Dear Mr. John Tsang, Elites in Central are betting that if CY tells Hong Kong soon after the New Year, as required by his pissed-off masters in Beijing, that he’s got a bad cold and has to step down, the replacement is unlikely to be Carrie Lam. Not only because the communists never trust women—they had their finger badly burnt by Chairman Mao’s wife Madame Jiang Qing—but because Lam has unwisely babbled out her nostalgia for Britain and backed up her words of loyalty with another unforgivable defection to Cambridge, this time for a Christmas family reunion. But the tiny silver ball could still drop—and after rolling on a fast-spinning political roulette wheel, it could land on number three: you, Financial Secretary John Tsang. To impress President Xi and fight for that one-to-one interview in Beijing, I noticed you’ve started doing some warm-ups: “Hong Kong press is too cynical,” you complained on your blog. “They only report and exaggerate bad news while playing down the good news. This is evidence of lack of self-confidence, unlike Singapore, where good news is always celebrated on the front page. That would be a sweet-sounding tune to play in the ears of your employer in Beijing. Press control is the very essence of Singapore’s story of success, but you have yet to prove your strength or ability to be the Lee Kuan Yew (with a mustache) of Hong Kong. There is already a state-owned, politically incorrect, virus-free Straits Times in Hong Kong. Buying Jimmy Lai’s Apple Daily with taxpayer money and merging it with Beijing newspaper Wen Wei Po to form a “Lianhe Zhaobao”—“United Morning Daily”—printed in simplified Chinese characters, is another option. Granting printing licenses with a revocable three-year-term is another way, learned from ex-President Suharto of Indonesia, to muzzle up a few other mildly critical newspapers. An intensive Putonghua training course is also mandatory, since your proper Chinese might carry too heavy a Cantonese accent (like Sir Donald), which would sound too suspicious and harken calls of Hong Kong independence in a Freudian way. Your respectable MIT degree should also be played down, along with your past hobby of fencing. Gradually reveal your weekly soul-searching trips to a Chinese bookshop selling Chairman Mao’s teachings in Boston’s Chinatown during your years in the United States. After all, you would maybe have to compete with head of the Central Policy Unit Shiu Sin-por in the arena of patriotism, and he was a major distributor of mainland Chinese publications in New York’s Chinatown at the same time. And, finally, shave off your mustache—a western symbol of masculinity that might make Xi and his colleagues uneasy. The Chinese worship only a few big beards, like Marx and Engels. The sighting of a Hong Kong civil servant’s mustache might make Beijing officials very angry. Know your way, and bon voyage. And a very Happy New Year! Chip Tsao is a best-selling author, columnist and a former producer for the BBC. His columns have also appeared in Apple Daily, Next Magazine and CUP Magazine, among others.