Monday 31 January 2022

Woke Idol

Amala Ekpunobi: Based
Woke Folk: Scary

Whew! Criticising Zero Covid Policy is “not in breach” of National Security law

Today’s SCMP front page
The “hardline pro-establishment politician” is Junius Ho, a longtime dickhead. But it’s worrying that it’s even raised. That he wants to criminalise critiques of policy. That’s a mindset. Not nice.
That said, today’s South China Morning Post Op-Ed page has two articles* criticising the Zero Covid policy and a major piece inside on how experts are a saying well have to get off this so-called “Dynamic Zero-Covid policy”.

Mike’s brutal assessment (also mine):
Alice’s brutal assessment (also mine):
One word: “Enough!”

Cloud | Flower | Bike


Madagascar Periwinkle, Club Siena and International School. Tiger Head Mtn.
Wide angle looking West, Alto-cumulus clouds, ~5:30 pm
The multi-faith chapel. Sideways Pano
East to Central, 0.5 wide angle. My nice ladies’ bike
East to Central, 8x zoom. Tall one: ICC Building, 108 storeys
Similar sky, 4 January 2022, looking West to Tiger Head

Sunday 30 January 2022

Cathay Pilots head for the exit

Cathay pilots leaving in droves
I’ve posted about this before here and here and here and here. [ADDED: Happier times in 2013]

We have many friends work for Cathay, ground staff, pilots... and they’ve said how tough it is for them and their families. So this is no surprise. While pilots are leaving Cathay is hiring locally, even as passenger numbers are down 98%. 

Snip from above article: 
ADDED: Complaints in China against Zero Covid strategy

Saturday 29 January 2022

The biggest reality show in the solar system: James Webb has arrived at L2!... and here’s what’s next

Click above for vid. 
Earlier vids

Welcome to your jail Covid quarantine facility.
Penny’s Bay Hong Kong
Alex Lo used to be pro Zero Covid policy. Now sees its downsides. As do many others. I’ve been speaking about the downsides of ZCP for a long time. Even if it “crept up on me”. Pretty much since he beginning of the pandemic and hearing an expert epidemiologist say that “zero covid” won’t work. At the time everyone agreed. Then somehow got on that train anyway. Now they’re jumping off. David Dodwell is another.

Why would anyone self-test when the punishment for positive is 21 days in the horrid Penny’s Bay for you and all those you were in close contact with? Why?

Thanks to SCMP here’s  the text of Alex Lo’s piece:

Friday 28 January 2022


Things I got wrong about Covid

I look back over a few weeks of posts and they’re almost all about Covid and Omicron. Why?

I guess because we’re entering our third year and I thought it would be over in one. I’d never imagined we’d still be under lockdown by now. I thought we’d be over it in 2020, in time for our Alaska trip.

I wasn’t so optimistic for nothing. We’d been through the SARS epidemic in 2003, as owners of a customer-facing business, going though the social distancing, hand sanitisers, masking, etc. We survived those testing times, but they were over in six months. 

The new virus is also a SARS virus  — SARS CoV-2 — so it wasn’t silly to think, or hope, or expect, or predict, or imagine, or pray, that it would be over in six months too. Which is why I kept a spreadsheet of cases: I’d done that for 2003 SARS and had predicted the last case in Hong Kong almost to the day. 

Sadly, that wasn’t to be with SARS CoV-2.

Many other things I got wrong about this pandemic. I thought other countries would take the cue from China and take quick action. That didn’t happen. All countries, especially western, were slow to act. 

I thought vaccines would be a lot longer coming. Based, by the way, on Bill Gates’ predictions. So it was great they came so quickly.

Then I assumed that everyone would welcome the vaccines and rush to get jabbed. For some yes, but for many no, to this day. 

I thought when politicians said we must  “follow the science” they would … well, follow the science. Yet they staunchly ignored key facts — the science — about this virus, and do so this day: mainly (1) that there is a steep age curve — it affects old people far more than young. And (2) that the vast majority severely affected have comorbidities. Failure to acknowledge these two key facts has warped public health measures around the world. And does so to this day.

