Once upon a time the people of Hong Kong were proud of the airline they thought of as their own, Cathay Pacific. When you boarded the green and white aircraft with the attractive stewardesses in Manila or Bangkok you felt you were already at home. Then along came the accountants. They chopped everything. Economy class […]
Originally posted at CX Secrets. Edited for clarity.
Your Reasons for staying with Cathay Pacific – Cabin Crew
I would like to mention a few things that maybe many people never really thought about when they are working at CX (Cathay Pacific).
#1 Reminder: You are Working for Someone Else.
#1 Reminder: You are working for someone else. You are not your own boss at anything as long as you’re bound to him/her.
There is no such thing as “the ‘company’ changed this” or “the ‘company’ changed the policy”. We have to understand and avoid using “COMPANY” and “CX” because we cannot define it as a “group” and must understand that any decision is made by a single person.
What is your reason to stay with Cathay Pacific?
Ever ask yourself what is your reason to stay with Cathay Pacific?
Let’s break it down and review these details one at a time.
“I’m in it solely for the travel benefits”
Let’s define the company definition of “travel benefit”. We can all agree that discounted ticket prices are a major plus when compared to a normal passenger paying “full fare” for a ticket. However, we need to look at this in a more selective way.
As a Cathay Pacific cabin crew, the ticket price is reduced but the trade-off is the ticket is only available on “standby”. Being on standby defeats the purpose of a discounted ticket and therefore makes the travel benefit largely useless. Although getting a seat on a single flight with travel benefit is somewhat likely, it still will not be confirmed until the last-minute.
A good example to compare the standby ticket is when you see something you really want online for a very cheap price. Then, you add it to your online shopping cart only to find out that is “Out of Stock” on the checkout page at the very last-minute because you do not have any actual knowledge of its availability.
If you only desire “travel benefit”, then Cathay Pacific may not be for you. If you are wealthy, average income, or even below average income, you shouldn’t allow this “travel benefit” to lure you into joining Cathay Pacific cabin crew for the long run.
“I want to travel and see the world!”
Yes, we all want to travel and see the world! However, do not become a Cathay Pacific cabin crew as a way to do this. If you truly want to travel the world, buy full fare tickets, skip the standby tickets, don’t waste your time in the air, and stay grounded instead.
“I have a family or other expenses to take care of and need to stay in this job”
Sorry, but you are about to run out of luck with Cathay Pacific. Would you say Cathay Pacific started out as a solopreneur (a business owner who works and runs his or her business alone) or as an entrepreneur (a person who sets up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit)? If money important in your daily life, then please try to do something else besides working in CX.
Cathay Pacific does not pay you well and will not pay you any better as the years go by unless the law changes. We hear that “competition is tough”, but Cathay Pacific always has a positive profit (profit does not mean losing money).
However, a new set of estimated earnings or growth rate is set at a higher rate every year, which always leads to a “loss” when really the numbers are just a goal. I encourage all you Cathay Pacific employees to leave CX especially if you have a family because this is not the job for you if you have that kind of responsibility. Find something else, don’t be afraid that it’s too late. If you need help, just ask, but don’t stay silent.
“CX is my dream airline to work for”
“I like to be in the service industry and what better way to do it than in the air!”
It’s true that it’s pretty cool to gain the title of “Cabin Crew” or “Flight Attendant”, but let’s be honest here, depending on your reason, there are way too many other service industry jobs to do besides being an airline cabin crew.
Lately, there have been many discussions about Hong Kong cabin crews facing the problem with “retirement age” limitations. I just want to say vote for whatever proposals raises the highest retirement age.
The company newsletter says there will be a big “reduction in promotion” if the retirement age is raised. However, you are not going to receive a promotion anyways regardless of whether the retirement age is raised or unchanged, so just vote to raise the maximum retirement age.
Your service to Cathay Pacific
Your service to Cathay Pacific should not exceed anything between 1 day to 20 years. We can agree that most of the cabin crews are female. It has been said that girls are generally the “softer” part of the two main genders and I want to remind all female crew to take care of yourselves and never allow Cathay Pacific to interfere with your health.
The sky is beautiful but unless you are cockpit crew, you don’t even really get to enjoy any views and being in an aircraft all the time will both physically and mentally stress you out.
