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HK Magazine Archive

Railing into the Void

The high-speed rail link to Guangzhou has come up against yet another obstacle, after the MTR and government revealed that the project needs an additional $19.6 billion to complete.

PUBLISHED : Friday, 04 December, 2015, 11:14am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 October, 2016, 4:53pm

Taxpayers will have to bail out the MTR—and the MTR is paying out to its shareholders to keep them sweet. Where’s all our hard-earned cash going?

Better Trains.
Our additional money will enable the construction of exclusive “Maotai First” class carriages, reserved exclusively for Guangzhou Communist Party cadres on the way down to Hong Kong for a quick splurge. Otherwise they’d have to ride in the normal trains like everyone else. And let’s be honest: No one wants that.

Making Guangzhou Nice.
Truth is, even if you complete a high-speed link to Guangzhou, no Hongkongers are ever going to go there because they all think it’s a shithole. So the MTR is going to take all our extra cash and use it to create a little elitist recreation area for Hong Kong tourists, complete with mock boorish mainlanders and pretend parallel traders. That way we can be snobby AND comfortable.

392 Million Big Mac Meals.
A Big Mac meal from McDonald’s online delivery (burger, fries, AND an extra!) costs $50, and the $19.6 billion bailout would buy 392 million of ‘em. It’s hungry work, building a railroad. That’s what project management is all about: thinking about these things in advance. Isn’t it, MTR?

The Make MTR Shareholders Richer Fund.
Across Hong Kong, literally hundreds of rich people are suffering because they can’t afford another house on The Peak. Thousands more have to put that bottle of coconut water back on the shelf because they just can’t fit any more into their double-sized fridges. But it doesn’t have to be this way. You can help. A one-off donation of $19.6 billion will ensure that no MTR shareholders will ever have to skip a round of dry-cleaning ever again. Act now. It’s the right thing to do.

The Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macau Bridge.
Lest we forget, our other great white elephant is also seeking extra money from Legco, to the tune of $5.46 billion. Part of the Guangzhou cash will probably go straight to the mostly useless bridge, because it’s good karma to spread the cash around when you’ve taken it from the taxpayer.

Just Giant Beds Made of Money.
Apparently, MTR Corporation executives don’t sleep well at night unless it’s on beds made from huge, pillowy stacks of $1,000 bills. In an example of the trickle-down effect, an employee incentivization scheme will allow MTR employees (supervisor level or higher) to craft small futons out of $20 notes.