My Take

Baby formula plea to US is infantile

PUBLISHED : Friday, 01 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 01 February, 2013, 3:02am

First they waved the British colonial flags. Now some are petitioning the White House to help resolve the baby formula shortage. Why don't these people just formally ask the Brits or Americans to colonise us and get it over with?

Perhaps we really have reached the status of dire-straits countries like Haiti, where there was serious talk of Western "supervision" after a massive earthquake struck in 2010. Or have we really?

A group of Hong Kong busybodies has appealed for help from US President Barack Obama to get infant formula supplies, in a petition signed by more than 8,650 people so far. Probably few are real mothers, who would be too busy taking care of their children to file silly and time-wasting appeals.

"Local parents in Hong Kong can hardly buy baby formula milk powder in drugstores and supermarkets, as smugglers from mainland China storm to this tiny city to buy milk powder and resell it for huge profits in China," the petition reads on the White House website. "We request international support and assistance as babies in Hong Kong will face malnutrition very soon."

No doubt the US president will now dispatch a navy carrier to ship over a few tonnes of baby powder to help the starving children here, and send in the marines to patrol our borders.

This "appeal" is not only pathetic and grotesque, but offensive. There will be those who justify their inane behaviour as expressing grievances, real or imagined, against Beijing and the Hong Kong government. But really, an average of 21,000 children under the age of five die every day around the world, according to UN estimates, mainly from hunger and REAL malnutrition. There are many children who really do need help from rich nations like the US but they are not from here.

We are a rich city. Even if you complain about widening inequalities, our low-income households are not living in subsistence. Those who made the appeal are pampered people who don't appreciate what they have. There are first-world cities that would die to have our low-crime rate, de facto universal health care, mass transport systems that run on time, good roads, and other cheap and efficient public services. The formula shortage is a short-term problem, not a crisis.