The average human lifespan is around 70-85 years. If you spend more than 20 years with Cathay Pacific, then you are literally reducing your lifespan by 25-30%+ from doing this job and it really is not worth it if you think about it.
Don’t serve others, be your own boss and make a dent in society.
Tesla sucks because not only are they dependent on government subsidies to make their models more affordable in the market, but they also have staff that are unprofessional.
While the sales team at their retail locations are generally professional and competent, I can’t really say the same about their corporate staff. I don’t know if it is because they are always busy or if they’re just millennials but they really like ghosting candidates in job interviews or have job interviews where the majority of time is spent talking about themselves and their projects.
While I admire the company’s founder and efforts to improve the quality of life, the fact their company is incapable of even any sort of professionalism outside of their retail stores is disappointing. On this note, it’s not a surprise Tesla’s various models have product defects and their overall messaging to the public is nothing more than what Elon Musk says or does.
According to glassdoor.com, the majority of employees say the following about the company:
“Watching the company literally change the world” (in 40 reviews)
“Fast paced environment, surrounded by passionate people” (in 65 reviews)
“Fast-Paced, dynamic work environment with employees that are incredibly enthusiastic about what they do” (in 41 reviews)
“Great company to build incredible experience with” (in 40 reviews)
“Tesla is everything you imagine it could be – amazing people doing cutting edge work” (in 31 reviews)
“work life balance needs improvement” (in 125 reviews)
“Long hours with large work load” (in 126 reviews)
“Absolutely NO work-life balance” (in 32 reviews)
“Upper management in my area created a huge lead-by-fear culture where people were threatened to be fired daily” (in 27 reviews)
“Intern Salary was pretty low compared to other interns in the Bay Area” (in 25 reviews)
Going through Glassdoor, the majority of interviews are largely negative with their HR and interviewers lacking any process or professionalism. It’s really heartbreaking to see such a wonderful brand be damaged by their own internal incompetence and dependence on their founder.
In the past and recently, I have been contacted by recruiters from Michael Page International. In the past I was brought in for an interview and the recruiters did not seem to have bothered looking at my application or my resume before evaluating a list of companies for me. Also, the recruiters gave me an attitude by saying the company I worked for at the time was “nothing” and they were the only gateway to a nice job in New York City. After the interview was over, one of the recruiters mentioned something about me being an “idiot” while leaving the interview room with the other recruiter.
From this experience, I can safely say that the recruitment consultants from Michael Page for mid-career or experienced candidates are unprofessional, ignorant and most of all arrogant. It would not surprise me if these junior recruiters were recent graduates who have cultivated a false sense of sophistication from their first job at Michael Page in New York City or possibly from their employee orientation programme.
This is one of the reasons I tend to dissuade my peers from taking Michael Page International seriously. Their recruiters are arrogant and they will mistreat you if you are not in a middle or executive management role.
Recently, two recruiters from Michael Page had contacting me. One was based in Philadelphia while the other was in Iselin, New Jersey. The person in Philadelphia for some reason assumed I was looking for work in sales in that area despite submitting my resume on MichaelPage.com, Monster.com, and Careerbuilder.com indicating that I am of a marketing and telecom background in several places. Another person called today when I was in the middle of a fire drill also asking if I was in sales.
I asked him nicely to email me the information so I can follow-up, yet he kept trying to collect information. After I reminded him I was busy in a fire drill and asked for the details in an email, he abruptly hung up on me. Again, I would like to point out the piss poor professionalism from the renowned Michael Page International recruitment consultants.
I have been told that these recruitment consultants do not get commissions from successful hires but these kids are acting as if they are under pressure to make quotas and they seem to have little or no training in properly contacting candidates.
I am not sure how the Michael Page International recruitment consultants are in the rest of the world, but I can safely say that the American office was rude, arrogant, and difficult to work with. If you don’t believe me, you can read all the wonderful reviews on glassdoor.com
The article goes on to describe a lawsuit accusing DealDash.com of the following:
- The lawsuit claims that expensive, supposedly high-end products, produced by Galton Voysey, auctioned off on DealDash are not what they seem.
- Several of these brands, such as Bolvaint, Kamikoto, Aava, appear to only be available on DealDash, the brand’s website or on Amazon directly from the brand.
