Public Eye

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 16 May, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 16 May, 2012, 12:00am


It's tough at the top earning more than HK$300,000 a month

What do you do with overpaid staff members? You either cut their pay or fire them, right? Wrong. You pay them even more. That's the la-la land logic our leaders love. We already have the world's highest-paid bureaucrats aside from Singapore. The last thing they need is a pay rise. But la-la land logic says they're struggling because of inflation. How anyone making more than HK$300,000 a month suffers from inflation we don't know. But the bureaucrats are getting an 8.1 per cent raise - actually 14 per cent, if you count the 2009 cut of 5.38 per cent that is being restored. The chief executive will get HK$401,960 a month, the chief secretary HK$357,300, the financial secretary HK$345,215, the chief justice HK$333,540, and ministers HK$322,260. What about the masses at the bottom of the job market where pay has stagnated for years? Surely inflation hits them the hardest. What does la-la land logic say about them? It says: tough luck.

It may be ugly but filibustering is part of democracy - get used to it

Did Public Eye not shout it loud enough last week? OK, we'll use a loudhailer this time so even the deaf can hear us. Listen up: we all want democracy, right? And we want the real kind, right? So let's not kid ourselves. We can't just cherry-pick the parts we want. We either swallow democracy whole or not at all. However much we oppose radical lawmakers using a delaying tactic known as a filibuster to sink proposed laws they don't like, they're still within their rights. Filibustering is a part of democracy. The late senator Robert Byrd spoke non-stop for 14 hours in the US Congress to filibuster the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Backed by his allies, the filibuster lasted 83 days before enough senators voted to end it. It was abhorrent to filibuster equal rights legislation for African-Americans. But Byrd played by the rules. If we want democracy we had better get used to its ugly side. Public Eye is no great fan of radical legislators Albert Chan Wai-yip and Wong Yuk-man. But they haven't broken any rules. Legislative Council president Tsang Yok-sing okayed the filibuster. If we, as a society, oppose filibusters, then change the rules so they can be stopped with enough votes, as in the US. But consider what the radicals have been filibustering - a proposed law that bans legislators who resign from contesting a fresh election within six months. That, in itself, goes against democratic values. Now government supporters want to ban filibusters, too. That would be a double whammy against democracy. Already our legislature is a joke, with half the members chosen through small-circle elections. Establishment legislators say the filibuster is holding up important Legco business. Yes, but ask yourself this: what if the government tried to bulldoze through a law that banned all protests against incoming leader Leung Chun-ying? How would the minority stop them if we ban filibustering?

Leung should remember that the radicals have a mandate

Public Eye wishes C. Y. Leung well. We want him to succeed as our new chief executive. But he's been talking nonsense lately. He's been playing a dangerous game of hardball politics with radical lawmakers holding up Legco business with their filibuster. He has essentially called for a people's uprising against them by voting them out of office. He wants harmony, with everyone working together for the public good. We hope he hasn't already taken up residence in la-la land. There is no such thing as political harmony in a free society. There is forced harmony in places such as North Korea. We hope that's not what he's thinking about. Besides, what exactly is the public good? Not everyone defines it the way he does. It's a bit rich of him to call on the people to vote out the radicals. The radicals were voted into office by the people. Leung was not. They have a mandate. He does not. Remember, in politics a hardball can turn into a boomerang.