Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Short-Sighted Measures

Hong Kong's a financial powerhouse but has major social issues...
Nathan Road in Mongkok was cleared earlier this afternoon, but protesters are back this evening and have re-occupied the area. We knew it would be tough to clear Mongkok and it's going to take a while, if not a lot of police manpower to keep the roads clear.

Meanwhile another think tank -- how many do we need in Hong Kong? -- has come up with the brilliant solution of solving the housing crisis by building more hostels for young people to live in and save up 14 years' worth of salary to put a down payment on a flat.

The Bauhinia Foundation has strong links with former Chief Executive Donald Tsang -- who we may add did nothing to ramp up the construction of social housing during his seven-year tenure.

The foundation also suggests easing the repayment terms of student loans, enhancing skills-based training, reviewing sub-degree courses and creating more well-paid jobs.

We're all for the latter but how's that going to come about when bosses are stingy types and rents are sky-high?!

It's ironic the foundation is pointing out things we already know -- inflation and home prices have far outpaced income growth, and that this was the key obstacle in upward social mobility of young people aged 15-24.

"If young people are uncertain about the opportunities for moving upwards, they will have no interest in or passion for society," centre chairman Dr Donald Li Kwok-tung said. "This is harmful to social stability."

Which is why so many young people were out in the streets protesting! Hello!

The foundation studied statistics from 1991 to 2014 that showed a young couple now had to save for 14 years and four months to put down a deposit on a 40 square metre flat (about 400 square feet) -- up from eight years and eight months in 1991.

The calculation was made on the average property price of private residential units and that the monthly mortgage payment would be about 40 percent of a couple's salary of HK$29,000 ($3,740).

Hong Kong also has the distinction of having the most unaffordable housing for the fourth straight year among 360 cities and countries, as well as the smallest homes according to US consultant Demographia.

While education remained the key driver to having a good income, the centre also noted the incomes of the better-educated had been eroded by inflation, while 40 percent of young people were working in hotels and retail which resulted in little chance of advancement.

And so the foundation proposed the government build youth hostels so that young people could save up to buy flats.

Many criticized this suggestion because it doesn't actually tackle the problem of property prices being out of reach of young people, and the apparently collusion between the government and property developers will only make the plan of building hostels another opportunity for the latter to rake in more money.

The entire economic system in Hong Kong is so skewed towards the rich that they keep getting wealthier, while the rest of us pay for their salaries because they have control over so many essential services in the city.

But the people in charge won't be changing the system anytime soon... so that's why building hostels is their brilliant solution.

This think tank seems to think that once young people have a home everything will be fine. They are obviously not looking at the big picture and in the long run...

1 comment:

  1. Cotinue to support the United Front and Enjoy being a flat/apartment slave for your lifetime ...feel free to worship the likes of KS Li, SY Li, CK Lui, Albert Yeung...