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  • Oct 23, 2014
  • Updated: 6:25am
Public Eye
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 04 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 04 September, 2013, 4:13am

Loyalty to mainland is loyalty to one's country


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.

Public Eye does two freelance shows for ATV, in English and in Chinese. There, we have declared our interest. Now we would like legislator Claudia Mo Man-ching to declare hers. Is pro-Beijing bad and anti-Beijing good? We are asking her because we are baffled by what she said a few days back. Mo has been rabidly critical of ATV, and the real reason became crystal clear in an RTHK interview. She slammed the appointment of Louie King-bun as ATV's executive director to replace James Shing Pan-yu, saying he is a pro-Beijing guy who once worked for a left-wing newspaper. Mo told RTHK she was "terribly worried" about such a person leading ATV. There you have it: Louie is unfit because he is loyal to his country. Mo said ATV would serve the mainland's interests rather than the "real" interests of Hong Kong. This is what baffles Public Eye. Isn't Hong Kong part of China? What good comes of taking the position that we have our interests and the mainland has its interests and serving its interests would damage ours? Isn't that dividing our society - something many pan-democrats accuse Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying of doing? If pro-Beijing is bad, what is good? Pro-Britain? Pro-US? It is mind-boggling that more than 16 years after the handover, we still have this stupid labelling of people as pro- and anti-Beijing. And we claim we are mature enough for democracy.


Bickering bureaucrats should give us space

How big is a 50 sq ft space? The size of a kitchen maybe? Imagine fitting a toilet, kitchen and living area in that space, calling it a "suite" and renting it out for more than HK$1,500 a month. Super-rich Hong Kong has tens of thousands of people housed in such "suites". A group that helps the poor did a survey that showed families of four living in 100 sq ft "suites" costing HK$3,800 a month. Have you ever tried eating, sleeping, doing homework and going to the bathroom in a 100 sq ft space that you share with three others? Our top bureaucrats certainly have not. Their maids have larger quarters. The monkeys at the Zoological and Botanical Gardens have larger cages. Our legislators are paid about HK$70,000 a month. What do the people get in return? We get to see them throwing bananas, arguing about a foul-mouthed teacher, going on junkets and bickering about democracy. What would you choose: the right to vote or the chance to move out of your "suite" to a decent home?


Dear Mr Williams, your letter has a hole in it

Public Eye does not normally take issue with people who write letters to this paper. But the one by Keith Williams, general manager of the Golf Club, got up our nose. He says the club pays the government an annual market rent of HK$1.9 million. That is less than what a small mom-and-pop store in Causeway Bay pays. But forget about that. What Williams does not say is that the club pays just HK$1 a year for the sprawling Fanling courses. Leaving out that vital fact distorts the whole picture. He says the club is "very much" a part of the city. Wrong. The demolished Star Ferry pier was part of Hong Kong. So is the old Victoria Park pool, which is now being razed. The golf club is part of wealthy Hong Kong only.

Michael Chugani is a columnist and broadcaster. mickchug@gmail.com



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This article is now closed to comments

