When I said yesterday that the Hong Kong government seems to have momentarily exhausted its stupidity, I meant Mainlandization-type stupidity – not the regular pre-2019 sort. Like cosmic background radiation left over from the big bang, standard traditional old-style Hong Kong government idiocy is all around us.
The latest relaxation of pandemic measures opens up gyms, pools and bars – but beaches and playgrounds are still shut off behind barbed wire and minefields. A widely believed theory is that it’s because the tycoons don’t own beaches. Another explanation is plain nastiness and spite towards the public. Or, maybe it’s just cosmic background stupidity.
The Lantau mega-reclamation is apparently still on. I’ve been skeptical that it’ll ever happen. Not least, it will deplete the reserves, which our bureaucrats have always seen as their personal piggy bank, especially to cover their pensions. But I can see why Beijing might like it as a way to transfer the reserves to state-owned construction companies and create more space for population-diluting Mainland immigration.
The government sticks to its contradictory logic that the massive reclamation can solve housing affordability yet pay for itself through land sales. The idea seems to be to ‘decant’ – yes, that’s the official word – riffraff residents from Kowloon and free up downtown land for the developers. This presumes that Hong Kong real estate will continue to enjoy its magical ultra-high valuations even as the city’s advantages fade into Greater Bay Area grey. (It also goes against the bureaucrats’ instinct to maintain the mythical ‘shortage of land’ that props up land values by not allowing the population or wider economy to use most of it. Could the magic money machine survive a genuine increase in supply?)
In order to minimize any chance that Hong Kong might retain some competitive edge from its quality of life, the Anti-Pedestrian Department goes full-on psychopath with the metal barriers that line sidewalks – to the extent Bloomberg makes a story out of it.
Your daily Mulan-butchering: Benedict Rogers focuses on the human rights angle.
Michael Pettis (compulsory reading on these things) explains Beijing’s economic options.
And the CCP scores another dazzling soft-power victory by getting Taiwan’s bird-watchers ejected from the International Federation of Feathered-Friend Fans. (It goes without saying that, as if its food, scenery and lifestyle aren’t enough, Taiwan has amazing avians.)
It’s not just the railings, the idiots invariably place all the traffic management furniture (traffic lights, no parking signs etc) to further obstruct the pedestrian space – usually at street junctions where folks congregate while waiting to cross.
“No parking” signs are sort of irrelevant in HK anyway, right?
The new railings, with their special more difficult to undo locks and surreptitiously replaced at night, regularly intrude more onto the pavement than their predecessors. Look at the pavement markings.
At one mid road traffic island some 6 feet wide the two sets of railings each intrude more than a foot from the pavement edge.
If railings have to be, and cannot be placed on the edge of the road/pavement , then why cannot they be placed so as to intrude a foot into the road?
As to the footbridges, one lift at most bridges is regularly out of order,which rather negates the point of the bridge. Not everybody can vault over the railings, unlike my 18 year old.
Plus the supposed footbridge over Mongkok road/prince edward rd (I get the two mixed up,but one up Nathan road from Argyll street) has only been in course of construction for 10 or more years,with no discernible change. Notwithstanding barriers fencing off the corner people still walk across the road.
@where’s my jet plane – … and often with little thought as to whether they’re visible to motorists either, e.g. signs obscuring each other, or placed too close to junctions so it’s impossible to get into the right lane before the junction, etc. The Central-Wanchai bypass was particularly poorly signposted when it opened, making it very easy to end up in Sheung Wan when you only wanted to get to Wanchai North.
As to the East Lantau mega-metropolis…. forget the cost, forget the pointlessness, and just get used to it – WE ARE GOING TO GET IT (and pay for it). Why? Because it has been ordered by Beijing, that’s why. Many years ago, before the subject had been even raised in Hong Kong, there suddenly appeared a picture in the press of CE C.Y. Leung (remember him?) avidly showing a model of the development to a group of excited-looking PRC officials. We asked Government who had authorized the model, who had ordered it, designed it and paid for it, but got no reply.
In fact, back in the mid-1990s, that macromgealopolis area was destined to become a massive port development, Container Port 9 on steroids with a massive breakwater, to rival the bridge to nowhere in size, closing off the West Lamma Channel. Somehwere in my archives I might have details of it because I was involved in a project to create a corporate promo video of it.
BTW: what happened to the windmill park destined for the south of Lamma?
In other news (from GIS):
At present, there are 644 negative pressure rooms in public hospitals with 1 154 negative pressure beds activated. A total of 183 confirmed patients are currently hospitalised in 18 public hospitals and a community treatment facility, among which 16 patients are in critical condition, eight are in serious condition and the remaining 159 patients are in stable condition.
the hospital system is overwhelmed, I say, overwhelmed
Ah, the figures grow (GIS again)
The spokesman said, “The Special Administrative Region (SAR) Government expressed gratitude to some 6 000 healthcare personnel and some 4 000 serving and retired civil servants supporting the arrangement of UCTP, as well as the some 2 000 personnel supporting information and technology, 24-hour hotline, logistics and safety management. The SAR Government also expressed sincere gratitude to the Central People’s Government (CPG) for deploying the Mainland nucleic acid test support team consisting of some 570 members and providing necessary equipment and resources for UCTP.
No wonder HK$530 million has been poured down the drain
Apologies for hogging the airways but GIS is proving a treasure trove of idiocy. Whowever writes this shit (and I suspect it must be a gwailo/gwailess) mkust be inline for a Nobel in the art of fiction writing.
The latest from Mr Combover: https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202009/15/P2020091500878.htm
Is that Michael Pettis article not from 2018?
Correct. Says 5 September 2018.
One of Hemlock’s (few) faults is he posts rather aged articles as though they are current, or does not notice they are not fresh.
A friend who is in the medical profession told me that colleagues were queuing up for the testing gig because of the good hourly rate and in the knowledge that they would not be overwhelmed by demand………
For the retired civil servants some more yum-cha cash to add to their Fruit Money, the $10,000 and various other hand-outs.
I wait for the day when the reserves will be drained and proponents of projects will be forced to demonstrate that that they are both necessary and cost effective.
While we’re on the subject of cost-effectiveness of projects, all aviation experts agree that air passenger numbers are not going to recover to pre-pandemic levels for many years. Meanwhile on the cargo side, many companies around the globe are moving or diversifying their supply chains out of China. In a logical world, these facts would bring a swift end to the third runway project at Chek Lap Kok, but I wouldn’t bet on it.