Asia’s world city is racist and can’t speak English say the 10 top commentaries on SCMP.com

PUBLISHED : Monday, 28 December, 2015, 6:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 28 December, 2015, 12:27pm

Vancouver’s hot housing market, spurred on by the seemingly endless supply of Chinese money, was the topic that gained the most interest among our insightful and provocative commentaries. Our writers zeroed in on hard truths from Hong Kong’s English proficiency to the disputed waters of the South China Sea. Here are the 10 most read pieces from 2015.

1. Something is grotesquely wrong with Vancouver’s housing market, and the time for denialism is over

With houses costing more than C$1.4 million, something had to break in Vancouver, as Ian Young explained. Young people in the arts or other industries that made the western Canada city such a success were unable to afford to live there. But the reason for the price rise came from closer to Hong Kong — the wealth migration of mainlander money to Canada.

2. Immigration mega-fraud: the rich Chinese immigrants to Canada who don’t really want to live there

This story, another Ian Young piece, had a twist in the tale of Chinese migration to Canada, it was a charade. Chinese people wanted to gain citizenship in Canada but preferred to stay in China to run their business. To do so, they engaged forgers to doctor their passports to make it appear they had spent time in Canada. Complex, but well set out in the article.

3. Appalling English standards in Hong Kong: the biggest culprit is...

Typically provocative, this piece by Yonden Lhatoo begins with the assertion, “with absolute conviction and justification”, that the level of English in Hong Kong is “appalling”. Consequently, it was well read.

4. Hong Kong as ‘Asia’s World City’? Not any more — and here’s why

Hong Kong has been labelled Asia’s world city for as long as anyone can remember, but according to David Dodwell the characterisation was out of date.

5. Hong Kong’s sad state of English: How our readers see it

After Yonden Lhatoo’s first piece decrying the state of English in Hong Kong, he decided to let the readers’ responses tell the story. Comments from readers harangued, agreed, and sometimes offered support.

6. Hongkongers must recognise city’s racism

Alex Lo’s commentary on racism against non-Chinese people, especially domestic helpers or even mainlanders, struck a chord with our readers. “We have more bigots among us than we care to admit,” he said.

7. Common courtesy isn’t quite so common in Hong Kong

Bad manners shown in Hong Kong were Lhatoo’s target this time, from lift etiquette to eating on the MTR to umbrellas, no stone was left unturned.

8. Mistresses and second wives of Hong Kong businessmen in the Pearl River Delta

David Dodwell explains the intriguing practice of mistress-keeping in the Pearl River Delta and how it influences the Hong Kong birth rate, while confounding population planners.

9. How the ideal of a thin body harms Hong Kong women and girls

Su-mei Thompson and Jess Jacobson, both with The Women’s Foundation, argued that Hong Kong should support women and girls in combatting unhealthily thin body image, using initiatives in France, Italy and Israel as an example.

10. China’s South China Sea claims are not supported by its own historical records

In a year when tensions flared in the disputed waters of the South China Sea, Philip Bowring says China’s own written records show that, long before its vessels became active, seafaring merchants from Southeast Asia and elsewhere ruled the South China Sea.