The Problem with Bubbles
Updated: Apr 3
It is becoming the new catchword of our time - "stick within your bubble" we are told, and soon we may have "travel bubbles". Well, WTPOHK thought it was timely to take a look at some of the other bubbles creating a wave right now. And the problem with bubbles as any stockbroker will tell you, is that bubbles burst. Like blisters and pimples, the comfort or discomfort of a bubble can quickly change. You have to decide for yourself if we're on the level!
Like any bad journalism we are NOT going to provide any backup proof for what we say. You can do the research and draw your own conclusions. If CCP and other authoritarian governments can speak without any transparency whatsoever, so can we.
1. Travel bubble
Here is the origin of the latest 'bubble' concept. HK has been in negotiations with Singapore and other travel destinations about setting up a special arrangement to facilitate passenger movements between cities. The point of this is to get tourism and business travel 'back to some kind of normal'. Never mind for the rest of us plebs in HK who cram onto crowded MTR carriages, or trams at peak times, and continue taking other public transport regardless of HK's inexplicable social distancing regulations. We don't know how those government officials can safely travel between HK and Beijing without quarantine. The bubble could soon burst given the low level of trust surrounding Chinese made vaccines, testing and the government itself.
2. Hypocrisy bubble
Certain people have discovered they can say whatever they want to or need to, and do whatever they wish, and get away with it! While HK is meant to exercise autonomy under the Joint Declaration, foreign interference is considered a bad thing, but CCP interference is apparently quite okay. Take certain statements made by the Police for example that suggest officers used "the minimum level of force necessary" during the HK 2019 protests, and contrast that with countless video clips of beatings, assaults and arbitrary arrests. Even HK judges have questioned the honesty of Police officers! Chief Executive Carrie Lam and CCP both bleat on about not politicising Covid matters, but then immediately turn matters into pro and anti-China issues. The latest riddle out of Beijing is that the NPC's electoral reform for HK will bring about greater democracy - forgetting that every democratic politician and wannabe lawmaker/activist is currently locked up in prison or out on bail, or exiled in the UK.
3. Propaganda bubble
This is similar to the Bullshit bubble that follows, but must not be confused. Rather than just confuse and gaslight us, the Propaganda bubble is about serious brainwashing. We can see it going on in schools now that we have the Liberal Studies subject renamed, and textbooks implanted directly from mainland China. It's not enough that schools, teachers and students must fly the flag, sing the national anthem, recite the National Security law, pronounce their love of China and swear an oath of allegiance to be true patriots all at the age of five! Now that's propaganda.
4. Bullshit bubble
This is where we are knee deep in the BS with more fresh deliveries daily from the likes of pro-CCP sycophants including Beijing loyalist Tam Yiu-chung – Hong Kong’s sole delegate to the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPCSC). There's also Priscilla Leung, Regina Ip, Junius Ho, CY Leung, Carrie Lam, and many more. Then there are the wolf warrior pronouncements and diplomatic narratives on things such as 'foreign interference', matters of soverignty, meddling and interference, transparency and openness, truth and mis-information. You know, and we know, that what they say does not matchup with what they mean nor what they do - or what we understand for that matter!
5. Trouble bubble
Everything in HK is now troubled! The HK Cantonese language term for trouble is 'ma fan' and for BIG trouble is 'ho ma fan'. People and events in HK are now categorized as being ma fan or ho ma fan - there is no middle road. It seems everyday people in HK are increasingly facing ho ma fan! Whether it is the difficulty of wearing face masks in public, or getting vaccinated in response to the government's harrassment via TV. Trouble also visits you in terms of snap, arbitrary and irrational COVID lockdowns of your housing block, and makes you look twice before you open your mouth in case 'big brother' is listening in. We are told that 'it is no inconvenience', and that what we do individually is for the greater good of the collective.
6. Persecution bubble
All prosecutions in HK are persecutions : the Secretary of Justice is a political appointee who, unlike most democracies, decides all prosecutions. She can even cancel or override private prosecutions that you might wish to take, and this is even when the judges approve of your prosecution! Sometimes the orders to prosecute seem to come directly from HK and Macau Liason Office or from Beijing. We feel sorry for people like Benny Tai who have been kicked out of their jobs because of their dissenting political views. Then there are the foreign journalists who are denied entry to the SAR for their research, LGBTQ people still having to fight for their human rights, and religious and ethnic minorities who are marginalized.
