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  • Oct 26, 2014
  • Updated: 1:05am
Public Eye
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 24 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 24 October, 2012, 4:42am

It's time for some home truths


Michael Chugani is a Hong Kong-born American citizen who has worked for many years as a journalist in Hong Kong, the USA and London. Aside from being a South China Morning Post columnist he also hosts ATV’s Newsline show, a radio show and writes for two Chinese-language publications. He has published a number of books on politics which contain English and Chinese versions.

Remember what Leung Chun-ying's top election campaign promise was? To make homes affordable for ordinary people. What's happened in the four months since he became chief executive? Property prices have soared to even more lunatic levels. So much for campaign promises.

The next time Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah says he's got his eye on the ball and will move to cool the market when necessary, we'll throw up. It's nauseating the way he backs his big talk with wimpish action. Has time in la-la land so dulled his mind that he doesn't know home prices are already beyond lunacy?

Leung bragged last week that he had tough cooling measures in his pocket that he could activate simply by making a phone call. So what's he waiting for? Here's Public Eye's advice to the chief executive: come back down from that Peak perch of yours - yes, the one with the still-unresolved illegal structures - and make that phone call.

Tamar: the perfect site for public housing

Build housing estates in our country parks. Reclaim more of our already shrunken harbour for high-rises. Forget about sports stadiums, use the land for more shoe-box-sized homes.

That's the insane talk we're hearing from our overpaid bureaucrats. The property tycoons, of course, love it. But what kind of a city do these lunatics want to turn Hong Kong into? One where the sun is blotted out by yet more skyscrapers whose wall effect makes our air even more unfit to breathe? A city where the teeming millions live in flats no bigger than monkey cages while our bureaucrats ride in chauffeured cars, live in over-sized homes and school their children abroad, all at taxpayers' expense? Next they'll want to turn Victoria Park into another upscale shopping mall for the millions of mainlanders they've opened Hong Kong's doors to.

Our bureaucrats say plundering the country parks, reclaiming the harbour and scrapping the long-planned Kai Tak sports hub can create land for housing. That's a gutless solution because they don't dare confront the indigenous villagers for whom they have reserved more than half of our available land. And gutless because they don't dare impose a tax on the owners of 200,000 flats who are deliberately keeping them empty.

Why should the people sacrifice country parks, sports stadiums and the harbour so that greedy villagers can claim their repugnantly discriminatory right to a small house and then sell this right to developers for millions of dollars? If our bureaucrats don't dare free up land by repealing this right, we suggest they tear down their palatial harbourfront headquarters. That'll create lots of prime land for the hard-working, deserving residents.

The Door is closed when it comes to the masses

How many of you have actually been inside the government offices in Admiralty? The complex is called The Door - named after its design - to signify an open government. But don't try entering unless you're on official government business. You won't get far.

The Door is for bureaucrats. We've been inside on official business. Those living in subdivided slum flats will find the vastness dizzying. The spacious area where the bureaucrats entertain guests has an equally spacious balcony with a magnificent harbour view. Wonder how many caged beds it could fit. Hundreds. The cage dwellers would all have a harbour view, too, especially those in the upper bunks.


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John Adams
Well said !
Sure it's a "hate" message, but the same message is boiling over inside me, and has been for many months
I personally have sensed the injustice of the situation ever since I moved to the countryside some 15 years ago. But it is not all villagers who are entitled to this land and it is unfair to say that all those who are entitled are greedy. I would like to see the policy changed and for everyone to be treated equally in the property market (although perhaps this is more nasty than anything Michael wrote given the current state of affairs). I do not, however, see any benefit to those who want change and those who don't in being so hateful. We all need to live together, now and in the future. There has just been too much division, and basic nastiness in Hong Kong in the last few months directed at different groups of people. The majority in society do have a duty to protect the rights of the minority.
I am a city guy moved into village house and really nice. But I want to point out these villagers are not making that much as everybody think. Say a 2100 sq ft house are selling around 8 to 9m depends on views but these guys if they sold their rights to small developers they only make little money. This is far less than developers made in the city or people who used to own a flats or stores in the city say 20 to 30 years ago....
Well said Michael. Our city is dominated by bureaucrats serving the interests of a gang of greedy businessmen, property tycoons and minority special interests (e.g. indigenous villagers). The rotten, elitist model of governance that crept in more and more under the crony appointment system of Donald Tsang and Henry Tang has led the rich and powerful to regard the ordinary people with contempt and as of no worth. This undeserving elite are the ones who need to learn some humility and compassion for their fellow humans. Like the former Red Guards, it would not do them any harm to be re-educated by getting their hands dirty - I mean literally.
I agree partly with what bmr said, but Michael's got a point. A small minority of villagers should not be allowed to eat away too huge a chunk of the total pie. But, neither should the richest 1%. In that regard, HK's political ideals hardly differ much from those of the mainland (or from those of any country, for that matter).
It is all the problems caused by the mindset of the govt. of making money and accumulating huge reserves from the people of HK. Apart from the govt officials (civil servants) and govt partners (developer typcoons), ordinary HK people (not associated with govt.) are forced to work long hours (more than double that of EU counterparts) and are squeezed living in the shoe-box (3 times smaller)! By subcontracting and outsoucing, the govt makes the ordinary HK people the servants of the civil servants!
I particualrly agree with this part.............................................Why should the people sacrifice country parks, sports stadiums and the harbour so that greedy villagers can claim their repugnantly discriminatory right to a small house and then sell this right to developers for millions of dollars? If our bureaucrats don't dare free up land by repealing this right, we suggest they .........sell all offices in Central and move into Sheung Shui - NW development area.....where they can take orders easier!!!
It seems to me from the way you now write -
'that greedy villagers can claim their repugnantly discriminatory'
that you are yourself prejudiced against a group of Hong Kong and Chinese citizens. Your words are very brave when targeted against a minority. The worst thing is that they are written with the intention of further creating negative discrimination and unrest in society.
The pen may be mightier than the sword but you are trying to incite people to pick up the sword with your words. Get a life Michael! Try to think love, not hate.


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