Unlike in previous years, Public Eye will hand out just one New Year's Award this year. The award goes to the four sickos who broke into the People's Liberation Army barracks in Admiralty last month. Were they too stupid to understand they could have been shot? Military guards elsewhere would have been far less restrained in this age of terrorism. Did the four think they'd be hailed as heroes for daring to play chicken with the PLA? Most Hongkongers have condemned their childish prank. Even the pan-democrats, who detest the Communist Party and consider the PLA part of it, didn't applaud. The four belong to a group that calls itself "Hongkongers Come First", which advocates independence. Anyone who thinks Hong Kong can become independent must be living in la-la land. Public Eye agrees that Hongkongers should come first in matters such as school places, infant formula and housing. But independence? That's insane. The PLA's heavy-handed role in the June 4, 1989, Tiananmen crackdown can never be erased. But it used a surprisingly light hand against the four. But that doesn't mean their idiotic escapade will be laughed off. It reinforces Beijing's belief that Hong Kong has traitors out to undermine the country. Harbour protectionists want total public access for the seafront outside the barracks instead of having it sealed off at times as a military berth. But there's a fat chance of full public access now. The break-in will make the PLA even more cautious. To the four idiots, we confer the Lock Them Up And Throw Away The Key Award.
'Honourable' mention for loopholes in MPF scheme
We said we'd give out just one award. We lied. No award list would be complete without the Mandatory Provident Fund scheme. It pretends to be a retirement scheme, but in reality enriches fat-cat fund managers at the expense of ordinary Hongkongers. The MPF has such large loopholes. Did you know that if your boss fires you, he can use his share of your MPF as your severance pay? That means you could end up with only your own MPF contributions and severance pay. And the government dares call it a retirement plan. Labour groups have long demanded a loophole plug. But what do our overpaid bureaucrats with iron-rice-bowl jobs and huge pensions know about ordinary Hongkongers? The MPF gets our Biggest Rip-off Award.
Golf Club chief hopelessly out of touch with reality
Another fat cat who is clueless about the way ordinary Hongkongers live is Golf Club president Marvin Cheung Kin-tung. He warns that replacing the three Fanling golf courses with housing would kill Hong Kong's status as a world city. Let's get one thing straight: Hong Kong is not a world city. We are a city with rising poverty, where pollution and a handful of fat cats rule. If Cheung wants to keep the golf courses for the pleasure of 2,000 fat-cat members, make them pay. It's outrageous that the club pays just HK$1 a year for 170 hectares of land.
Michael Chugani is a columnist and TV show host. firstname.lastname@example.org