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: February 2012

Cowardly Ships Captains

So, it’s all gone quiet on the capsizing ship front.  It seems the Captain of the doomed Italian liner, Costa Concordia fell off the ship and into a lifeboat!  Francesco Schiettino says he was at the helm when disaster struck but later fell into the sea and couldn’t get back on board. He actually sat on the rocks and watched the rescue operation, so he didn’t run that far really, he swam I suppose.  But who are we to doubt the sincerity of his statement? Well me actually, being a cynic.

That’s old news, why is he ranting about that shit?  You may have asked!

“Cos I got to thinking about another ships’ captain who did a runner.   Dateline 1991, ships name Oceanis, sank off the coast of South Africa.  In this case the captain also left the ship before the passengers and you can watch the you tube video here.

The Captain was accused of abandoning passengers on the ship, Captain Yiannis Avranas had this retort though: “”When I give the order abandon ship, it doesn’t matter what time I leave. Abandon is for everybody. If some people want to stay, they can stay.”

Avranos later claimed that he returned to ship and that he only left so as he could get help and organize the evacuation from a helicopter, which in fact he did –  well he returned and watched from a helicopter at least.

Oh where was the spirit of the Birkenhead with these guys?  Was Capt. Smith the idiot for not treading on women and children on his way to the lifeboat as the Titanic slowly slipped to infamy?

Now it’s just not in my nature to offer a plausible explanation for the behaviour of either the Italian or the Greek, and of course I would never indulge in coarse stereotypes, I’d never rip both apart as incorrigible cowards and refer to a WWII rifle, never fired, only dropped twice.

If you’ve ever been involved in a traumatic situation where you felt your life was in danger, you may be familiar with a twitching in your leg, an increase in your heart rate, an increased awareness of all around you.  This is the ‘fight or flight’ mechanism, a trait we inherited from our ancestors, mostly to save us from the ravages of a really scary predator such as Jehovah’s witnesses or an elderly Madonna, or even a raptor from Jurassic Park.  It’s located in the cortex, the reptilian part of our brain, and can only be overcome by training.

Is it just possible that both of these captains shit themselves, due to their innate fight or flight mechanism kicking in?  And that later, realizing the ramifications of their actions, both sought to get closer to the scene of abject failures, in Avranos’s case, by returning in a Helicopter, and in Schiettino’s case, by sitting on the rocks barely 50 meters from his failure.

Fight or flight, and the adrenaline rush it brings, can be controlled, but only through repetitive training and awareness of what is actually happening to the body, then it can be channeled and used, but without that training, we’re all putting on our fastest Asics and heading for the hills.

Should we judge them? Yes, because they are supposed to be above the naked reaction stage, that is left for passengers.





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HK was better under the Brits: Official from WSJ

Ok, I’ll admit, it, I’m being lazy.  I keep meaning to rant on about Hong Kong being run by incompetent, pathetic individuals, and I will, soon, but here is something from todays Wall Street Journal, which I hope, by giving the source and author, the WSJ won’t come after me, but with Murdoch, you never know. Anyway, from Todays edition.  I’ll elaborate at a later date.


Hong Kong

The slow-motion implosion of Henry Tang, Beijing’s pick to be Hong Kong’s next chief executive, brings to mind a speech given shortly before the 1997 handover by former Far Eastern Economic Review Editor Derek Davies. In “Two Cheers for Colonialism,” Mr. Davies attempted to explain why the city flourished under the British. Fifteen years later, the Chinese officials who are having trouble running Hong Kong might want to give it a read.

Hugo Restall says that Beijing’s fumbles in Hong Kong are making some in the city-state yearn for the British.

The Brits created a relatively uncorrupt and competent civil service to run the city day-to-day. “They take enormous satisfaction in minutes, protocol, proper channels, precedents,” as Mr. Davies described them, “even in the red tape that binds up their files inside the neat cubby holes within their registries.” Their slavish adherence to bureaucratic procedure helped create respect for the rule of law and prevented abuses of power.

Above the civil servants sat the career-grade officials appointed from London. These nabobs were often arrogant, affecting a contempt for journalists and other “unhelpful” critics. But they did respond to public opinion as transmitted through the newspapers and other channels.