I never imagined how tribal it would all become. Early on it was “we’re all in this together” but that spirit quickly evaporated. People quickly got back to calling each other names, but worse than ever, including “you have blood on your hands” if one had a different opinion. (I got accused of this, early on). I should have known; I’ve written often about how “One divides into two”, a kind of rule of life. (一分为二, Yi Fen Wei Er. A Hegelian dialectic much beloved by Mao).

I didn’t expect the world would adopt such very different approaches. Which is another reason for my current obsession. That here in Hong Kong we’re adopting a very different approach — Zero Covid — to the rest of the west. As it goes on, I’m now just recording, for posterity as it were. Not making any predictions. Except the ones that are safe to make because some countries (South Africa) have the experience before others (us here in Hong Kong). And Hong Kong, in headline news today, acts like it knows nothing of Omicron experience elsewhere. Like we’re in an information bubble, as well as various vaccine bubbles.

I never imagined our government would be so stupid as to give away $HK5,000 to every resident, withiout demanding they take the vaccine to qualify. That’s right! our government handed out $US 800 to every man,woman, and child in Hong Kong, gratis. Cash. Not a single syringe attached.... ADDED: The government is making the same mistake in 2022, with a no-strings-attached $HK10,000 giveaway. Go figure…)

Another thing: just as there are waves with the pandemic so there are waves in countries’ performance. Some have been heroes then zeros then heroes again. Germany was an early hero; became a zero and is now somewhere in between. We here in HK were early heroes, now just weirdos. China have been between heroes to less than zeros to weirdo to wicked, all in waves. Ditto UK, US. And Australia went from early heroes to deep authoritarian to somewhere rational now, with some state-based “zero-ism” verging in a kind of lunacy. Waves within waves. It’ll be fertile territory for study of mass … what? … psychosis?… well, mass something, no doubt the subject of many a future PhD thesis. 

ADDED: I didn’t know or expect the “Long Covid” thing. TBF, no one did, early on. But it certainly is a thing and could go on impacting our societies for years, perhaps decades.

Thursday 27 January 2022

No kidding?! | “City’s status as top hub for aviation ‘severely impacted’”

Yesterday I read Cathay Pacific passenger load is just 2%. Imagine! Two percent of what they used to carry. 😕. ADDED: Pilots leaving 

Hong Kong had a Covid choice, two years ago. Go with China or go with the rest of the world. If open to the world then China would be out of bounds and vice versa. It’s been vice versa but worse. By facing west (to China) we’re cut off from facing east (to the world) but still cut off from China. With maybe some hope of being allowed to be in a Bubble with China. Maybe. Sometime. 

But still I understand the policy. Even if I don’t like it. If you think of the number of Hongkongers like us, that would love to travel internationally, we are way fewer than the number of Hongkongers with business and family on the mainland. 

For Cathay this is just too bad. And maybe, some think, the government doesn’t care. Cathay being a “colonial holdover”. 

I spoke to a Cathay pilot the other day. She’d flown to Taiwan and back in a day. Three days of testing prior to flight. Didn’t even get off the plane in Taipei. Not allowed to. Flies back to HK. Four hours of processing here in Hong Kong, with PCR tests, etc, for a process that used to take 5 minutes in those far off “normal” times. For her it is hugely stressful and getting so the game is not worth the candle. 

All that said, it doesn’t mean Hong Kong has had it. More integrated with China but still with special characteristics: free trade, free capital markets, world internet access, freedom of conscience, rule of common law, all these freedoms remain. The challenge is to maintain them. By not challenging the tyrannical autocrat. Because the tyrant will react like tyrants react.

Wednesday 26 January 2022

“ If Hong Kong continues with its zero-Covid policy, it will become a shell of its former self” | Peter Kammerer

In case it’s not clear to Occasional Readers, I’m anti our Zero-Covid policy here in Hong Kong. My old journo mate, Peter Kammerer sums up the case for that view pretty well here

His final para sums it:

Hong Kong can continue on its present track battling a wave of disease that gets ever-higher. In the process, the city will become a shell of what it once was, with frustrated, disillusioned and mentally strained residents. Or, it can look forward to a future of being part of the wider world, able to interact, get talent, learn and prosper.

With thanks to SCMP, I post the whole article below:

Dawning realisations


Tuesday 25 January 2022

It’s dry

Siena Park, Discovery Bay, Hong Kong 

CDC: Natural immunity from Covid is *as protective* as vaccine immunity

Click to enlarge 
This is comprehensive data from the United States CDC, which is made comprehensible in a vid by John Campbell.

The above chart, from the CDC study, is for Cases. There’s another for Hospitalisation, which is very similar. In short:

Unvaccinated catch Covid more than the vaccinated (no surprise). People who have had Covid catch it and are hospitalised even less than the vaccinated who’ve not had Covid. IOW: natural immunity from having had Covid is very protective against both catching Covid and being hospitalised by it. That’s according to the premier US outfit, the Center for Disease Control, CDC.

It makes you wonder why Sajid Javid the UK Health Minister, is planning to sack 88,000 NHS staff who are unvaccinated, when many will have natural immunity. And the NHS is already 100,000 staff short. ICU doctor Steve James has that story.

[Reminder: I’m a triple-vaxxxed vaccine supporter!]

The chart for hospitalisations:

And?… | “City records second straight day of triple-digit infections” | SCMP

Click to enlarge (highlighted para discussed below)
“Respiratory expert” Dr Leung Chi-chiu says Hong Kong is “in no position to think about dropping its zero-Covid approach in favour of coexisting with the virus”, then concludes with this zinger:
 “At this stage don’t fantasise about living with this virus, as the vaccines are not effective in tackling the mutated virus”.
What?? Is he referring to Omicron as the “mutated virus”? If so he ought to know the data show that vaxxed people are up to 49 times less likely to be hospitalised. That’s from CDC studies in the United States and is backed by other studies and experiences in the UK, Australia and Europe

Or is he talking about possible future “mutated viruses”?  If so, then what? That’s a recipe for the forever-lockdown. We’ll never be out of the Zero Covid approach.

Either way, why didn’t Post reporters Victor Ting, Gigi Choy and William Yiu seek to clarify? This is a truly stupendous statement from an expert on whom the government clearly relies. 

Further, isn’t this irresponsible when the Hong Kong government is trying hard to boost vaccination rates? For a “Respiratory expert” to say the vaccines are “ineffective”? Incredible!

Monday 24 January 2022

The first Koel

The call of the Koel is a sign of spring.

2020 it was 13 February. Super Bowl Sunday 

2021 it was 1 February 

And this year, yesterday, 23 January. ADDED: The last we heard Koel call was 5 July.

What’s going on? Just ever keener Koels? Or climate change? By 3 weeks in 2 years?  Or is it Covid? The all-purpose excuse.

They might get a shock next week when temps are forecast to plunge 

From my 2020 post:

Every new year, here in Hong Kong, we know that spring has sprung because we hear the Koel calling out for his mate. And yes, it’s always a “he” calling, says my trusty Hong Kong Birds Guide.

“First-hand experience of the mainland’s zero-Covid policy costs and benefits” | Letter [not mine]

What a hassle to travel in China! But this guy seems to think it’s all just fine, with that final sentence backflip. 

My comment at the site: 

Peter F.

@ Pan Wing-tat says [last sentence]: Personally, having almost died from a similar illness, I wouldn’t want anyone to have to go through the same trauma." 
I say: "Personally, having lost three friends in a horrible car accident, I wouldn't want anyone to drive a car again".   
You see how this works?  
I'm sick of people using their "personal experience" to try to drive public policy. Just as anecdote is still NOT data.  
[That said, the rest of the letter is pretty interesting!]

Fifth wave ‘could rage for months’ | SCMP

It’s like Hong Kong “experts”* haven’t read a single report from places that have had the Omicron wave. From South Africa six weeks ago; from the UK a month ago, from the US, from Europe, from Israel, from Australia. It’s as if they know nothing of these places. Which have seen Omicron spike and now plunge. In every case. 