- Most of the brands’ websites are registered in the same way to hide their actual ownership.
- Trademark applications for these brands lists DealDash founder William Wolfram as the chairman of Galton Voysey, the company registering the marks.
- The plaintiff alleges this is all a ruse to sell auction bids for overpriced products supplied by DealDash’s founder
Galton Voysey Background
According to their website:
Galton Voysey is a platform for building, buying and developing consumer product brands. We are home to 28 iconic brands that we have developed or acquired, and extend our professional expertise to a portfolio of global brands. We believe it makes more sense to test early to validate ideas that work and ones that don’t. This gives our operation and design teams a way to experiment with something tangible, gain experience in the process and reapply their learnings in the next iteration. With a proven network of over 140 factories, Galton Voysey builds brands across a broad range of consumer, lifestyle and home goods segments across Europe, US and the world.
Sounds like a normal private company developing and selling private label goods online leveraging manufacturing resources in the Asia-Pacific region with a startup mentality.
However, what is interesting is the background and the involvement of William Wolfram, the owner of DealDash.com and principle investor of Galton Voysey according to InsideRetail Hong Kong:
As it marks its third anniversary, Hong Kong-headquartered online luxury goods retailer Galton Voysey is recruiting more staff and expanding its presence in Mainland China.
Galton Voysey was founded by 28-year-old French woman Marine Aubrée Antikainen and its biggest investor is William Wolfram, 24, who believed the biggest brands of the next 50 years have not yet been built…
…Galton Voysey believes it is disrupting the global luxury goods market with new and fresh thinking, in many cases helping brands go direct from factory to consumer through their own brand websites.
According to LinkedIn, Marine Antikainen is listed as a co-founder while William Wolfram is both chairman and investor of Galton Voysey. Oddly enough, William Wolfram is not listed on the website and the majority of Galton’s partners are mostly law firms. These are the other companies listed as partners
- The Loft Studio, – The Loft Studio does not cite Galton Voysey or its brands as clients. However, it is likely this company produced the photos seem on the company website and for its brands under NDAs.
- Vistra – Vistra is a company providing “tailored trust, fiduciary, fund and corporate services”. It is likely they are supporting Galton with various offshore financing and related services.
- A partner with a magnifying glass and letters “AI” as its brand logo.
The rest of the website is somewhat vague on their actual work aside from a sizzle reel about the office culture and a press release announcing the company’s 3rd year of existence.
Galton Voysey Brands & DealDash.com
According to the US Patent and Trademark Office, Galton Voysey filed trademarks for its brands: Schultz, Wilson & Miller, Verdict, New Haven, The Barrel Shack, Kamikoto in 2016. However, Galton brands such as Bolvaint was trademarked by IPIF Limited, which was formed last July, while brands such as Ashlynn Avenue, Aava, Cate & Chloe, Bardenshire do not appear to have any trademarks.
According to TINA.org:
DealDash.com positively describes and endorses products that are auctioned on its
website. Some of these products are sold by companies that DealDash founder William Wolfram is the Chairman of, a fact that is not disclosed to consumers in any DealDash marketing materials. For example, during any 24-hour period, at least 40% of DealDash auctions are for products made and sold by:
There is a clear conflict of interest when a major investor and chairman of Galton Voysey is also selling the company’s brands on DealDash.com, which is also owned by the same person. It is even more questionable when this strong connection is not disclosed to the public.
The Brands Examined
While the brands appear to have quality products when examined at face value, things are not what they seem. Galton Voysey’s marketing team and growth hackers have done a great job promoting these brands with a combination of paid Facebook likes, reviews by vloggers and blogs that are either paid or provided based on free products, compelling brand videos and standard SEO.
Although these brands appear to be private label brands one would expect to find online or at a premium retailer such as Macy’s, the pricing strategy for the various products suggests they should be treated as premium or luxury items, despite the relatively new brand development and limited brand history. What is even more interesting is that these brand have products that have pages of positive reviews without really describing much about the products.
I’ve had three major Galton Voysey brands, Kamikoto, Bolvaint, and The Barrel Shack, submitted to FakeSpot.com, which scans for unreliable or fake product reviews. Below are the general results:
Fakespot has analyzed 6 products and 267 reviews for Kamikoto products.The Fakespot algorithm considers 60.0% of those reviews to be unreliable.
