PUBLISHED : Sunday, 31 August, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 31 August, 1997, 12:00am

At last someone is asking questions about Hong Kong giving away US$1 billion (HK$7.7 billion) to Thailand.

Well done Tim Hamlett (Sunday Morning Post, August 17). Who approved this very generous gift? Where was it discussed? When was it discussed? What are the details? How and when were the 'people' of Hong Kong consulted? If an individual mismanages their money, tough; if a company mismanages its finances, bad luck; but if a country mismanages its finances? What guarantees are there from the Thai Government? Will Thailand change and really crack down on all its corruption, or will all this just go to the coffers of the rich and powerful? Besides the mainland children who will put such a strain on Hong Kong's economy, services and facilities if they come to Hong Kong, what about all the disadvantaged people in Hong Kong's society? What happened to the proposed increase in allowances for the elderly that was so hotly debated? From memory, that was nothing like $7.7 billion.

Tim Hamlett asked what does $7.7 billion look like.

Let us assume the elderly, the cage dwellers, the homeless, and similar disadvantaged people in our society can make do with a mere 20 square metres of living space. Let us assume construction of mass produced, low cost, high rise domestic housing is about $6,000 per square metre (forget land costs, the Government can throw that in for nothing).

Then the Government should be able to build about 40,000 units in 150, 30-storey apartment blocks. That's what $7.7 billion looks like.