16 January 2019
It might not be a good idea to invest in stocks using Che Kung's advice. Photos: HKEJ,
It might not be a good idea to invest in stocks using Che Kung's advice. Photos: HKEJ,

Che Kung: Blessing or curse?

It is at political and economic low points like these that we start to question the credibility of Che Kung.

The former Song dynasty military commander, who safely protected the Chinese emperor in Hong Kong against uprisings in the mainland a thousand years ago, has been dispensing good fortune in one form or another to his Sha Tin followers on the third day of the new year.

He is especially gracious this year.

When Kenneth Lau, the new chairman of Heung Yee Kuk, visited Che Kung Temple on the second day of the Year of the Monkey, he was granted a very auspicious stick No. 72.

This can’t be true given that the “fish-ball revolution” in Mong Kok broke out just hours before the annual ritual of stick drawing.

The government described it as a “riot” comparable to the 1967 communist-inspired violence.

Only the likes of Che Kung would know whether the fish-ball clashes were a youth uprising on behalf of illegal hawkers or a planned but ultimately failed police job triggered by public presssure for more stringent security measures during the Lunar New Year break when Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying decided not to take a holiday for a change.

Who knows if the disturbance was pre-arranged or coincidence?

The lucky stick was last drawn in 2008 by Lau’s father, Lau Wong-fat, the King of the New Territories from whom the son inherited the mantle.

Anyway, there seems to be an inverse relationship between a lucky stick and the Hong Kong economy.

In 2008, a financial tsunami wiped out almost half of the Hong Kong stock market.

Ironically, the Hang Seng Index fell 853 points on the first day of the Year of the Mouse. Look what happened on the first trading day of the Year of the Monkey?

Since 2008, central banks across the world have adopted monetary easing to avert a global recession.

The United States raised interest rates in December but Japan launched another negative interest rate cycle which is expected to be followed by other countries.

If 2016 follows the events of 2008, we could well expect the Hang Seng Index back below 10,000 and plenty of corporate closures and firings.

Guess what? HSBC was trading around HK$50 before the stock collapsed to HK$28.

In politics, it might not be too bad.

In 2008, we had a strong government team with Leung Chun-ying as Executive Council convenor. Filibustering was unheard of.

The government secured US$21.6 billion (US$2.77 billion) in funding for the West Kowloon Cultural District.

Guess where all the money went?

Just how far we are heading back to the gloomy days of 2008 is not known but we are as curious as Hillary Clinton.

The former American first lady wanted to be the first female US president in 2008 only to lose to then political rising star Barack Obama.

Guess what? Her political stock is sinking like a pebble after a crushing defeat to Sen. Bernie Sanders in New Hampshire.

Hillary may be doomed again but not Che Kung.

We appreciate his wisdom in hindsight, so we give him the benefit of the doubt till next year.

After all, we can’t blame anyone for believing tomorrow is always better than today.

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EJ Insight writer

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