The Fakespot grade is based on reviews of products listed on Amazon with Kamikoto as the company name.
Fakespot has analyzed 5 products and 21 reviews forBolvaint products.The Fakespot algorithm considers 20.0% of those reviews to be unreliable.
The Fakespot grade is based on reviews of products listed on Amazon with Bolvaint as the company name.
Fakespot has analyzed 8 products and 148 reviews forThe Barrel Shack products.The Fakespot algorithm considers 60.0%of those reviews to be unreliable.
The Fakespot grade is based on reviews of products listed on Amazon with The Barrel Shack as the company name.
When reviewing the websites, it appears nearly all the Galton Voysey brands have the same website layout from Shopify, and relatively limited contact information. The Bolvaint website claims to have an office that is occupied by Patek Phillipe, while the Kamikoto brand doesn’t have a Japanese website, its return address is in a residential area, the brand site is hosted in the USA, and apparently the knives are made in China (which is unheard of for artisanal Japanese knives). The lack of real information behind the brands and brand history is a recurring pattern among the Galton Voysey brands.
While Galton Voysey initially appears to be a private company developing and selling private label brands, it is merely a tool for DealDash.com to promote overpriced products to unsuspecting customers. The fact the William Wolfram is involved in both companies without full disclosure, the limited information available for Galton Voysey, the strange trademarking process for the Galton brands, and irregular product reviews make the entire arrangement extremely questionable if not an outright scam.
Despite some glowing reviews by unsuspecting vloggers and blogs, none of the brands promoted by Galton Voysey can actually justify their prices due to their lack of history, actual reputation, or product quality in certain cases. I would have no issues with their brands if they were actually being produced and sold as private label brands to leading retailers as implied in their mission statement and official interviews. However, the reality is that they are primarily pushed through DealDash.com at inflated prices and placed on Amazon.com and their own brand websites to create the perception they are actual products.
For more details on the lawsuit – see https://consumermediallc.files.wordpress.com/2017/04/dealdash.pdf
For latest updates from TruthinAdvertising.org – see https://www.truthinadvertising.org/dealdash-status-updates/
The Asian-American Community is its own Worst Enemy
By Ronald Chiang
I’ve been following online sentiment and Asian-Americans at large seem to be interested in the following:
- Issues surrounding ethnic identity
- Issues related to systematic exclusion in society
It seems that the majority of Asian-Americans dwell on their identity. On one hand, they tend to do what they can to fit in with the majority population, whether it is just learning to be a monolingual English speaker, studying a eurocentric view of Asian history, or trying hard to fit in.
For whatever reason, many Asian-Americans chose to pursue a monolingual existence with English being their native or primary language. They tend to not like speaking their cultural language (Chinese, Vietnamese, Gujarati) over some misguided attempt to fit in with the majority non-Asian peers in school or because they believe they are superior by virtue of living in the USA.
Then later in life, they lament about having a narrow life experience because they cannot pursue other professional opportunities due to a lack of knowledge in an Asian language or some sense of regret that they’ve compromised themselves.
Like most people, history in the United States for Asian-Americans is taught from a western standpoint often with the general concept that much of the US, Canada and Europe are rich and free while the rest of the world is poor and dependent on the USA for their futures. As a result, enough Asian-Americans grow up believing they are again superior by virtue of living in the United States and develop a tendency to look down on their unamericanized Asian peers.
Again, as they get older and learn about reality being Asian-American, they regret being indoctrinated in such a falsehood and sometimes overcompensate with zealous support of their native country (China, Korea) in such a manner, including but not limiting to nationalism, and apologism, that they make native citizens of those places seem unpatriotic.
Then lastly, like their parents and other immigrants, many Asian-Americans work too hard to “make it” in the USA by becoming financially secure and often compromise themselves to fit in. Some ways they’ve done this is by embracing the Model Minority stereotype, which implies that Asian-Americans will be accepted and fit in American society if they choose to become leading professionals in Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics (STEM) and avoid social issues of “undesirable minorities” like African-Americans and Latinos.
