Marching on Filthy Lucre City Reply

May Day has always been a great day for contradictions.

Consider the case of the Capitalist loving Communist unions who are not nearly as popular as they were in the heroic days of the Cultural Revolution when they could fill Hong Kong streets with chanting Red Guards. Many of those revolutionaries have since moved into Italian suits, flashing Swiss watches as they speculate on the stock market. Only the diehards march on May Day in Hong Kong these days. As disciplined Communists, they support the Chinese Communist party’s local front group, Democratic Alliance for the Development and Betterment of Hong Kong (DAB). DAB loyally supports the Beijing appointed Hong Kong leadership; a group of senior civil servants and billionaires who believe that workers wages and conditions should be suppressed for the good of their family companies and, of course, the economy. This leaves the local communist activists in a rather tricky position when it comes to attracting oppressed members of the working class.

In fact the biggest group of May Day marchers was not local Chinese people at all, but immigrant workers…maids. In skintight jeans, platform shoes and even the odd burqa, they sashayed along Hong Kong Streets in contingents from the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia, singing along with all girl band imported for the occasion. The maids want their salaries back to what they were before the now up turned economic down turn. This would give them HK$3,860 (A$655) a month; a gigantic figure which would, if granted, clearly bring ruin and discord to dinner parties right across the Pearl of the Orient.

Also marching today were disaffected employees of Hong Kong’s Disneyland who want more money to wear Western designed duck and rat suits in the steamy Hong Kong summer. For the last few months, they have been threatening to strike at Disneyland, which has imported a team of high powered American spin masters to stem negative publicity, which might result from seeing a placard waving Mickey clubbed down by security guards. Disneyland is still recovering from ugly scenes at Chinese New Year, when mainland Chinese tourists tried to storm the gates of the magical kingdom. Unscrupulous travel agents had oversold Disneyland tickets and the former children of Chairman Mao wanted their money’s worth.

Meanwhile, Disneyland is being blamed for a down turn in tourist numbers at Hong Kong’s other premium attraction, the
giant Buddha on Lantau Island. Standing 34 meters high, the seated Buddha took ten years to complete at the Precious Lotus Monastery at Ngong Ping. According to the tourist information, ” The eyes, lips, incline of the head and even the right hand raised to deliver a blessing to all, combine to lend great depth of character and dignity to this extraordinary statue, whose very glance brings calm and introspection to those who look into those seemingly all-seeing eyes.” Big Buddha’s been a big earner for local monks, who have been discommoded by defections to Disneyland. It seems the Abbot hopes to restore tranquility by tearing down part of the historic Tai Hung temple and constructing a sort of Buddhist theme park.

Maybe the monks should have been marching too!


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