HK$2.8m reason that this job is obscene

PUBLISHED : Friday, 23 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 23 November, 2012, 2:21am

It doesn't have a proper title yet, but if I had to describe it, I would use the Chinese euphemism "the position of double happiness". Sorry, it's not another 3-D porn movie but a new full-time salaried position that the government is creating under its Central Policy Unit.

Actually "salaried" is an understatement. The job will pay a whopping HK$2.8 million a year, or HK$233,333 a month, including perks and expenses. You may remember that a recent survey found Hong Kong people think they need an average of HK$1.5 million a year to be happy; the lucky occupant of the new job, whoever he or she is, will be almost doubly happy.

You read the numbers right. I have confirmed it with the government. So, what does the new job actually entail?

The new think tank employee will mainly monitor public opinion through the news, social media and opinion polls. The job probably also requires an understanding of survey design, policy research and analysis. Let's just say it's not exactly rocket science. When CPU chief "Yum Cha" Shiu Sin-por first broke the news about the job in the Legislative Council this week, our usually hyper-alert lawmakers took a pass on the proposed salary.

Instead, they continued the fruitless debate on Shiu calling the CPU "a government tool", prompting Shiu to say "of course" it worked for the government. "What can it do if it isn't a tool? Yum cha?" he asked.

Come to think of it, the high pay for staff at the CPU for merely providing policy advice would naturally lead many people to conclude high-powered thinkers like Shiu really have overpaid jobs with plenty of time to enjoy frequent leisurely yum cha.

We should ask Shiu why the new job is needed in the first place. Doesn't the government already have the Information Services Department to do that? The department says on its webpage it serves as "the government's public relations consultant, publisher, advertising agent and news agency". It also provides the link between the administration, the media and the public. Now the government says a whole department is still not enough.

Forget porn. The new job's ridiculous salary is even more obscene.