Public Eye

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 30 June, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 30 June, 2010, 12:00am

Chamber chief twists Democratic Party's goal

Big business, which fears true democracy, is again playing dirty to undermine it. It's using phony logic to keep alive the present system, which allows a small circle of privileged voters to elect legislators. The chairman of the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce, Anthony Wu Ting-yuk, says these so-called functional constituencies should stay since even the Democratic Party has now voted to increase them. Public Eye says that's bull. Wu is twisting what the democrats have done. They didn't vote to lock in functional constituencies, but with the ultimate aim of abolishing them altogether. They voted for five new constituencies on the condition that Hong Kong's entire electorate can vote in them, with candidates being nominated only by district councillors who are themselves elected by the people. Wu says the formula could work in other functional constituencies, too. We say that's bull, Mr Wu. Your chamber of commerce has only 4,000 members. And they're not elected by the people. Hong Kong has 3.43 million voters. They have no right to vote for your members. So why should 4,000 businesspeople have the right to nominate Legislative Council candidates for them to vote for?

We have world's second-widest wealth gap ...

You know all about Hong Kong's obscene wealth gap. Now Public Eye will tell you exactly how obscene it is. Hong Kong has 205,000 US-dollar millionaires. But this tiny group of rich guys controls 73 per cent of our wealth. That's right, most of the money in our supposedly wealthy city is in the hands of just 205,000 households. The rest of us share the remaining 27 per cent. A study by the Boston Consulting Group shows Hong Kong has the world's second widest wealth gap after totalitarian Saudi Arabia, where the oil sheikhs control 77 per cent of the nation's wealth. We surpass even the US, where the millionaires control 56 per cent of the wealth. Millionaires in most European countries control less than 30 per cent of the wealth. Now you know why we have such an angry underclass.

... but fat cats won't even bend for elderly poor

Chief Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen headed a poverty commission that flunked in fixing the wealth gap. Many elderly people in the underclass have moved across the border where it's more affordable to live. But our overpaid bureaucrats say that if they're not in Hong Kong for at least 90 days a year, they forfeit their HK$1,000-a-month old age allowance. Even the expense accounts of these bureaucrats exceed HK$1,000 a month. They won't fix the wealth gap but punish the poor instead.

Subsidy rules leave Auntie Ah Chun baffled

Remember our elderly Auntie Ah Chun with the toothless cackle who lives down at the Tin Shui Wai housing estate? Well, she's befuddled. Her memory might be failing but she clearly recalls our top leaders saying public money shouldn't be used to subsidise home ownership for struggling families. So why is it being used to subsidise the golf games of the rich, she asked Public Eye. She's puzzled why the government won't build home ownership flats for the needy but lets the rich keep free land they got during colonial times for their exclusive clubs. She knows all about those fancy clubs. How many times has she seen snooty members in their pinstripe suits swagger out of chauffeured cars for lunch at the Hong Kong Club? Once, a long time ago, she tried to enter in her amah's outfit just to see what the inside looked like but was swiftly ejected. So how come all those snooty members can have subsidised prime government land for their clubs yet the government won't subsidise homes for the working class? How many subsidised flats can the golf club fit, Auntie Ah Chun demanded to know. Plenty, of course, and with sea views too. But Public Eye just didn't know how to explain to her that if the government took back the Golf Club to house the working class, the rich class will no longer have a place for their morning game. And that just won't do, will it?