Hopping to it

The story so far: Financial Secretary John Tsang had always said that handing out the government’s surplus cash to everyone was not possible. More and more people said he was wrong, but for weeks and months he insisted he was right. Then one day, after even many of his best friends had started to call him rude names, he suddenly changed his mind and said everyone who was a permanent resident could have HK$6,000. Then everyone started to say that new immigrants from the Mainland should be entitled to get the money, but he made it clear that this was not possible. And then even the people who had just become best friends with him again went back to calling him rude names. Now read on…

Mainland immigrants who are still not permanent residents of Hong Kong will get the government’s much-celebrated HK$6,000 generous free money gift – but in a different guise. Rather than a straight handout from the treasury, it will come in the form of a grant from the Community Care Fund, the pile of dough extorted from property tycoons last year in an amusing attempt to make them less hated. And it will be means-tested.

The fact is it’s another hideously embarrassing U-turn, albeit on a smaller scale. It looks superficially like a separate charitable donation, but we all know it’s the same deal designed – not without a certain degree of optimism – to save face and avoid making other non-permanent residents jealous. Some poor schmuck has to announce this and pretend it was the result of a serious, independent process, not ordered by Chief Executive Donald Tsang’s panicky bed-wetting administration frantically making it up as it goes along.

Take a bow, Bunny Chan. Stalin’s USSR had people’s hero miner Stakhanov; Mao’s China had self-sacrificing and noble soldier Lei Feng; Sir Bow-Tie’s Big Lychee has Bunny. The difference is that Bunny’s devotion is not stage-managed by the black hands of the propaganda department. He really means it. A glance at his bio reveals devoted service on a plethora of insultingly obscure and irrelevant public bodies, each one a slightly less degrading pat on the head than the previous one. Luring him along this humiliating path are the medals: the humble Bronze Bauhinia Star in 2004, and a Silver in 2009. It’s an upward curve, and for a mere self-made entrepreneur to get the Gold – routinely tossed at billionaire buffoons who inherited a money-printing licence from daddy – it will take some more shoe-shining work yet. But fronting this mass-handout from the government (via an organization not originally intended to make mass-handouts) that is not a mass-handout from the government won’t hurt.

Is anything more shameful than Bunny’s current unhappy task? Oddly enough, something is. We can now expect non-Mainlanders who have not yet qualified for permanent residency to resume their anguished complaints about missing out on the HK$6,000. Most embarrassing of all will be the whining letters to the editor from people with, typically, Anglo-Celtic family names and addresses in moderately pricy neighbourhoods, bemoaning their lack of a six-grand handout – despite being salaries taxpayers – just because they have lived here less than seven years. “Not fair,” they will moan.

I can only shudder at such a faux-pas. What kind of people are willing to admit in public that they are so unaccustomed to even the merest shreds of wealth that the sum means anything to them? Not the sort we want as permanent residents.

What they need to learn, aside from how to avoid being horribly uncool about money, is that most newcomers and migrants to Hong Kong, from Indonesian maids to American investment bankers, come here to better themselves. The poorer Mainlanders who will be getting this HK$6,000, on the other hand, have come here to suffer. After years on a waiting list, they left spacious homes and modest but rising communities to find themselves living in hovels, often with a vile old husband, and fortunate to get a job sanitizing telephones in offices. And there’s no going back. The HK$6,000 is to shut them up. It’s Bunny to the rescue.

Click to hear (Big Boy Pete) Miller sing ‘Baby I've Got News for You’!

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19 Responses to Hopping to it

  1. Sir Crispin says:

    Seriously, the dudes name is Bunny? If that isn’t the most definitive sign yet of the preschool abilities of this government, then I dunno what else is.

  2. Old Timer says:

    What about those of us with “Unconditional Stay”; a sort of Permanent Resident Lite (and formerly Right to Land)? I’d like to think that 25 years in HK qualifies me for a handout.

  3. Morgan (Capital M, small organ) says:

    Old Timer, why didn’t you apply for Permanent Residency. You are qualified, after all. All you have to do is submit your tax papers for the last 7 years.

