Public Eye

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 23 June, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 23 June, 2010, 12:00am

Democrats can't see the forest for the trees

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. But a functional constituency by any other name still stinks. That's why radical democrats are holding their noses at Beijing's latest compromise to democratise the Legislative Council. Radical democrats say even though everyone - not just a small circle of people - can vote in five new functional constituencies they are still functional constituencies. Public Eye says, so what? It's just a name. What counts is everyone can vote. Could it be radical democrats do not really want democracy because that will make them irrelevant?

Will Henderson be punished? Don't bet on it

Are you waiting for the government to punish big-time property company Henderson Land Development for manipulating the market with fairy tales of eager buyers paying record sums for its Conduit Road luxury flats? Well, don't. Nothing will happen to Henderson Land. Our officials don't have the guts to take on the tycoons. Instead, they bully the little guys trying to make an honest living. Remember how they hauled an ice-cream vendor to court for daring to sell candy sticks as well? And remember how they threatened to jail the eight old-timers shining shoes for a few dollars in Central? Henderson Land bragged that a Conduit Road flat fetched a world record price of HK$439 million and others had sold for staggering sums, too. To convince sceptics the deals were genuine Henderson boss Lee Shau-kee even offered a 100-to-one wager. Home prices soared on news of the record sales, even in the mass market. Anxious families worried about further increases rushed to buy flats at inflated prices. But it was all fiction. The high-rollers Henderson claimed had paid record prices never did in the end. So will the government haul Henderson to court like it did the ice-cream vendor for selling candy sticks? Will it rush to outlaw such market manipulation in the same way it imposed licence conditions on the Central shoeshiners? Public Eye will offer a wager too, and at better odds than tycoon Lee. We bet the government won't dare go after the Henderson big guys.

Life isn't as simple as eating cake

Lee Shau-kee says he can't understand why people are furious over what his company did. 'It's just a simple matter. Why make it so complicated?' Well, Mr Lee, it may be a simple matter to you. You're a property tycoon. You get to make even more money by boasting one of your flats fetched a world record price when it had not. Your boast drives up property prices. But it's not a simple matter to struggling families who end up having to pay even higher prices for a home. A word of advice from Public Eye: try to understand the public mood, don't mock it. Most people make less than HK$10,000 a month. They don't like property developers as it is. Saying it's a simple matter is like telling them to eat cake when they can't afford bread.

Honesty and transparency is the best policy

Police-spokeswoman Anna Tsang Yim-sheung probably takes us all for fools. But Public Eye still thinks she should spend just a bit of time asking herself why the people pay her a fat salary. We'll help her along. It's to make the police force more transparent, more honest, so that whenever you say something we'll believe you're telling the truth. Can you look us in the eye and say you honestly don't know how many ethnic minority officers the force has? You say the force is colour-blind so it doesn't record the racial background of job applicants. Yet you say the police actively seek to recruit non-Chinese applicants. To deflect claims of racism you say the force already has ethnic minority officers. How do you know if you don't keep figures? Do you go around looking for a brown face in the force? Come to think about it, how many of you have seen a brown-faced constable patrolling Hong Kong's streets? Please, Ms Tsang, look us in the eye.