Donald Tsang

Cab Chat

PUBLISHED : Monday, 30 June, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 30 June, 2008, 12:00am


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Wai Koon-keung, 56, believes the decision to require the killing of all chickens in a market at the end of each day is an unnecessary overreaction

The rainy season has come again. I don't think the flooding in Hong Kong has changed in the past 20 years. I have been driving taxis for more than 10 years on Hong Kong Island and there are places where you don't want to go during heavy rain because they always flood. When you go to places like Kennedy Town or The Peak, the roads are like ponds and you see rainwater washing down the slopes like mini waterfalls.

Although the government has spent so much money on improving the drainage system, I think there is no way to avoid that because the drainage system simply can't absorb such a large amount of water immediately. It is impossible. And it will remain impossible. But people aren't supposed to go out when weather turns that bad anyway.

Many of my friends, like me, have chosen to go out and work even on days when the storm signal No8, black rainstorm warning, or red rainstorm warning is in force. On those days, if anything happens it won't be covered by insurance. Still, we go out because it is better to take the risk than to sit inside. I made at least 20 per cent more on the days when the Wind God [Severe Tropical Storm Fengshen] hit Hong Kong.

Still, most of us hate rainy days. There was a time when my cab broke down because of flooding and I had to spend thousands of dollars repairing it. Also it is very frustrating when you have a lot of traffic congestion on rainy days - you see people waving their hands for taxis but there is no way you can reach them. On sunny days fewer people need taxis, but we can make more trips because the traffic is much lighter. And I feel a bit guilty watching people running on the street, with or without umbrellas, struggling with the storm and getting themselves all wet, when I am sitting in the car.

But these days it is really difficult to make a living, and everyone knows why. Prices are going up. Fuel prices are going up. I don't know what [Chief Executive] Donald Tsang Yam-kuen is doing, and I think his latest political appointments fiasco just reveals the government's hypocrisy. If they are really serving us, why do they insist that we pay them hundreds of thousands a month? If I were one of them, I would have said thanks but no thanks, HK$50,000 is enough for me and my family, and you keep the rest and spend it on the people.

But now they will not work if you pay them a cent less, and they will never think that their salaries are too high. This is not fair. How many of us are working around the clock and still can't make ends meet? Has the government ever shown any consideration for us? And Mr Tsang has even allowed people with overseas passports to hold such senior positions. It is bad. We need people who belong here to run the city.

I miss the days when people knew what respect was. I grew up in the rural mainland and people used to be much nicer. If a chicken had fallen into a pit of slime, they would pick it up, wash and care for it, and it would be fit for food. But now, the government is ordering that chickens that remain unsold by nightfall should all be killed. How cruel is it!

Do they even know how much time the chicken farmers have spent on their flocks? Imagine if the planet is ruled by chickens and suddenly they think that human beings are spreading a dangerous disease, so we should all be killed and dumped into the landfill? It is against nature to order mass killing of chickens. Everything serves its own purpose, and I'm sure chickens are not made to be treated like rubbish.

I think advancement in science sometimes is not doing any good in ensuring us a good life ... if you test thousands of chickens you must find something, but that does not mean that there is any real danger.

Too much reliance on science makes us paranoid and overreactive, and the bad effects are already being felt - the ban on chickens staying overnight has made life more difficult for chicken farmers and the public. It will make chickens more expensive. It is so important for us overworked people to be able to cook ourselves a lovely bowl of chicken soup. But I don't know whether we may still afford to do it as often as we'd like any more.