香港新浪網 MySinaBlog
劉廼強 | 30th Aug 2008 | SCMP | (75 Reads)

For a long time, the Civic Party lobbied very hard to allow only “academic institutions” to do exit polls during elections. This is an untenable practice never to be found anywhere else in the world. Moreover, by “academic institution”, everybody knows they mean the Hong Kong University Public Opinion Programme (HKUPOP), which, incidentally is not an academic institution at all. This is an outright commercial enterprise with Dr. Chung Ting-yiu as the boss, and it does almost all the opinion polls for the dissidents. The impartiality of HKUPOP polls is therefore always in question.

In fact, it was the dissidents who first made use of exit polls for their strategic voting manoeuvres. Should they be successful in banning others doing exit polls, they will be able to monopolize this very effective weapon in electioneering. But this outrageously ludicrous arrangement did not gain support from the public, and was not included in the current election by-laws. Now that anybody can freely do exit polls, the dissidents then dreamt up another even more moronic proposal. A campaign has been launched on the web asking voters to tell exit polls they have voted the pro-establishment DAB to mislead the results. Somebody should warn them, by confusing the exit poll results, all sides would be misled, including they themselves. Obviously such a stupid scheme cannot catch on.

What else will these people think of next? When the crunch comes, all gloves are off, and our “academic institution” does not even bother to put on a token façade. Dr. Chung said instead of releasing his exit poll results at 9:00pm when the election is about to end and there is nothing anybody can do about it, he is going to do it twice during the day, at 12:30 noon, and 5:00pm as well to his commercial sponsors whose staff he thinks will keep a secret. This time, even some dissident candidates who might not be accessible to the early releases, probably through some undisclosed channels, yell foul play.

One thing is for sure, the wind does not bode too well for the dissident candidates in this election. However, as befitting politicians, they will do everything just to win. Now that they no longer have anything to sell, they rely on spin-doctors and tricks. Whoever they do not like, they just say, “He/she is being supported by the Liaison Office (of the Central Government).” Just a label, and there is absolutely no further substantiation and evidence. When this does not work, they resort to a recent tactic to declare “Anson Chan/Martin Lee supports me” .

Anson Chan, on her part, apart from running all over the territory to lend her invaluable support to her picked candidates, is to release her version of “Hong Kong core value”. Presumably, any candidate who does not pledge allegiance to this Anson Doctrine is to be outcast by the voters.

Forgive me if I sound a bit old-fashioned, I just don’t see how anybody can be a prominent backer of one side of the match, a rule maker, and an umpire at the same time and claim to act impartially. For someone who is still under the shadow of the 100% mortgage scandal, it sounds highly hypocritical for Anson Chan to condemn collusion between government and big business and the mutual exchange of benefits. I cannot help myself laughing.

On the other hand, I am really glad that our dissidents stoop so low to avoid defeat. Doing so they single-handedly shatter any illusion about their brand of democracy, and what will happen should they come to power through an election. As a result, despite cut-throat competition, the turn-out rate is going to be not as high as four years ago, and the dissidents will lose seats in the new session of Legislative Council. They only have themselves to blame.

Will I see you at the polling station?


劉廼強 | 26th Aug 2008 | 信報 | (59 Reads)

奧運結束,回來看看立法會選舉。

從過去五星期的競選氣氛看來,這次立法會的選舉,首先是一場大混戰,五個選區都有很多條名單。但另一方面,因為選舉制度的內在規律,不管怎樣,幾個大黨手上第一個議席已是囊中之物,只爭第二個議席而已。某一些名單,則未戰已知必輸。而最後一個議席,卻不知落在誰手,而往往是相差數百票定輸贏。所以可以說,每個選區,真的要打拼的,只有一個席位,不可能有太多的意外和驚喜。再加上今次選舉,建制派和反對派雙方都沒有重大議題,而反對派內部協調機制全面崩潰,外部環境又對他們不利,因而這次選舉的氣氛,一開始就十分單薄,這十二天如不搞點新意思,恐怕選民全悶死。開始時最突出的人物,反而是宣佈了不參加選舉的陳安方生。她以支持「年青人」參選為己任,全力為公民黨助選,和選擇性和敷衍性為民主黨助選,但也明顯後勁不繼。

我敢說是第一個指出香港政壇需要大力年青化的評論員。但是從目前的參選情況看來,建制派和反對派年青政客參選熱情高漲,甚至有人敢於打破協調機制,踴躍參選,這樣才出現眾多名單的現象。但如上分析,結果肯定仍是一大堆「老東西」在那裡,建制派只能出一個,挺多兩個青年典型。反對派喊得大聲,而且還有陳方安生在做騷,但結果不會多於一個青年樣板。反差這樣大,是值得我們三思的。