They’ve also persuaded the rest of the country that they do not need diversity programmes like other minorities because they’re superior Model Minorities and they can work hard to go anywhere. In extreme cases, they’ve gone out of their way to support Affirmative Action with calls to minimise Asian students to an absolute quantity in favour of diversity for everyone else (including White students).
Not surprisingly, because of the Asian-American community’s apathy and distance from diversity initiatives and the willingness of their majority to hold back their own community in favour of other groups, American society at large became indifferent to social issues in the Asian-American community ranging from dismissing Asians with personal struggles as “rejects” to simply keeping Asian-American media portrayals to an absolute minimum.
When the Asian-American community complains as a whole, the majority population does not take their calls seriously due to their ongoing claims of being Model Minorities, their willingness to put the interests of everyone else above their own community and their general need to stay inoffensive when faced with major social issues.
While it would be unfair to generalise the Asian-American community, the majority of individuals with such values tend to be those from California living in suburbs with upper-middle incomes, from families with university degrees, and have a misguided sense of social justice that involves letting everyone else benefit at their own expense.
These people are the reasons why no meaningful change has occurred among the Asian-American community due to outlandish fears of being grouped with the other minority groups, which often motivates them to avoid “rocking the boat” and an ongoing misguided belief that conforming to an untrue stereotype is the only way to succeed for a place in the USA.
Also, with the growth of social media and online forums these same individuals that often conform to stereotypes usually overcompensate for their perceived shortcomings by resorting to worshipping, if not cheerleading, events in their families’ ancestral country where they have no actual connection to their daily lives other than their ethnicity and known family history. Examples of this involve Chinese-Americans supporting China’s decision to restrict foreign NGOs or build artificial islands in disputed waters.
Frankly, I am frustrated by all of you Asian-Americans for being walking stereotypes that resort to passive and weak methods to overcompensate for a lack of self-respect and ignorance in their actual history. Moreover, any suggestions that Asian-Americans can improve their standing within the community through self-respect, understanding of their culture (bilingualism, history), and being assertive in society are often dismissed, invalidated and rejected by the majority who believe in conforming for the sake of pleasing others.
With that in mind, I honestly do not expect any meaningful change in the perception and treatment of the Asian-American community by Asian-Americans themselves and by other Americans in my lifetime.
Do you believe Hong Kong needs a new English language news source? Launching in June, Hong Kong Free Press is an independent news outlet seeking to unite critical voices at a vital time in the city’s constitutional development.
Through our links with Chinese media partners, HKFP strives to bridge the language barrier and raise local and global understanding of Hong Kong issues in the post-Occupy era. Our launch is well-timed, coming amid rising concerns over the decline of press freedom in the territory.
A much-needed voice:
With a fast, visual, multimedia design, HKFP will launch with a focus on local breaking news, showcasing translated and viral content while providing a direct platform to expert progressive voices, citizen contributors and advocacy groups.
As a not-for-profit business, HKFP will become more sustainable over time with multiple revenue streams. As we grow, we aim to offer more comment and analysis, investigative journalism, regional coverage and explainers.
Reporters Without Borders, the Committee to Protect Journalists, the International Federation of Journalists, Hong Kong Journalists Association and Pen America have all reported on the recent decline of press freedom in Hong Kong. With attacks on journalists, advertisers withdrawing from media critical of the establishment along with the existential pressures facing the wider industry, it is ever more vital that the territory has an independent platform for critical voices to be heard.
In addition to highlighting the lack of plurality in the local media landscape, the Umbrella Movement protests exposed a gap between the Chinese and English media. Some stories, themes and angles featured in the Chinese media were missed or ignored by the English press – other stories took days to be reported on.
Purpose of crowdfunding and how will the funds be used:
We are seeking to raise HK$150,000 to
- Complete our website and populate it with content ready for launch.
- Create a mobile news app for iPhone and Android.
- Sustain two frontline reporters for two months to oversee our launch period.
Every HK$50,000 over our target will help sustain us for one extra month.
May-June : Crowdfunding
Late June : Official launch of Hong Kong Free Press
Background of project owner
Tom Grundy is the founder and co-director of Hong Kong Free Press. His team consists of:
Are you a real American? It depends on who you ask
by Stephen M. Moh
“Why would anyone leave the USA?” wrote a friend on Facebook recently, beside a picture of a beautiful sunset beaming on the Golden Gate Bridge.
