Thursday, October 15, 2009

I Have A Dream

By Chip Tsao | published Oct 15, 2009

President Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last week based on great promises he has yet to fulfill. Meanwhile, a Democratic Hong Kong legislator named Kam Nai-wai found himself in a similar situation to Obama, as a public trial was unleashed on the poor guy over something he set out to achieve, but ultimately never consummated.

Kam’s crime was a verbal expression of his “good feelings” for a female assistant, followed by a shy offer to take her on a massage trip to China together. In terms of looks, it would be too cruel to brand him the Chinese version of Quasimodo, but the lackluster, bespectacled, asexual, anti-charismatic, would-be politician has the same facial banality as the average middle-aged Hongkonger in Happy Valley on any given racing day. So it is no surprise that his modest request was met with disdain and firmly rejected. The female assistant was then sacked, with alleged compensation of more than HK$100,000.

But nothing happened. No petting or pawing. No violent tearing off of clothes or forced hanky panky. Kam’s only mistake was the decision to icily dismiss her so quickly. If only he had read some Goethe, he could have written to the lady: “I have a dream of taking you on a massage trip. I have a dream of kissing your tender lips. I have a dream of making you my concubine. Since I’m madly in love with you, and my love has gone unrequited, your radiant physical existence in my office reduces me to a total wretch. Oh, how your glistening face tortures me! Your heavenly presence is like the celestial light of the cross tormenting the Dark Prince Dracula! I live in such abysmal agony at the very sight of you, even when you go to the coffee machine and make yourself a cup of cappuccino. Please show some pity on me and gracefully end my sufferings by leaving this office forthwith! I beg you with all of my pain, and bid you: Adieu.”

Blame Kam’s unimaginative crisis management skills first on Hong Kong’s failed education system. If Hong Kong schoolchildren were educated with western Romantics, they would grow up more sexually attractive to the modern global female, and not come across like a nation of inscrutable eunuchs in western suits. If Jude Law or even old Jack Nicholson made the same offer to a Chinese office lady,
who would refuse?

The next problem is the local media. New York journalist Lionel Shriver has recently defined exactly what a “hyper-narrative” is: “A story of nominal social importance that is played up disproportionately in the media because it satisfies what are essentially fictional appetites.”
Kam’s is a non-story. It is as fictional as Obama’s ambitions—for which the President has won a prize!—but poor Kam has paid a price.

Chip Tsao is a best-selling author and columnist. A former reporter for the BBC, his columns have also appeared in Apple Daily, Next Magazine and CUP Magazine, among others.

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