Monday, 19 September 2016

Think Tank Avoids Real Issues

Tung Chee-hwa giving a speech at an Our Foundation Hong Kong event
Hong Kong has a lot of think tanks. They are either run by academics or politicians, the latter of which have some kind of agenda attached to them.

For example, Our Hong Kong Foundation was started by former Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa. Given his connections with Beijing, one can imagine what this think tank's slant is.

Grandpa Tung -- bless him -- is still trying to help solve the city's problems, but he's not really looking at the heart of the issue.

Eva Cheng (third frm left) is executive director of the think tank
He has hired former Amway executive Eva Cheng Kam-fun as executive director of the foundation, but how can someone who did multilevel marketing -- in beauty and health -- know how to tackle Hong Kong's biggest concerns in housing, education, employment and the environment?

However, the think tank seems to believe that inspiring a new generation of scientists and innovators is the solution, organizing Innotech Expo 2016 that starts on Saturday to October 1 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Is this another way for Hong Kong's elite to try to distract youth from the main issues at hand (and doing a poor job of it), or does the pro-establishment body really believe technology is the answer?

The real problem is that the Hong Kong government is completely out of touch with the problems average locals are facing. Housing prices are still far out of reach of most people, and now first-time buyers are stuck buying microflats that are less than 200 square feet. How does that give anyone a sense of dignity?

Where does the government plan to house people like her?
And why are there two main supermarket chains that basically have the same prices? From 1996 to 2000 there was a French hypermarket called Carrefour that entered the market, but mysteriously suppliers refused to deliver products to its stores. Something fishy was going on there... As a result customers lose and for the most part are stuck paying Wellcome and ParknShop prices for average products.

Why is the government not helping the poor and instead spending lavishly on large infrastructure projects that have little meaning or use to Hong Kong? Many are dreading when the Hong Kong-Macau-Zhuhai bridge opens and seeing a flood of people coming over.

The latest report on the poor is that the government is now cracking down on illegal flats, many of which are in industrial buildings, thus evicting many people on or below the poverty line. Where are they going to go? Does the government even have a plan in place for the thousands of people who are forced to live like this because there isn't enough social housing for them?

Even more bizarre is that the government has so much money in its coffers and yet it cannot or will not house the poor, instead making them fend for themselves. It treats them as if they did not work hard enough, but for many, economic circumstances have made them barely able to eke out a living.

Hong Kong is not a social welfare place, so why would the government think the poor just want to leech off its money?

And why be so stingy about the money it gives to the elderly? Meanwhile the health care system, while equitable, doesn't have enough staff, many top doctors and nurses lured into the private system. In about 15 years there will be a lot of people growing old -- is Hong Kong prepared for the impending onslaught?

Then there's pollution and the environment, where the government isn't doing enough to encourage recycling let alone telling people to consume less. Oh wait. The city is dependent on consumerism. Setting up a task force with Guangzhou on dumping marine refuse isn't really going to solve the problem of garbage washing up on our shores either.

I could go on and on. Our Hong Kong Foundation thinks if young people got jobs in the technology sector then everything will be solved. How about trying to tackle some of the above mentioned issues? That would make all of us a bit happier.

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