Public Eye

Lesson No 1 in the school of hard knocks

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 June, 2014, 2:52am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 June, 2014, 2:52am

Lesson No 1 in the school of hard knocks

At the risk of sounding xenophobic, mainlanders should stop bitching about their Hong Kong-born children being allocated Primary One places in schools far from the border that had not been on their list of choices. Priority should always go to children actually living in the district. If mainland parents without the right to live here do not want their Hong Kong-born children to travel long distances, they can rent flats and hire nannies to look after them. Local parents live here, pay taxes and contribute to society. Mainland parents do not. Their children qualify for school places simply because they were born here at a time when it was allowed. They chose to give birth here and should shut up and face the consequences if they want a Hong Kong education for their children, instead of threatening to sue the Education Bureau. It's not xenophobia; it is fairness.

We're choking on our leaders' dirty lies

Promises, promises. First, we had Tung Chee-hwa promising in his 1999 policy speech that Hong Kong's air would be comparable to that of London and New York by 2005. He was going to get rid of polluting vehicles and more. None of that happened. Then we had Donald Tsang Yam-kuen's comical "Action Blue Sky" campaign in 2006. Tsang finished his two terms as chief executive with the city having even filthier air than when he started. Next up was current Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, who hired clean-air crusaders Wong Kam-sing and Christine Loh Kung-wai as the top two honchos in the Environment Bureau. Leung has been in office two years now; last Sunday the city experienced the filthiest air we had seen in a very long time. Promises, promises. Read that as lies, all lies.

Make it your business to open your eyes, Mr Chow

It appears Chow Chung-kong, who stepped down as Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce chairman last week, is clueless about the political mood in the city. And yet he is an executive councillor who advises C Y Leung on policy matters. Chow fears a survey showing Hong Kong's political-stability rating falling from third to eighth place may spook investors. He does not want investors looking at Hong Kong in the same way they do Thailand, he says. Wake up, Mr Chow. We have political discontent because of people like you. You advise on political and business policies, yet have no clue why the people are restive. A handful of tycoons own 60 per cent of the city's wealth. We have the widest wealth gap in the developed world. Median household income has risen only 10 per cent in the past decade. More than a million Hongkongers are considered poor. Homes are unaffordable. Elderly people collect cardboard boxes to make ends meet. Fix all that and we will be No 1 in political stability.

Michael Chugani is a columnist and television show host.