The release of a long-awaited report on a pension scheme has briefly had Hong Kong talking about something other than political reform.
The government-commissioned study, headed by University of Hong Kong academic Professor Nelson Chow Wing-sun, recommended a universal pension be introduced to give all Hongkongers aged over 65 - rich or poor - a pension of HK$3,000 a month without a means test.
This, however, is just the first step in a long process to introduce such a scheme. And it raises the key question: where does the money come from?
The report suggested that the government would need to inject HK$50 billion to fund the scheme. Workers and employers would also need to contribute via an "old age payroll tax".
But Chow admitted that this initial injection would be nowhere near enough, and the pension pool would go into deficit by 2026.
Social welfare has long been a political hot potato in Hong Kong. It was an important issue in the 1990s, during Sino-British negotiations for the handover.
In 1995, the administration under last governor Chris Patten unveiled a five-year plan for an annual 27 per cent rise in welfare spending "to make Hong Kong a city up to international standards". The plan was immediately attacked by Beijing, which believed Britain had no right to plan anything beyond 1997, and the scheme would use up the city's financial reserves.
Chen Zuoer, then deputy director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office and China's chief negotiator on the Sino-British Finance Group, even likened the plan to a car speeding out of control that would crash and kill everyone.
Seventeen years after the handover, Hong Kong remains one of the wealthiest cities in the world, with financial reserves of more than HK$700 billion. But economic and political changes and an ageing population mean that the government - and society - have to face the issue of how to look after the elderly.
Initial reaction to Chow's report was mixed. But by far the biggest concern is about funding the plan. If increased welfare spending was seen as a car-crash scenario before 1997, how has that changed today?
The point is that, before 1997, this was a political issue between Beijing and London. Now, it's a domestic issue, and it is not just up to the government, but to all Hongkongers. Everyone - business, unions, workers, bosses and especially lawmakers - needs to consider the pros and cons of this scheme.
Over the years, we've seen various dramas and filibusters play out in the Legislative Council as lawmakers tried to push for a universal pension. But as Chow pointed out, none of the political parties have ever studied the matter, let alone come up with a concrete plan.
The study was prompted by a pledge made more than two years ago by Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying that he would look into the issue if elected.
But after it was released on August 20, the government said it needed more time to study the report, leading many to wonder just how determined it was to push the issue further.
For any candidate for the top job in 2017, this is going to be a big issue - but it will need to be more than just a promise. We need a concrete, affordable proposal - not just slogans and shouting from the sidelines.