The Pew number is for real. Pew survey is arguably the best in scientific sampling. The answer lies in ancient Chinese culture, our respect for authority and hierarchical family survival instinct - a characteristic in evolutionary biology.
I grew up in an authoritarian HK Chinese family and had a first rate Western education. I treasure Chinese self-discipline, moral principles just as much as Western science and culture. I find beliefs in universal values based on monotheism and populist democracy shallow and unscientific. But I will not challenge the practitioners if they do not use violence to proselytize their beliefs, like what they did in the past 3 centuries.
I don't find any conflicts in the Pew survey, which also shows provincial governments having only 60 something % rating.
One problem about SCMP readers is their abysmal ignorance in China's government structure. Meaningless words like totalitarianism enhance only their feel good hate-passion and stupidity.
Here are some apparent cultural paradoxes for you. When polled, American students believe they are above AVERAGE in academics. However, Chinese students are quite diffident about their standing. American parents think too much discipline will take away children's self-esteem. Tiger moms will not hesitate to dress down their children and shame them into performing up to par with their neighbors.
Anecdotally, many of my Chinese friends have become world class professionals. Now go figure!
"..candidly express the desire to move on to other countries first chance they get."
I will answer this with part of my mail to a friend the other day:
"When you compare salaries in China with the US, the economic choice is quite clear. The median salary for a Chinese middle manager may be less than US$20,000. In the US it could easily exceed $100K. A Chinese illegal smuggled in by snakeheads working 60 hours or more a week in restaurants as a waiter or kitchen help could make close to $30,000 a year. But his wage in China is less than $8,000.
What these poor Chinese don’t realize is that wage differential has little meaning when cost of living is figured into the equation. Worse, there is no future in their dead-end jobs. If they count on saving enough money to return to China some day, the gradual purchasing power parity creep will make their US dollar savings value a lot less in China in future. I ate in a New York suburb sushi restaurant 2 weeks ago. I think the owner is Taiwanese, but his staff are all very likable young men and women from Fujian. I had this lump in my throat when I think of their situation."
"When Chinese look for better economic and professional opportunities, Western media argue repression under a dictatorial regime drive Chinese to the US and Canada. Tell me, did you go to RPI, Caltech then MIT because of lack of freedom in Hong Kong?"
Pew survey shows why you must not exercise Western value judgment on Chinese culture.
Ennoun & bmr:
In an honest exchange, we must define the scope of subject, accept proven facts and logic, and eschew irrelevancies and circular definitions, i.e., tautologies of religion and democracy. If facts appear conflicting, then we dig deeper into facts and perhaps re-scope the subject iteratively to find a resolution.
100,000 “mass incidents” in PRC is a fact. But it doesn’t mean the same as protests elsewhere or in HK. Much happen in China is an outrage about some citizens’ sense of justice, land grab by developers and local governments, etc. Unlike nihilistic and subversive HK protests, I am inclined to believe protests in China have legitimate causes.
Many years ago while visiting Paris for 2 weeks, I experienced 3 major incidents and a few minor ones. Strikes forced me to cancel the bateau mouches trip down the Seine and a night at the opera. Demonstrating lawyers blocked traffic and were hauled away in paddy wagons. With its arts and culture, Paris remains one of my most favored cities.
You better believe recent demonstrations in Lyon, M****ille and Athens are much worse.
I know of no country except China that keeps a tab on the number of demonstrations. Interpret any way you want. It means Beijing recognizes public opinion and allows peaceful demonstrations.
Is 100,000 a large number when you have 1.3 billion people? Like I say, the lack of baseline doesn’t qualify me to comment on it.
Surf Weibo. Can you still say PRC is a totalitarian country?
What an ignorant, odius, nasty little offering this is. It is lucky that Mr Chugani is restricted (presumably by law) to the SCMP and ATV so these views are not seen by more than a handful of people
Hi whymak.
Your rebuttal comments are noted with interest. The 65% figure that you are questioning was published in several global newspapers (including SCMP) over the past year, not something I pulled from thin air.
If, however, the 87% approval rating you refer to is correct, then how come there are 100,000+ protests taking place in the Mainland every year and that number keeps growing steadily. Again, annual protest numbers are published in the SCMP and numerous other papers each year.
Those numbers speak for themselves. Social harmony and satisfaction among the residents on the Mainland??? ...Does not seem to be the case. Additionally, in speaking with my many friends on the Mainland, they candidly express the desire to move on to other countries first chance they get. Almost no one states thay would rather stay in China. Hmmm.....
Thanks for sharing with us, one of the basic laws of nature, i.e. that animals of a type stick together. Of course your friends express anti-Beijing sentiments, they are your friends. I would find it quite hard to believe that you could make friends with people who do not share your views. That is not a criticism of you but just an observation on how friendships and relationships in general work.
I do find your logic as regards refuting the 87% figure somewhat flawed. I would tend to argue that just based on gut instinct and life experience the figure of 87% is ridiculous. No peoples in the history of the world have ever had such a high proportion who thought their government was doing a good job. I would be surprised if the real percentage was even close to 50%, but that would be considered outstanding by any other sitting government in the world,
"This is what baffles Public Eye"?
Well you'd better get used to this kind of "thinking"
the scholarism, Chan, Eu, Mo, Wong, Tai ... kind
Don't you read the comments
aren't you amazed by the general standard of the more outstanding characters?
Like the award-winning never apologise teacher
these freeedom fighters and holy rights defenders
they readily and capably summarize all their thoughts and feelings
into a 4-letter word
The main problem with ATV is the programming. Whereas TVB, through Jade, regularly produces contemporary TV series, ATV is stuck in the distant past. As to English language programmes, apart from one or two current affairs programmes, the only reason for ATV World's existence is to show the horse racing. TVB Pearl makes the effort of buying recent hit TV series from the US. If ATV could be successful at winning viewers then this whole debate could be avoided and probably would be.
You're barking up the wrong tree. Whereas the US Congress has only a 12% approval rating as shown by Pew Survey, Beijing government has an 87% rating by its people. Where did you get the 65% lie? How many Chinese have you talked to?
What is your "totalitarian government" name calling trying to prove?
Hong Kongers and their politicians are given unlimited freedom to vent their hatred at our one country two systems, do you think this kind of behavior is tolerated in democratic countries?
In the US, there are laws against hate speech in many states and municipalities. I have known of incidence as trivial as a student imitating J*wish exclamation "oy vey" being suspended for anti-Semitic behavior, let alone outbursts of "What the F" and "Mother F 乜你老母" by a school teacher. In HK, such vulgarity is lionized by self-hate Chinese. Where else do you find this kind of cancerous freedom?
As for Chinese sending their children to study abroad, what's wrong with that? We all recognize America has the best universities and is the most advanced in science and technology. Aren't HKU, HKCU and HKUST all staffed with post-graduates from Berkeley, Harvard or MIT? Remember, like you, we Chinese were 95% illiterate yesterday.
Now all I have to show you that tons of HKers and mainlanders who performed brilliantly have now returned to serve their homeland.
Throwing a banana at the US president will get you a long prison sentence, otherwise an assault charge. In HK, nothing.
Legco member: payments (bananas extra)
End-of-service gratuity @ 15% of the remuneration earned by the Member concerned and payable upon serving out a LegCo term.
Salary $84,490 (President is double this amount + entertainment allowance)
Medical $29,420
Operating Expenses Reimbursement
(w.e.f. 1 October 2012)
Per Year
• Office operation $2,166,310
• Entertainment & travelling $185,130
• Setting up and Information technology
$250,000 (or $175,000 for Members who have claimed setting up expenses in the previous term)
• Winding up (when a Member leaves office) $180,526 (i.e. 1/12 of the annual office operation expenses reimbursement) plus actual severance payments




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