Public Eye

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 08 September, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 08 September, 2010, 12:00am

Pollution caused by storms? Let's get real

Have you forgotten last week already? Well, don't because that's what they want you to do. They don't want you to remember those awful days when you could hardly breathe, when your eyes stung and your throat hurt. The air was so thick with dirt you couldn't see across the harbour. You went around with your hand covering your mouth and nose. That's the week they want you to forget. They want you to think it had nothing to do with them, that a nearby tropical storm was to blame. Well, here's news for them. Typhoons don't cause pollution, people do. A hurricane approached the US Gulf coast last week, too. Did filthy smog cloak the region? No. Pollutants that get trapped in the still air before a storm are not from the storm but from our buses, ferries, trucks and taxis. The storm simply tells us how polluted our city is. But all last week our officials blamed the storm. And people bought it. Every time filth blankets our city officials blame this or that, never themselves. They never point the finger at their own failure in forcing old vehicles off the roads, in getting tougher with the power stations, and in producing a master plan for clean air like other cities have done. They just count on you forgetting every time the storm blows over. So are you going to forget about last week, too, until the next time you find yourself gasping for air, and the next time, and the next time? Or are you finally going to say that's enough, do something or else?

Another great idea from a business leader

Hong Kong's business community has long opposed a minimum wage, a fair competition law, decent worker benefits and even democracy, which it said would lead to a high-tax welfare state. Property developers duped the people. Businessmen colluded with the government to enrich themselves. The rich got richer and the poor got poorer. The people are finally screaming foul. They are disgusted with the business community's greed. But do you know how the former head of the pro-business Liberal Party James Tien Pei-chun wants to deal with this revolt? Not with decent wages to narrow the wealth gap but with your money. He wants government handouts for those who are not paid well enough to live decently. That's right, your money to clean up their image. The nerve of him.

Opening a window on God's work

Public Eye would like to say we see nothing wrong with the decision by St Andrew's Church to replace its historic street-front wall with a glitzy glass facade that looks into a new auditorium. So what if demolishing the 100-year-old wall means destroying a valuable part of Hong Kong's heritage? And so what if a new auditorium would mean chopping down age-old trees? Think of the upside. St Andrew's Church occupies a prime location in Nathan Road, stretching all the way from the tail end of Tsim Sha Tsui's famed Golden Mile shopping strip to the fringe of Yau Ma Tei. A lengthy, street-level glass church-front will offer a natural extension to the Golden Mile. Curious shoppers clutching Gucci bags can peek into God's work as they stroll along sipping Starbucks coffee. Some will simply look from the outside but others will go in for a more personal experience. They might even buy into God. So what if that's too much like god-shopping? We are a shoppers' heaven, after all.

Aftermath of auctions gives the game away

Do you know what Hung Hom homeowners did when a recent land auction in their area fetched a higher-than-expected price? They immediately jacked up their asking prices by 10 per cent. It happened again last week after a Kowloon Tong plot sold for more than expected. Homeowners immediately demanded 11 per cent more for their flats. And these are the greedy people our government wants to protect by opposing tough measures to drive down our sky-high home prices.