• Sun
  • Dec 28, 2014
  • Updated: 8:15am
My Take
PUBLISHED : Monday, 28 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 28 January, 2013, 3:04am

Small-house moves worthy of Machiavelli

Perhaps town and country just don't get along. This may be why urbanites like yours truly are always picking on the Heung Yee Kuk, the powerful rural body that represents indigenous villagers in the New Territories.

After I wrote another rant on the government's small-house policy last week, two readers wrote back with far more sophisticated analyses.

One has worked for a long time on assignment in hundreds of villages. Due to the topic's sensitivity, I cannot disclose the person's identity. The other is the Southern District councillor and city planning advocate Paul Zimmerman.

Both argue there is no real hope of reversing the policy, which gives every indigenous male villager over the age of 18 the right to build a three-storey home in his village - to the detriment of development planning across the New Territories.

My reader believes the government is only using the policy as a convenient lever to get the kuk to play ball on other issues. This is almost Machiavellian - and not necessarily in the public interest. Ever wonder why the kuk and NT villagers suddenly dropped their violent opposition to the government's professed crackdown on their illegal structures? It can't be a coincidence that once Leung Chun-ying took over as chief executive, the government has softened its line on reviewing the small-house policy.

The reader wrote: "The kuk will be banking on the tortuous legal process which will stretch out enforcement (against illegal structures) for a decade or more and which they hope may be later quietly downsized, and the government will be able to show continuity of intent and action without incurring the usual violent villager protests."

Meanwhile, Zimmerman argues the least bad option may be for the policy to drag on until the supply of land runs out. Development chief Paul Chan Mo-po has estimated there are about 933 hectares left of rural land originally earmarked for the building of small houses. Once it is used up, the government can simply say there is no more land. This would dispense with the need to compensate male villagers, which would be required if the policy were formally scrapped.


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Here is my 15 minutes single-task response to the issues you raised.
(1) Villagers’ title over “private” land in “NT”
Basic Law Art 40 protects “lawful” “traditional” “rights”.
What are the standards to determine whether
the “rights” claimed are traditional?
the “traditions” relied on are lawful?
Have we been misled all along to mistake
unlawful traditional wrongs as rights?
BL Art 8 is conditional
Art 40 should be read together with Art 7
For “lawful” “tradition” and “rights”
look no further than the example of the “Treaty of Nanking”
The Brits did mouth about lawful title and rights
but dared they really take it to “court”?
(2) Please substantiate your allegation about pslhk making “so many complaints”
What are these complaints?
Are complaints judged by numbers and not their substances and purposes?
Look more likely that your’ve been shell shocked by scholarisms and Long Hair.
Who’s intoleRANT?
(3) No need to advertise intention to leave HK. Leave as you wish. TurnCOOK is the traditional right of “NT” villagers.
26 minutes of my time, pro bono.
You seem to be saying that “NT” land has become Brit’s perpetual bribe to villagers to quiet them down and the descendants of turnCOOKs are entitled to such inheritance.
Like MW, I’d end with: correct me if I’m wrong…
Why do care about ancestors’ achievements?
Didn’t realize that you support princelings in China
Certainly you won’t discriminate against those
born on the other side of the border
Their ancestors clearly earned what they got
and entitled (?) to pass along?
But I’m ain’t that sure about villagers in the “NT”
Funny term – New Terrirtories!
I didn’t realise that “NT” were surveyed before the Second Opium War
with private ownership of properties there demarcated and deeded.
Indeed villagers fought the British and later on
migrated to Britain as cooks and laundrymen
and “given” land in the NT
Simply: where else in the world are males entitled to “lineage” land?
pslhk has lost his marbles again
Not that he had any smarts to begin with
FYI village houses built on private not government land
How would you feel if someone invaded your house and told you what to do with it.
With HKers like you there is no hope for the future - you have so many complaints about this and that and vitriol about others. So intoleRANT.
Maybe time for us to pack our bags and leave HK and go to Macau, Singapore or UK
Perhaps someone may enlighten and tell me, nowadays
where else can we find male lineage entitlement to public land?
Let’s make the best if not the only use of common law
in what “could” be the remain of its life in HK
(don’t get over-excited, wigged rent-seekers, beware of heart attack)
CL protects the king, right?
And urbanites, the public majority supports the king
who follows the precedence of Blake House
Let’s drag the problem all the way pass 2047
Talking about HK’s excellent legal service
Let lawyers properly do what they are good at
finding excuses to stretch
Let bureaucrats properly do what they’re good at
dragging their feet by find technicalities to delay applications for new lineage houses
Let CL judges properly exercise their prerogative
and find reasons to impose injunction.
Then we may preserve the precious 933 hectares.
I don’t think there is lack of means to change
What we lack is the will
And the administration, whose will weakened by the misled public
Who clamor always over irrelevant and vacuous issues
Has to rely on villagers for support
Hence continuation of free land as their reward.
Can you never just simply get to the point?
By the way where was your family when the ancestors of the current indigenous villagers were providing the only armed resistance to the British takeover of the New Territories in 1898/1899?


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