Only going a hundred yards or so, but getting over 50% more space for the same rent. A late 1950s block on Robinson Road – must be one of the first high-rises (12 floors) built there. They designed residential developments differently in those days: squarer, more efficient floorplan, but fewer windows (a misnamed ‘lightwell’ serves the kitchen/bathroom area); vast lobby and semi-outdoor hallways. How much bigger could apartments be if the government went back to more basic building codes?
You can cancel electricity and gas accounts online in a minute. But the government-owned water supply? You can do it by fax.
Some stuff from the weekend…
Playing devil’s advocate, I wondered if the Hong Kong government’s explanation (short press release) for banning the Batman film could be sincere, given the lack of extensive whining. But the whining did indeed happen. And so the credibility of the official line suffers that much more.
On the subject of ‘not very convincing’, we will probably never know the exact reason for the graceless – but apparently unscripted – removal of an elderly and reluctant Hu Jintao from the final session of the 20th CCP Congress. Xinhua’s ‘health’ explanation is as obvious as it is weak – but the memes in the following retweets are hilarious. The penalty for having such an opaque system is that no-one will ever believe you. (Consider the context of Xi’s previous criticism of Hu’s time in office.)
My theory: Xi objected to the famously characterless former leader acting as a black hole and sucking up his own dazzling charisma.
More witty memes.
Justice Russell Coleman, while ruling on vaccination exemptions, goes somewhat off-subject and skewers the government’s overweening Covid regulations. Intro from David Webb, plus link to more snark, such as…
It may not require particular cynicism to think that the attempt to move away from the word “invalidity” is an attempt to minimize the Decision’s potential conflict with section 17.
… It is public knowledge that on 3 to 5 October 2022, a legally-qualified legislator raised the question whether the Secretary had legal authority to invalidate the MECs, and asked that there might be an explanation of the legal grounds said to be relied upon.
[para 28] It is unfortunate that the legislator subsequently faced criticism for raising the question, as though to do so were somehow an attack on the Government. First, the question has now been held to be at least strongly arguable and so might be thought to be one properly raised and addressed. Secondly, the question does not identify a choice between being ‘pro-Government’ or ‘anti-Government’; it identifies a distinction between what is lawful and what is unlawful.
More youngsters sentenced to prison by a NatSec court for messages having ‘no historical or legal basis’ and which ‘incite subversion’. According to the judge, their 30-36-month terms reflect the offense’s ‘minor nature’.
An extra little morsel of weirdness: compulsory testing notices are still a thing, and all manner of public-sector staff are getting roped in to help enforce them – harassing residents entering and leaving designated housing blocks. In the latest example, a posse raised from the Working Family and Student Financial Assistance Agency and the University Grants Committee Secretariat descend on Elegance Garden, Tai Po. And yes, they slapped HK$10,000 fines on several people.
Are employees of obscure public bodies drafted because there aren’t enough regular Health Department people on call? Or is it a way to force more of the bureaucracy to take part in order to spread the culpability and opprobrium?