“Why does everyone leave the US?” might have been a more pertinent question.
Since my parents moved to this land of opportunity and freedom 30 years ago, my friendship circle has changed countless times, as fellow Asian-Americans move back home after college or leave for the expat life.
The years of pop culture; efficient transport; diverse foods; beaches; socials; and family just weren’t enough to make the USA the One.
Although, obviously, many Asian-Americans do end up staying, why do so many Asian-Americans leave after their parents’ sacrifices? Is there a fundamental reason for this trail of break-ups?
When watching a youtube clip for “Mistresses”, many commenters kept praising Yunjin Kim for her excellent English as a Korean.
Only Yunjin Kim wasn’t a foreigner; she grew up in Staten Island, New York with US citizenship.
“But she’s not an American,” some responded when others pointed out she is American. “She grew up here and her husband is Asian-American,” I argued. Her status, they said, would depend on how deeply she actually connected with American”culture”.
What is an American then, if not someone raised in the US and naturalized?
In the multicultural British capital, a Londoner can be of any skin color, eat any type of food and have a mother tongue other than English. To describe a British-born man with Indian parents, say, as a “foreigner” might well spark a riot.
If a lifetime spent in the US can’t make you an American, if the children you might have here can’t access that identity (at least, not in the eyes of some), perhaps this country – despite the idea of opportunity and freedom that welcomed our parents – isn’t a natural place to call home, after all.
In two days, Americans will unite and celebrate July 4th, full of pride, with parades. Across the ocean, Hong Kongers commemorated July 1st – the city’s Establishment Day since the 1997 handover – in an entirely different fashion: divided, and for many, filled with anger and shame.
On one end, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying stared onto the flags of China and Hong Kong, as the Chinese national anthem is played in the background, and will sure enjoy an extravagant firework display across the Victoria Harbour later that evening.
For Leung, his bureaucrats, and (no doubt) many patriots, July 1st is of as great significance as the Independence Day to Americans. But for all that, Leung has distanced himself further away from people across the aisle, who took the streets of the city under an uncanny storm to show their discontent towards, amongst all things, China’s vision for the city’s political future.
A resolute march
Tens of thousands of citizens went on a protest to support the pro-democracy call to make the next Chief Executive election in 2017 to meet international standards for democracy. The protest, in the form of a march through Hong Kong’s Central district, is an annual event to voice citizens’ mixed demands of democracy, universal suffrage, rights of racial and sexual minorities as well as to show resentment towards the administration in Hong Kong and it’s puppet masters in China.
The number of participants is expected to match or exceed the benchmark set in 2003 when a crowd of 500,000 marched in light of a proposed anti-subversion law, Article 23, combined with the fact that the government handled SARS poorly. Prior to that, 1.5 million gathered sympathising the victims of 1989 Tiananmen Square protests in China during its immediate aftermath.
Turnout this year is proliferated by a recent white paper from China which said that Hong Kong’s autonomy under ‘one country, two systems’ is restricted and comes solely from the authorisation of the leadership in Beijing. This document exacerbated the effects of the city official’s misplaced economic priorities (which are, themselves, shortcoming) and repeated, bureaucratic call for ‘stability’ coupled by words (but not action) of ‘trying hard to forge consensus’.
Change is desperate
Many citizens also feel misrepresented by the parliament of Hong Kong which, because nearly half its seats are only open to a small number of voters belonging to an assigned professional or special interest group, is largely occupied by pro-Beijing legislator. Though even the most outspoken patriot amongst these legislators silent this night and refused to defend Leung’s unhurried political reform on television amidst strong opposition voice.
Leung’s legitimacy is no better than the parliament’s because he was elected by a 1200-small council which makes up for a pitiful 0.017% of Hong Kong’s population. This council is also largely occupied by special interest groups and thus, unlike the rest of Hong Kong, has a strong Beijing-bias; in the most recent 2012 vote Leung received a mere 689 votes because of infighting within the pro-Beijing representatives combined with infidelity reports of his opponent, not because there was genuine competition.
