by Koo Lap
Wong Chau-chi and Li Shan, two mainland-born Chinese with Hong Kong citizenship, have founded the Bauhinia Party in May and claimed to have a target of attracting 250,000 members. Obviously, they are aiming to take part in next year’s Legislative Council (LegCo) election. Currently, the biggest party is the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB), with just over 45,000 members and occupy 13 seats in LegCo. Those who founded the Bauhinia Party probably set their sight particularly high due to their privileged status as overseas returnees. Would Hongkongers agree with the new party’s orientation?
Probably not. The status of the party’s founder is so “elite” no ordinary Hongkongers can reach. Take Wong Chau-chi as an example. He was in the same year as Bernard Chan, the Non-official Convenor of the Executive Council, at the famous Pomona College in California; he visited Harvard’s School of Public Administration, where taxpayer sponsored Donald Tsang once studied; he has worked in investment banks such as Goldman Sachs and Citigroup, and is the major shareholder and chairman of China Mobile Multimedia Broadcasting (CMMB) Vision Holdings, which is currently listed on the mainboard. How many Hongkongers have such an extraordinary resume?
Another founder Li Shan also has a similarly impressive resume: a Ph.D. at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), has worked at investment banks like Goldman Sachs and UBS and is the non-executive Director of CMMB Vision Holdings. However, the total market value of CMMB Vision Holdings is only HK$70 million; the company has been in four years out of the past five in deficit, and the losses are increasing. It is not difficult to work out that someone having a great resume does not mean the person knows how to do business.
Wong and Li must have been moved by what Carrie Lam said to go into politics. She criticized Jasper Tsang, the founder of DAB, for his party not being able to provide talents for the government. Both Lau Kong-wah and Gregory So were heads of government departments but not favored by Lam; she first got rid of So, then replaced Lau with Oxford and INSEAD educated Christopher Hui, who used to work for Standard Chartered Bank. Perhaps Wong and Li wanted to quickly form a party to help Lam to pick out more talents like Hui.
The Bauhinia Party uses Hui as the model and strongly believes the SAR government prefers overseas returnees. SCMP revealed that Wong and Li have previously invited Wang Sing, former CEO of Tom.com who was Oxford-educated and worked for Goldman Sachs, to join the party, but have been cruelly rejected. The Bauhinia Party supports Lam’s “Lantau Tomorrow Vision,” but Wang Sing has his own “Popular Public Private Partnership” plan that boosts “Fast! Nice! Great!” “Speed Up Lantau — Home for Everyone,” so why joins another party and become a follower? During this turbulent time, it seems that the overseas returnees, be it the Bauhinia Party or Wang’s PPP, are eager to earn some “Fast! Nice! Great!” bucks. Would Hongkongers agree with the unrealistic opportunists’ “money first” orientation?
Probably also not. The parties in Hong Kong, from the pro-Beijing DAB to the Business and Professionals Alliance for Hong Kong (BPA), which represents the interests of the business sector, have always advertised democracy like the Democratic Party. Although that is just their facade, every party knows democracy is the core value of Hongkongers and uses it to gain Hongkongers’ trust. The overseas returnees have abandoned this, and instead, used “紫荊”(zi2 ging1, Cercis Chinensis) as their party name. They must be thinking this is the symbol of Hong Kong. But how wrong they are.
It is well known that Bauhinia “洋紫荊”(yeung4 zi2 ging1) has been the city flower of Hong Kong since 1965. It was a species discovered by French missionaries near the current site of Bethany in Pokfulam in 1880. In 1908, it was determined by botanists to be a hybrid of two species of E. Chinensis; it must be artificially cultivated and cannot propagate on its own. It was named after Sir Henry Blake, as Latin Blakeana, which is bauhinia in English. Using this as the city flower because the mixture of east and west of Hong Kong is precious like the rare bauhinia. Whether its look and species are very different from the Cercis Chinensis.
So the overseas returnees camp got the species of bauhinia (yeung4 zi2 ging1) with Cercis Chinensis (zi2 ging1) mixed up and scorned the symbolic meaning of bauhinia – Hong Kong’s unique mix of Chinese, English and French history and its east meets west culture. Apart from the superficial meaning “Fast! Nice! Great!” they have no idea of Hong Kong’s spirit of advocating freedom, never mind agreeing to Hong Kong’s “Fast! Nice! Great!” development was due to freedom, the rule of law, openness and democracy. The shallow opportunists want to earn some fast money. How would they understand Hong Kong, such a precious species?
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