Tag Archives : News: Interests of Conflict


POLITICS – Interests of Conflict Weekly Digest #9

Interests of ConflictBelow is the latest digest from our political commentator ‘Tony Wong’. Hong Wrong publishes a selection of his musings each week, but you can sign up for his full, daily newsletter by emailing ‘subscribe’ to [email protected] It is “aimed at informed residents who are encouraged to further develop and rebut the arguments made here, and in the media, to create actual, honest and productive political dissent.”

Monday, 9th December: HKTV Logical Fallacy

Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee is either very very much convinced that the government was right in refusing a TV license to HKTV or enjoys simultaneously animating and beating the figurative cow on the ground… Usually at the end of every defence for injustice comes the argument ‘but others do that too’. Yesterday it was Ip’s turn in the SCMP to deliver this dull statement, even making it ‘Editor’s Pick’.

When arguing why the television market needs to be regulated while the internet and publishing industry don’t, Ip dares to say “issues of market access and anti-competitive practices has mandated tight regulation right from the start”. Does Ip make these tautologies on purpose?

Friday, 6th December: Carrie Lam on Democracy


POLITICS – Interests of Conflict Weekly Digest #8

Interests of ConflictBelow is the latest digest from our political commentator ‘Tony Wong’. Hong Wrong publishes a selection of his musings each week, but you can sign up for his full, daily newsletter by emailing ‘subscribe’ to [email protected] It is “aimed at informed residents who are encouraged to further develop and rebut the arguments made here, and in the media, to create actual, honest and productive political dissent.”

 

Friday, 15th Nov: HK’s Elite Clubs – Britain always had a very classist society that is run through secretive clubs and societies, exclusive backdoor meetings and nontransparent negotiations… This ‘culture’ had an easy time finding its way into Hong Kong politics and business ever since the early days of the colony. Many of these clubs still exist today. Though only few still discriminate based on ethnicity or gender, they are nonetheless inaccessible to outsiders without a formal endorsement or invitation.
Though secrecy and closedness has paid off very well for these societies, it hasn’t exactly done so for society as a whole.


POLITICS – Interests of Conflict Weekly Digest #7

Interests of ConflictBelow is the latest digest from our political commentator ‘Tony Wong’. Hong Wrong publishes a selection of his musings each week, but you can sign up for his full, daily newsletter by emailing ‘subscribe’ to [email protected] It is “aimed at informed residents who are encouraged to further develop and rebut the arguments made here, and in the media, to create actual, honest and productive political dissent.”

Thursday, 7th Nov – HK’s Status: While Hong Kong argues about what the government can should and must do the director for publicity, culture and sports affairs of the Liaison Office, Hao Tiechuan reminds us in the China Daily about the political realities of our legal system. Even more so, he explains to us why that is and where it comes from.

It might be the best political article published in Hong Kong this month, but definitely among the best published by the China Daily (in Cantonese by Ming Pao last week) this year, if not ever… Hao explains to us that contrary to what we might think Hong Kong does not have a strict separation of powers, and that even though it might look differently, eventually all branches answer in some form to the Chief Executive who spends that much time in Beijing for a good reason.

With its sober and demure descriptions it is a clever article, especially the part where he is not only able to argue that Hong Kong’s political system exists the way it is because that is how Deng Xiaoping wanted it, but also because that is how the British created it, meaning he not only presents the current status of Hong Kong as the one most favorable to Chinese loyalists, but also to colonial romantics and those insisting on upholding the Basic Law… But as much as it is an interesting read, we already know that our political status quo is the result of one colonial power caring too little and the other caring too much… So how can we get out of this situation? As Hao explains it, the system inherently favors and favored the interests of away overlords, be it in London or in Beijing. It is a system that makes it impossible for the populous to overturn any decision made by the Chief Executive, and therefore by the CCP government. Hao explains to us that our system would never hold up to the standards of ‘rule of law’ or ‘democracy’. If neither the law nor the people can keep the government in check, then we don’t need to pretend that we can change the government by following the law, or the guidelines of the Basic Law at least.


