Public Eye

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 28 July, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 28 July, 2010, 12:00am

The revolving door spins again

It's spinning so fast Public Eye is getting dizzy just looking at it. We're talking about the government's revolving door. It was built for retiring bureaucrats who exit with fat pensions from their iron rice bowl jobs. But they're never on the outside for long. The government always looks after its own. It makes sure they revolve back in with cushy post-retirement jobs that also carry fat salaries on top of their fat pensions. The latest to revolve back in is retired postmaster general Allan Chiang Yam-wang, who's been made privacy commissioner. Here's a question: would he have dared launch the current investigation into Octopus for privacy violations if he had been commissioner already? We ask because Octopus is majority-owned by the MTR Corporation, which is majority-owned by the government, which opened the revolving door to Chiang.

Have you got the message now?

Public Eye has written often about our property developers giving all of us the finger with impunity. Well, a reader has kindly supplied concrete proof of what we've long been saying. There, do you see it? Surely you must since the developer, has aptly named it the ICC building.

Don't cry in your beer for these bar owners

Let's get this straight. Lan Kwai Fong bar owners are mad at 7-Eleven for selling cheap drinks? Are they saying we should instead all pay their exorbitant prices? Public Eye is no fan of 7-Eleven. The convenience store chain pays slave wages to its staff. But that's another issue. The Lan Kwai Fong bar owners are no better. When the government abolished wine and beer taxes how many bar owners reduced prices correspondingly? None. Yet they're mad at the competition from convenience stores? That's rich. If Public Eye wants to stand in Lan Kwai Fong with a cheap beer from 7-Eleven instead of paying the exorbitant bar prices, that's our right. The bar owners don't own the streets. They point the finger at 7-Eleven for selling alcohol to under-aged kids. But the law allows that if the drinks are unopened. Besides, the Lan Kwai Fong bar owners are no angels themselves. Many rarely check ID, some have illegally blocked pavements with tables and chairs, and all openly flout the noise laws seven days a week with loud music blasting into the early hours of the morning.

Customer always right? That's pie in the sky

So, you think the customer should always be right? Tell that to ParknShop. Public Eye bought a pack of frozen pies on sale. When we got home we noticed we didn't get the HK$20 discount. We called up their customer hotline to say this has happened once too often. They called back to say the pies were never on sale. We demanded our money back. They told us to return the pies to the store. We refused since it was not our mistake but theirs which they wouldn't admit to. They sent two people to collect the pies and return our money. Whether the pies ended up again in their freezer for resale we don't know. Quite likely. Days later we were at another ParknShop store and saw the same pies still on sale for the same discount of HK$20. We bought a pack and again didn't get the discount. We told the checkout lady, who then gave us the discount. Armed with written proof in the receipt we called their hotline again. They confessed the first store had lied about the pies not being on sale. The moral of this story? The customer is not always right, even when it involves a measly HK$20. ParknShop will believe their lying staff rather than you. So check those receipts before you leave the store.