An Independent platform for Hong Kong people to make their voices heard

October 22nd, 2013
HKTV Denied Free-TV License


Cross-border express link (Hong Kong <=> Guangzhou)

November 2nd, 2009

It is now costing a whopping HK$ 65.2 billion to build the cross-border express link from Hong Kong to Guangzhou. This house is of the opinion that the concept of a high-speed express link between Hong Kong and Guangzhou is exceptional and very much a move in the right direction. However, this house wishes to throw a spanner in the works and ask the obvious question : Where will the proposed station open in Guangzhou?

To those who have been following the case, the proposed station will open in a place called Shibi (石壁); for those who have heard of this place and have even tried going there, will know that it is a long and arduous journey from the city centre of Guangzhou. It is a 30- minute bus ride from Shibi to Dashi (大石) which is the closest tube stop and from Dashi to city centre of Guangzhou it is another 30 minutes by tube. I personally made this trip and timed it - it took 65 minutes from the Matyr’s Park Station (烈士陵园站) to get to Shibi and is associated with the inconvenience of going up and down escalators, waiting on the platform and waiting for the bus.

The express link will be a 48-minute journey from West Kowloon to Shibi and then another 65 minutes to Guangzhou’s city centre - the total time is just under 2 hours which incidentally is the same journey time that is currently achieved by the Hung Hom Station to Guangzhou’s East Station which offers the added convenience to the traveller of a direct train ride into city centre with no transfers.

This house believes that the station where the train will arrive at in Guangzhou should moved to the city centre or at least somewhere very close to the city centre otherwise its value add will be marginal and the project should be scrapped.

Drug Test will not Solve Problems

August 21st, 2009

Carrying out drug tests on pupils is a reactionary and token gesture whose main purpose seems to be to show the public that the government is doing something about current drug issues rather than to genuinely reduce drug problems at schools.

Our youth take drugs for a number of reasons; some cannot see a future in their lives, some have family issues and their family unit is disrupted and some just don't experience the love that they should enjoy whilst growing up. The government should try to address these issues rather than take the easy route of conducting drug tests.

Initiatives the government could consider include giving aid to single parents, allocate land and other resources for the development of sports centres for young people, develop environments to give kids a platform to be creative and develop an arts and cultural hub that doesn't contain yet another monstrous shopping mall designed to line the pockets of property developers with more money.

The youth today are our tomorrow and if the government does not invest in and nurture them then our future is doomed.

Hong Kong government’s SME Loan Guarantee Scheme

July 3rd, 2009

Although the government has the best of intentions; it’s SME Loan Guarantee seems to have more discernible benefits to its participating banks than SMEs.

The government loan guarantees guarantee 80% of the loan; however all banks still require the owners of SME’s to personally guarantee 100% the loans and the government guarantee only applies when the owner is unable to repay the loan and is forced into bankruptcy. The interest charged on the SME loans by the banks are the same as what they were charging without the SME Loan guarantee. So in effect the SME owner; with or without the government loan guarantee is receiving exactly the same deal with the banks except they have to fill in more forms.

The banks on the other hand benefit in everyway; guaranteed return, guaranteed profitability, guaranteed no loan default and guaranteed retention of the same interest rates and bank charges.

The most obvious argument is that the government has helped give confidence to the banks to lend money to SMEs that they may not have had otherwise. However this is inherently flawed, because the banks' primary business is lending money and if they chose not to do that they will go under; therefore it is as much in the bank’s interest to lend money as it is in the SME’s interest to borrow money with or without government aid.

If the government genuinely wants to help SME’s; they should lend money directly to the SME’s without the banks' involvement This would reqiure a separate department be setup for handling these affairs and this department would actually serve a useful purpose.

So instead of the an SME Loan Guarantee Scheme it should be called a Banks' Profitability Guarantee Scheme.

Swine Flu H1N1 is a Hoax - Hong Kong Government

June 9th, 2009

The World Hoax Organisation is at it again; scaremongering and promulgating news about how scary this new swine flu virus is (H1N1). Please note there aren't huge differences between the H1N1 Influenza A virus in humans that have existed for the last 10 years to the one that is now called the "swine flu" virus.

The mortality rate of the Swine Flu, although is difficult to prove, is strongly suspected to be lower than that of Seasonal Flu.
Governments around the world should not waste money on these vaccines because they are just a money making scam and have a detrimental effect on those who take them. It is simply a pharmaceuticals + WHO + FDA collaboration to turn a handsome profit in their scaremongering.

PCCW Vote Rigging

March 15th, 2009

This house hopes that the SFC will investigate thoroughly the alleged vote-rigging activity in the recent privatisation deal and tender a detailed report of what happened. Clearly so many new holders with voting rights, many of which were Fortis insurance agents, suddenly coming into the equation just ahead of the privatisation proposal would recommend something abnormal going on.

It’s about time SFC actually did something useful with itself; the debacle with the Lehman Brothers Minibonds was essentially to do with SFC not having carried out proper risk assessment of financial products and this house sincerely hopes that a plausible explanation will become of the PCCW vote-rigging investigation.

Hong Kong Bank Scam

March 2nd, 2009

Unbeknownest to many in Hong Kong….

If you have 2 bank accounts in the same bank (Account A and account B) and you write a cheque (withdrawing from Account A) to your other account (receiving at Account B)  and have deposit it with your bank on Friday. On Saturday and Sunday - the funds will not be available in Account A and yet it would not be available in Account B. Apparently the funds are sent to a centralised banking facility that keeps the funds whilst it’s being transferred… This doesn't seem logical and what happens to the interest during these two days?

