Public Eye

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 17 March, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 17 March, 2010, 12:00am

Let your finger do the talking

Hong Kong has a magnificent monument that rises 67 floors into the sky. Public Eye likes to visualise it as an erect finger poking upwards. That's because the building represents the government teaming up with the tycoons to give the people of Hong Kong the finger. It is called The Masterpiece, a name that perfectly personifies the masterly way our policymakers conned the people. Located in Tsim Sha Tsui, it stands as a daily reminder of how our government took from the people to give to the tycoons. It should be etched into the public mind as a monument to the cosy relationship between our leaders and the property developers. In The Masterpiece lies the story of why Hongkongers so despise our property developers, why our policymakers are mocked for always kowtowing to the tycoons, why the rich are getting richer at the expense of ordinary people, and why everyone is so fed up with our leaders. The policymakers tricked the people into believing they wanted to improve living conditions in a run-down part of Tsim Sha Tsui. They called in their tricksters, the Urban Renewal Authority, to kick out tenants from old buildings. But instead of improving the area for ordinary people the URA teamed up with the tycoons of New World Development to build upscale homes for the super-rich. The kowtowers in government even let New World use a loophole to increase the size of the development by treating it as commercial rather then residential. The government and the URA then turned a blind eye while the New World tycoons gave their relatives first crack at the luxury flats ahead of the public. Just last month Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah claimed in his budget speech the government wants to build a caring society. Caring for whom? The people or the property tycoons? Go see The Masterpiece. And if looking at it makes you mad let your middle finger do the talking. Just be sure you point it in the right direction.

One rule for all, please

If a rule is made to prevent unethical behaviour, doesn't it make sense that the rule applies to everyone? You would have thought so, but nothing about the URA makes any sense. If you can make any sense of its 'mission' and 'vision' statements on its website please let us know. Anyway, the URA has an ethics rule which bars its staff and directors from getting first crack at the flats it builds. But the rule does not apply to the URA's project partners. That's why the New World tycoons could scoop up flats at The Masterpiece before everyone else. Development Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor wants the URA to think about tightening the rules. Think? What's there to think about? If it's wrong, it's wrong. So just do it.

Making more than a buck from the grass roots

Here's something else that'll make you want to stick up your middle finger. Do you know how much money the supposedly non-profit-making URA has got stashed away in the bank? HK$7.7 billion. That's right, it has made billions driving out helpless owners of run-down buildings to make way for upscale flats for the rich. And that figure is a year old. Goodness knows how much more it has made since then. The URA has refused to tell Public Eye. And if the non-profit URA can squeeze so much from the people, think of how much more its profit-making property developer buddies have squeezed from joint projects such as The Masterpiece.

Take heed, honesty is the best policy

Guess who said this: 'Not only do we need to do well in building an economy, we must also promote equality and justice.' It was Premier Wen Jiabao . He added: 'There's a lot of unfairness in our society, income inequality.' When will our local leaders have the guts to talk like that? When will they dare acknowledge the unfairness in our society? Or will they forever be in the pockets of the elite class?