Thursday, October 11, 2007

Tyranny for the Masses

Watching excepts of the Human-Bow-Tie (THBT) drone away delivering his policy address yesterday was painful. The guy really has no public speaking skills. But, presentation was the least of THBT's problems. I can put up with good ideas in a bad presentation and as every Microsoft user knows you can often put up with bad ideas in a good package. What we had yesterday was a poor presentation of bad to mediocre ideas.

I'm not going to point to all the flaws. If you want to see a good summary of the problems in THBT's policy address then click HERE and scroll down to todays entry. Instead. I'm going to pretend that I am THBT and present in a concise outline form what my policy agenda would be if they made me CE of Hong Kong. I haven't really worried about the nuances of the Basic Law since evidently the government doesn't either. Also, since the government doesn't seem to try to hide their fascist tendencies, I won't hide mine.

Obviously, some of these would be easier to do than others.

Policy Objectives
1. Streamline the Mass-transit system
Why? it would facilitate the flow of people and goods and help to relieve air pollution by having fewer vehicles idling in traffic jams.

Step 1. Revoke the monopolies on the three cross harbor tunnels and put them under control of the highways department. Set all the fees to a standard level that will allow the tunnels to be maintained safely. This would allow motorist to choose the tunnel they need based on where they are going rather than by the cost of the tunnel

Step 2 Hire a Pedestrian/Bicycle coordinator who can design and implement a series of pedestrianized streets and create better bicycle access in Hong Kong. This would help the poor and encourage less use of automobiles.

Step 3 Only allow commercial deliveries of merchandise to businesses between the hours of 1:00AM and 6:00 AM. This would keep delivery vans and stock trucks from blocking lanes during the day.

Step 4. Take control of the three buss companies and turn them into a single, non-profit organization. Then rationalize the routing to eliminate overlap. Remove the duplicated administrative structure and lower fares accordingly.

Step 5. All new automobiles must run exclusively on LPG. Make land available for several more LPG filling stations to meet the newly created demand. Then place a tax on gasoline and diesel that gets progressively higher year by year. Start with 1% after five years and the 2% the next and so on.

Step 6. Integrate the MTR and KCR in such a way that you can change from one to the other without having to go through turnstiles.

2. Change the currency peg from the US Dollar to the RMB.
Why? It just makes sense. We are part of China not part of the US
Peg the HKD at 1 to 1 with the RMB that way Hong Kong could benefit from China's maintenance of an artificially low exchange rate.

Alternately, abolish the HKD and use Chinese money.

3. Housing and Lands
3A Truth in Housing Policy
Why? Because only Hong Kong does the actual vs usable thing and it makes us look like low level cheats to everybody else in the world.

All kidding aside the inflated flat sizes add a burden to everybody here. This is simply a dishonest practice. Developers need to set their price based upon amenities and value not by subtly inflating the areas to increase their profit margin.

3B Zoning and Planning Reviews before building
Why? Because developers have been building buildings that are too tall, and to close to the street for the area they are in or the road they are on and this reduces our quality of life.

Have you ever tried to go to mid-levels at rush hour? Bonham road is two lanes and at places has nearly no sidewalk but lots twist and turns that are so sharp that buses have to wait on each other. Yet the road cannot be widened because it is lined with 40 story tall builds that are right on the street.

3C Declare any building that was built before in 1970 heritage site that should be renovated and preserved.
Why? Two reasons. First the largest element in hong Kong land fills is construction trash. Renovating rather than demolishing buildings would reduce this. Second, preserving and enhancing the ambiance of neighborhoods would make Hong Kong a more attractive place to live. Also, Owners would also have no incentive to delay maintenance while they hope to make a pile off redevelopment

It would also be necessary to have illegal structures removed from older buildings and force owners to make needed repairs. If the government really wanted to get mean it could also publish a mandatory list of tasteful, and attractive color schemes none of which are appropriately Fung Shui but that wouldn't hurt your eyes that builds would have to be painted.

4. Business, Finance and Taxation
4A Adopt an comprehensive anti-collusion law
Why? Let us start with the fact that would force grocery stores and petrol stations to compete rather than set prices through collusion. This would lower prices and benefit consumers, especially the poor

4B Place flat HKD $1000.00 tax on every 6 meter (1/2 Length) container that is shipped or transshipped through Hong Kong
Why? Because it is a low enough tax that the companies overseas would not mind paying it and it would raise 20 billion a year in taxes that NOBODY in Hong Kong would pay. Who needs a GST when foreigners will pay it for you?

5 Law and Order
5A Mandatory Sentences with no judicial Discretion
Why? Because last week one man got two years in prison for killing a cat and another man got basically community service for running over an elderly couple. In order to be effective justice has to be seen as fitting the crime and impartial that is often not the case in Hong Kong

5B Institute Public beatings for Graffiti
Why? because most of the time this is done by young thugs and they couldn't care less about going to jail and their rich parents will pay the fine for them. However, whack them 5 or 6 times with a rattan whip and they'll think twice before doing it again. Graffiti is getting to be a bigger problem here. Let';s stop it before it gets worse.

5C Try Li Kai Shing for a Capital Crime and then hang him from a gibbet in Central
Why? Why not? If anyone deserve to be hung it is a Hong Kong Tycoon. Make up a crime to try him for if necessary.

6 Stop reclaiming the harbor

7. Abolish Functional Constituencies

8. Petition Beijing to form an all volunteer locally recruited PLA regiment that would garrison Hong Kong rather than the garrison we have now.
Why? Two reasons. First because Hong Kong is part of China and should contribute to its defense. Second a local regiment would be less likely to obey orders to brutally put down peacefull anti-government demonstrations in Hong Kong. This would make China a better place to live.

9. Universal Suffrage in 2012. No if's no ands or buts allowed.

10. Education
Combine City U, Open U and Baptist U into a single University. Combine Poly U and UST into a single entity and streamline the administration structure to eliminate duplication. Fold the HKIEd into CUHK and make HKU a private university like Shu-Yan

Why? Because Hong Kong would benefit from having Two good state Universities and two good private universities rather than 8 or nine institutions.

11. Labor Laws
11A There should be only one rate of pay for domestic helpers. It is simply an exercise in racism to pay Indonesian helpers less because the standard of living in Indonesia is less.
11B. The salary and benefits of domestic helpers should be the minium wage in Hong Kong for a full time job.

Until Next Time
Fai Mao
The Blogger who should be a political consultant

No comments: