Saturday, 20 August 2022

“Mishandling of Covid ‘endemic’ is distressing” | Hong Kong SCMP Letter

I don’t know this letter writer George Forral, but we’re much of a muchness with our take on where we are here in Hong Kong on our “coronavirus crisis”, as the Post insists on calling it. He’s 75, I’m rising 73. He’s been here for 50 years, me 47. We both call for ditching our restrictions, like the rest of the region, our sister Singapore top amongst them. 
It time to learn to “live with the virus” as much of the developed world is already doing. Unless we do Hong Kong will be unable to reclaim its past glory as one of the safest, most pleasant, most efficient and successful cities in the world and will continue to lose talented people through emigration.

AN ASIDE: Some may say this is yet another whinging foreigner, just one more gweilo complainer, and who cares? Who cares about the South China Morning Post an English-language newspaper? The answer is: I know from personal experience that the Hong Kong government reads this very paper every day, including its Letters page. That’s because it’s readership is not just foreigners or even mainly foreigners. It’s readership is majority Chinese. Who happen to read English well, cosmopolitans who are “opinion leaders”. The government has often reflected concerns expressed in the Post’s pages. 

The specific problem now with our Covid policy is that the government is trying to satisfy two very different constituencies: the Business community, including the foreign, who want opening up, and its masters in Beijing who continue with even more draconian Zero Covid policies on the mainland, and who expect us to follow them more closely. It’s a serious contradiction. In Chinese a 矛盾, máo dùn, a “sword and shield”: which one prevails? The attacking sword or the defending shield?