Public Eye

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 05 January, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 05 January, 2011, 12:00am

A banker who shows he cares - for himself

How much do you trust bankers? Before you answer that, remember their greed caused near global financial ruin a couple of years ago. It's a toss-up whether bankers or our property developers are greedier. Now we have Mark McCombe, chief executive of HSBC's Hong Kong unit, warning against further measures to cool our property market. He says a tougher crackdown against speculators will hurt real buyers. Really? McCombe is in the business of making money off you. The hotter the property market, the fatter his bank's profits. And the bigger his bonus. Cooling the market doesn't serve his or his bank's interests. Is he really worried about tougher measures hurting genuine homebuyers or hurting his business? Remember, he's a banker, so you work it out. Also remember that bankers charge you sky-high fees for using their services, borrowing their money and being late with your credit card dues, but they pay you nothing for putting your money in their bank. That's how much bankers care about you. So let's ask this question: why would further cooling measures hurt genuine homebuyers? If tougher measures bring down prices, they help, not hurt, genuine buyers. Would you rather pay an exorbitant or a fair price for a flat? The tough measures so far have targeted only speculators who buy and then sell quickly to make a killing in a red-hot market. If you're a genuine buyer, you won't buy and sell your home within a few months. You keep it to live in. But bankers prefer red-hot markets. It's money in the bank, so to speak.

Ombudsman won't have to look far

At last, someone wants to nail our government for doing nothing about our filthy air. The independent watchdog known as the Ombudsman says it will investigate why our bureaucrats have been sitting on their butts for so long. But why waste time investigating? Public Eye already knows why our overpaid officials have done nothing. They don't dare. They don't have the guts to confront vested interests such as the business sector, the bus and power companies, taxi and minibus drivers, and the legislators who represent all these people. The bureaucrats only dare bully disillusioned young people who oppose the multibillion-dollar railway to Guangzhou as wasteful. Building a new railway for the business elite the bureaucrats can do in a hurry. But cleaning up the air? Forget it.

It's time to stare down business on holidays

Something stinks about our holiday system. The law allows far fewer holidays for our blue-collar workers than others. Hong Kong has 17 public holidays. That's when government departments, banks and offices are closed. But only 12 are legal holidays. And most blue-collar workers get only those 12 days off. That's discrimination. But our business sector likes it that way. Why give more paid holidays when you don't have to? Our chief executive says he wants to make Hong Kong a fairer society. Let's start with fair holidays for all workers. It shouldn't matter whether you're a banker, bureaucrat or bathroom cleaner. Does Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen have the guts to stare down the business sector and change the law on holidays?

A dog's best friend would keep him leashed

Did you read about this fellow Jonathan Midgley whose dog nearly died from poisoned meat in Bowen Road? Does he want us to feel sorry for him? No way. For the dog maybe, but not for him. From the way he described how one of his two dogs got poisoned it appeared neither was on a leash. And we're supposed to feel sorry for him? Hah! He should have known there's a dog poisoner on the loose. But poisoner or not, he's supposed to leash his dogs. That's the law. He's a lawyer, so he should know. Yes, the dog poisoner fed Midgley's dog laced meat. But Midgley is to blame, too, for putting his pet through such an agonising ordeal. Let's put the record straight. Public Eye doesn't despise dogs. We despise owners who let their dogs dirty the streets, bark non-stop and run around unleashed bothering other people.