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JEFFREY LAM

Democracy is the will of the majority which also respects minority rights. Such principles are supposed to be upheld by the pan-democrats.

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With an ageing population and a declining workforce in Hong Kong, any universal pension scheme will place a huge financial burden on young people.

Populism is taking hold in Hong Kong, fuelling investor concerns. The Legislative Council election is not until 2016, but we are already seeing more and more cases of politicians taking extreme positions on social issues to play to the gallery.

At the end of his budget speech, John Tsang Chun-wah recited the lyrics of a Canto-pop song, Crossroads: "Believe in opportunity, not fate." It reminds me of former financial secretary Antony Leung Kam-chung's use of lyrics from another Canto-pop classic, Below the Lion Rock, to conclude his maiden budget in 2002. Both recall Hong Kong's tough times in the late 1970s and 1980s.

US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke recently disclosed his timetable for the withdrawal of quantitative easing, leading to speculation that the US may tighten liquidity by raising interest rates. The news saw share prices around the world dropping sharply on a "Black Monday" for investors.

Despite Beijing's commitment to universal suffrage for the chief executive election in 2017, pan-democrats have threatened a campaign to "occupy Central", with plans to block traffic in the district next year.

Hong Kong should diversify both its sources of tourism and what it offers visitors, as it grapples with the dilemma of how to balance the economic benefits brought by the rising numbers of mainland tourists with the strain of accommodating them.