Part of the reason they did was that Hong Kong officials were accountable to a democratically elected government in Britain—a government sensitive to accusations of mismanaging a colony. Still, local officials often disobeyed London when it was in the local interest—for this reason frustrated Colonial Office mandarins sometimes dubbed the city “The Republic of Hong Kong.” And for many decades the city boasted a higher standard of governance than the mother country.

Mr. Davies nailed the real reason Hong Kong officials were so driven to excel: “Precisely because they were aware of their own anachronism, the questionable legitimacy of an alien, non-elected government they strove not to alienate the population. Their nervousness made them sensitive.”

The communists claim that the European powers stripped their colonies of natural resources and used them as captive markets for their manufacturers. But Hong Kong, devoid of resources other than refugees from communism, attracted investment and built up light industry to export back to Britain. And as for taking back the profits, Mr. Davies noted, “No British company here would have been mad enough to have repatriated its profits back to heavily-taxed, regularly devaluing Britain.”

Most expatriate officials retired to Blighty, so they were less tempted to do favors for the local business elite. The government rewarded them with pensions and OBEs. A Lands Department bureaucrat didn’t have to worry whether his child would be able to find employment in Hong Kong if a decision went against the largest property developer.

Contrast all this with Hong Kong after the handover. The government is still not democratic, but now it is accountable only to a highly corrupt and abusive single-party state. The first chief executive, Tung Chee Hwa, and Beijing’s favorite to take the post next month, Henry Tang, are both members of the Shanghainese business elite that moved to the city after 1949. The civil service is localized.

Many consequences flow from these changes, several of which involve land, which is all leased from the government. Real-estate development and appreciation is the biggest source of wealth in Hong Kong, a major source of public revenue and also the source of most discontent.

In recent years, the Lands Department has made “mistakes” in negotiating leases that have allowed developers to make billions of Hong Kong dollars in extra profit. Several high-level officials have also left to work for the developers. This has bred public cynicism that Hong Kong is sinking into crony capitalism.

This helps explain why the public is so upset with Mr. Tang for illegally adding 2,400 square feet of extra floor space to his house. Likewise Michael Suen, now the secretary for education, failed to heed a 2006 order from the Lands Department to dismantle an illegal addition to his home. His offense was arguably worse, since he was secretary for housing, planning and lands at the time.

In both cases the issue is not just a matter of zoning and safety; illegal additions cheat the government out of revenue. But it’s unlikely Mr. Tang will face prosecution because nobody above or below him is independent enough to demand accountability. So now there is one set of rules for the public and another for the business and political elites. Under the British, Hong Kong had the best of both worlds, the protections of democracy and the efficiency of all-powerful but nervous administrators imported from London. Now it has the worst of both worlds, an increasingly corrupt and feckless local ruling class backstopped by an authoritarian regime. The only good news is that the media remain free to expose scandals, but one has to wonder for how much longer.

Hong Kong’s Chinese rulers have been slow to realize that the only way to keep Hong Kong the same is to accept change. It is no longer a city of refugees happy to accept rule by outsiders. And democracy is the only system that can match the hybrid form of political accountability enjoyed under the British.

Mr. Davies ended his appraisal of colonialism’s faults and virtues thus: “I only hope and trust that a local Chinese will never draw a future British visitor aside and whisper to him that Hong Kong was better ruled by the foreign devils.” Fifteen years later, that sentiment is becoming common.

Mr. Restall is the editorial page editor of The Wall Street Journal Asia.

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Lau Nai-Kueng.. arse!

This guy gets the Muesli onto the the Newspaper every morning, well afternoon actually, I’m not an early riser.

He writes an article in the SCMP 3 or 4 times a month, always, always licking the arse of Beijing, the concept of balance is alien to him, but just who the hell is he?  His byline states he is a member of the Basic Law committee of the NPC Standing committee and also a member of the Commission on Strategic Development. ( Is there Strategic Development in Hong Kong? Could have fooled me, I thought they just did what they were told!)

