Malignant official neglect
And the winner is? That's right, folks, it's that time again for Public Eye's annual Name and Shame Awards, a proud tradition now in its fifth year. Cafe de Coral boss Michael Chan Yue-kwong topped last year's list by giving the underpaid staff of his fast food chain a paltry pay rise then nullifying it by cancelling paid meal breaks. Public ridicule shamed him into a U-turn. It took us no time to pick a winner for our Shame List of 2011. The award goes to each and every bureaucrat who turned a blind eye to the disgrace of squalid subdivided flats in slum buildings. When one of these buildings collapsed, killing four, the bureaucrats promised action. Months later a fire killed another four. More promises. Nine more people died in a fire two months ago. Development Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor says Hong Kong needs such slum cubicles to put a roof over the heads of poor families. Yet Secretary Transport and Housing Eva Cheng routinely refuses invitations from community groups to see for herself the squalor of such flats. To all these overpaid bureaucrats we confer the Shame On You All Award.
Cold comfort harbour
Finishing a close second are all the bureaucrats who watched with arms folded as more and more families slipped into poverty. We now have 1.2 million poor people. Many kids go to bed hungry. Many people live in so-called caged cubicles infested with rats and cockroaches. Yet we're one of the world's wealthiest cities where Botoxed tai-tais cruise upscale malls for name-brand goods. Kids may be going to bed hungry but Labour and Welfare Secretary Matthew Cheung Kin-chung says at least no one is starving in Hong Kong. Our chief executive, Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, says at least everyone has a roof over his or her head. To all of them we present the Cold and Callous Award.
Shocks to the system
Our Gods of Greed Award goes to the two electricity companies. Already bursting with billions in profits, they want more. Greed knows no boundaries for them. People are hurting. Inflation is biting them hard. Salaries are mostly stagnant. But CLP Power and Hongkong Electric want to tighten their squeeze. Our numbskull bureaucrats allowed them to make 9.99 per cent profit every year under a monopoly agreement. And our power companies won't settle for a cent less. Their outrageously high price hikes will leave them bulging with yet more billions. They'll make billions aplenty even if they cut their price rises by half. But no, they want their pound of flesh, their 9.99 per cent guaranteed profit. So what if people are hurting? Better that than the pockets of their shareholders being a cent lighter.
Uncivil police liberties
Next we present the Big Brother Award. It goes to tough-guy Commissioner of Police Andy Tsang Wai-hung. Well, he thinks he's a tough guy but he's just a bully who turned our police force into a thug force. Under him, his men pepper-sprayed an eight-year-old boy who was with his mother at the July 1 annual protest march. During Vice-Premier Li Keqiang's visit, Tsang's men wrestled university students to the ground, locked one up, trampled on a protest prop belonging to legislator 'Long Hair' Leung Kwok-hung, arrested a man for wearing a June 4 T-shirt and blocked a TV cameraman filming the arrest. Yes, a real tough guy, our police commissioner.
Blessed by absence
Our final award was a toss-up between the government's macho men who repeatedly harassed a 74-year-old hawker for selling waffles to stay alive and flip-flopper Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai. Fan won the toss. For months she played a silly game with the people. First she said she might run for chief executive, then she said she might not, then she said she might - and on it went for months. To this clown who confesses to being clueless about economic and administrative matters we confer the Thank Goodness You're Not Running Award.