Some refreshing old-style grubbiness

The Rosaryhill School saga, and a government response. An esteemed Catholic ‘elite’ institution is to close owing to falling student numbers, while a newish private school called Dalton (‘co-founded by Everbright Charitable Foundation, Sun Hung Kai & Co Foundation, CITIC Capital Charitable Foundation Limited and asset management company Value Partners’) plans to take over its premises in a prime location on Stubbs Road. 

Rosaryhill is a local secondary school, while Dalton is a primary apparently (according to the Standard editorial) catering more to newly arrived Mainlanders, which might in theory explain the two institutions’ differing views of their future prospects. Though it says here… 

[The Dominican Mission] said the secondary student population was only 20 percent that of its prime years, while enrollment in its private kindergarten and primary section has “plummeted by a staggering 65 percent.”

One of our esteemed commenters offers extra insight here and here. If the deal is more about real estate than education, it would hardly be unprecedented for a religious organization to make a mint from land granted by the government back in the early-mid 20th century. Such murkiness should bring joy to the nostalgic as a sign that some things in Hong Kong haven’t changed.

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19 Responses to Some refreshing old-style grubbiness

  1. Russell Brand says:

    Let’s hope they get the cash and get safely off to the Vatican before the sex assault allegations come in.

    Lucky bastards.

  2. Chinese Netizen says:

    Where do they come up with these names (Dalton) for schools??

    Usually an anti-hero character(s) with a dark back story in some film usually set in the American West with a lot of vengeance, killing and score settling. Or something to that effect.
    (Well, and then there’s Timothy Dalton)

  3. The censored artist formerly known as Joe Blow says:

    Old things that were destroyed by the Hong Kong Government:

    Poor Man’s Nightclub in Central
    Tiger Balm Garden in Tai Hang
    Fishball carts
    Stinky tofu carts
    Iconic neon street signs (world famous)
    Street side dining, any kind
    Street buskers
    Wanchai seafood market
    Graham Street market
    Calligraphy of the King of Kowloon
    Colonial postal boxes
    Star Ferry
    Press freedom
    Dai pai dongs

  4. MeKnowNothing says:

    Land shenanigans, ever-increasing rents, encroachment on unleased gov’t land, illegal structures (not just a Redeye Peninsula phenomenon – it’s everywhere), insufficient & puny housing, white elephant after white elephant after white elephant…. no, none of this would have anything to do with what Bremridge did in 1982.

    The leasehold land system implemented in subsequent colonies after 13 of them kicked off big time at the end of the 18th century served HK well – until that c*nt broke it. I’m a little bit surprised that I don’t recall in any of Hemmer’s musings anything about the root cause of so many of our problems.

  5. HKPI says:

    I presume the people behind the new school are hoping people will think it’s somehow related to the well known Dalton school in Manhattan, NYC.

  6. Mary Melville says:

    Everbright Charitable Foundation, Sun Hung Kai & Co Foundation, CITIC Capital Charitable Foundation Limited and asset management company Value Partners.
    So another Harrow.
    What should be the focus is the elimination of a good quality affordable school and the increasing divide between the haves and have nots and the marginalization of the local community. The rags to riches tales of yore where bright kids, and some not so gifted, could through a good education rise up through the ranks.
    Pressure was probably put on the good fathers and according to the history of the school they are minority owners.
    However it would be interesting to have the details of the original land grant when the monastery was established.

  7. MeNoSavvy says:


    Would you please elaborate a little bit? Are you criticising the peg, or some other measure(s) having to do with leaseholds?

    Thank you.

  8. A Poor Man says:

    Censored Artist JB – Maybe getting rid of the rickshaws was a good idea?

  9. PatrioticNTslumlord says:

    MeNoSavvy, I believe MeKnowNothing is referring to the long-term disaster that was the establishment of the Capital Works Fund, under which a territory that draws a large portion of its revenue from land leases rather than income or value added tax sets nearly all of that lease income aside for rebar and concrete purchases.

  10. Chinese Netizen says:

    @HKPI: Thanks for that. Must not be THAT well known….I hadn’t heard of it!

    Talk about occupying prime real estate!

  11. MeKnowNothing says:

    Thank you PatrioticNTslumlord for explaining to MeMustBeNewAroundHere.

    There was a lot to build in the 80s, but diverting the revenue stream that was meant to fund the lion’s share of public expenditure to just building things forever more was a major cock-up. Seems everybody has forgotten & now we keep hearing about how HK’s “narrow tax base” needs fixing.

    The original idea was that the cost of land ends up in the price of everything the population consumes. Top that up with a few fees here & there, lightweight salaries & profit taxes and (just) a few duties – but otherwise leaving the free port to get on with it.

    What in part was what helped make HK into what it was has, over time as it was left to fester, become its biggest problem.

    I’d imagine Cowperthwaite is not impressed.

  12. Low Profile says:

    Watching the news last night about the Rosaryhill School closure, my immediate thought was “I wonder what their site is worth and on what terms they could sell it?” Somertimes Hong Kong is so predictable.

    @censored artist – and let’s not even get started on the long list of heritage buildings…

  13. Learn English with Regina says:

    Hong Kong will die a death of a thousand patriotic civil servant committees. JB, they also killed the Lion Rock spirit.

  14. Seamus O'Herlihy says:


    “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” – Matthew 7:3

  15. MeKnowNothing says:

    Seamus: Sorry mate, but the plank in my eye makes it hard to see… to what do you refer?

  16. Grubbier and grubbier! cried Alice says:

    Young Post: the last bastion of investigative reporting in the SCMP.

    “The school supervisor cited a reduced student population, alongside financial challenges, as reasons for the school’s decision in a letter sent to parents and teaching staff.

    But the principal released a statement on the school’s website refuting this claim, saying that student numbers had actually increased, and criticised the sponsoring body for giving such short notice to parents and staff. The statement was later taken down.”

  17. Seamus O'Herlihy says:


    One needn’t be new around here to be flummoxed by your obscure reference to “what Bremridge did in 1982”. I am not new to these precincts yet found myself in the same boat as MeKnowSavvy. I’m glad he asked for clarification. To assail him as a newbie (“MeMustBeNewAroundHere”) was unkind, as the fault for the miscommunication lay with you.

    By the way, the point you were making, as helpfully explained by PatrioticNTslumlord and amplified by yourself, is an excellent one.

  18. MeKnowNothing says:

    Seamus, cheers for explaining.

    No offence intended to MeNoSavvy – who was not all that far off referring to the HKD currency board that was also during Bremridge’s tenure as it happened to span the Joint Declaration & everything that triggered (though I don’t believe the Swire man deserves credit for more than implementing it… perhaps someone else can recall?).

    As tone is hard to convey in writing, humour may not be seen as intended. If so, I apologise & welcome MeNoSavvy having a go in return. As well as someone longer in the tooth doing the same to me when it’s my turn – I’m not MeKnowNothing for nothing. It’s all relative, mate.

    It would behoove everyone to understand the major economic distortion & subsequent consequences of the Capital Works Fund. You’re most welcome. If only that knowledge could spread like Omicron did through Fifth Wave Estate & beyond, more folks would realise the next time one of our overlords or grandees drops their pants to pass wind about the dire need to do something about the so-called structural flaws in public finance.

  19. Ruffian says:

    For those scratching your heads, Dalton is the name of a well known NYC private school on the Upper East Side where Jeffrey Epstein once taught. I have no idea what the relationship is with the HK franchise.

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