    What did you say ? You have never paid any tax during the last 25 years ? Now, that is naughty naughty.

    Mind you: I am in the same boat.

  4. Call Me Madam says:

    My Little Organ:
    I think you have an exhibitionist fetish and are gagging for some public humiliation by a transexual dominatrix in 5 inch heels wielding a rhino penis crop. I’ll see you at the North Stand toilets this weekend

  5. Maugrim says:

    Actually, the Government isn’t exactly saying that NPR whiteys are exempted from the $6000 giveaway, but, as it so happens, 99.99% won’t meet the income threshold of I think, some $4,000 per month for an individual. For ‘Angry of DB’ and others certain to complain, also likely to include the fact that the ESF will increase school fees by 3%, Ill bet not many are earning even close to $4,000 a month. Perhaps some things to be grateful of when tossing a few beers here and there in the South Stand over the weekend.

  6. Vile Traveller says:

    To paraphrase some cartoon character or other, I’ll rue the day when 6000 smackers isn’t worth grovelling for!

  7. gunlaw says:

    According to the Human Development Report released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in 2009, Hong Kong had a relatively high Gini coefficient of 43.4, the highest among developed economies.

    Comparing the monthly household median income of the richest 10% of Hong Kong households with the poorest 10% in 2010 Q1, it is found that the former is 27 times that of the latter. Moreover, the median monthly income of the poorest 10% and 20% of households has remained the same as in 2005, which are HK$3,000 and HK$6,000 respectively. However, an increase of 16% is noted in the highest 10% of households, from HK$70,000 in 2005 to HK$80,900 in 2010 Q1.

  8. Smedley Tangbottom III says:

    A colleague of mine has PA called Bunnie. I can’t help think how long it would be for Bunnie “ie” and Bunny “y” to mate if they were placed in darkened room together.

  9. Probably The Injunear says:

    I can’t wait until next year when John Tsang or whichever muppet takes his place has to announce that there is no $6000 handout! If the practice continues indefinately will it not ultimately bankrupt HK in the same way that the welfare state has to a number of European countries?

    …..Unless of course the govt. in response purloins more income tax from thiose “Angry of DB” persons without Permanent Residency.

  10. Vile Traveller says:

    They could always go back to the old tax rebate instead of the inflation-fuelling and heatyness-inducing cash handout. Given the size of the reserve piggy bank it may take some considerable time to bankrupt the government at the rate of $6000 per tax payer. There are only 5 of us, after all.

  11. Probably The Injunear says:

    I don’t know about about making bunnies, but I do genuinely know a Ms. Ting, with the given name of May.

  12. Maugrim says:

    Injunear, you wait to see what happens when they dont give $6,000 away again next year, the howls of anguish will be far more deafening than this year’s performance.

  13. Ladi Marmalad' says:

    Was happenin?

  14. Shanghai Bling says:

    PTI – assuming you have done you ting with Ms May Ting, would you mind passing on her contact details. Perhaps interested BL blog commentators could partake in an auction for her services with the monies being handed over to Operation Santa.

  15. Morgan (Capital M, small organ) says:

    whatever happened to Fanny Sit ?

  16. HK Phooey says:

    Just wait until the rules change again and they inadvertently include Philippino helpers. Hear the screams of anguish when 100,000 x $6,000 is donated by the SAR to Manila.

    In other news, have you noticed that the Philippines is STILL on the black list of travel advisories!

  17. PR Gweilo Arrived Sept 1971 says:

    Bunny should tell us how many HK permanent ID card holders there are who have exiled themselves to Canada, US, NZ, Aussie etc.

  18. Probably The Injunear says:

    S. Bling, Ms. May Ting is a lovely person and would never stoop so low as to raise monies for that annual “lets all show how caring we are as we drive around in our SUV’s” Operation Sanctimoneous.

  19. Your Local Dandy says:

    Will Hemlock’s wild American friend Odell be getting the $6,000?

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