It's official: bureaucrats speak a different language
Go ahead, fuel the already hostile sentiment between Hongkongers and mainlanders. That's what the Education Bureau did on its website by dismissing Cantonese as "a Chinese dialect that is not an official language". Well, if that's the case, why does education minister Eddie Ng Hak-kim use Cantonese in the Legislative Council? If Cantonese was not the spoken dialect the Basic Law drafters meant when they declared Chinese and English as official languages, what was? Putonghua? If so, Public Eye suggests that all government officials should now use Putonghua when they speak Chinese. The bureau may have apologised, but it's yet more proof officials live in a different world to the people they govern.
Will CY guarantee no more maids will be tortured?
The way Public Eye sees it, Philippine President Benigno Aquino will never formally apologise for the killing of eight Hong Kong hostages by a deranged ex-policeman. To kowtow now, after having made clear numerous times since the 2010 tragedy that he won't, would be too humiliating a climb-down. An apology now would be a declaration that the Philippines is an impotent nation which cannot even stand up to tiny Hong Kong. So don't expect this silly stand-off between Hong Kong and Manila to go away anytime soon despite Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's sanctions, which go into effect today. Since we're on the subject, have you wondered if Leung, or President Xi Jinping , should apologise to Indonesia for the horrific torture of a maid, allegedly by her employer? Anyone who has seen pictures of her mutilated body would conclude the culprit was a wacko, just like the nutjob who killed the Hongkongers. Should Hong Kong guarantee that no maids will again be tortured, just like the guarantee we are seeking that no Hongkonger will again be killed in the Philippines?
Civil service pensions are big enough 'bribes' already
Hong Kong's civil servants are crooks. If we don't keep them fat and happy with oversized pensions they will turn to corrupt money to build up retirement nest eggs. That's essentially what Michael Sze Cho-cheung, head of the ICAC operations review committee, said when he warned about bureaucrats abusing their power. Let's see if we got this right: we must bribe our civil servants with fat pensions to stop them taking bribes. Well, to hell with that. The government contributes up to 25 per cent of salaries into the Civil Service Provident Fund, far more than the 5 per cent employers put into the Mandatory Provident Fund for us mortals. And our bureaucrats are the world's second highest-paid. If that's not enough to keep them honest, fire the lot.
Michael Chugani is a columnist and TV show host. firstname.lastname@example.org