And in all those places, while hospitalisation went up, because of sheer numbers of cases, in no place has the hospital system crashed — as most models warned.. Hospitalisations followed cases up, but at rates 70-90% below the Alpha and Delta waves.

And now, in all those places hospitalisation rates are down. For example, UK where this is a good dashboard.  (In my view more user-friendly than government dashboards such as the UKPH, the CDC, Australia and HK. It also gives SAGE-modelling scenarios vs actual outcomes).

An interview with an Israeli GP who has >2,000 patients, confirms the above. He reports a perpendicular spike in the number of cases, but most are mild to asymptomatic (some not, to be sure, and some symptoms he describes as “scary”). All children’s cases he’s had are mild to asymptomatic. Israel is one of the earliest and most vaxxed places in the world, yet cases have skyrocketed. And are now plunging, like all the others. 

Even the super-cautious WHO is recommending opening borders and easing restrictions. While we in Hong Kong actually ban flights from 8 countries including Australia. 

So what’s with us here in HK and the “Fifth wave raging for months”? Why can’t we have a spike and a plunge over a month? It’s because of our Zero Covid policy. It’s just constant whack-a-mole. Constant locking down, constant testing and tracing, constant social distancing, constant masking, constant quarantining, constant keeping borders shut. And we know the vaccines won’t be “the way out”, because even high vaccine rates don't stop infection spread, witness UK, Israel. So even with a vaccine rate of 90% it’s going to be the rinse repeat of all the above.  If we continue with ZCP. Honestly, one despairs. 


*I put “experts” in scare quotes coz they seem more in lockstep with a political agenda than the science.  They appear oblivious to the experience in the rest of the world, so how “expert” does that make them?

Sunday 23 January 2022

Watching yesterday’s NSW presser on Covid situation


I worked out from the figures quoted in the presser, something they did NOT highlight, namely age of deaths:
  • 70+ yo = 72% of the deaths
  • 60+ yo = 88% of the deaths 
  • 30- yo = 2% of the deaths. 
  • None of the under 30 had zero comorbidity.
Now, this has been the case since the very beginning of the pandemic. That it mainly affects the elderly. And those with comorbidities like obesity, high BP and diabetes. 

We knew this two years ago from Chinese data. However all around the world governments have acted as if we were all equally at risk. That was never so and continues not be to so. A counter argues that we shouldn’t downplay deaths of the elderly. But there is a difference between death of children and death of elderly. Which you can feel when you ask yourself the question: how do you feel about the death of an 8 year old? It’s a tragedy, right? So sad. How do you feel about the death of an 80 year old? Well, she had a good life, right?  It is different. And we should have acted so, protecting the elderly and the vulnerable; letting the rest get on with life.

Also the issue of comorbidity tends to be downplayed though maybe not as much as the age issue.

Downplaying the steep age curve of Covid effects, means governments close down schools. Making children the greatest victims of Covid. When they should be the least. They must be going to face-to-face teaching, and maskless. Stop the suffering of children! Get them back to school! (We’re closing them downs again here in HK, a really bad result of Zero Covid policy).

What they did highlight was to get vaccinated. Which is fair enough. Although NSW is 95% vaxxed so don’t know how much more they can do. Does “vaccines is the way out” make sense any more? When it clearly isn’t, at least by government actions which continue to tie us down. Like here in Hong Kong, where we are triple vaxxxed but locked down and schools closed again. Despite high vax rates. I just don’t believe that governments will ease — as they should do — the restrictions we still live under, no matter how high our vax rates are. When we reach 95% or even 100% vaxxed then it’ll be “we must have boosters” then second boosters, then, we must keep restrictions in case of further variables. I’m gloomy about all this. Living in a gilded cage. But still a cage. Triple vaxxxed us, but still unfree. 

Beijing lays down the law on Covid handling in Hong Kong, makes it a National Security issue

I wondered how long it would take to make Covid a “National Security” issue. 

