All Around Town, November 1, 2012
Education chief faces some tricky decisions
To quit or not to quit - which is harder? Both seem too difficult for Secretary for Education Eddie Ng Hak-kim.
Rumours in political circles suggest that Ng, the second-least popular minister in the Leung Chun-ying administration, tendered his resignation after the national education debacle. But his boss immediately denied it. Leung probably remembered how his mentor, former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa, lost power. Public anger over national security legislation drove three ministers to quit after the July 1 march in 2003, but that failed to help their boss. Tung resigned in 2005, citing "health reasons".
If Ng stays on, he will definitely need a capable deputy. He has picked Kevin Yeung Yun-hung, now principal assistant secretary for food and health, to become the undersecretary for education. Good luck, Kevin.
Think tank's ex-head says profile is still high
Anthony Wu Ting-yuk, who ended his five-year chairmanship of the Bauhinia Foundation Research Centre on September 17, dismissed talk that the once-key think tank intended to keep a lower profile under the new administration. "Nothing will really change," Wu said. "Fewer research reports [have been released] in the past year only because our studies are on long-term issues…It takes time and is in-depth."
Political observers see Wu's departure, together with the centre's decision to end its quarterly Hong Kong Consumer Confidence Survey, as signs of the body's fading prominence.
Councillor fears debate is endangered species
Conservation may be a common concept in cultural heritage and the environment, but how does it apply to politics?
Wong Kin-san, an independent Yau Tsim Mong district councillor, recently wrote an article on the blog of "CampHK" calling for the "protection of 'political seahorses'" - referring to the protected species breeding off the proposed site for an artificial beach near Tai Po.
Wong suggests that pan-democratic lawmakers have been inconsistent and unreasonable in the scrutiny of the government's proposal for an increased old-age allowance.
"I don't know when it started, but Hong Kong's culture of sensible discussion has nearly become like an endangered seahorse," he writes.
He suggests a rethink on how we should progress politically. "[If] endangered seahorses in Lung Mei, Tai Po, need our protection, our society needs even more pro-active efforts to protect and conserve it."
The government claims the spotted seahorse is not endangered and is, in fact, moderately abundant.
Tony Cheung, Joyce Ng