• Sat
  • Dec 20, 2014
  • Updated: 7:11pm
Public Eye
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 30 April, 2014, 4:11am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 30 April, 2014, 4:11am

Everyone knows real reason behind Manila travel alert


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.

Everyone knows real reason behind Manila travel alert

Does Secretary for Security Lai Tung-kwok think we are all fools who can be duped by his doublespeak? Or is he the real fool? Lai insisted on Saturday that the lifting of the black travel warning for the Philippines was not due to Manila's expression of sorrowful regret for the 2010 hostage tragedy. He said the government cancelled the warning because safety had improved in Manila. Really? When exactly did safety suddenly improve? On the very same day the Manila delegation expressed its regret for the tragedy? Are we to believe safety miraculously improved so much on the exact day of the apology that it warranted an immediate easing of the travel warning? If that is the case, we dumb Hongkongers can learn a thing or two from the Filipinos. They know how to magically improve safety in Manila to our satisfaction within a day after almost four years of failing to convince us the city was safe. Public Eye has long said our leaders take us for fools. Lai is testament to that. The travel alert had nothing to do with safety. It was used as a political tool to punish the Philippines for refusing to kowtow for the hostage tragedy. We all know that. If Lai thought he could dupe us with doublespeak, then he is the fool, not us.


'Tunnelgate': buck stops with those on the big bucks

Why do we pay our top civil servants far more than what bureaucrats earn anywhere else except for Singapore? Why do we pay MTR Corporation chief executive Jay Walder over HK$10 million a year - more than twice the pay he earned as New York's subway boss? We overpay these people because we expect them to be twice as good as bureaucrats elsewhere. Yet we have ended up with monkeys paid with big bucks, not peanuts. Transport and Housing Bureau boss Professor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung expressed surprise over the MTR Corp's sudden announcement of a two-year delay in the construction of the high-speed railway to Guangzhou. You can express surprise if you are paid peanuts, but if you are paid millions a year, your head should roll. Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Greg So Kam-leung advised us to wait for the next train if the first one is too crowded because of the crush of mainland visitors. You can tell us that if you also ride the MTR, but if you ride a chauffeur-driven car, your head should roll for such callous remarks. Where was Jay "HK$10 million a year" Walder when his company announced the two-year delay? Where was he on Sunday and Monday when the East Rail Line went kaput? Enjoying a leisurely breakfast? Walder was nowhere to be seen when it emerged that the MTR might have lied about the construction progress. One of his minions is now taking the fall for the mess. You can hide behind your minions if you are paid peanuts. But if you are paid big bucks, then the buck stops with you as the top honcho. Clueless Cheung and big-bucks Walder need to come clean on "Tunnelgate" - the high-speed railway delay cover-up - or their heads should roll.


Time to end hospital ban? Wake up and smell the pee

Talking about being clueless, has Secretary for Food and Health Dr Ko Wing-man just returned from la-la land? He is now considering ending the ban on mainland mothers giving birth in public hospitals. Wake up and smell the pee. A time bomb is already ticking over a mainland toddler peeing in public. And you want to resume the fight between locals and mainlanders over hospital beds?


Michael Chugani is a columnist and television show host. mickchug@gmail.com



For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive



This article is now closed to comments

What's wrong with security in Manila? I have been traveling there, and at some times living there, for decades. Never struck me as being more unsafe than any other city in Asia. Yeah, the traffic can be a bit chaotic, but by far not as dangerous as for example in China.
A Kuro
Well spotted Michael and these top bureaucrats plays dumbs because they do not care as long as they got their top of the range salary. They should resign if they are not up to the job.
On the first point, you're totally right security hasn't improved in Manila. However we need to remember the ban was first put in place to force an excuse from Manila, while Hong Kong was telling its people it was dangerous to go to Philippines, all other countries were going there without black alert. However the risk of kidnapping as always been mentioned on every government website for Philippines. So to make it simple they imposed a ban to get an excuse, they got one, they lifted the ban meanwhile Philippines are not better not wort than before and if the people who died on that bus were Norwegian or American or Indonesian, Hong Kong would never had imposed a black alert.
The government may of course lift the travel alert if it so wishes but as Michael says please don't take us as fools. We can never believe these government officials.
Facts matter none at all to a Chinese hater like you. Based on what's reported -- assuming that homicides are all reported, Philippines murder rate is 27 times that of Hong Kong.


SCMP.com Account