Hong Kong Urban Renewal Authority (URA) - Prerogative?

November 22nd, 2008

In reference to the article on SCMP titled "Truth Behind Urban Decay more sinister than URA’s Sob Story" on 21 November, 2008, this house believes that Candy Tam of Wanchai is spot on regarding URA’s modus operandi and prerogative.

Barry Cheung Chun-Yuen, chairman of the Urban Renewal Authority (URA) had cited that issues such as air quality, density, green issues and open space are all anathemas to a URA development.

Urban decay is targeted as the main proponent of urban redevelopment and once an area is declared an urban renewal site, the URA then removes the tenants and small businesses. The area designated for redevelopment all have much higher plot ratios and density so that developers can build taller skyscrapers and more shopping malls that may be sold off or rented out for an inordinate amount of money. A trifling consequence to the URA is that the original inhabitants are priced out of the area and community relationships are severed but it seems that is consequence is of little concern to the URA.

Ms Tam’s idea to avoid urban decay is for the URA to offer financial assistance to impoverished residents who cannot afford necessary repairs. Perhaps once an area is designated an urban redevelopment area, the URA should carry out an audit of all the buildings that need reparation and offer assistance or even carry out necessary conservation work on the affected buildings and areas.

Lastly, this house is 100% in agreement with Candy Tam that, to date, we cannot name one single URA redevelopment project that has benefited the original residents of the area by providing them with better living conditions. However every URA redevelopment project has benefited our developers handsomely.

Although, this house thinks that the government is doing a phenomenal job since the handover, there are still areas that can afford improvement.

Owner Ng Yuet-Yee ordered to pay HK$ 386,000 for canopy Collapse

November 22nd, 2008

On 1 August 1994, there was an building in Aberdeen, Albert House, whose canopy and illegal fish tank collapsed killing one 80-year-old woman and injured 12.

In 1997, an individual called Ng Yuet-Yee bought an apartment in that building.

In November 2008, judge Stephen Chow Siu-Hung ordered that Ms Ng has to pay a share of the compensation even though she bought the apartment three years after the accident.

This house believes that the sentence is completely unfair and absolutely absurd. The fact that she bought the apartment 3 years after the accident means by default that she has absolutely nothing to do with the accident- therefore how on earth should she be liable for the payment of the compensation?

Surely, only the owners of the building whilst the accident occured should be liable for compensation payments?

Hong Kong’s Mandatory Provident Fund

November 9th, 2008

The Mandatory Provident Fund was setup by the Hong Kong government as a means to tackle the aging population problem which indicates that in a few decades time the ratio of retirees to workers will be much greater than it is now. Each worker contributes a mandatory 5% of their monthly salary to the fund and their employer contributes the other 5% to total a 10% in monthly contribution. The logic behind the scheme is understandable and is sound in its thinking.

However, this house believes that the government should not have given control of the funds to corporations; because the funds effectively become capital for banking corporations to invest in any way they deem. Even though the funds are held in vehicles called trust funds the investment decisions are ultimately dictated by corporations. This house believes that the government should have taken the responsibility of managing the fund themselves. The national insurance in the UK which is a similar fund which is managed by the British government and the system works.

This house believes that by appropriating workers' hard earnt cash to corporations it further consolidates the corporations' power in policies that govern Hong Kong. The government is therefore becoming more and more reliant of corporations and less and less able to manage affairs by herself.

Hong Kong’s Property Quagmire

October 3rd, 2008

Hong Kong’s single-most-serious problem is its inordinately high property price which impacts negatively many far-reaching social and economic issues that the government should try to address. Traditionally property prices have always been closely linked to income; however in the last 30 years or so the increases in property prices have far outstripped income growth. This causes a higher proportion of the working class not to be able afford to purchase property and moreover it increases the overall cost of living.

It can be argued that the low birth rate and the negative growth in population is caused by the high property prices; the rationale being that young couples can no longer afford to purchase an apartment to start a family - in many instances they wait until they are financially-abled or abandon the idea completely because the financial burden of having a family is so great. Without families, there are no children and hence the population falls.

The high property prices also causes high living costs; every retail commodity will be more expensive because all businesses will pay rent for the premises in which they operate, be it retail or commercial. All expenses will be factored into the final product or service sold.

Hong Kong’s property market is quite well-organised and is effectively controlled by the 5 developers who together own all of the Hong Kong prime commercial and residential buildings and complexes. The developers have been instrumental in driving up prices and maintaining them at these artificially-high rates; understandably for commercially -motivated reasons. A prime example of artificially-controlled property pricing is the high end residential complex Sorrento (in Jordan) completed in 2004; hitherto, only 50% of apartments within this complex have been sold and this is 4 years after the completion of the complex. The developer is offering the apartments at around HK$ 10,000 / sq. ft. which is considered very high in view of location and other factors. Instead of lowering the selling price to attract more buyers, the developer has chosen to maintain the original pricing level even though it’s not being absorbed by the market; in so doing, this props up the property prices of all new developments and all the property prices in the vicinity. If all developers behaved in the same way; Hong Kong can be assured to maintain higher than market price property rates everywhere.

This practice is very beneficial to developers and property investors, however it negatively impacts our society as a whole and reduces the competitiveness of businesses operating in Hong Kong.

The solution to fix this problem is for the government to levy expensive taxes on properties that are empty so it becomes economically not viable for property developers to sit on vacant premises for prolonged periods of time.

Any thoughts?

Hong Kong Voice is proudly powered by WordPress
Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS).

Web Analytics