A Christmas Carol

December 28, 2016 12:13
The Christmas gift to the Baguio Villa owners will be to increase the wattage for the tennis court lights at no extra cost. Photo: Bloomberg

It was Christmas Day in Chau Tai Fook’s golden grotto and Santa Claws, the father of the New World gathered his elves around him.

“We must think of a suitable present for all those flat owners in Baguio Villa, something to show them that our heart goes out to them at this time of year.”

“Why don’t we ask our undercover elves on the owners’ committee to tell us what the residents want?” Said the grotto’s in-house Chief of Intelligence.

“Yes, yes SC – they called him SC for short – chimed in the little Sycoph ants, as they busied themselves finding new ways to conceal the grotto’s land bank.

“Hmm…” said SC “…looking at the voting patterns over all the past AGMs, if we didn’t deploy all the votes from our Car Park spaces, I fear that the owners wouldn’t agree with anything we propose, indeed, we wouldn’t even be able to get our closet elves onto the IOC. So, I suspect that our closet elves don’t really represent the views of the owners.”

“Do you think we should tell our closet elves that they must all disclose their telephone numbers and e-mail addresses to the owners so that they would appear to be approachable?” said the C.I.

“Oh, I don’t think we should do anything as dramatic as that.” SC shook his great big curly golden hair.

“Well…” the C.I. responded “…in that case why don’t we just ask the Management Company to give us some ideas?”

SC frowned and scratched his beard. “But they only do what we tell them to do, I don’t think they have a mind of their own.”

“Well, that’s because they’re related by marriage to the grotto, they don’t want to cause discord in the family.” Responded the C.I.

“I have an idea.” The tiniest elf’s hand shot up, a smile on his dear little face that had been fashioned to look like one of CTF’s golden buddhas.

“We could pay the renovation contribution that is overdue in Stage 2 from our 40 Car Park spaces.” A tremor of fear ran through the assembled workshop personnel.

“Heaven forbid!” Uttered the C.I. “Next thing you’ll be proposing that we pay our share of the management fees!”

“No, no.” SC held both hands up in horror. “We don’t have to do anything as ridiculous as that. Good gracious, that’s the sort of thing that would have Regina Ip invoking Article 23 against us.”

A terrible silence fell over their heads, no one dared to look at anyone else in case it might create the suspicion that they approved of such a heresy.

The littlest elf was unabashed. “But we use our Car Park space votes to elect the owners’ committee, to appoint the chairman, Hon. Treasurer and to renew the management company’s contract, even though we don’t contribute to the maintenance fees.”

“So what’s wrong with that?” Thundered the C.I. “It’s every developer’s right to draft a DMC that entitles it to dictate how the estate is run without having to pay for it.”

A murmur of approval rose from the serried ranks of Sychoph ants. SC ran his fingers through his tousled golden locks.

“On the other hand, if we did contribute for the Car Park spaces, it would look as though the grotto really did have the owners’ best interests at heart.”

“And we still have all the votes from the swimming pools, playgrounds and the Shell service station, it’s not as though we were handing over control to the owners.” The C.I. said thoughtfully.

“Hgh, hgh…” The littlest elf cleared his throat. “The closet elves in Stage 2 were almost the very last to pay their renovation contribution. Doesn’t that send the wrong signal SC?” Summoning up his last reserves of courage, he ploughed on.

“Would it hurt to allow the owners to elect their own representatives without the grotto interfering and putting our own closet elves on the management committee?”

There was pandemonium as not only the rest of the elves but all the Sychoph ants too shrieked in protest. One of their number got hold of a bull horn and began to shout “Bring back C.Y… bring back C.Y.” though no one seemed to pay any attention to him.

Santa Claws stood up, using his great golden figure to cow them into obedience.

“Enough!” He raised his huge claws to command silence. “Now do you see what comes of all this liberal thinking.” He pointed an accusatory finger at the littlest elf. “You… are banished to the glue shop.”

“Yes, yes, the glue shop.” Crowed the assembled elves. They knew that this was the worst form of torture, where the television played a never ending loop of John Tsang’s budget speeches against a silent background video of Rimsky Yuen tap dancing.

“I have decided…” SC’s words were heavily weighted “…that our Christmas gift to the Baguio Villa owners will be to increase the wattage for the tennis court lights at no extra cost and give a free copy to every flat owner of a CD of IOC meetings, on which there will be my cover version of the grotto’s signature tune Praise to New World.

He climbed into his Bentley Mark 6 sleigh and waved them all a cheery Cantonese “Ho, ho, ho Christmas”.

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