Monday, 22 April 2013

Where's Li's Conscience?

Striking dock workers descend on Cheung Kong building demanding Li pay up
Last night my 90 year-old great aunt was ranting about tycoon Li Ka-shing.

The dock workers strike is entering its fourth week and yesterday my great aunt saw the television pictures of the strikers descending on Li's home in Shouson Hill and demanding their pay, and even their children chanted, "Grandpa Ka-shing where are you? Pay us!"

"He [Li] has no heart! How can he not pay seeing those children! He's in such a good mood that he even went golfing," my great aunt said. "He earns billions of dollars! How can he not pay them! Doesn't he have enough money? He can't take it to the next world with him!"

While she doesn't understand the complexities of the issue, how the jobs on the docks are all contracted out -- many to shell companies owned by Li -- and as a result he is skimming more off the workers -- makes this a very complex issue to solve.

I tried to explain that Li had done nothing illegal so he wasn't going to resolve the matter anytime soon.

She continued to rant again, saying how he was trying to keep all his money for his family, and how they might have influenced him not to give in to the strikers.

In any event, she has a fellow ranter.

Political veteran Elsie Tu did not name Li, but it was clear who her angry remarks were directed at.

"I think shame on you. Why should have [billions of dollars] when the poor can't even buy meat for their children's food?" she said. "How could you have [billions of dollars] and still want more? The dockers are getting so little and their conditions are disgraceful."

Tu will turn 100 on June 2 and having lived in Hong Kong since 1951, she is concerned about the ever widening income gap.

"I have a horrible feeling it's going down again. I think things are getting worse now. It makes me so angry," she said.

"We have some rich men who have a conscience. The elderly people in Hong Kong are not getting what they need. Some elderly people can manage, but there are others who are getting HK$1,000-something a month, now it's going to be HK$2,000. That's better, but even that -- where do you have the money to pay the rent?" asked Tu.

Needless to say Li is public enemy number one at the moment. At the Cheung Kong building where his office is, some striking dock workers have set up camp in front of the building with lots of placards denouncing him, demanding more pay and such.

University students have also joined in, making this a mini Occupy Central movement, continuing the refrain of despising the 1 percent.

In front of the building is a giant cut out of Li's head, fashioned with devil's horns and fanged teeth, sucking the blood and money out of everyone in the city.

So much for Hong Kong's "Superman"...

No comments:

Post a Comment