Public Eye

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 June, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 June, 2010, 12:00am

Reform explained - in words of one language

If you can't speak Cantonese don't waste time backing the government's political reform package. The government doesn't want your support. Chief Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen made that clear at a press briefing on Monday. He couldn't be bothered to explain the reform proposals in English even when urged by the English-language media. That showed how much he cares about reaching out to the non-Cantonese-speaking community. If he doesn't care, should you? It's a crucial time for the reform package. The democrats plan to vote it down. The government needs all the help it can get. But not yours if you can't speak Cantonese. So ignore those 'Act Now' government adverts you see on English-language TV. If anyone asks why you're not pressuring your legislator to support the reform package, simply say Tang doesn't want your help.

When second best is good enough, for some

Henry Tang wouldn't explain the reform package in English but Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah couldn't even sell it in Cantonese to students. A third form pupil asked him why the government wasn't striving for the best package, settling for a B rather than an A. This is how Tsang replied: 'When I was a student I was very happy when I got a B, or even a pass.' So there you have it, straight from the man who manages the public's money. Forget about being an A student, mediocrity is just fine. That explains a lot about the performance of our government.

Spelling out the right approach

Take a look at this government envelope sent to us by a reader. We're guessing the bureaucrat responsible for the spelling was like John Tsang at school - thrilled with getting a B or even a pass. He probably never imagined he would end up getting something even better than an A - a government job with an iron rice bowl. But just so he knows, the right way to spell judiciary is: j-u-d-i-c-i-a-r-y.

Will leaders claim for working on Sunday?

Wasn't it wonderful to see Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen and his top ministers spend their Sunday campaigning for the political reform package? Let's forget about who paid for their 'Act Now' T-shirts - they themselves or the taxpayer. The more crucial question is this: did they really sacrifice their Sunday or will they be compensated for working on their day off? Public Eye asks simply because we've always wondered how so many of our bureaucrats end up with so much paid pre-retirement leave - sometimes up to a year - when they depart.

Answers overdue on seized statues

Maybe the police think it's already blown over - forgotten, just like yesterday's news. Well, Public Eye hasn't forgotten. We still want to know who exactly ordered the seizure of two Goddess of Democracy statues. It's been nearly two weeks, time enough for the authorities to come clean. Why did the police confiscate, then promptly return the statues on legal advice? Why did they seek legal advice after seizing the statues, not before? Did the seizure order really come from overenthusiastic food and hygiene officials on the nonsensical grounds that the organisers lacked an entertainment permit? Or did it come from someone higher up who used the lack of a permit as an excuse? Dare anyone in government give us an answer? Public Eye will take silence as confirmation the whole incident was a government attempt to restrict free speech in Hong Kong.