Public Eye

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 03 November, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 03 November, 2010, 12:00am

Urban Rip-off Authority's real agenda ...

You must have heard of Queen's Cube. That's the Wan Chai building where the developers are demanding HK$6 million for a 400 sq ft flat with a usable area of just 275 sq ft. It works out as HK$14,888 per sq ft, but far pricier if you count only the usable area. You must also have heard of the Urban Renewal Authority (URA) - created by the government with public money - and the Nan Fung Group. They're the developers responsible for the Queen's Cube absurdity. But here's something you may not know. Public Eye did some digging, and what we found will make you mad as hell. To make way for Queen's Cube, the URA forced out 16 families in five old, low-rise buildings. You know how much these families were paid? Just HK$3,736 per sq ft. That's right, the URA paid out just a fraction of what they're now demanding for the new flats. Some of the old flats had 380 sq ft of usable space. Families got about HK$1.4 million for them. But the URA now wants HK$6 million for usable space of just 275 sq ft in Queen's Cube. We suggest the Urban Renewal Authority renames itself the Urban Rip-off Authority. Even though the initials will remain the same, the new name will more accurately reflect the URA's real agenda.

... has it forgotten its original mission?

You know how the URA justified its greed to Public Eye? It said some property prices in Wan Chai had trebled since it forced out families for Queen's Cube. It singled out flats with a price tag of up to HK$20,000 a sq ft. So what's the URA saying? That the Queen's Cube flats are a bargain at HK$6 million a cubicle? Or is it saying it should behave with no less greed than private developers, even though it is a public body? Does it even know it was created with the people's money to revitalise urban areas, not to squeeze the people?

Obama ties himself in knots over turbans

The Sikhs must be scratching their heads. No, let's rephrase that. The Sikhs must be scratching their turbans trying to make sense of Barack Obama. You can't blame them for being baffled. Even Public Eye is mystified by the United States president's logic. Maybe you can work it out. Obama's upcoming Asia trip will include India and Indonesia. Sikhs are seething he'll skip their most sacred shrine - Amritsar's Golden Temple. Reason for the snub? White House officials fear that even more Americans will mistakenly believe Obama is a Muslim if they see news images of him with a covering over his head - as temple rules require - accompanied by turbaned, bearded men. But here's the baffling bit. Indonesia is his second stop after India. But he has no qualms visiting Indonesia's largest mosque. Let's get this straight. White House officials worry Obama will look like a Muslim if he visits a Sikh temple but not if he visits a mosque. Is that because they think Sikhs look more like Muslims than actual Muslims? Or do they think Americans believe Sikhs are Muslims but the Muslims are not? We give up. The Muslims probably think it's all a Sikh joke.

Fake lucky floors and lucky boys

Public Eye can't understand the righteous outrage over property tycoon Lee Shau-kee's bachelor son Peter ordering tailor-made triplets from a US surrogate mother. The tycoon (pictured) has no grandsons, just granddaughters. He wants to bounce male heirs on his knee, so his eldest son ordered three. What nature couldn't deliver, money bought. It's that simple. All this righteousness about money, morals and missing maternal love for the infants is silly. In Hong Kong, motherly love is easily bought too. Just order up a domestic helper. The family ordered triplets because three is a lucky number. The tycoon will give away a lucky HK$33 million to celebrate. This is the same tycoon family whose Henderson Land marketed a 46th floor penthouse as the 'lucky' 88th floor to fetch a higher price. If you can fake a lucky floor number, you can order lucky number baby boys.