And now we have it. This is not good.

Ta Kung Pao is now owned by the Liaison Office in Hong Kong,  innocent-sounding name for the reps of China Communist Party. So it’s the voice of Beijing.  No choice on the way we handle Covid. It’s Beijing’s. A skewering on One Country Two Systems.

I used to read and translate articles in the Ta Kung Pao back in the 70s, as part of Chinese language study. It was not then openly owned by Beijing but known to “reflect” China’s views and worth reading for that reason alone.

Queen Carrie goes full King Cnut: holding back the tide… [not]


How will we go, trying to stop what seems now to be inevitable? Like King Cnut commanding the ride to stop? Especially people deciding not to test at home coz of the Really Bad that happens if you’re positive — Penny’s Bay quarantine for you, and full-building lockdowns for all of your fellow residents. Unprecedented. 
Bottom headline: the mainland is pressing on with Zero Covid, a policy that’s been abandoned everywhere. Save for: New Zealand, Western Australia and of course, us here in Hong Kong. 
Australia abandoned zero-Covid and Omicron is now plunging. Ditto US and UK, most of Europe. 

ADDED: And it doesn’t look too good in those locked down buildings:

Saturday 22 January 2022

Crepuscular Candle

This is the *least* that happens if you have one positive test in a building

In coffee shop yesterday an impromptu chat with five folks, expat and local, a Cathay pilot, a Public Health student, a business guy, a retired engineers. 

Got around to discussing tests.  All had RAT kits at home. All said “don’t use them!”. IOW, we have educated middle class folks, all saying “don’t test”. 

If the result of a positive test were that you stayed at home for five days, people would test. If the result of a positive test is your whole apartment block locked down and you sent to Penny’s Bay Quarantine facility, well, who’s going to test?

Hammering Hong Kong Hamstercide | China's untenable Zero Covid policy | CDC & Vax protection

Dr John has a go at China. What happens when it opens up? Me: at coffee shop yesterday a guy who works in China says they’re going to keep borders closed until 2024 at least…. I guess we’ll see, in time. But meantime it’s going to hold for us here in Hong Kong. So no freedom for two more years? Sigh…

Back to Dr John: Gives is plenty of data showing: Vaccination doesn’t much stop transmission or catching Omicron. But are VERY effective at preventing hospitalisation. Up to 49 times less likely in those fully vaccinated. Especially CDC data.

And: Omicron peaked in all places it started >4 week ago. Australia is a strange case with eastern states over the hump, but WA still locked down. What happens when they open the borders? 

All in the vid, with links given.

Friday 21 January 2022

Hamstercide in Hong Kong. Our government has gone stark raving bonkers

To many in the West, this [killing house pets] will sound like an absurd overreaction. But it’s what happens when your goal is zero Covid. Policy ceases to be about proportionality — about balancing costs, risks, and benefits. It becomes about absolutes. If the goal is zero, you cannot take chances.

In many ways, the pet massacre is just the logical development of the other policies currently in place. There are total flight bans from multiple countries. A full three weeks in hotel quarantine for almost every visitor. Compulsory hospitalisation for weeks for anyone found to have Covid, even if asymptomatic, while anyone they’ve been in contact with gets chucked into quarantine. Ambush style lockdowns of buildings to carry out compulsory testing. Children separated from their parents, and held in isolation. 

Restaurants are currently shut in the evenings. Bars completely. Most sport or other leisure activities are shuttered. And today the government announced it was stopping face-to-face teaching in secondary schools. Primaries went about a week ago. This is the third school shut down since Covid began. Two years into Covid, and no one here can see a way forward. The goal is to reopen the border with the mainland, a goal which requires zero cases, but they don’t seem to have an exit plan either. Even if this current wave can be contained, and things slowly open up again, another will follow. Rinse and repeat, just with fewer rodents.

Maybe the hamsters are the lucky ones.

