• Sun
  • Jul 13, 2014
  • Updated: 10:26am
Lai See
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 07 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 07 March, 2013, 6:12am

Outrageous sexism in the People's Daily

BIO

Howard Winn has been with the South China Morning Post for two and half years after previous stints as business editor and deputy editor of The Standard, and business editor of Asia Times. His writing has also been published in the Far Eastern Economic Review, the Wall Street Journal, and the International Herald Tribune. He writes the Lai See column which focuses on the lighter side of business.
 

We were slightly saddened to come across the People's Daily Online piece headlined, "Beautiful female journalists at two sessions", which then had links showing 17, albeit comely, female journalists engaged in covering the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and the National People's Congress. It's hard to know what the message was here. Was it that if 17 attractive women are covering these events, then it must be OK? Or maybe it was that the only way you are going to get people to listen to or watch this stuff is to mediate it via 17 attractive female presenters? Progressive forces around the world will be shocked and disappointed by the People's Daily's take on these events. It has to be said that there would be uproar if such a line was adopted in the morally corrupt Western press. Aside from the blatant unfairness to the, dare we say, less attractive women who are also covering the events, what about the men both attractive and unattractive? In addition to the blatant and distasteful sexism of the article, it also trivialises events of great importance for mainland China and for the world. Sometimes you just have to persevere and see through the medium to the message. Not content with its inappropriate fixation with beautiful female journalists, the People's Daily also indulges itself with another report: "Beautiful service staff at the NPC and CPPCC sessions." Time to cancel our subscription.

 

The joys of flying

Those of you with a penchant for flying in big planes will no doubt be delighted to learn that British Airways will be flying the whopping Airbus A380 on its flights to London out of Hong Kong. This is not the one with the exploding batteries. BA has ordered 12 A380s for delivery by 2016, "as part of a £5 billion [HK$58.5 billion] investment over five years in new aircraft, smarter cabins, elegant lounges, and new technologies to make life more comfortable in the air and on the ground," it tells us. Those of you who have doubts about trusting new technology to the extent of allowing yourself to be transported 30,000 feet or so above the ground can rest assured that they will experience "smoother rides due to advanced vibration insulation and quieter cabins. Higher humidity in the aircraft also helps reduce dryness with lower pressurisation and better air filters to reduce the effect of jet lag." The downside is that these irresistible additions to modern flight will not be available to BA passengers out of Hong Kong until November 15.

 

Brands on the beach

We gather that we have somehow miscredited Designing Hong Kong with the "Brands on the Beach" campaign. Credit for this campaign should in fact go to Living Islands, though it was actively supported by Paul Zimmerman's Designing Hong Kong group. Indeed, the outcome of the campaign was announced yesterday at a press conference hosted jointly by the two groups. The result of the campaign after a number of clean-ups on Pak Kok beach on Lamma Island is that the most "picked-up" brand is Vita Water, followed by Bonaqua and Cool Water. It shows that the rubbish that ends up on our beaches is not swept down from the Pearl River Delta, but is created locally. Jo Wilson, campaigner at Living Lamma, said: "Our findings show that beach litter is our own problem. Many people don't realise that litter on the streets and slopes will end up in our seas, and back onto our beaches." Zimmerman, the chief executive of Designing Hong Kong, added: "We hope that brand names like Vita will take action and use their labelling to remind consumers to dispose bottles properly. At the same time, the Hong Kong community should consider adding a recycling charge onto plastic bottles and not just glass bottles, to promote recovery and return for recycling use."

 

Pointless pavilions

Our piece yesterday about ugliness on Lantau has prompted a reader to inform us of a recent visit to the beautiful Tap Mun (Grass Island). There he came across a fine example of the government's pointless pavilion policy complete with wheelchair ramps and support railings for the elderly. It was situated on the top of a hill, with the only access being a series of steep steps and slopes. The only conceivable way a wheelchair user (or elderly person in need of support railings) would ever be able to reach this pavilion would be by helicopter.

 

Have you got any stories that Lai See should know about? E-mail them to howard.winn@scmp.com

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