Public Eye
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 30 October, 2013, 4:27am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 30 October, 2013, 4:27am

No one is up in arms about injured domestic helper


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.

Ever heard of Epifanio Arbasto before? Probably not. He is a Filipino domestic helper who is paralysed from the waist down. You have probably not heard of him because how he became paralysed was never given much play by the Hong Kong media. A Hongkonger, Chan King-yun, pushed him to the ground during a basketball game in July 2010, one month before the Manila hostage tragedy. Chan was jailed for assault a year later. Did China's president at the time, Hu Jintao , apologise to the Philippines? No. Did Hong Kong's chief executive at the time, Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, apologise even to Arbasto? No. Did the people of the Philippines demand an apology, compensation, and a guarantee that no Filipino helper would ever be assaulted in this way again? No. Filipinos are sensible enough to know the state cannot be blamed or assume responsibility for the act of one civilian. Arbasto sought compensation of HK$6 million last week from his attacker.Have Hongkongers rallied behind him to say that if families of the hostage victims deserve compensation, so does Arbasto? No. He is, after all, just a domestic helper.


Aquino twists the knife with 'forgetfulness' and apology

Did Philippine President Benigno Aquino really forget Leung Chun-ying's name or was he being arrogantly dismissive of our chief executive? The answer is in what he said: "I talked to the chief executive of the SAR - I am sorry and I apologise, the name escapes me at this point in time - wherein he explained their perspectives and I explained our perspectives." If Aquino really could not remember Leung's name, stopping at "I talked to the chief executive of the SAR" would have sufficed. But not only did Aquino make a point of saying he forgot Leung's name, he dug the knife deeper by using the words "sorry" and "apologise" - the very words Hongkongers are demanding he use for the Manila tragedy. There's no two ways about it - Aquino was mocking Leung.


As homebuyers return to market, so does greed

Public Eye has said time and again the home-buying frenzy will return once profiteering developers lower asking prices. And that is exactly what is happening. Buyers have been snapping up flats after major developers slashed prices and gave stamp duty rebates. Earlier, the government imposed cooling measures because greedy sellers refused to lower unrealistically high prices. Some developers came to their senses by lowering prices, but the subsequent buying frenzy reignited their greed and they are raising prices again. The measures are working and if the new greed persists, the government should slap developers with more measures.


Censors, take a good look in your own backyards

Did British Prime Minister David Cameron really warn that he would come down hard on his country's media unless it behaved with "social responsibility" by not revealing security secrets provided by whistle-blower Edward Snowden? The leader of a supposedly free society is now demanding the media censor itself in the name of national security. If Cameron moves the goalposts on what constitutes a free media, does he, and other free world leaders, still have the moral authority to mock mainland Chinese or Hong Kong media for self-censorship?

Michael Chugani is a columnist and TV show host.



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