…and the Black Rainstorm Signal is up

A Family Planning Association of Hong Kong survey shows that 39% of women have fewer children than they would like, and zero- and one-child families outnumber two-child ones more than ever, at 23.4%, 37.5% and 32% of the total respectively; the South China Morning Post somehow interprets the data to mean…


The FPA says that more than half of respondents might have more kids if they had ‘subsidies’ for education, medical services and housing. Government provides free education, but many parents want the private sort instead, and they assume that the more they spend on tutors, the better their kid will do – so economics and an obsession with academic credentials encourage couples to focus resources on one child.

Housing must limit household size: with families living in an average of something like 400-500 square feet of space, it is amazing any of them find room for a second kid. The high price of homes also acts as a form of birth control, since couples usually don’t marry until they can afford (or get allocated) their own apartment. The FPA cite late marriage as a leading factor in reducing fertility.

Still, as the SCMP points out, Hong Kong’s birth rate of 1.2 babies per woman is no worse than Singapore’s 1.2 and Taiwan’s 1.1; those governments do not have deranged policies forcing people to live in overpriced rabbit hutches. Maybe their education systems are as out of alignment with parents’ preferences as Hong Kong’s.

The FPA used to devote its energies to reducing births. Most people were a lot poorer then, but it didn’t stop them having babies. Although they were living in 100-square-foot hovels and made the kids help out assembling plastic flowers, could it be that families in those days saw a better future ahead, and today they don’t?

Which brings us to today’s list of things you may or may not wish children to be born into. We’ll just mention the first item: Chief Executive CY Leung’s biggest supporter in the Executive Council, Barry Cheung, takes leave from all public offices as police investigate his HK Mercantile Exchange, and CY’s top media aide resigns, citing – you couldn’t make this up – problems with her eyes and ears.

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10 Responses to …and the Black Rainstorm Signal is up

  1. Let’s have more Mainland girls, strong thighed, ruddy-faced, healthy girls, yearning for childbirth, highly sexed and motivated, giving of themselves freely to alpha males like me and you and all the correspondents of the column of columns.

    What’s the problem? If Hong Kong’s gene pool, like the Swiss and the Israeli ones, dies ought gradually, would it be an ineffable tragedy? Hong Kong people prefer dogs anyway. But they don’t like active dogs. Jack Russells and Beagles are the hardest to place.

    Rien ne peuple comme les gueux, says the Master in Diderot’s Jacques Le Fataliste. Money however kills fecundity. It’s God’s will. Hurrah!

  2. Probably says:

    Why do HK people all stay indoors when there is a little bit of rain? As a colleague from Scotland pointed out he’s played golf in worse weather than this. Anyway, fastest drive ever to work this morning with all the f***wits off of the road.

  3. Gin Soaked Boy says:

    Like UK television celebrities from the 1970s/1980s, leading members of Hong Kong society are gradually being investigated and rounded up by our law enforcement agencies. The addition of Barry CHEUNG’s name to this group causes me to ask who is next? It appears that the edifice of the new post-1997 establishment is slowly eroding under the weight of its own corruption. Honestly, who’d want to have kids with this lot running Hong Kong!

  4. Local Tax Payer, PhD (previously ret'd, but now hanging on for a few more months) says:

    Glad to see you at your desk at S-Meg, although of course disappointed that the volutuous Winky seems to have given you the push.

    My mother always used to say that one could judge people from their demeanour, and I never did like that Barry fellow too much. But then again I said that about Lam Woon-kwong when he was the CE’s ears and eyes, whereas he turned out all right.

    It does seem as if a chasm is splitting HK society: between the pigs in the trough, often at the top of the public sector, and a few virtuous (or vindictive?) institutional middle ranks. Commonsense (and the Liaison Office/PLA) would say that it can’t go on like this, that something’s got to give.

  5. Oneleggoalie says:

    Now that the beast that is ICAC is unshackled once more…Oneleg is hopeful for a cleaner society…the wonderful beast bites all deserving filth.

  6. Big Al says:

    @ Probably

    It’s all summed up in the brilliant “thumbs up” photo towards the bottom of this webpage:


    Absolutley spot on!

  7. Bela says:

    Big Al


  8. Local Tax Payer, PhD (previously ret'd, but now hanging on for a few more months) says:

    Big Al, The black and white photo gave me an uncanny sense of deja vu: it’s taken from Fung Hang village, my dogs’ favourite watering place. (And the double white line must be Bride’s Pool Road.)

    Has the thumbs up been digitally enhanced? I know such people are well-endowed in that area, but even so…

  9. Sojourner says:

    @ Local Tax Payer …

    Now you mention it, it does look a bit carroty.

    To me it invoked memories of the good old SARS days when a significant proportion of the local population insisted on continuing their collective Lone Ranger impersonation long after the danger had passed.

  10. Joe Friday LAPD says:

    Freshly-resigned spin doctor June Teng Wai-kwan clears $ 175,000- per month. Obviously her eyes and ears are not the only things that are malfunctioning.

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