7. Prosecution bubble
Just in! Jimmy Lai and Martin Lee have been prosecuted under the colonial era Public Order Ordinance, legislation otherwise known for effectively cramping the style of protesters and freedom fighters in HK. They and 5 other other seasoned Democrats were found guilty of organising (or was it leading?) an 'illegal' public assembly - a march that the HK Police refused to give permission for. This is despite having freedom of assembly under the terms of the UNHDR, ICCPR, the Basic Law and other Human rights bubbles.
8. Arbitrary arrest bubble
No, it doesn't matter that you were just standing on the pavement looking on as protesters went by. You're under arrest! So, the bus driver who had a spanner for mechanical needs was charged for having a dangerous weapon on board his vehicle. He was arrested. More bizarrely, a young man was charged and accused for drug possession - the problem was that the plastic bag supposedly found in his trouser pocket could not have been planted there by the arresting officer...the trackpants identified in court by the arresting officer had no pockets whatsoever. The innocent have been arrested. Now, the latest twist under some stupid "joint enterprise" case that set a precedent, means that people who were not even present at a protest are regarded as accomplices to a crime, perhaps by just mentioning it or clicking "like" in a social media post. So many more HKers could potentially be under arrest in the coming months.
9. Immunity from prosecution bubble
Kind of like the Monopoly game, anyone who is pro-CCP need not worry about being arrested or prosecuted - they have a "Get out of jail free" card for use in HK, Macau and mainland China. This means they don't have to fret too much about the illegal alterations on their million-dollar mansions, and they can say just about anything they like. They can also set up shady businesses, move money overseas, take graft and collude with triad gangs if they so wish. Even Huawei's CFO Meng Wanzhou who is locked up under house arrest in Canada enjoys the luxury of her own home, and is supported legally by CCP in her alleged bank fraud with HSBC in HK. Common pro-CCP folk gather in the street in numbers and the HK police turn a blind eye, while union organisers and pro-democracy people are staunchly policed to keep the Covid social distance and not gather in groups of more than four people.
10. No accountability bubble
For HKers Carrie Lam should have resigned after fatefully introducing the ridiculous China extradition bill that began the whole 2019 protest cycle. It's bad enough that she got the job as Chief Executive in a small circle selection process that CCP still feigns to call an 'election'. There are many areas where governance has failed miserably with little or no accountability : The Lamma Island ferry disaster in which 39 people died, the continued rape of the HK Public Purse, the denial of the public's request for an independent Commission of Inquiry into the police and government actions during the anti-extradition and pro-democracy protests of 2019.
11. Gambling bubble
Not to be outdone by Macau, HK has entered into the high stake realm of gambling. No, I am not talking about the city's many mahjong parlours, currently shuttered due to Covid and social distancing regulations. I refer to the play-off between opening up the city's gyms, karaoke parlours and cinemas to relieve the economic pressure these businesses are feeling, while at the same time raising the chances of increasing the daily Covid infection rate. Okay, so we just had a couple of days of ZERO infections...was that due to the government intiatives, good hygiene practice and mask-wearing by HK people, or just sheer GOOD LUCK??
12. Cash bubble
HK Chief Executive Carrie Lam is no stranger to this bubble ever since she was sanctioned by the U.S. Apparently she has stacks of cash piled up under her mattress, and in the cupboards at Government house. HK is awash with cash flowing into the SAR from mainlanders blindly following directions from CCP, to prop up the City's economy, and ostensibly make the market here more buoyant than it would otherwise be.
13. Passport bubble
Besides the crazy idea that the HK government had that it could tell other governments to stop accepting the B.N.O passport, there has been a lot of talk about a so-called 'vaccination passport'. Isn't having one passport enough? It's always difficult finding your passport in a hurry when you need it! And won't some clever counterfeiter start manufacturing the prerequisite documents for a price?
We will let you decide whether thirteen is an unlucky number or not.
Jeremiah B. & Pepe.
Everything You Need to Know About Singapore Hong Kong Travel Bubble, (eturbonews.com)
Asia's first 'travel bubble' opens between Taiwan and Palau, (CNN, 1 April 2021)