From What next after the Hong Kong Hamstercide, in UnHerd 

Spending $US 2 Billion on Discovery Bay, Hong Kong

Just to the left of the circled bit “We live here”, above, they’ll build 1,400 one-bedroom to four-bedroom apartments and some villas. That will add up to 5,000 people, 25% more to our current 20,000 population. 

$US2 Billion ($A3 Billion) is quite a bit to invest, isn’t it?  I mean, anywhere, right?

Thursday 20 January 2022

“Under zero-Covid, vaccination rate doesn’t seem to matter” | A Letter (not mine)

 Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor recently asked, ‘Don’t we all want to see over 90 per cent of people getting vaccinated, which would help resume normal life, and create better conditions for reopening borders in the future.’

However, with our present zero-Covid strategy, no matter how much of the population is vaccinated, a single untraceable case will bring the city to its knees. Does this sound like a new normal anyone wants to live in?
There has been considerable discussion over whether opening the border with the mainland or the rest of the world is the right strategy. Any doubts regarding Hong Kong’s strategic priorities were clarified by health minister Sophia Chan Siu-chee on Sunday; even if infection rates are brought under control, social distancing measures will still not be fully lifted in early February to avoid jeopardising the mainland border opening. This is something which history and the current Covid-19 situation on the mainland shows is unlikely.
Chan also made it clear that restrictions would be tightened in the future if cases re-emerged. There is no indication that a hypothetical 100 per cent vaccination rate would change this strategy one iota. 
Regardless of border openings, the right strategy for Hong Kong is certainly one where vaccinated residents who have done their civic duty can live their lives and send their children to school without fear of getting sent to quarantine, many simply for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
If Hong Kong businesses cannot be assured of their future operations, particularly in those businesses where all patrons must be vaccinated, there is little light at the end of the tunnel. The government must concretely outline a way out of our present predicament, otherwise many businesses will never reopen, and countless people may soon leave the city.

“We’re not scare mongering! Really!” | SCMP

More scary headlines. But not scare-mongering!

The cull of innocent hamsters had some in this household crying yesterday. 

The bit circled: if you test positive, you and all your classmates and the teacher, or you and all your work colleagues, or you and all the other residents in your apartment block, all of you. will be sent off to quarantine in the Penny’s Bay facility. And it ain’t nice. So you gotta ask yourself what’s the incentive to self-test? I’ve got RAT kits, have tested once, negative. But I’m not going to again, unless forced to. Why would I? Why would anyone? If you’re triple-vaxxxed, Omicron is a minor threat to you and you are not a threat to others. (Testing would be done more readily if you were told to isolate at home if positive, instead of being immediately quarantined at Penny’s Bay).

I note the “Delta threat” in the headline. Whereas in other places Omicron is displacing Delta. Here it’s not being displaced coz Zero Covid policy. Meanwhile in other places, like US, UK, Omicron has spikd and case numbers are plunging. The figures at Our World in Data show hospitalisation and death rates at 10-20% what they were in the first Alpha and Delta waves. Australia is apparently stretched, bed-wise, but it’s a policy issue, mass testing, with positive RATs made to stay at home. Whereas the policy might be that the asymptomatic positives could be helping out in Covid wards. 

Bottom headline, above: Cathay Pacific are being pummelled again. Made the scapegoat of the government’s ruinous policies. Pilots I speak to here in HK say they feel like the government is trying to shut it down. Even though 20% or so is owned by China Southern airways. Maybe. Or maybe it’s just collateral damage. Whatever, they’re currently losing billions a month. How long can that go on for? Our favourite-est airline, may sink, courtesy toughest quarantine in the world. 

Wednesday 19 January 2022

Devil of a Kafka Trap


From tuition ban to Evergrande collapse, is China tripping over its chase for ‘common prosperity’? | SCMP

Article by Donald Low. Interesting two reasons:

1. It's in the South China Morning Post, Asia's prestige English language paper on China issues, Hong Kong-based — where we are assured by foreign media that free speech is dead, post Beijing's National Security Law — and yet it is criticising a key policy goal of Xi Jinping, to reach "common prosperity". The SCMP is thus far navigating those treacherous post-NSL shoals rather well.
Sure there's been arrests and closures: I keep hoping the other shoe doesn't drop and am heartened whenever I see robust articles like these in our local media.

