Public Eye
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 24 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 24 July, 2013, 4:22am

Do these two know what it's like on the other side?


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.

Whose side should Public Eye take? The side of property tycoon Ronnie Chan Chichung, who slammed the financial secretary as a great sinner for hoarding instead of spending the people's money on social problems? Or John Tsang Chun-wah, who defended himself with the tired line that he must spend public money prudently?

We'll side with neither. Both are la-la land dwellers who understand Hong Kong's social problems as much as Marie Antoinette understood the starving French peasants whom she advised to eat cake when told they had no bread.

We're not suggesting that Hong Kong's one million poor people lop off the heads of Chan and Tsang as the French did with their queen. But let's be brutally frank. How can either Chan or Tsang possibly grasp the anguish of families living in subdivided slum flats or elderly women who scavenge for cardboard boxes to survive?

Tsang lives in a taxpayer-financed mansion. He proved how clueless he was about the city's realities when he defined the middle class as people who drank coffee and watched French movies, and proudly proclaimed himself as middle class despite his HK$302,000-a-month pay. Chan's world is that of private yachts, first-class air travel and chauffeur-driven cars. He had the gall to slam Tsang as a sinner when his own property company, Hang Lung, hoarded completed flats instead of selling them to ease the housing shortage.

When was the last time Chan saw for himself how people in subdivided flats lived? When did Tsang last go out at dawn to ask elderly ladies hauling cardboard boxes how he could help them? As far as Public Eye is concerned, they're both sinners.


Another bogey for the rich golfers in Fanling

Are memories really so short? That's what all those rich guys who get a thrill out of swinging sticks to get little balls into tiny holes are counting on.

They're making a big song and dance about us losing the prestigious Hong Kong Open if the government takes back the Fanling course for public housing. Forget about the Hong Kong Golf Club paying just HK$1 a year for the Fanling course. Let's remind everyone who paid for the pricey tournament in November.

Not the club's 2,000 or so members - who are among the city's richest - but ordinary taxpayers. The government forked out HK$15 million for the golf tournament - a sport essentially for the rich.

Star player Rory McIlroy was reportedly paid about HK$6 million. But the exhibition match between Manchester United and Kitchee got just HK$8 million even though soccer is far more popular here.

Talk about pampering the rich. The golfing guys want their cake and eat it, too.

They want to keep the Fanling course for a dollar a year and they want ordinary taxpayers to pay for their tournament. All those struggling families lining up for public housing can wait.

What's a few more years in a slum flat? Hitting balls into holes is more important.


Maybe we can then have agreement on both sides

How dare he? Executive councillor Cheng Yiu-tong says unless candidates are screened, voters in Hong Kong's first-ever election for chief executive by universal suffrage could end up electing a porn star.

What's wrong with that? The sexier the better, we say. Just imagine - political harmony at last. Instead of hurling missiles at the chief executive, the radicals would be ogling her.

All she would need to do is wiggle her hips and pan-democratic and pro-establishment male politicians would all be salivating to suck up to her - figuratively, of course.



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