Protesters are numbed by the state’s failure to deliver change which had momentum back in 2012 but fell quickly on its feet due to officials’ successful delaying tactics. Many feel that the government is unable to deliver and consequently their altitude has been radicalised despite the fact that Hong Kong is by tradition a socially conservative city and intolerant towards change, particularly among its large elder population.
Young student groups are among those which are radicalised. Scholarism, led by 17-year-old Joshua Wong, has emerged in 2011 when the group opposed a proposed scheme of ‘Moral and National Education’ which aimed to elevate patriotism amongst youngsters but in its textbooks included bias and often fictitious language that favoured the Communist Party of China.
An uncertain future
This frightened the public and brought politically inexperienced students to the front stage of opposition through speeches and silent protests. Three years has passed that even but when Beijing insisted that the next Chief Executive to be ‘patriotic’ recently, fear of a Communist crackdown reignited. Only this time it is met with an increasingly aggressive crowd.
Growing in number and strength, strong believers of democracy such as professor Benny Tai sponsored a plan of civil disobedience as their last resort if they fail to achieve their goals. Some 10,000 citizens are organising sit-in protest in Central which will cripple Hong Kong’s financial district. The student group Scholarism has planned for a trial run of such occupy movement after today’s protest and they fully expect to be arrested.
It will be a shame if government’s neglect is met with violence and violence is met with arrests in order for progress to be made. The first of its kind, Hong Kong’s ‘one country, two systems’ promised 50 years of autonomy and is designed to make the city flourish economically as well as socially and politically, and act as a shining example for Taiwan – which China wants to overpower under a similar system but has gotten nowhere – and to the world.
America will mark their 238th anniversary of independence on Friday; Hong Kong’s political system is only 17 years old. Yet the city is already exceedingly divided and politicised, and a gloomy future seems set for the three decades ahead.
Could anybody out there give me a quick introduction to the Hong Kong government and its political landscape? I’ve always had the impression it had a democracy and there are like dozens of political parties in the city.
Hong Kong is a semi-autonomous city that is a Special Administrative Region (SAR) within China under the Basic Law (HK’s mini-constitution). In essence, Hong Kong SAR is semi-democratic since it does not have universal suffrage, a basic tenet of a democracy.
The Chief Executive, currently CY Leung, is the head of the government in Hong Kong SAR and is answerable directly to Beijing.
According to the Basic Law, the Chief Executive (CE) must be a Chinese citizen who is a permanent resident of the HKSAR with no right of abode in any foreign country. The person must be at least 40 years old, and has ordinarily resided in Hong Kong for a continuous period of no less than 20 years
The Chief Executive is elected by 1200 members drawn from functional constituencies and government officials. There are no direct elections for the CE post as explained below:
However, because so many of the functional constituency parties are instructed by Beijing for whom to vote, the outcome was already known regardless of televised debates and campaigning.
Hong Kong also has a unicameral legislature popularly called the LegCo, or Legislative Council. The LegCo consists of 70 elected members with a fixed 4-year term. Lawmakers in the LegCo, are either elected by direct elections for the 35 seats representing geographical constituencies (districts) or by functional constituencies representing professional or special interest groups (numbering around 230000) for the other 35 seats in the 70-seat LegCo.
The major functions of the LegCo are to enact, amend or repeal laws, check and approve budgets, approve taxation and public expenditure, and review the work of the government. Due to the design of the Legislative Council, the majority of elected officials tend to be from pro-Beijing political parties or groupings, which often work together for corporate-government interests.
Currently, two groups are fighting for influence in the Hong Kong SAR government:
Pro-Beijing coalition: political parties united by the political ideology of being closer to Beijing government, but differ on other issues. Since the handover, the Pro-Beijing camp have never lost being the majority in the LegCo, thanks to support from functional constituents and collaboration among the Pro-Beijing parties. Notable parties include the DAB (Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong), Liberal Party, and FTU (Federation of Trade Unions).
Pan-Democrats: political parties united by calls for democratic reform, universal suffrage and human rights. Pan-Democrats are often labelled an “opposition camp” by various groups and media aligned with the mainland Chinese government, since the Pan-Democrats goal run counter to values promoted by the Chinese Communist Party. Recently, 27 democratic legislators formed the Alliance for True Democracy, a formal coalition to show solidarity for genuine democracy. Notable parties include the Democratic Party, Civic Party, and People Power.