All Around Town, March 21, 2013
The new Tse Formula: treasury = nursery x 45
We all know that the treasury is flushed with cash - it will top HK$734 billion by the end of the month. At the same time, ensuring there is enough infant milk formula to go round is proving a major headache for the government. Lawmaker Paul Tse Wai-chun, a maverick in the pro-establishment camp, has put the two issues together and come up with this: provide free milk formula to all local newborn babies. If a mother decides against breastfeeding, each newborn could consume HK$1,500 of milk powder a month. Taking into account that about 90,000 babies were born last year, the total subsidy for babies below 12 months old would add up to HK$16 billion. Tse insisted his idea was feasible. "It is not uncommon to issue vouchers for milk formula overseas. Most importantly, this measure will not dampen Hong Kong's economic freedom." Needless to say, officials busy putting together legislation to restrict the amount of milk powder being taken out of Hong Kong, are unlikely to welcome Tse's creativity … as would the World Health Organisation, which has said that breastfeeding provides the best nutrition for infants.
The Tiger lets out a purr and rolls over
Asking the right questions is never easy, but it is surely equally hard to end up with an interview quite as cringeworthy as reporter Tiger Hu Yihu has just managed. On Sunday, the Phoenix Satellite Television host was the only Hong Kong journalist to get the chance to put a question to newly elected Premier Li Keqiang during his maiden press conference. Hu began by telling Li how he impressed he was by the premier's gesticulations. "You raised your hands more than 30 times when answering questions. It impressed me and reminded me of the meeting I had with you 11 years ago … [when] you showed self-confidence and intelligence … [as] the governor of Henan province," he said. Hu went on to ask what "gift" Beijing would bestow on Hong Kong in the future. He then went on to tell Li that they shared the same origin, Anhui . "You have worked your way up from the lowest level to the highest echelons in your political career, can you … talk about your personal feelings?" Hu asked. Hu's question shocked other Hong Kong journalists who were expecting something about politics. Mainland netizens on Weibo also accused Hu of "polishing the premier's shoes".
CY is toast of the town at last … in Tianjin
If home is the place where you know you're loved and respected, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying might consider a move to Tianjin , the metropolis in northeastern China. On Tuesday, after Leung visited the Tianjin Planning Exhibition Hall, which showcases the history of the metropolis and its plans for the future, he told the press: "I feel honoured, because I was an adviser to [the government of] Tianjin from 1993; and Tianjin is so well developed now." Tianjin's party secretary Sun Chunlan made it clear the honouring went both ways. Later that day, in a meeting with Tianjin's top officials, Sun, who is one of two women on the Communist Party's new Politburo, called Leung "an old friend" and thanked him for Hong Kong's support. The chief executive is the fourth top Hong Kong official to visit Tianjin in the last six months.