Public Eye

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 16 February, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 16 February, 2011, 12:00am

Just what constitutes a rainy day, John Tsang?

Has Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah become delusional? Or is he just trying to be funny? We ask because he said something quite hilarious over the weekend. He believes the people love the government. And he accused his critics of trying to ruin this romance by roiling the waters. OK, those were not his exact words but certainly his gist. His exact words were that there is no conflict- nor has there ever been any- between the government and the people but his critics are trying to stir up such conflict.

Huh? There's no conflict between the government and the people? The two sides have always been lovey-dovey? Now that's news to Public Eye. We must dash right down to the nearest cage dweller in one of those slum buildings to confirm this. Or ask the one million people who are living below the poverty line. On second thoughts, one million are too many to ask. Besides, the roar of a million poor people laughing at the suggestion that they have no gripe with the government could damage our eardrums. For that same reason we won't ask the many thousands of struggling families priced out of the property market by the government's chums - otherwise known as greedy property developers.

Tsang's delusion that the people are locked in loving embrace with the government came a day before Valentine's Day. Maybe Cupid got to him. He accused his critics of stirring up sh.. -no, we better not use that word - by portraying him as a scrooge with the people's money. Is he saying we should all zip our lips because the government alone knows how best to spend the people's money? He wants to save our mountainous HK$600 billion in reserves for a rainy day. Tell you what; Public Eye will zip our lips once he defines what a rainy day is. How hard must it pour before all those cage dwellers get a proper roof over their heads? How much must the heavens open up before Hongkongers get a decent retirement scheme instead of the joke we now have called the MPF? Must there be floods of biblical proportions before the people's money is used to pay for changes to our system that would narrow the rich-poor gap?

...and when will you diversify city income?

John Tsang says the government must be stingy- prudent is the word he likes to use- in budget spending because Hong Kong's sources of income are unstable. Whose fault is that? Certainly not the people's fault. The people didn't make our income sources so dependent on high land prices, and on stamp duty. No, our unelected bureaucrats did that all by themselves. They haven't the imagination, the vision or the guts to diversify our income sources. The government is so dependent on land sales for income that it has made sure prices remain high by limiting sales. That's why only the rich can now afford to buy a home. And Tsang tells us the government can't spend much of the money it has made from this because it's overly dependent on this income source. It's like a sick joke you'd hear in Circus World.

Minister reckons HK$11,600 goes a long way

A couple each earning the new minimum wage of HK$5,800 a month are doing just fine and don't deserve government help. That's the word from Labour and Welfare Secretary Matthew Cheung Kin-chung. Public Eye is sure bosses will be happy to hear that. They'll have no reason to pay anything above the minimum wage to low-end workers. After all, even the labour chief says a couple can live quite nicely on HK$11,600 a month. Cheung insists a couple with that income don't deserve the new travel subsidy of HK$600 a month each. We suppose in the delusional world of our bureaucrats HK$11,600 is plenty enough to cover not only housing in a city with the world's most expensive property prices, but there'll also be lots left over to pay for everything else in one of the world's priciest cities.