind".

 

A setback for Bowtie

Adversity continues to dog former chief executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen. He has been nominated to be vice-chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference but has apparently encountered strong opposition from influential people, the Economic Times reports. If Tsang can't be vice-chairman, he won't join the CPPCC, the paper's sources say.

 

Fatal attractions at the Venetian

Venetian Macau has caused a stir with "The Human Bodies Exhibition" that was due to open yesterday. It comprises 200 preserved human bodies or organs dissected to display their workings. All the exhibits come from the mainland, and there have been suggestions that some of the bodies are of executed prisoners, according to Macau Business. A legislator has requested documentation proving the bodies were voluntarily donated.

The Venetian has received a petition against the exhibition from volunteer group Macau Conscience. The hotel describes the exhibition in its promotional literature as an "intimate and informative view into the human body … that allows visitors to see and celebrate your body's inner beauty in ways you never dreamed possible". For those dying to have a look, the exhibition closes on February 24.

 

Show us the money

One theme that's getting some traction on the mainland these days is that if the Communist Party is serious about reform, it should make members and officials publicly declare their assets. At present, there is an internal declaration of assets, which is not public. The shortcomings of these arrangements were shown up when an official was found to own 22 properties while, according to his internal declaration, he owned two.

The People's Daily reports that Jiang Zongfu, deputy mayor of Linxiang, Hunan, told a Changsha newspaper a public declaration would result in "social chaos" as asset-rich officials would be deemed corrupt while those declaring few assets would be accused of lying. However, it went on to quote Zhu Lijia, a professor at the Chinese Academy of Governance, who said Jiang's reasoning was "absurd" but typical of many officials.

"If officials … can declare their property and can explain the source of their income … they will gradually win back people's trust," Zhu said. That would seem to be quite a big "if".

 

Contact Us Have you got any stories that Lai See should know about? E-mail them to howard.winn@scmp.com

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