So that’s what those people look like! For the first time since July 29, 2020, you can legally go mask-free outdoors in Hong Kong. It remains illegal to wear a mask (under certain circumstances), with the Chief Executive explaining…
“The mask mandate was for public health matters. As for the mask ban, we will review it at a suitable time. At this moment, we will not handle it.”
Some quotes from the public here…
Another woman told RTHK that it’s time for her to “take out all her lipsticks”.
But … [a] student surnamed So said she will keep wearing a mask as she doesn’t want to let others see her, concerns shared by a woman surnamed Chung who said she was “a bit scared”.
Despite months of criticism from citizens and experts, the deciding factor seems to have been Macau’s decision to scrap its mask mandate just a week ago.
Did anyone ever work out why Health Secretary Lo Chung-mau was so obsessed with keeping the mask mandate?
Pretty damning chart showing how Singapore has leapt ahead of Hong Kong in per-capita GDP. There’s a clear post-Covid spurt in Singapore, which obviously Hong Kong has not had. But the gap has been growing ever since the Asian Financial Crisis, which broke out at exactly the time of the 1997 handover – the Thai Baht plunging on Tung Chee-hwa’s very first day in office.
You could spend all day pondering possible reasons. Most immigrants into Hong Kong in the last 25 years have been relatively unskilled Mainlanders who became permanent residents, while Singapore attracted a broader range of newcomers, including guest workers to keep its manufacturing sector competitive. Hong Kong’s policymakers focused on pushing housing prices up – distorting the economy in various ways – while Singapore prioritized affordable homes. Hong Kong splurged on massive white-elephant infrastructure projects, which Singapore didn’t. It’s not that Hong Kong’s performance has been bad – but proximity to the fast-growing Mainland economy in the 2000s should have given the city a bigger relative advantage. Instead, Hong Kong failed to maintain the 1980-97 trend growth rate. Ultimately, it must come down to governance.