POLITICS – Interests of Conflict Weekly Digest #6

Interests of ConflictBelow is the latest digest from our political commentator ‘Tony Wong’. Hong Wrong publishes a selection of his musings each week, but you can sign up for his full, daily newsletter by emailing ‘subscribe’ to [email protected] It is “aimed at informed residents who are encouraged to further develop and rebut the arguments made here, and in the media, to create actual, honest and productive political dissent.”

Monday, 28th Oct: Yau Tsim Mong By-election: Without anyone noticing, the District Council by-election of the Yau Tsim Mong district was yesterday. Of the 280,000 people living in the area 7,106 are allowed to vote, of which 2,593 had showed up until 4:30pm.

Some of these 2,593 registered voters are currently in jail for unknown crimes, so polling stations were set up in two different prisons. Prisoners in prisons not organized by the Correctional Services Department can ask to be escorted to the police station in Cheung Sha Wan where they can vote… Anybody can watch the ballot counting… The election was won with 1,515 votes (58.4% of all votes, 21.3% of all registered voters and 0.5% of all residents) by Lam Sufan Kin-man, representative of the Chinese securities and futures trading firm Shenyin Wanguo… The Standard reports that 217,000 people who would have been eligible to vote in this election have been struck from the register after they failed to confirm their address.

Human Rights: The quote of the week goes to whoever commented on the Universal Periodic Review Working Group of the United Nations Human Rights Council. “The HKSAR Government will continue to promote and preserve the human rights and freedoms in Hong Kong in accordance with the Basic Law and relevant local legislation.” The very idea of human rights is that they trump local laws and constitutions, no matter how well meaning the governments.


POLITICS – Interests of Conflict Weekly Digest #5 2

Interests of ConflictBelow is the latest digest from our political commentator ‘Tony Wong’. Hong Wrong publishes a selection of his musings each week, but you can sign up for his full, daily newsletter by emailing ‘subscribe‘ to [email protected] It is “aimed at informed residents who are encouraged to further develop and rebut the arguments made here, and in the media, to create actual, honest and productive political dissent.”

Friday, 25/10: Property –  Jake Van Der Kamp writes in the SCMP about how low interest rates in the United States have inflated Hong Kong’s real estate prices. He claims that low interest rates in the USA equal rising housing prices here, but looking up the data (see google’s public data explorer below) shows us that this is simply not true. In the last 10 years property prices have been rising steeply, and yet in the same period we have seen both times of high and of low interest rates. Between ‘93 and ‘98, when property prices doubled interest rates were even between 4 and 6%… Van Der Kamp makes it look as if we, given the dollar peg, have no choice but to simply accept the exploding living costs that, as he points out, very much screw over the poor… Truth is however, we do have a choice, or at least our government does. The rising prices are a story of demand and supply. In the years after the ‘97 Asian Financial Crisis which coupled with the SARS epidemic, 9/11 and the bust of the dotcom bubble demand drastically fell. But as supply remained stagnant prices were nothing but bound to explode once demand recovered… As we do not want to wait for the world economy to completely collapse to have decent living conditions again we must create more housing now. Sell some of these empty parking lots maybe?


POLITICS – Interests of Conflict Weekly Digest #4

Interests of ConflictBelow is the fourth digest from our new political commentator ‘Tony Wong’. Hong Wrong will publish a selection of his musings each week, but you can sign up for his full, daily newsletter by emailing ‘subscribe‘ to [email protected] It is “aimed at informed residents who are encouraged to further develop and rebut the arguments made here, and in the media, to create actual, honest and productive political dissent.”

