Li Ka-shing is a saint. Yes, he is not just our richest man; he is a paragon of virtues. Well, he is far too modest to say that, but you can tell that from his one-on-one interview with Guangzhou-based Nanfang Media Group published last week. His sycophants have not been shy.
Take that full-page ad taken out in Sing Tao Daily yesterday by Joseph Yeung of the Hong Kong Industry Commerce and Professionals Association. I blushed reading it. "Li Ka-shing exercises his influence for the love of his country and Hong Kong." "Li develops his selfhood, but pursues a [higher] plane of selflessness." "Li's Confucian, Buddhist and Taoist wisdom and his China dream." I am not making these up.
The tycoon always says you can only be successful if you are fair and honest in all your business dealings. No doubt all the buyers of Cheung Kong's flats with their high-quality building materials and fair disclosure of gross floor areas over many years would agree. I bet small suppliers for his ParknShop supermarket chain would fall over themselves to acknowledge the fairness and generosity with which they have been treated; or the myriad contractors and advertisers who have always been paid promptly and fairly by Li's companies.
Li always puts himself on the moral high ground because he is a sage in the mould of Confucius. He says he even tried to help "Big Spender" Cheung Tze-keung, the crime boss who kidnapped his beloved eldest son Victor. "I could only teach you to be a good man," he says he told Cheung, for whom he no doubt felt sorry, being tried and executed on the mainland when he should have been returned and tried in Hong Kong. Now that was some "rule of law"!
Li also warned against "the rule of man" and its threat to our "core values". In case you missed the reference, his anonymous pals helpfully told the media that Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying had been foolishly pursuing populist policies. Presumably they meant the government's enhanced welfare for the poor and elderly, and cooling measures for the property market.
Nasty person, this Leung guy! If only Li's man Henry Tang had not been cheated of the crown last year, all would have been well and Hong Kong would still be a land of milk and honey - for our tycoons.