2. Donald Low’s analysis may well be right. When you try to reduce inequality by giving a greater role to state enterprises, you end up "levelling down" (as Socialism does) rather than "levelling up" (as Capitalism does — or at at least tries to).

Click above photo to go to the article.

The panic goes on for we hamsters on the Zero Covid treadmill



More than travel sacrificed in quarantine measures

Djokovic | Deportation | Deception

I’ve covered this a few times because it’s more than an anti-vax tennis champ being kicked out of Australia. It’s a story of deception, hubris, politics, schadenfreude. 

One deception is of all the stories out there that Djokovic tried to enter Australia on false grounds, either without a visa, or that he lied in his visa application. Neither is true. And is in any case irrelevant to the ultimate reason the government gave for deporting him. 

Djokovic had a visa issued by the Australian government after he was granted an exemption from vaccine -- by two Australian Medical Boards, as prescribed in the laws of our country --  because he had had Covid within the prescribed time, and so had natural immunity.

And the alleged lie, disputed by Djokovic, is in any case irrelevant. Indeed the Australian government acknowledged this in its deportation statement. It conceded that Djokovic both (1) “poses no threat to the Australian community” and (2) That he “has a valid visa issued by the Australian government”. So, in sum and to repeat: valid visa and no threat. But heaps of tweets and stories out there ignore or deny this. They are deceptive.

The other deception is the Australian government. They gave him a visa. Then kicked him out. Basis bogus reasoning, the hubris of “the law is the law” until “the law isn’t the law, coz we don’t like it”.  Basis deceit, basic hubris and basic schadenfreude from those who want Djoko to suffer just as much as the rest of Australians have done, by blaming him, and not the government that led them to that suffering. Shame on ScoMo. Shame on the media who praise this authoritarian and deceptive ploy. Shame. 

Greenwald is a left-wing human rights lawyer who broke the Edward Snowden papers. His voice takes a bit of getting used to. Over time I’ve come to appreciate his integrity. He hews to the truth as closest he can get to it. His intro to the vid above:

Note that the Australian government, in deporting Djokovic, did not contend that he posed a threat to the public health due to a risk of transmitting COVID. The opposite is true: the government acknowledged that he qualified for a legal exemption from the vaccine requirement to enter the country given that he just contracted COVID as reflected by a December 16 positive test, followed by a negative test on December 22, and therefore has high levels of natural immunity. That is why he received a legal visa to enter Australia despite being unvaccinated. The proffered justification from Immigration Minister Alex Hawke, who cancelled his visa and ordered him deported, was that Djokovic’s statements in April, 2020 implied that he was skeptical of vaccines, and the presence of someone in Australia who is viewed as an “icon” of personal choice would foster social disruption and “excite” anti-vaccine sentiments.

In other words, the principle just embraced by the Australian government and upheld by its judicial system (whose hands were largely tied due to the virtually absolute power vested in the government) is that anyone who has ever expressed any skepticism over vaccines in general, or the COVID vaccine in particular, can and should be denied entrance to the country and be prevented from pursuing their livelihood — even though the government admits they pose no threat to the public health by transmitting the virus to others. Immigration lawyers and civil liberties activists in the country are warning of the grave dangers posed to everyone from this precedent

Tuesday 18 January 2022

Hong Kong | Black | White


Click photo for more…

Dumping on Djoko


Paul C.W. Chan dumps on Novak, Boris and Carrie. I’m on side with criticism of Boris and the HK pollies. Blatant hypocrisy. But the Djokovic case is misrepresented. 
My comment at the site:

