Teenage students are leaping off buildings to their deaths. Ailing citizens have to wait for hours to get medical help as queues in public hospitals grow longer.
Thousands of families are living in cramped, rat-infested subdivided flats because they could not afford to rent decent accomodation, much less buy their own homes.
And what does our leader propose to do? He wants us to go fishing in Central and take a dip in Victoria Harbour.
In a blog post on Tuesday morning, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying proposed the building of a swimming area in the harbourfront in Central, saying that swimming for 20 minutes after lunch is a great way of staying fit – better in fact than going to the gym.
He also suggested that a fishing zone be set up along the Central Promenade, one of the three areas (the other two being Tsing Yi and Tai Po) where angling as a leisure activity can be promoted for the enjoyment of the common folk.
After a series of political moves intended to please his Beijing masters, CY Leung must have realized that his term of office is set to expire next year.
Beijing’s endorsement for a second term has yet to come, and that’s likely the reason why he has been hesitating to announce that he is running again for chief executive in 2017.
So far his biggest achievement is to trigger divisions in the community as he pressed ahead with moves to cement the city’s integration with the mainland and tighten Beijing’s grip on the territory.
He must have realized that it’s time to take the soft approach and reduce hostilities and divisions in the community.
And that’s the most likely reason for his fishing and swimming proposals.
He has become totally out of touch with the people.
Leung said he discussed his idea about fishing zones with three members of a fishing association, and they were delighted.
He noted that he had only fished three times last year, and he wished he could join other anglers in their activity while enjoying the beauty of Hong Kong via his proposed fishing zones.
Actually, this is not the first time he unveiled his fishing plans to the public.
Last week, pro-government Sing Tao Daily published a front-page “exclusive” on the proposed fishing zone in Central.
And in his policy address in January, CY Leung also devoted a paragraph to the pilot fishing zones, saying the venues will be under the management of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department.
Anglers will surely welcome his proposal, and many Hong Kong people love fishing.
But for busy office workers and executives in Central, the idea sounds ridiculous because they don’t even have time for lunch or afternoon snacks, let alone the time to go to the promenade for fishing.
His plan to build a modernized swimming shed outside the International Financial Centre, to enable office workers to swim for 20 minutes in the harbourfront during their lunch break, drew mostly negative reactions from netizens and listeners of radio talk shows.
Commercial Radio program host Chip Tsao called the idea nonsense, noting that white-collar workers in Central won’t dare jump into Victoria Harbour given its poor water quality.
He conceded, though, that the swimming area could turn into a “must visit” spot for mainland tourists who probably wouldn’t mind swimming in the central business district.
It’s quite clear that Leung, who has yet to win Beijing’s nod for a second term, is keen on proving that he is a good leader and loved by the people.
However, Leung forgets that being a chief executive is a much more senior position than being a district councilor.
Setting up a fishing zone or a swimming shed is a task best relegated to district councilors or government officers of administrative districts.
Certainly, Leung knows that. But why is he so interested in these proposals, in the midst of urgent issues begging for his attention, that he would even mention them in his policy address and official blog?
Some political commentators have speculated that his fishing and swimming ideas are meant to flatter and impress Communist Party Central Committee member Yang Jiechi, who said on Monday that Victoria Harbour offers one of the world’s most beautiful sceneries.
In short, he wanted his Beijing masters to know that he feels and thinks the same way they do, and he is, above all, loyal to the Communist Party of China. It’s all part of his calculated political moves.
Meanwhile, our dear leader has not bothered to comment on the case of a teenage student who committed suicide on Tuesday after his teacher warned him about his academic performance, the 19th student to end their life since the schoolyear began in September last year.
Some commentators believe that CY Leung has not only lost touch with the community he is supposed to serve but has become insensitive to the plight of the people in his ambition to remain in power.
Medical and healthcare services are facing budget cuts amid rising demand from the grassroots, and the flu season is only putting further pressure on the entire public hospital system.
But instead of looking for ways to remedy the situation, he is seeking more of the taxpayers’ money to fund white elephants and other political initiatives intended to please Beijing.
Even some Beijing loyalists are becoming critical of CY Leung, saying Hong Kong deserves a chief executive who understands the people well, instead of one who only wants to realize his ambitions.
Does CY Leung hear the people sing?
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