Thank you, Singapore, you are great!

September 21, 2022 11:50
Photo: Reuters

A magic word that would probably not make it into Chief Executive John Lee’s first policy address next month, but there is every reason to believe it would be what Hong Kong people care in the years to come.

China? No, Singapore.

There is no dispute that Singapore has been leading Asia in how to fight the pandemic and eventually return to normal life.

How Hong Kong people envy Singaporeans, who no longer have to wear masks except on public transport and they can travel to wherever they want without the PCR test.

The Singapore model, intended to attract tourists, talents and capital, was quickly followed by other countries such as Japan and Korea, but not Hong Kong, which is going nowhere in terms of opening doors to more tourists and businessmen.

Who would come to Hong Kong under that stupid “0+7” homestay arrangement in which one cannot even go out and have a drink?

That effectively killed the decade-long campaign for Hong Kong as Asia’s World City. Without free travel, the self-created “Nylonkong” that signifies New York, London and Hong Kong as the international financial centres could simply become “Nylonsing”.

Mind you, Singapore dollar is one of the best-performing currencies in the world this year and DBS, the No.1 bank in Singapore, edged HSBC in terms of a positive year-to-date share performance – and that is not without reason.

That is where it hurts John Lee, whose honeymoon seems to be over as the city’s people want the hotel quarantine and compulsory testing to end.

The clock is definitely ticking because people have had enough of these inhuman measures for more than two years.

It seems not a normal day without comparing the administration of the halted Hong Kong and speedy Singapore that made the city’s people more depressed.

This week, we learnt that the Dragon Boat International Festival will be moving to Singapore and Royal Caribbean is likely to shift its cruise line to Singapore from Hong Kong. In a desperate effort, the Hong Kong government saved and agreed to delay the Standard Chartered Marathon to next February after the organizer called off its November event.

In a clearly confusing move, Hong Kong Science Park refused to renew the lease of Mil Mill, the city’s only drinks carton recycler, in Yuen Long but the start-up was promptly approached by the Singapore government with a gracious offer for a new location.

The competition for talents was further escalated by Singapore’s new work visa program that targets IT and construction experts who fancy moving to the Lion City.

It is not an easy battle but Hong Kong has everything to lose. To that, thank you, Singapore!

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EJ Insight writer