Former Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa’s Our Hong Kong Foundation, blatantly sporting its construction/engineering lobby hat, recently pushed for a mega-mega-reclamation boondoggle in the sea between Hong Kong Island and Lantau. The Super Floating South Disneyland Hub-Zone Metropolis (or something) would house 1.1 million people (they don’t say who, or where they would come from).
The concept is similar to the pre-arranged outcome rather obviously planned for the government’s land-supply task force ‘public consultation’ – except it’s more, shall we say, ambitious. The lobbyists are drooling at the prospect of leveraging public anger over housing to win support for a reclamation project so vast that they would pocket maybe HK$500 billion, or roughly half the current fiscal reserves.
At least, this is what nasty, dark-hearted cynics giving off negative vibes would have you believe. I personally couldn’t comment.
But wait! There’s more! The Professional Commons come up with their own proposal: new islands far, far away on the other side of Lantau, next to the HK-Zhuhai Bridge. They would move the port and the Fanling golf course out there, thus freeing up space in town for homes. After the greed-crazed engineering lobby’s gargantuan rip-off scheme, it almost sounds not-utterly-idiotic.
And the off-shoring fad continues. Along comes the pro-Beijing DAB with a plan to move refugees it suspects are ’fake asylum seekers’ to ‘shelters’ with ‘food provisions’ on outlying islands. The rampaging exotic limbo-dancing dusky-hordes menace would thus be removed from the city, where they allegedly commit large amounts of crime.
Critics will condemn the idea as concentration camps. In fairness to the DAB’s humane side, it sounds more like the Victorian insistence on (deliberately unpleasant) ‘indoor relief’ rather than (free and easy) outdoor handouts for the indigent – to ensure claimants genuinely need public welfare. If you’re really going to be tortured back in Sri Lanka, you’ll be happy to move into containers behind barbed wire in some hidden swampy patch on Lamma. (This logic would work with golfers too: we’ll see how badly they need to hit a little ball with a stick when they have to go to a wet, windswept slab halfway to Macau to do it.)
Anyway – the DAB will soon recall that it receives votes from at least some outlying island residents. And we have another reason for reclamation.