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  • Dec 19, 2014
  • Updated: 11:25pm
Public Eye
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 March, 2013, 3:57am

CY's attack on hospital greed is medicine HK needs


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.

That's right, Mr Chief Executive, let 'em have it with both barrels. Public Eye loved the way Leung Chun-ying kneed the medical industry where it hurts. Private hospitals had so shamelessly pursued their greed by going after the business of pregnant mainland women, which hurt Hong Kong's overall interests. But they didn't care. It didn't bother them that the thousands of mainland babies they helped deliver would qualify for Hong Kong residency and eventually compete with locals for school places, housing and other services. They just cared about making money. They raised fees so exorbitantly that it priced many local mothers out of the market. They expanded their obstetrics sections at the expense of other services to cater to mainland women willing to pay through the nose to have their babies born here. Such is their greed that their fees for other services are anything but transparent. You never know how much you have to pay until you are hit with the bill as you leave. And they claim to be in the business of healing. They are more like blood-suckers. Leung told these leeches to forget the "doomed" business of catering to mainland mothers. He made clear he would rather scrap the medical sector as a pillar industry than allow it to hurt the city's overall interests. We need more talk like that, Mr Chief Executive. Private hospitals are not the only leeches. There are plenty others. Knee them all where it hurts.


Democracy dreamers must wake up to Beijing

Public Eye will say it again - it's better to win half a battle than to lose it all. Dreamers think if they tell the central government they will settle for nothing other than their own definition of genuine democracy, they'll get it. How stupid. It's not what you want, but what you can get. Beijing will never grant Hong Kong the kind of democracy that it feels would harm the overall national interest. So wake up. Take what you can get, or lose everything.


Political vision? Our leaders can't see beyond the script

Former US president George Bush senior once mocked the need for political leaders to have vision, dismissing it as "the vision thing". But history tells us leaders with the "vision thing" can best inspire the people. We saw a bit of that from our leaders over the weekend. Not our local leaders. It's easier to squeeze toothpaste out of an empty tube than vision out of them. It came from our national leaders. New president Xi Jinping spoke of a Chinese renaissance to inspire a "China dream" for the people. He promised wealth equality by narrowing the rich-poor gap. New premier Li Keqiang used other buzzwords, such as fighting vested interests even if that meant wading into deep water. It doesn't matter if you agree with their vision or if they will deliver it. At least they have one. Why can't our overpaid officials talk like that? When was the last time you heard them speak of reviving the lost Hong Kong dream that built our great city? Have you ever heard them talk about narrowing the wealth gap by fighting the entrenched vested interests that made ours such an unfair society? Watch Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah's recent budget speech, if you can stay awake. He used most of the two hours to say what a wonderful job he has done. He never once looked up from his script to make eye contact with the people. The vision thing? He wouldn't know it if it whacked him on the head.



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This article is now closed to comments

Right on! You have argued your case well. Now let me hear from other SCMP readers with critical minds and ears.
Hard hitting, impassioned pleas like Mr. Chugani's have their rightful place in this publication too because they make us aware of the ever present tragic human condition.
What we ought to discourage is the dark, self-destructive hate-China passions arisen from personal malice, a product of an intransigent faith in Democracy's fundamentalism and sectarianism, which are the root of most dysfunctional governance widely witnessed today.
Hospitals are not the problem. Government policy is. The flaw in your logic is easily obtained: if Say's law applied then birth rates of mainland mothers would vary proportionately to the number of hospitals. In the 10 years following the CFA ruling on children's right of above, the number of private OBGYN beds rose by 15% according to the Hospital Authority. Births to non-resident mainland mothers rose by 5660%. Public OBGYN beds actually FELL by 15%, more than offsetting the creation of bed spaces in the private sector.
Supply of hospitals does not create births, but women admitted into Hong Kong who wish to obtain obstetric care most certainly create a demand for hospital services. Failing to satisfy demand with supply causes shortages when the demand is insensitive to price as foetuses tend to be. Creating a bloodsucking capitalist bogeyman clearly fits your preferred narrative but it remains at odds with factual matter.
Having a bean counter to argue on number of beds and number of runaway mainland pregnant women to Hong Kong bound to lead the readers and oneself to see the trees not the forest. Even without a stray of evidence, the common complain by the public about collusion between business and government wouldn’t be an exception here. It is otherwise so easily to take action by the government like Leung’s administration to halt the greedy practice right at the border. The comment is shortsightedness and misleading. There is no bogeyman but greedy businessmen and a strayed Chief Executive of the past administration.
Hongkong's flourish depends on ripping off the mainlanders !


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