About McPherson's Rant


McPherson’s Rant is an old Scots Folk Song about a Robin Hood Type Character who was hanged.

There is no connection, unless you count the “rant” part.  The world’s a strange place and sometimes a “rant” at absurdity and unfairness is just what’s required.

Here you can expect to find examples of stupidity, irony and idiocy , especially relating to Hong Kong, and with particular attention to the SCMP, and its’ letters page. A common problem with many blogs is their failure to find something new to say, I find the SCMP, and it’s letters page, provides plenty of ammunition on a daily basis and will reference them frequently. If you have your own letter not getting published, put it on our comments section.





Monthly Archives: July 2011

It’s not racism tho…

SCMP letters pages have been burning hot recently on the issue of the government subsidy for the English Schools Foundation, with a government minister describing it as a historical anomaly, and the usual suspects such as Pierce Lam and Cynthia Sze espousing their view that Hong Kong does not need English, and in fact all expats should shut up. Both of these correspondents wear there prejudice on their sleeves, they consider anything relating to the previous colonial government as negative, and that all expats should just go home ‘cos this is China now.
I’ll concede that the subsidy is a historical legacy, but does that make it a bad thing? The small house policy is a historical legacy, and that is a bad thing, but I don’t see our bunch of incompetents rushing to bemoan it, as it is filed under “too hard.” Also, a historical legacy;  schooling abroad for children of civil servants, not to mention their obscenely high wages compared to the private sector – am still amazed that cha cha Tsang is better paid than Obama.
At root here is anti colonialism, or if you want to use a stronger word, racism, of which more, much more later.
But for now, every time I read one of these letters, from the above, or Peter Lok extolling the wonders of the motherland, I’m moved to wonder how quickly these people forget the opportunities that were ‘foisted’ on them by a colonial government, ie the right to escape to Hong Kong from starvation, murder and exploitation on Mainland China during the worst of the communist parties excesses. Hong Kong is a immigrant society, the colonial government operated a ‘touch base’ policy for those escaping ‘commie’ persecution; if you got here, you were allowed to stay. How many successful immigrants in Hong Kong are here today due to this enlightened policy.
But back to the ESF, it’s all been covered in the press, and it is just an ignorant government pandering to the masses, and ignoring reality, over 50% of pupils are of chinese extraction. The main issue is that local education is not good enough for ambitious parents, who do not want their children brought up to be good wee empty vessels ripe for filling. ESF and other elite schools breed intelligent, well rounded and confident individuals who are much more mature at any given age than their government educated peers.
Instead of penalising the ESF, the government should be investing massive sums of money in all schools to improve the overall quality of the local education.

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Plastic Bags

I see plastic bags are in the news again!
Seems we might be using more than before the ban, or then again, maybe not, for sure many people are buying plastic bin liners, a hitherto unneeded purchase.

I’ve sailed in many parts of the world, including the Med,which is choked with plastic bags, bottles and general pollution,not to mention the strange sight of discarded flip flops which seem to be everywhere。 It’s an obscene sight many of you will never get to see,but if you ask me does banning plastic bags make any sense at all,I’d have to say an emphatic no。

Lets be clear; banning plastic bags is the equivalent of putting your finger in the dyke; while ignoring rising water levels that are pouring over your head。 A Plastic bag ban is a placebo designed to fool the wider community and convince them they are making a difference while it’s business as usual for government and our monolithic corporations, notably our supermarkets, transport sectors, fast food and construction lobby, tycoons with multiple jet airliners and a shallow conspicuous consumption that crossed the good taste barrier long ago.

Ban excess packaging, Styrofoam, lunchboxes, encourage goodbuilding practices, switch all commercial vehicles to LPG and ban the 350 000 private cars that inflict direct pollution into the air and lead an incompetent, purely reactive and clueless government to build more and more roads for a mode of transport that is communally divisive and will soon be obsolete.

Never mind the costs.

This might, if we’re lucky, engage the whole community in demanding and working for a better environment where pollution is not killing 7000 people every year, How many plastic bags are killing people?

The alternative? Take up the fiddle and watch, with thinly disguised glee, an egotistical form of life, that has no concept of it’s own insignificance, fade into extinction. The whole paradigm has to change, a few less plastic bags, whether re-used or not won’t stop the inexorable slide to disaster.

