Public Eye

Something is rotten in the city of Hong Kong

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 29 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 29 May, 2013, 5:49am

What's happening to everyone? How did Hongkongers get to be so damned unreasonable? They demand everything but will give nothing in return. Is there no limit to their selfishness? Hongkongers are among the world's biggest producers of waste. We generate twice as much waste per person as people in Tokyo. Yet we're not the slightest bit shamed by this. What's even more sickening is that we couldn't care less how we dispose of this garbage as long as it's not dumped in our backyard. Hong Kong is running out of places to dump our rubbish. We'll drown in it soon if nothing is done, Environment Secretary Wong Kam-sing has warned. But Hongkongers shrugged their shoulders and yawned. The government has been banging its head against the wall for years trying to get public support and funding approval from legislators to deal with the city's ever-growing mountain of rubbish. A plan to expand the three overflowing landfills has been thwarted for years by our Nimby (not in my backyard) selfishness. Tseung Kwan O residents, backed by vote-seeking legislators, have rejected a government plan to expand the landfill there. And environmental nutjobs, backed by selfish "Nimby" people and vote-seeking legislators, have blocked funding for an incinerator. Not only that, the incinerator proposal is even being challenged in court. If Hongkongers won't tolerate incinerators or larger landfills, and politicians can't be bothered to suggest alternative workable ideas, how do they want the government to dispose of the garbage they produce? Maybe we should rocket it all into space. Public Eye is sure the Martians haven't yet been corrupted by Nimby. Or we could empty it all into our harbour. But then we'll have the harbour protectionists screaming their heads off. Public Eye's advice to the environment chief is to fold his arms, sit back, and let the piled-up garbage rot. Hongkongers deserve the stink. And it will teach our vote-seeking legislators a lesson.


Ugly behaviour wins no friends

Back a few decades ago, the world had the "Ugly American" - loud, ignorant and arrogant tourists from the United States, who flashed their Yankee dollars everywhere they went, abusing the culture and customs of the places they visited. They behaved as if their bulging wallets made them a superior class. Now, the world is starting to see the emergence of the "Ugly Chinese" - rude, arrogant and uncouth mainland tourists who think their bags full of yuan give them the right to do whatever they want wherever they go. The case of the mainland teenager who defaced a 3,500-year-old Egyptian sculpture by scrawling his name on it was just the latest in a long list of disgraceful behaviour. Mainland tourists have infuriated Taiwanese by defacing ancient rock faces, people in the Maldives by taking coral out of the sea, and Thais by misbehaving in their temples. Here in Hong Kong, the crude behaviour of mainland visitors is well known - children pooping into shopping bags while riding the MTR, peeing into bottles while eating in restaurants, not queuing up, spitting, and talking too loudly. When Hongkongers scorn such behaviour, mainlanders mock them for being envious of their newfound wealth. What nonsense. Money has nothing to do with it. Yes, Hong Kong shop staff worship big-spending mainlanders, but just on the outside. Behind their backs, they're scorned just the same. Vice-Premier Wang Yang warned recently that mainland tourists needed to shape up their image. He is exactly right. The image of the "Ugly Chinese" is just starting to take root. It's not too late to nip it in the bud.

Michael Chugani is a columnist and television show host