Tsang's planned move to Shenzhen pad has everyone guessing
One of the curiosities surrounding our chief executive's recently discovered retirement palace, is why would Donald Tsang want to live in Shenzhen? He has a house in Hong Kong, which admittedly is only 1,800 square feet, compared with the 6,500 sq ft penthouse in Shenzhen and a small flat in London. Some have suggested that it's a vestige of the colonial civil service mentality. When you've finished the job, you leave. Others are not so convinced, believing that maybe Tsang thinks his talent for making money has not received sufficient recognition while in government, and retirement offers the opportunity to become a player. In Shenzhen he will be able to come and go without having to face press scrutiny.
But why rent? Why not buy? What does Shenzhen offer over Hong Kong? It has all of Hong Kong's downsides, the dirty air, overcrowding and so on, but none of its upside - an orderly society governed by the rule of law. So many questions but so few answers. It's all very suspect.
Just who are you defending, Henry?
We had to smile at Henry Tang's latest words of wisdom on his website. He complained of 'unprecedented attacks on his reputation'. Unprecedented perhaps, but he has yet to show they are untrue. He goes on to say that 'In the next few months, I will be fighting an uphill battle since it is no longer purely a chief executive election or a battle to save my personal reputation. This is actually a battle to defend Hong Kong's core values.' So what's going on here? Tang is saying that his campaign has now become a crusade to protect Hong Kong's core values, against what - C.Y. Leung's influence? On the face of it, the core values Tang appears to be trying to protect are the rights of the rich to break the law and build illegal basements in their homes, and to have extramarital relationships, without the hassle of having it all splashed over the press. Dear Henry, don't you know? Core values, like charity, start at home.
All quiet on the regulation front
To Kowloon City Law Courts, where we heard a tale about what happens when noise regulations are not enforced. The details of the case are reported elsewhere in the South China Morning Post today. The woman involved lives opposite and 13 floors above the atrium of The One building in Tsim Sha Tsui, owned by Chinese Estates Holdings, which is controlled by Joseph Lau Luen-hung. The building is managed by his son Lau Ming-wai, the very same person who is helping Henry Tang with his forlorn attempt to become chief executive. She complains about the noise and, while waiting for the police to turn up for the third time, bangs on the aluminium facade of one of the pillars with her key, making a number of small dents. The upshot is that she is charged with criminal damage while those making the noise, together with the building managers, get off scot-free. Rather than plead guilty and get off with a caution, she pleads not guilty and, as the Department of Justice decides not to press for a conviction, is bound over for a year to keep the peace. She hopes her stand, which cost her about HK$50,000 in legal fees, will encourage others to fight against noise pollution. If the regulations had been enforced, she wouldn't have had to complain.
Slow action on speedy service
A reader writes to say that for the past four years, he has been on to PCCW to provide him with its superfast broadband. He lives out in the wilds of the northern New Territories, and this apparently presents something of a challenge for PCCW. He recently received a letter from the company noting his interest in its fibre broadband service and drawing attention to his relatively remote location. PCCW said installation of the service would entail 'a contribution towards the cost of the extended line, such as obtaining a work permit for road work, underground duct rodding, fibre cable provision and network system hardware installation etc'. All this is could be had at the bargain price of HK$130,000 paid in advance. Should our reader agree to this price, PCCW said: 'We expect the earliest ready date for fibre broadband service will be 6-8 months upon your confirmation and the payment'. Our reader is not rushing his decision and has asked PCCW for a breakdown of its quotation.
Bank facing an uphill battle
We know it's still fashionable to bash bankers. But it's hard not to have some sympathy for Stephen Hester, embattled boss of RBS, who is trying to lift the bank out of the mire. The bank would not be able to recruit people with the message 'come here, have a harder job and earn less', he said. 'We will not accomplish our goals if that is the message.'