I have meant to tear into him before as every time he leaves me speechless, or at least unable to type. This morning he was writing some shit about how the University of Hong Kong, his alma mater,  is dying, I have no interest in that.  At the end of his bullshit, he inserted this wee gem, I’ll repeat it here out of the context of the ramble because in fact, it was completely out of the context of the ramble: “Divorced from national suffering, history and humiliation since the opium war, there is no Hong Kong history, and subsequently there is no soul or salvation.”

So no history in Hong Kong! How’s about this Mr. Bejiing Running Dog, here’s a quote from, arguably, the founder of modern China, Dr. Sun Yat Sen:  “I saw the outside world and I began to wonder how it was that foreigners, Englishmen, could do such things as they had done, for example, with the barren rock of Hong Kong, within 70 or 80 years, while China, in 4,000 years, had no places like Hong Kong.” He then went on to say that Hong Kong, and especially its University, were his intellectual birthplace.  This is the same University that Lau attended and is the central subject of his article.

Hong Kong has a history, the British created an environment that allowed generations of Chinese to flourish and thrive, whilst on the Mainland their counterparts history involved mass state sponsored starvation, indoctrination and cultural suicide via the Cultural revolution.  These generations in Hong Kong, sought, at every opportunity, to help their families on the mainland with food and money to help them survive, all courtesy of their own hard work, again, in an environment solely created by foreign devils. On the mainland meanwhile 50 million people died because Mao was only 3/5th’s right, or was the 3/4′s or one tenth right!  Certainly while China’s great leap forward was going backwards, a juggernaut crushing the life out of countless millions, a few lucky millions were building their future prosperity in Hong Kong.

So I’ll rewrite the final paragraph for him: ““Divorced from national suffering, history and humiliation, Hong Kong thrived, and it’s subsequent history saw generations find salvation and create a unique chinese culture with its own soul.”

Every time he writes some shit I’m going to tear it apart, because he is just so easy to take apart.

Who he is! http://www.ideascentre.hk/wordpress/?p=1755&language=en

Here is another blogger commenting on another of his insane writings: http://sinocentric.co.uk/?tag=lau-nai-keung

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Juxtaposition is a nice word

It’s a nice word!  Roughly means the placement of two contrasting items or concepts near each other  At least I think that’s what it means and I can’t be bothered checking or I may have to change the headline.

In yesterdays SCMP I noticed a few items that fit the criteria and had me chuckling.  The item that caught my attention was a small side bar on page A9 with the headline: “British Minister backs bigger role for Religion.”  Here is the small item: “Europe is threatened by a wave of ‘militant secularism’, and religion should play a bigger role in public life, a British Cabinet minister said.  Sayeeda Warsi, a Muslim, said: “Europe should become more confident and more comfortable in it’s Christianity…Militant secularists have the same intolerant instincts as authoritarian regimes.” Pish, twaddle, crap, bullshit and possibly agenda setting for some militant muslim shite.  But I won’t rip her apart here, she’s made it too easy for me, not least by going to meet the ex-Hitler youth member and protector of pedophiles at the Vatican.

In fact the SCMP did my job for me.

On the same page, leading article: “Bombings hint at tit-for-tat response.” Story? Attacks on Israeli Scientists by Iranians, cause of dispute, Jew Vs Shia Muslim hate. Root? Religion!  The story underneath headlined: ” US warships transit Hormuz strait.” The headline explains the story really, but why is it a story? Tensions between an Evangelical Christian country and again, Shia Muslims, Iran. Religion again! Still on the same page. “We won’t protect Assad Says Wen.”  This story refers to the ongoing strife in Syria. At the root of the strife, beneath the layers of confusion is really Islam’s version of Catholic vs Protestant strife, namely Shia  Vs Sunni. Oh, religion again!

All that on just one page!

So where is the evidence for this militant secular intolerance  woman? Where in the world is there currently religionists being persecuted by militant secularists?

The only militancy secularists and atheists practice is in open debate. Why? Because we want to free those that have been indoctrinated by dogma and coerced into believing myth is fact.  We want to free them to be free thinkers and free the world of religious inspired hatred.

So in my humble opinion, we need less, much less religion in public life, not more and we would quickly see less trouble in all areas of the world.

NB: Found this interesting fact yesterday, the oldest tree in the world is 9000 years old, where does that leave creationists?

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