Technicality report team needs to look up 'pedant'

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 13 May, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 13 May, 2006, 12:00am

What's the difference between a bus stop and a parking space? It seems the furore over former buildings chief Leung Chin-man's (in)discretion in granting an extra pot of gold - sorry, I mean extra plot ratio - to Henderson Land hangs precisely on this question.

Before making his fateful decision, Leung's (pictured) underlings prepared a technical paper for him, excerpts of which were included in the latest independent committee's report. While not exactly bedtime reading, the resulting paper is a literary gem of bureaucratese.

Since Henderson had applied to exclude a bus terminal - also known as a public transport terminus (PTT) among bureaucrats - from gross floor area calculations, the paper's author needed to consult a reputable English dictionary to check if it is different from a parking lot, which is usually included in the calculations.

'It is important to note that to 'park' a car has the meaning that 'you move the vehicle into a position where it can stay for a period of time, and usually leave it', as revealed in Collins Cobuild English Language Dictionary,' according to the paper. (Love that word 'revealed'.)

'Hence it is clear that a bus terminus/PTT should not be similarly treated as normal car-parking areas.'

With such competent staff - who had to look up the meaning of 'to park' - it is hardly surprising Mr Leung arrived at some dubious decisions.