17 September 2019
Hong Kong's leader CY Leung and his wife Regina Leung could do with some additional reading material. Photos: HKEJ
Hong Kong's leader CY Leung and his wife Regina Leung could do with some additional reading material. Photos: HKEJ

What CY and his kin should buy at the book fair

Regina Leung Tong Ching-yee, the wife of Hong Kong’s top leader Leung Chun-ying, drew quite a bit of attention Thursday as she visited the book fair in the city.

While she would have no doubt felt relieved at not bumping into political academic Ivan Choy Chi-keung, who she described recently as being “shallow, ignorant, cold-blooded and unfeeling” after he wrote a critical commentary on the Leung family, I’m not sure what exactly the First Lady was looking for as she visited various stalls at the annual fair.  

But given the troubles faced by the Leungs, both on the political front and at home, in the past few weeks, I would recommend a few titles for her and her kin to read. Here they are:

1. Occupy Spirituality: A Radical Vision for a New Generation

The book examines the Occupy Wall Street and other protest movements around the world, pointing to a new era of intergenerational activists seeking deeper spiritual meaning in the quest for peace and justice. It also provides a step-by-step guide to move beyond our broken economic, political, educational and religious systems.

Note: Be prepared for more action from some radical legislators from People Power and “Short Hair”.

2. The Honest Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone–Especially Ourselves

In a political version of “Freakonomics”, behavioral economist Dan Ariely examines the contradictory forces that drive us to cheat and keep us honest — with examples such as extra-marital affairs and Ponzi schemes — because cheating and honesty are not just parts of our ubiquitous news cycle, but also inescapable parts of the human condition.

Note: If you tell the truth, as Mark Twain said, you don’t need to remember anything.

3. Understanding Public Opinion

The book contains dozens of essays on how social scientists drew lessons from the way Hurricane Katrina affected public attitudes and the rise and fall of public support for George W Bush.

Note: It is a much more interesting read than the White Paper, so should remind CY to take it along and pass it on to his Beijing contacts after reading. 

Regina can keep these notes in mind, as I can say without hesitation that the three books will provide comfort for her husband whenever he is stuck in his Tamar headquarters due to civic protests.

Meanwhile, coming back to the First Lady’s trip to the Hong Kong Book Fair, there was a one-for-three special promotion and Mrs Leung was given a free gift of “Little Women“, the famous 19th century novel written by Louisa May Alcott.

As one of the great American practitioners of the girls’ novel and the family tome, Little Women indisputably enlarges the myth of American womanhood by insisting that the home and the women’s sphere cherish individuality and thus produce young adults who can make their way in the world while preserving a critical distance from its social arrangements.

A classic girl’s book which came out just a few years after the American Civil War and one which Regina should find fascinating.

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EJ Insight writer