Public Eye
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 24 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 24 October, 2012, 4:42am

It's time for some home truths

BIO

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 TVB’s Straight Talk 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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It's time for some home truths

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