Public Eye

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 10 March, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 10 March, 2010, 12:00am

An idiot's guide to democracy

We Hongkongers are an ungrateful bunch. It's been 13 years since the Chinese kicked out the British and we still can't be bothered to understand the Basic Law. Vice-President Xi Jinping is so upset that he wants Hong Kong members of China's parliament to explain it to us in an easy-to-understand way. But our democrats think it is China's leaders who have trouble understanding things. After 13 years they still can't understand Hongkongers. It all sounds very much like that famous line from the 1967 Paul Newman movie Cool Hand Luke: 'What we've got here is a failure to communicate.'

So how can we understand each other? Public Eye has a solution: comic books. That's right, an idiot's guide to understanding both the Basic Law and Hong Kong democracy in one handy comic book. Our two supermarket chains can boost sales with their usual trick of upping prices and then lowering them to make it look like a bargain. The comic book idea is not new. Our leaders have already concluded the only way we can understand them is through simple animation. Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen's Lunar New Year message to Hong Kong people was in the form of a cartoon. Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah used comic books to explain his budget. Public Eye strongly believes our three top leaders - Donald Tsang, John Tsang and Chief Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen - should feature prominently in the Basic Law section of the comic book. They're pretty comical characters, after all. The Hong Kong democracy section should feature Martin Lee Chu-ming as Superman fighting for 'truth, justice and the Hong Kong way'. Our Beijing masters won't miss the message, since it's an idiot's guide.

So, all you need is a job? Not at these rates

Remember the caller we told you about last week who phoned a radio show to ask the financial secretary why people like him, with no job, no property, no public housing and no government welfare, were excluded from this year's budget handouts? John Tsang tersely told him to find a job. Public Eye checked out the free government service for job-seekers that Tsang recommended. He has a point. The website is bursting with great jobs. There is, for example, a vacancy for a cleaner in Causeway Bay. It pays HK$3,400 a month - a sum that we're sure Tsang will agree is plenty enough for the caller to support himself and his family. Or he can aim higher and be a sales representative in Hung Hom for HK$6,000. Maybe he can work as a Japanese food chef for HK$7,000. With big bucks like that, Public Eye is sure you'll all agree it's worth the trouble of learning how to make sushi.

A word to our officials - it's not your money

Sometimes a little word can tell you a lot about someone. Development Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and Urban Renewal Authority chief Barry Cheung Chun-yuen have both said they'll lose HK$600 million to HK$700 million in redeveloping a run-down To Kwa Wan area where a building collapse killed four people. Lose? It's not their money to lose. It's the people's money. Maybe they can't understand public money is not being lost when used to improve the lives of the underclass. Maybe Public Eye should explain with a comic book.

Supermarkets should burn with shame

We don't know how much our two major supermarket chains make from selling barbecue charcoal. But we know burning charcoal is the favourite form of suicide in Hong Kong. And we know about 140 people kill themselves this way every year. Both supermarket chains have refused to restrict the sale of charcoal even though a study shows doing so can save lives. If Public Eye knew exactly how much the two chains make a year from charcoal sales, we would divide that figure by 140. It would tell us the amount of blood money the two chains are pocketing for each life lost.