Friday, 18/10 – John Tsang Chun-wah – Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah spoke at the Lion Rock Institute’s annual dinner yesterday and he sure does know his audience. Tsang presents himself as a strong principled Libertarian who will do everything he can to expand the free market, allow more competition, keep taxes low and property rights strong. As close followers of Hong Kong’s government we know that all this is a load of nonsense. While it is close to impossible to pin any government policy down to a certain individual (we may call it a system of unaccountability), we know that either Tsang does not believe in what he says, or even within the government he is a redundant figure that noone pays respect to. There is no free market in Hong Kong, as everything requires a license, most of which the government no longer or rarely gives out (taxis, minibuses, dai pai dong, wet markets, guest houses, cross boundary traders, food stalls, fruit stands, pubs, clubs and so on). If you need to ask someone for permission to run a TV station or an airline you probably don’t live in a free market. If you aren’t allowed entry into a market, you can’t say you have competition. We don’t have low taxes either if we consider that the government makes a big chunk of their income by selling land. It is not uncommon to pay 50% of your income as rent, which ends up in the pockets of the city’s developers, private and public. And property rights? You can’t even own a piece of land in this city, you can only license it for a limited amount of time from the government, with heavy restrictions applying. With your office, your home and everything else ultimately the state’s property you will be lucky if Tsang does not take your civil rights away too.


POLITICS – Interests of Conflict Weekly Digest #3

Interests of ConflictBelow is the third digest from our new political commentator ‘Tony Wong’. Hong Wrong will publish a selection of his musings each week, but you can sign up for his full, daily newsletter by emailing ‘subscribe‘ to [email protected] It is “aimed at informed residents who are encouraged to further develop and rebut the arguments made here, and in the media, to create actual, honest and productive political dissent.”


POLITICS – Interests of Conflict Weekly Digest #2

Interests of Conflict

Below is the second weekly digest from Hong Wrong’s new political commentator ‘Tony Wong’. We will publish a selection of his musings each week, but you can sign up for his full, daily newsletter by emailing ‘subscribe‘ to [email protected] It is “aimed at informed residents who are encouraged to further develop and rebut the arguments made here, and in the media, to create actual, honest and productive political dissent.”

CY’s National Day speech:  Sadly, but not too surprisingly, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying’s speech is anything from inspirational, informative and shows no sign of character, vision, spine or courage. The continuous clamping to government statistics, indices, reference values and international rankings says nothing about where we are heading, what change we ought to expect or about the role that the government intends to play in our lives in the future. The way Leung presents these statistics we do not even get a good picture of where we stand, let alone of how we got here. Leung does not even attempt to take credit for some of the good positions that Hong Kong has achieved in the world, probably well-knowing that it might have as well be the absence of his intervention that makes us succeed. The greatest thing about the Hong Kong government has so far been it’s apathy and neglect of our issues, while at the same time not standing in the way of the community fixing our problems ourselves. At the handover at the very spot where Leung delivered his speech today Prince Charles complained that the Chinese present appeared like wax figures. Reading through Leung’s speech, that is far too easy to imagine.


POLITICS – Interests of Conflict Weekly Digest #1

Watch out Hemlock! As of this week, Hong Wrong has a new contributor. ‘Tony Wong’ is our unimaginative pseudonym for an anonymous political commentator who, for months, has been responding to local news stories in his ‘Interests of Conflict‘ mailing list. Wong says that the newsletter is aimed at informed residents “who are encouraged to further develop and rebut the arguments made here, and in the media, to create actual, honest and productive political dissent.”

Hong Wrong will publish a select digest of his musings each week. You are free to distribute and republish anything you read here and can sign up to the daily newsletter by emailing ‘subscribe‘ to [email protected] If you sell your opinions, do so at your own risk, there might be a conflict of interests.

  • Hong Kong’s taxi fares are about to rise by approximately 10%, or 2 HKD for the beginning of the trip and 0.1 HKD for each additional 200 meters. The change will take effect on December 8. Getting the price right for taxis is almost impossible. If it is a little bit too high then passengers switch to other forms of transportation, leaving taxi drivers on the side of the street, unoccupied, jamming the roads and polluting the air. If the price is too low then not enough taxis are available, people have to wait for a taxi and can no longer rely on them… The other variable that changes is the price of the licenses, though that can go either way. Higher prices could mean higher revenues per ride, but that could be offset by fewer rides per day. It remains unclear why this market is still stuck in Stalinist times. In today’s world it would be easily possible to use technology to call a taxi. You set your start and end point, push your request to a platform and allow various taxi drivers compete for it. You will get back several suggestions differing in departure time, travel time, vehicle type and price, could chose according to your preferences and enjoy the price chilling effect of competition and innovation.