Senior SAR government officials have been engaged in a showcase shopping spree at the local industry fair over Christmas and New Year to encourage people to buy more in order to save the economy. Chief Executive Donald Tsang emerged as the biggest spender, with a shopping bill totaling more than $10,000. He bought biscuits, vermicelli and oddly, two woks. Chief Secretary Henry Tang was rumored to have spent some $5,000 on some unknown foodstuffs including egg tarts. Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Stephen Lam—God knows why he had to join the buying stunt given his portfolio—had a more colorful list: honey and face cream, apparently for his wife and daughter; shirts and ties; dried sausages and mushrooms; and ten dozen towels at a sum of some $4,000. What a skillful political survivor; he was smart enough not to steal the show by outspending his two superiors. It was a calculated move, one made in the hope that, like Jude Law posing for Dunhill, Hong Kong people will shop more, following the behavior of Big Brother. A strange idea indeed, for it is hard to imagine George Bush whirling off in his brand-new Chrysler car down Fifth Avenue in a desperate appeal to the American people to buy more US-made automobiles. Even Obama would not risk his popularity by whistling along in a running Volvo (now a subsidiary of Ford), stopping at a Starbucks in Manhattan and buying a few dozen mochas for his family and security agents. What makes the SAR government believe that such political stunts work? For those with a longer memory, it was Margaret Thatcher who started the trend. When the former British prime minister visited China in 1982, she toured a market in Beijing and bought some grapefruit from a street hawker in a political gesture to endorse a budding free-market economy adopted by the Chinese communist regime. The Brits were obviously more sophisticated in performing the art of patronizing—in front of flashing cameras, she took out a banknote of just one yuan from her handbag and elegantly handed it to the grateful hawker—a generous reward from the great nation of Adam Smith for the Chinese under the late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping, who, after all those nightmarish Maoist years, had finally woken up to some common sense.