Tang's follies saddle Beijing with unpleasant choices
Now that we have stopped splitting our sides at the fumbling and stumbling of Henry Tang Ying-yen and his entourage, we have to think about what happens next. The process has gone sadly awry to the chagrin of the body that was supposed to be 'guiding' it - the central government's liaison office. It is presumably too late for another candidate to enter the 'contest'. It is conceivable that Tang's backers - the tycoons, who want a pliable front man - have enough votes to enable Tang to win the election. But it seems hard to believe that Hongkongers are going to sit idly by for that. The liaison office is unlikely to want to risk a repeat of July 2003, when half a million people took to the streets. So it must surely arrange matters to ensure Leung Chun-ying wins the election. That will put the cat among the pigeons, with life not quite so cosy for some.
Brain drain a no-brainer
The government is apparently puzzled by signs of a new brain drain. Provisional figures from the Census and Statistics Department show net emigration of 12,400 last year. Figures from the Security Bureau show that 8,300 permanent residents left last year, a 15 per cent increase over 2010. One university professor said many of those who left were professionals and members of the middle class. Various reasons have been mooted, such as changes in the exam structure and the departure of mainland mothers. We have one thought on this: Intelligent people with young families are not keen on paying high property prices and bringing their children up in Hong Kong's dangerously filthy air.
Straight talker still in HK picture
Good to see Rob Grool, the straight-talking erstwhile head of Hong Kong ship-services company Wallem, land back on deck. Readers may remember the motorbike-loving Dutchman resigned from Wallem in June. And while both Grool and Wallem maintained a stony silence on why, it's understood Wallem's owners took exception to some comments the blunt-speaking executive made. So it's good to see Grool has maintained a Hong Kong connection with his new job as president of fleet management for Vancouver's Seaspan Ship Management. The company is part of the New York-listed Seaspan shipping group, which has management offices in Hong Kong and Vancouver. Seaspan owns 65 container ships, with a further seven on order, which are on long-term charter to shipping companies like Cosco Container Lines.
Snow polo, you say?
It's come to our attention that a Hong Kong team recently won a world cup event in a sport not normally associated with the city's prowess.
No it wasn't wind surfing or lawn bowls. The team won Asia's inaugural Snow Polo World Cup, which was played at the exclusive Tianjin Goldin Metropolitan Polo Club last week, and organised by the Federation of International Polo. Hong Kong defeated South Africa 7-4. The other teams included Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, France, England, India, Italy, New Zealand and the United States.
The Goldin Polo Club in Tianjin is part of a massive development being built by Hong Kong-listed Goldin Properties Holdings. The 57-hectare site houses residential complexes and a central business district with a 117-storey office tower, making it the ninth-tallest building in the world. Membership in the club starts at 380,000 yuan (HK$467,400) and rises to 10 million yuan for patrons with their own teams, says CNN's website.
Marathon may have killed Greece
Now that the Greek debt crisis has apparently been settled, at least for the moment, we can understand why the marathon was originally a Greek concept. The name honours the Greek runner who raced 26 miles and 385 yards to Athens to announce to the anxious Athenians that they had defeated the Persians at Marathon. However, lacking the fitness required for such a feat, the runner delivered his message, then collapsed and died. Let's hope those that completed the recent marathon talks avoid a similar fate.
Greek bailout a boon for Iran
Still on the subject of Greece, The Daily Telegraph points out that the West has devised a crafty plan to force Iran to abandon its nuclear ambitions. That is, it has imposed sanctions on Iran, with the US and Europe refraining from buying oil from the country. This is beginning to boomerang in the form of higher oil prices. But another minor hitch has emerged: Greece buys 70 per cent of its oil from Iran, since most other countries have been reluctant to give it credit. Much of the cash bailout for Greece will thus end up with its creditors - namely Iran. Such are the ironies of international high finance.