As I sometimes do, I found myself idly perusing the Standard this afternoon after lunch. How this newspaper magically appears in my office is a mystery to me. It has to be the most unwanted free paper ever. People hand them out at the top of escalators, MTR exits, street corners…and drop off bundles everywhere. For this reason they boast of being ‘Hong Kong’s Biggest Circulation Daily’, although I don’t know anyone who really reads it. I suppose it’s not bad for that first trip to the toilet, but little else.

Deadly Weapons 1

Anyway, if there’s one area of the Standard that I do enjoy it’s the editorial page. It’s written by Mary Ma, and it’s usually pretty straightforward and – to a non-Hong konger – anthropologically interesting. Today her Op Ed was about the current controversial sentencing of a female protester for assaulting an officer with her breast. That’s right, the young woman in question evidently harmed the officer by bumping him with her fun pillow. Of course, this is one of the most ridiculous sentences I’ve ever heard of – and I’ve lived in India and Thailand. But in Hong Kong, with it’s supposed English social mores and first world legal system? I guess like much else of that eroding legacy, it’s a sign of the times.

Deadly Weapons 2

But back to the crime in question, and the offender’s three and a half month sentence, and the ensuing controversy. What shall we call it then? ‘Titgate’ has a nice ring to it. It matches the absurdity too. Over the weekend people in Hong Kong marched wearing bras outside of their shirts in protest – some of the men were otherwise topless (it was hot) which made for quite an unsavory sight. Meanwhile, threats have been made against the judge who handed down this wise decision. While he is no doubt a law and order zealot, we cannot rule out temporary insanity or even senility. However, the intrepid Mary Ma cautions that ‘It’s most abominable to make personal attacks on a judge, for this veers on contempt of court as well as dragging the judiciary into the divisive politics engulfing Hong Kong’.

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Hmmm…OK, but what if the judge is really senile or temporarily insane? Or worse, what if he’s ‘in deep’ as they say back where I’m from? What if he’s in cahoots with the boys in light blue? What if the whole system’s rigged against movements like Occupy, and those who protested against the insidious parallel traders on the fateful day when the 30 year old woman, Ng Lai-Ying unleashed her deadly weapon (probably not more than a C Cup if we go by averages) and assaulted the poor officer with her breast? What then? Well, then Hong Kong is truly screwed. And it will increasingly become this theater of the absurd and give us more stories like Titgate.

Oh, what a juggernaut! Why it’s ballooning out of all proportion now. And that judge is a boob.

Slip Mahoney