Move over, Buddha, the chairman's here

Central Station | Nury Vittachi 22 May 2019

Communists have set up an atheist temple in Henan, China, with Mao Zedong taking the Buddha's spot.

Buddhist and Taoist statues have been sidelined for figurines of Mao and other party officials such as Zhou Enlai, reports Bitter Winter, an online magazine.

Under Mao's statue it says: "Lord Mao is the new Jade Emperor, who controls the heavens, the earth, and the human world."

The local religious affairs bureau (manned entirely by atheists, of course) withheld permits from the temple when it was purely Buddhist, but has given approval now that it features communist leaders.

Nowhere does it explain how Mao became divine, but presumably his unstinting devotion to his main pastimes, 1) causing huge numbers of deaths, and 2) smoking cigarettes, somehow lifted him to the status of a deity.

But here's the question: Now that Mao is officially a god, is he still an atheist?

* * *

At the Hong Kong concert of K-pop star Eun Ji this week, a fan shouted out: "Eunnie, you're so pretty."

Eun Ji shouted back: "I know."

No false modesty there.

* * *

Free money! Kind of. The government this week started resending out trucks carrying coin-counting machines and friendly attendants (picture is by Sweet Pikson). You hand in the piles of spare change that we all have lying around at home - and staff give you crisp banknotes in return.

"They gave me three thousand and I was jumping around with gratitude," a user told a friend of mine. "Until I realized that it was my own money."

* * *

Reader Gerry Em was puzzled to read the comments under a report about how Hong Kong's swine flu fighters killed 6,000 pigs at local abattoirs.

"Poor things," said one. "How sad," said another. "Rest in peace," said a third.

"Wait," said Gerry. "What do you think they were at the slaughterhouse for in the first place?"

* * *

Hong Kong may be losing its Sinophobia - and women are leading the way. The number of Hong Kong women moving to China for marriage and work is shooting up, manpower minister Law Chi-kwong said this week.

A friend of mine was happy to move to Beijing. "We don't care about politics, we basically want to meet guys who look like Kris Wu," she said, referring to a movie star.

* * *

Handsome movie star Hu Ge moved from China to New York but decided not to do the obvious and adopt the English word "Huge" as his name, despite its complimentary connotations. Instead he chose the prosaic "Hugh." Boring.

* * *

An auction on the coming weekend at the Grand Hyatt in Wan Chai "will include American Marvel items by Stan Lee, the famous international comic artist," or so the pre-sale briefing document says.

Huh? Stan Lee was a writer, not an artist.

What will they auction next? Beethoven's paintings? Ai Wei-wei's violin concertos?

* * *

You could see that Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung Kin-chung was genuinely amazed when he toured Facebook's new offices in Quarry Bay on Monday.

"The panoramic view is reserved for your employees, not for the bosses!" he said.

The offices have a restaurant at which all food and drink is free, and there are creative arty references to Hong Kong's history everywhere.

Facebook Hong Kong's conference room is called "In the Mood For Love."

That should inspire cozy chats.

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