Date
23 October 2018
Heung Yee Kuk chairman Kenneth Lau (center) picks a fortune stick at the Che Kung Temple to gauge the prospects of Hong Kong in the Year of the Dog. Photo: RTHK
Heung Yee Kuk chairman Kenneth Lau (center) picks a fortune stick at the Che Kung Temple to gauge the prospects of Hong Kong in the Year of the Dog. Photo: RTHK

New Year fortune sticks carry two messages for Carrie Lam

During Chinese New Year, there is a ritual in Hong Kong wherein a senior government official or a senior representative of the Heung Yee Kuk (Rural Council) picks a fortune stick at the Che Kung Temple in Sha Tin on behalf of the city on the second day of the Lunar New Year.

This year, there was a bit of drama as the fortune stick picked by Sha Tin rural committee vice-chairman Lee Chee-kee for the district was mixed up with the one drawn by Heung Yee Kuk chairman Kenneth Lau Ip-Keung.

But both sticks, no. 21 and 41, are neutral and both seem to carry some messages for our government.

Stick no. 21 can be linked to Hong Kong’s land shortage problem, as the stick message mentions something about “an inch of land is an inch of gold”, and “no matter more or less”.

Given the surging home prices and the difficulty of finding more land, the message could be interpreted as advice that no matter the size of land plots, the government should use every opportunity to develop new residential projects to ease the supply-demand imbalance.

Stick  No. 41, meanwhile bore these words: “If one wants to cross the ocean, one should not worry about getting wet. Nothing can be achieved without pain.”

Applying that to Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, the message could be that the only way to ensure long-term peace and prosperity of Hong Kong is to address fundamental issues such as political reform, or settling the matter related to the Basic Law’s Article 23 that requires the city to enact controversial national security legislation.

The full article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Feb 20

Translation by Julie Zhu

[Chinese version 中文版]

– Contact us at [email protected]

RC

Hong Kong Economic Journal columnist

EJI Weekly Newsletter

Please click here to unsubscribe