Hong Kong is a place of extremes, where inequality thrives, as a result either of intense competition and the possibility of succeeding by your own efforts, or of unlevel playing fields, according to your taste. Once successful, it is only natural to want to preserve one's position, through lobbying, official or unofficial, by treating Chief Executives to little luxuries, and so on. Or even, once there. to try and push the envelope a little.
One place where the privileged gather is in the clubs of Hong Kong, from the grand old Hong Kong Club, full of pre-handover relics, the Jockey Club whose governing members' ethics have been well covered, or uncovered, by Ulie, another old relic, and the Ladies' Recreation Club, full of English wives from Surbiton who lady it over their maids and who don't even notice how bad the food is.
However, who would have thought that the supposedly egalitarian FCC, self-appointed guardian of our freedoms (at least, they print off a letter to the Chinese government every time one of their journalist members is roughed up, always remembering to change the names and dates) could be a hotbed of privilege, official and assumed.
My mole there, who occasionally allows me to sample their fine shepherds pie and down a swift half, tells me that the FCC is in the thick of its annual elections. That should be nice and democratic, you might think, especially since journos are always talking the democratic talk. But, if you look closely, you will see that none of the governing body, except for a token lone voice of Associate Member Governor, can be associate members, or even voted for by associate members who, I am told, make up 90% of the membership and without whom the club would not exist as it would not be financially viable.
Apparently, it's enshrined in the constiution, or something, like in China, so cannot be changed. (Do you see what I did there? I drew an analogy between a one party dictatorship and the Chinese government.) And, anyway, it's a journalists' club, so they get to run it and if you don't like it you can join one of the many other clubs in Central which get a 3-storey stand-alone building (four, if you count the 30-chef kitchen below the basement bar) for next to nothing from the government. But, whatever, this is Hong Kong, and my mole is happy to be a member of a nice club. It works for him.
However, it seems that this built-in privilege is having a little extension added to it. An illegal structure if you will. Look at the ballot paper again, and the unopposed candidate for the position of President is one Doug Wong, who works for Bloomberg, an upstart American news organisation. It says in his manifesto that he is a Liverpool supporter - so much so, according to my mole, that for the recent FA Cup final he 'reserved', Germans-by-the-pool-style, a whole section of the bar, then disappeared for 2 hours till the match started. The staff, knowing that he was the shoe-in for prez, did not dare allow anyone else to sit in the bank of reserved seats, even though they would have actually put money in the club's coffers whilst occupying the seats. Doug's self interest over the commonweal of the members? Does Doug sound just a little bit like Donald? Answers on a postcard, please.