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A Red Flag That Comes in Many Colors – New York Times:

“To its devotees the bow tie suggests iconoclasm of an Old World sort, a fusty adherence to a contrarian point of view. The bow tie hints at intellectualism, real or feigned, and sometimes suggests technical acumen, perhaps because it is so hard to tie. Bow ties are worn by magicians, country doctors, lawyers and professors and by people hoping to look like the above. But perhaps most of all, wearing a bow tie is a way of broadcasting an aggressive lack of concern for what other people think.”

I knew cha cha Tsang was an arse, now the New York Times confirms it for me.  From Sir Donald Tsang, British acoloyte, to Donald Tsang, Motherland loving patriot.  His intellectualism is feigned and he just really wants to be noticed for something, anything, instead, he knows he’s inconsequential, but in the end, he doesn’t really care what you think as long as he does what he is told by the Politburo.

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China’s Great Legal System

Ok this is a cheat, and I concede I’ve not blogged much lately but am trying to get back into the groove. So I’ll kick off with some interesting statistics from today’s SCMP.
The Stats come courtesy of Professor Mike McConville at Chinese University of Hong Kong, and are the result of a 12 year study of the mainland’s judicial system. McConville reviewed 1,144 criminal cases, monitored 227 trials and interviewed 88 judges (interesting choice of numbers! Must have been hoping for good luck)
So without further ado, here is some of his statistical analysis:

55% of defendents in the monitored cases were migrants.

In 95% of cases the wonderfully efficient mainland police pursuaded the defendents they were guilty and secured a confession.

The percentage of cases in which a defendents allegations of torture were investigated was 0%.

25% of defendents had no legal represetation.

Judges rejected an rather large number of defence witnesses, the figure was 100%.

The percentage of defendents in serious cases, tried and convicted in under two hours was 80%.

And last but by no means least, according to McConville, the conviction rate in monitored cases was a whopping 100%… Did some one say Wild West

Doncha just love empirical evidence…

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I got arrested a few months back

And I was guilty.

Ok, I’ll admit to a few minor brushes with the Polis over the years, what self respecting Scotsman could get to my advanced years without having a blemish or two, or in other words aforesaid minor brush with the law. I should also mention that some of my best mates in HK are coppers so I don’t subscribe to the “fascist bullyboy thug theories”, and in each case it’s been more a case of high jinks getting out of control, never violence or anything I would term serious. So what happened recently?

Every day I get the bus in Central outside the Hang Seng Bank Headquarters. And every day for months I’ve been subjected to a cacophony of strident Cantonese tones broadcast through a loudhailer – pre-recorded messages, repetitive, painful and incredibly irritating? Something to do with Lehman’s, you may have heard these people in various sites around Central banks. Suffice to say, this particular day, I was a tad annoyed and took it upon myself to silence the source of my discontent – there were two loudhailers in operation that day – unsynchronized – discordant – and fucking annoying! I picked the first one up; seeking the off button, the batteries fell out, result! I wandered over to the second one, picked it up, couldn’t find the off button, no batteries fell out, and it fell to the floor with some momentum – and broke. Result! I rejoined the bus queue, a few supportive smiles, lots of eyes cast downwards, while the two protestors screamed, shouted and proceeded to film me. In the end along come HK’s finest, to calm the situation down. I explained to the inspector in charge what had happened and that, yes I was the guilty party, and that I was willing to compensate the owner of the megaphone. I offered HK$1000, a more than reasonable sum, but the old bitch demanded HK$50,000, and insisted to the Inspector I was an agent provocateur sent by Hang Seng to disrupt her legitimate protest. Long Story short. Court, plead guilty, ask to be bound over. Verdict. Bound over (No criminal record) Compensation HK$150. 
I left with a wee smile, especially as the two protestors were also bound over.

Points to ponder. It is illegal in Hong Kong to use a megaphone in a public place, anyone can find this under “noise ordinance” on the HK government website. It is a known fact that all the protestors are surrogates for the real individuals who were investors, the surrogates were paid HK$200 a day. Lets leave aside the whole concept of caveat emptor in relation to a very small percentage of, mostly elderly individuals who were ripped off, for the rest, you were greedy and stupid and deserved everything you got – of course, being HK, you actually got your money back. Which brings me to the whole point of this rant. The arresting inspector told me, that they get complaints everyday but are not allowed to take action as the government does not want to be seen, supporting the banks against the grass roots – ergo – the government dictates to the police what is and what is not a crime. So next time you see a rather strange decision by the police to drop charges or let someone off with a warning – rest assured you are assured of government interference and if they interfere with the police, what are they doing with the courts?

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