E-mails to ministers? They will just ignore you
You know those e-mail addresses of our top bureaucrats? You can find them in the online phone directory of government officials. They're there to make you think our officials are close to the people who pay their exorbitant salaries. They want you to think you can reach them if you want to. But don't waste your time. It's all bull poop. Public Eye sent an e-mail to Secretary for Development Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor. Within minutes came this auto reply: 'This message is to acknowledge receipt of your e-mail message. Thank you.' We got two of those, one from her personal e-mail and the other from her bureau's e-mail. So we waited for a proper response ... and we waited ... and waited. We're still waiting, nine days later. The same thing happened when we e-mailed Secretary for Security Ambrose Lee Siu-kwong. That was many months ago. We're still waiting. Well, at least we got auto replies. One reader told us he didn't even get that when he wrote a letter to Lam. But let's give her the benefit of the doubt. Maybe she was away in cloud cuckoo land at the time. Or maybe she was simply too exhausted peering at the people from inside her chauffeured car. President Hu Jintao has told our leaders more than once to listen to the voices of the people. Hu may not understand that when you live in cloud cuckoo land the only voices you hear are your own. And those of the cuckoos, of course.
It's a bit rich for developers to cry wolf
We knew it. We knew developers would discredit the new punitive tax on property speculation. Stewart Leung Chi-kin, spokesman for the developers, says the higher stamp duty will hurt ordinary homebuyers who have genuine reasons to sell within the two-year punitive period. What's he saying? That we should do nothing about greedy speculators who have made homes unaffordable for countless families so we can protect a few innocent victims? Since when did our developers care about innocent victims anyway? Haven't they for so long made us all innocent victims of their unscrupulous ways? What he's really saying is that developers are scared the new measures will hurt profits, not innocent victims.
You just can't have people sitting around
Once upon a time not long ago - just a couple of months ago, actually - there were some nice, comfortable couches in the basement of Three Pacific Place for public use. Every time Public Eye passed by on our way to the tunnel that leads to the Admiralty MTR we would see little old ladies or elderly gentlemen resting on the couches. It made us feel nice inside. We thought it real decent of Swire, which owns Pacific Place, to care about the people that way. Care about the people? Hogwash. The comfy sofas are gone. In their place are the most uncomfortably hard wooden things you can imagine, designed specifically to discourage people from sitting on them. Now, if the little old ladies want to rest they must use the seating provided by the fast-food outlets in the basement. But you must first buy something from them, of course. We can't say we're surprised by Swire's behaviour.
How come the Jockey Club is so exclusive?
Here's what Public Eye can't understand. The Jockey Club has a monopoly on gambling in Hong Kong, right? The monopoly was granted by the government, right? That means the people granted the club a monopoly on gambling, right? And the racecourses are built on the people's land, right? So how come it's run like an exclusive club for the privileged? Why must it take a quarter million bucks to become a full member? How come the privileged get to enjoy posh surroundings while the rest are relegated to the dumpy stands? Why are the ordinary people, including Public Eye, barred from the most exclusive parts of the club just because we can't afford a quarter million dollars? That's what we don't understand.