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The controversy of possible review of our poverty line, youth hostel and one that might damage the Man Mo Temple, Hong Kong's historic buildings and are they here to stay? (30 Apr 2016)

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 As the cliché goes, the poor are always with us. But just how many of them are there? It depends who you ask. Last weekend, after spending an hour or two at a poverty simulation workshop, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying declared that a three-generation family of five should be able to survive on HK$9,000 a month and still put money aside for a rainy day. Netizens and critics were quick to respond, saying, and this is at the polite end of their remarks, that he was more than a bit out of touch. Other officials insist many of elderly people are secret millionaires, “asset rich but cash poor”. The government also says that there are far fewer residents living in subdivided flats than the widely quoted estimate of 190,000 people. Meanwhile the waiting list for public housing was at a record high of 285,300 applicants last year. A leaked document has revealed that the government was thinking of a new way to slash Hong Kong’s poverty problem by using the old politician’s trick of playing about with the numbers. The growing discontent among Hong Kong’s young people is obvious. It’s been manifested on the streets, and more recently with the formation of political parties. Beijing seems aware of the problem. It has repeatedly asked the SAR to give more help to the young. This may explain why, in his recent Policy Address, the Chief Executive set aside HK$300 million for a Youth Development Fund. There are also plans to build four residential projects for young people in Sheung Wan, Tai Po, Mong Kok and Jordan. But the idea has run into problems. The Sheung Wan project risks overshadowing the 169-year old Man Mo Temple. In part one we looked at concerns over the future of the historic Man Mo Temple compound. Hong Kong wants tourists, but if they’re looking for signs of local heritage there is less and less for them to see. Some old monuments are given a facelift and turned into shopping malls, expensive restaurants or hotels. But it seems that if there’s no way for them to turn a profit they may just be designated as “graded buildings”, a protection status that means very little. It’s not just buildings that can’t escape the fate of the bulldozer. Even farmland is threatened. Since 1996, villagers in Ma Shi Po have been battling Henderson Land, which now owns 80% of the land. Early this week, the developers sent in bulldozers and security guards to seize the land. We’ll leave you with those images and hopefully see you next week.

Program: 
The Pulse
Publish Date: 
Saturday, April 30, 2016
Station: 
RTHK
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