Jason Sylvester's Blog

Hong Kong
Jason’s love and respect for the Earth’s water resources began as a child while enjoying Canada’s pristine lakes, and his love of watersports led to him becoming a passionate marine environmentalist. Jason became a certified PADI scuba instructor in 2004 and joined the Sustainable Development committee of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong to help find solutions to the environmental degradation common in local waters, such as marine debris, shark-finning and unsustainable fishing practices. Jason loves to travel to regional diving spots and will blog about his dive trips to eco-friendly resorts and locations, in addition to covering the issues surrounding the declining quality of the marine environment.

What’s the Matter with Hong Kong?

A Holiday Rant
December 14, 2012

Excuse me, dear reader, while I take a detour from the usual topic of marine issues to vent a little about a disorder that pervades Hong Kong—a sickly and uninspiring civil service.

I once discussed with a local friend why the government seems incapable of making any competent decisions. She mentioned it comes down to face. The government is afraid of losing face, so they make no decisions at all, lest they make the wrong one. Quite simply, it is paralysis by analysis.

Only when public outrage reaches such a crescendo that they know which way, without a doubt, to jump, do they do so.

The following is just a short list of some of the things that are symptomatic of all that is wrong with this city. Things that could so easily be remedied—and yet, strangely, are not.

- Marine parks that allow fishing
- Engine idling bans that are not enforced
- Smoking bans that are completely ignored
- A rigged MPF system designed to enrich the banks and screw the populace with high fees
- A Financial Secretary too incompetent to figure out what to do with trillions in reserves, like funding a woefully under-resourced Hospital Authority or the public education system, but instead gives handouts to the masses in a pathetic attempt to pander
- A civil service that fosters a bureaucratic culture devoid of any creative ideas, in which members do nothing that might endanger their lucrative iron-rice bowls
- Air quality objectives that are beyond laughable
- A complete lack of leadership on pressing waste disposal issues

Finally, there is a total and utter lack protection from consumer frauds, such as the insane rents calculated from the criminal-anywhere-else “gross square footage” inflation game and blatant supermarket duopoly price fixing, etc.

This situation endures, because the government ridiculously attempts to delude themselves into believing the lie that Hong Kong has the world’s freest economy and that any regulations would harm this fallacious reality they have constructed. This is despite the obvious fact that the government controls and restricts the land supply to keep prices artificially high.

This unfortunate situation results in the transfer of vast amounts of the public’s money into the hands of a wealthy few, as we are all forced to pay higher and higher rents for our own homes; and in the form of costlier goods and services from businesses that are also caught in the same endless circle of paying extortionate rents.

Here endeth the sermon. Have a nice weekend, everyone.

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