Mainland visitor influx isn't just a question of money
Is Public Eye reading it wrong or have they all lost their marbles? Do our leaders really think tiny Hong Kong can accommodate yet millions more mainland visitors? Do they not know a mind-boggling 28 million came last year? Surely, they know three million a month come during peak months - nearly half our population. Can Hong Kong handle an additional population of such staggering size? Will Hongkongers tolerate more overcrowding on MTR trains? Can they stomach yet more shopping areas and malls being taken over by mainlanders, as has happened to Causeway Bay and Tsim Sha Tsui? How many more local businesses will be driven out of popular districts by overseas name brands willing to pay lunatic rents to cater to cash-rich mainlanders? Will all this stoke even more tension? But these are not the questions our leaders are asking. They are asking just one question: how many more tourist dollars will the added influx bring? Last week came the news that Shenzhen authorities would loosen controls to allow even non-permanent residents to make multiple visits here. That will add four million more to the many millions who can already make such multiple visits. Over the weekend, Hongkongers learnt that an influential think thank controlled by Leung Chun-ying before he became chief executive proposed turning a chunk of the northeastern New Territories into a shopping, dining and housing zone for mainlanders who would be given special visas on arrival. A fence of some sort would, of course, be needed to stop them from entering the rest of Hong Kong without normal visas. Imagine, a part of the New Territories fenced off. Are the people who came up with the idea nuts? Public Eye is not being churlish. Mainlanders have become the mainstay of Hong Kong's retail sector. Without them the sector would die. But surely our leaders know too much of a good thing can become a bad thing. Mindful of rising local resentment, Leung assured Hongkongers yesterday he would not let the situation get out of hand. How? When? He didn't say. We're waiting.
Naked self-censorship? The British press can't talk
Self-censorship. That's the mocking cry often hurled at Hong Kong's media. The finger pointers are mostly our own media watchdogs, but often also the Western press. Accusers self-righteously label our media as being owned by Beijing-friendly lackeys with business ties to the mainland who are therefore too gutless to tell it like it is. Sure, segments of our media do self-censor. But Public Eye says only those who are pure themselves have the moral right to cast stones at us. That leaves out the British press. It now turns out this holier than thou muck-raking machine is nothing but a gutless wimp. All it took was a command from the Queen's men and the British press kowtowed - not daring to run pictures of Prince Harry's naked sex romp in Las Vegas. Talk about self-censorship. What do you think the British press would have said if the Hong Kong and mainland media self-censored similar pictures of, say, President Hu Jintao's son? Exactly. Public Eye wants everyone to continue raising hell about self-censorship in Hong Kong, but not the British press. It has lost the right to judge others.
Let's have a special holiday to honour a dumb idea
Legislative Council candidate Lam Yi-lai thinks foreign domestic helpers should not get any days off on traditional Chinese holidays such as Lunar New Year since it's meaningless to them. Splendid idea. Only those who believe in Buddha should get a day off on Buddha's birthday. Brits should certainly work on the July 1 handover anniversary day since it's not something they would want to celebrate. Only communists should get the October 1 National Day off. All non-Christians should work on Christmas Day. And we should create a special holiday for everyone to honour Lam for her idea. Maybe we should call it Numbskull Day.