Phil C.W. Chan: The Australian government conceded Djokovic was "no risk" to the Austrlaian population and that he had a "valid visa" issued by itself, the government. They specifically conceded that.  The reason they gave for deporting him was they didn't like one mildly questioning tweet from April 2020, pre-vaccines and said he had "an open mind".  He is no anti-vax activist.  
Australian immigration lawyers and Human Rights activists have voiced serious concern about the "chilling effect" of a government deporting people whose views hey may not like. I'm triple Vaxxxed, Australian, but appalled and ashamed of our government's capricious politically-driven actions.  And shame on you, Chan, for egregiously misrepresenting that issue. (On Boris, btw, I agree…).  5m ago • Edited

ADDED: It’s also not true that the Federal Court “agreed” with the government’s stance. They simply found that the government had the power to deport anyone it wants to (a power restricted in only the most limited of cases) and specifically said that its judgement did not imply agreement with the government’s reasons. Chan is a lawyer and ought to get this. 

Monday 17 January 2022

Michael Shellenberger On Homelessness, Addiction, Crime | Andrew Sullivan

This is a fantastically thoughtful article summarising Andrew Sullivan's talks with Michael Shellenberger and some others, including sharp insights from commenters across the country.

Shellenberger's "San Fran-sicko" is on my table, ready to be read.

“Hong Kong students lament UK Covid strategy” | SCMP

They don’t seem to understand that their treatment is the direct result of an explicit strategy. We do track and trace and quarantine in HK because we have a zero-Covid policy. The UK does not because it has not. These three students (how were they picked from the 16,000 in UK; because they fit the Post’s priors?) strike me as whingers. Note, buried at the end of the article, they were all fine after their brush with Omicron, which lasted a few days, with cold-like symptoms. These precious little things were “shocked” that people are not wearing masks in Britain. Again, it’s coz of the strategy, and that’s OK, Zoomer!

They’re looking forward to coming back to Hong Kong. Where they can be told what to do. 

Meantime in Hong Kong, will vaccinating 5-yo be a “path out of the pandemic”: No it won’t. Because we’ve heard that numerous times before and the goal posts have been shifted again and again. Not to mention: why vaccinate 5 yo? 

ADDED: Comments at the site are splitting 50/50 pro and con. The most popular at time of writing (17/1) is: 

Edward E.
"I had symptoms of a cold and after testing found I had Covid." And? Do you expect the government to send you groceries and paracetamol if you have a cold or flu? These students are just babies and have been mollycoddled by the nanny state. If you are really sick and need to go to hospital and 999 does not answer the phone, then you can complain. The UK government has done a great job developing and administering good vaccines quickly that really work and more people are vaccinated than in Hong Kong, especially vulnerable groups.

Sunday 16 January 2022

Horse | Wedding | Chapel

Wedding at local multi-faith chapel, on my bike ride
Siena Park, Discovery Bay, Hong Kong

“Has the Great Barrington Declaration been vindicated?" | UnHerd

Has the Left finally woken up to the devastating costs of implementing lockdowns? In its first edition of 2022, the Observer carried a surprisingly balanced interview with Professor Mark Woolhouse, a member of Sage whose new book — The Year the World Went Mad — argues that long lockdowns promoted more harm than good and failed to protect the vulnerable. Its favourable reception appears to herald a new direction in the critique of Covid measures and policies on the Left; for the first time, the question of what really represented the collective good in the Covid debate has been put on the table by a mainstream left-liberal publication. More… [Web Archive]

Saturday 15 January 2022

“Generation Z ‘overconfident about China, sees west as evil’” | SCMP

I’ve said something along these lines for years — that Chinese youth are hyper-nationalist and so, xenophobic. But it’s one thing for me to say it, sitting here, foreigner in Hong Kong. It’s another, and remarkable, for a senior academic at Tsing Hua University China, to say it. 

As Chinese youth have become more pro their government and policies, so the West views of China have become more negative. Yet the Chinese youth believe the opposite: that the West has a positive view of China. Not so. 

Both trends — Chinese yoof despising the West and the West hating on China — are pretty dangerous. Not just for the future, but, like, now. Xi Jinping’s government has fanned the anti-west feelings and is now incentivised to play to it, a nasty vicious circle. While what Trump started four years ago, seems to be working for Biden, Blinken & co.