Public Eye

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

Pollution? Forget big guys; it's all your fault

You know what's really stupid? All those government ads on TV and radio telling you to love Hong Kong by living green. It's all there on the Environmental Protection Department's website, loads of them, telling you to do everything from cutting carbon emissions and using public transport to switching off idling engines. That's right, telling you to do it all. Not the power companies, which are the biggest air polluters in Hong Kong. Not the bus companies, which still run old buses that spew out filth. Not the taxi and tourist coach drivers who've been exempted from the idling engine ban, but you. Not the bureaucrats who caved in to the taxi and tourist coach drivers, who still allow the power companies to burn coal, and who won't order the bus companies to get their polluting vehicles off the roads. Not any of them, but you. Watch one of those stupid ads, look out the window at the smog that's hung over our city for days and ask yourself this: are you responsible for it or are they?

The Hercules of Bowen Road

Let's put one thing on the record: Public Eye is not the Bowen Road dog poisoner. Yes, we have walked there many times, always with our head bowed, not to avoid suspicious glares but the occasional pile of mutt mush. We won't again go into how agonising it is to clean soiled shoes. But we haven't been to Bowen Road in quite a while. We're not just saying that as an alibi. It's the truth. We found it too taxing on the neck to alternate between keeping our eyes on the ground for poop piles and trying to glimpse the harbour when bits of it appear in between the 'wall effect' buildings. The recent smog has made that manoeuvre even trickier. But getting back to dogs, there is this assumption that Public Eye hates them. We don't. We only hate them some of the time, and their owners too. When we step on their muck, or when they bark all night, that's when we hate them. That's when we wish we could strangle their owners. In that, we're not that different from Hercules. You think he enjoyed cleaning out all that cattle poop in the Augean stables? We bet you he must have hated cattle while doing it. He ended up killing King Augeas.

If it's worth doing, it's worth a long time

Talking about hate, dog lovers must hate the police. It's been nearly two decades yet the Bowen Road dog poisoner is still out there. But dog owners need to understand that these things take time. Two decades isn't all that long. Look at how long it's already taken to investigate the 27 marine police who took a HK$10 million police boat for a boozy, two-hour seafood lunch on an island while on duty. That was over a year ago. The police promised to investigate their errant colleagues but we've heard nothing since. These things take time. They have to investigate whether it was lobster or crab on the menu, the type of wine that went with the lunch, how boozed up the officers were and whether that affected their ability to shoot straight.

Clear logic of the sucker punch

Do you feel like you're always being suckered? If it's not by property developers, it's supermarkets or some other powerful entity? You're right to feel that way. The latest example is the near doubling to HK$60 billion of the price for the Sha Tin-Central rail link. The government has generously agreed to use your money to pay the extra cost so the fat-cat MTR Corp shareholders won't have to. Why? The government says it's because the new link won't be profitable. Here's their logic. If a line is profitable the MTR will finance it. The private shareholders will pocket part of the profits. If it is not profitable, then you must finance it through the government, which is the MTR's largest shareholder. You absorb the loss, the private shareholders lose nothing. Feeling suckered?