首先,台上這些「老東西」們,也確實太老了,沒幾個不是知了天命的。其次,他們也霸着毛坑太久了。先不說前朝時代了,回歸後立法會三屆共十年的任期中,共有三十三名議員一路連任至今。因為他們霸着不走的緣故,三十五至五十歲的政客斷層明顯出現,雙方陣營都是如此。

表面看來,反對派中通過了民主黨的李柱銘,催生了比較年青的公民黨出來。但是正正因為如此,公民黨的第二線政客,肯定要望穿秋水,等到十多二十年後,又有可能像今天民主黨的第二線政客般,忍耐不住要造反,還不能殺出重圍。事實上,要不是因為某一線人物患了病,上述的青年典型,還冒不出頭來,排上第一位。

與之相比,民建聯是明知「大佬」們來日無多,撐得一屆撐不了兩三屆,終於下定決心,要培訓下一個梯隊,並且有序交班。只不過今天準備不足,而且本屆一席也不能少,才被迫繼續以老將上陣。這從民建聯的名單最長達八個候選人,最短也有四個(本來五個,其中一個所報地址不符而喪失資格),可見一斑。公民黨則是標準型:三個。而民主黨則最短只有一個候選人,最長七個。

在名單上排老二的,絕少機會能出線當選,再後的更不用說了,機會等於零。所以一般都叫他們作「樁腳」,是抬轎的,他們大都是區內的民選區議員。坐轎的需要轎夫,這容易理解,但堂堂民選區議員,竟然甘願抬轎,就需要研究一下了。很明顯,區議員的當選,所屬的黨給予不少資源,除了盡黨內義務作反饋之外,他們也想增加選舉的經驗,讓有朝一日能排在名單的頭位,並且能成功出線。如上分析,表面看來,反對派較年青,也較容易吸引年青人,但如果它們黨內的文化不變,以往的情況將會重覆:被吸引的「少壯派」很快便快便覺得出頭無望而流失或分裂。

所以,年青化有如民主化,是要身體力行,而不能只整天到晚掛在唇上,光說不練的。我一早就在這裡指出:反對派也好、建制派也好,如真要新人上位,就把他們放在名單的第一位。這樣做,首先對雙方來說,都是零風險。因為對民建聯、工聯會、自由黨、民主黨、公民黨來說,這一個議席,不論誰出來選,都是十拿九穩的。新人排頭位,好處是他必然會去盡,而排第二位的老將為了保持席位,也不能不盡力。這一安排,起碼有兩個候選人會出全力,是坐一望二之局。但是如老將排第一位,他毋須努力,席位已經到手拿來,而排第二位的新血,明知努力也不會有結果,充其量只會做好「樁腳」。加起來只有不到一個人的力量起作用。各大黨捨坐一望二的只有贏面,絕無風險的策略而不取,保守地只求一席,我除了打一個大問號之外,就只有搖頭。年青的「樁腳」如還有什麼期望,那是痴心妄想。

如我是四十五歲以下有志從政的區議員,我會丟掉幻想,籌劃四年之後,自己務必排頭位參選。不得已的話,退黨也要這樣做。因為如不硬把舞台上的「老東西」們推走,他們自己是堅決不會走下台的。推不倒他們,只能怨自己沒本事。連這動作都不做,是太沒有志氣了。這次競選,我們就看到一個毅然退黨,力爭其參選權的中年好漢。我不管他的政治理念如何,這為自己的理想而冒死突圍的勇氣,是值得我們敬佩的。他這一英勇行為,必將於四年之後激起一片換代的風氣。

為了讓年青一輩有更大的空間,我在這裡推薦新世紀論壇的政改方案。這方案於去年初提出,建議今年起步。今年改不了,現將其延伸至下一屆開始:

二零一二年 (六十加十席)

  • 立法會議席增至七十席,地區直選及功能組別各增加五席。
  • 新增的五個功能組別全歸區議員功能組別,即區議會功能組別增至六席。

二零一六年 (七十加十席)

  • 立法會議席增至八十席,地區直選及功能組別各增加五席。
  • 新增的五個功能組別全歸區議員功能組別,即區議會功能組別增至十一席。
  • 取消立法會分組投票的安排。

二零二零年 (八十席)

  • 取消所有功能組別議席。
  • 立法會議席維持在八十席,全部由分區直選產生。

我曾公開的說過,根據目前的規定,立法會一次過消滅功能組別議席,等於要求一半的議員決定集體自殺,是辦不到的。但是如果要分批取消的話,就存在一定要別人比我先走的考慮,同樣難以達致共識。這一先以區議會議席沖淡了功能組別議席,到分區議席十分接近三分之二時,一舉消滅功能議席的構思,是我所見唯一能順利由立法會三分之二通過消除功能組別議席,同時又能符合人大決議二零二零年實行立法會的建議。因為到了二零一六年,立法會內已有五十個直接或間接來自分區直選的議員,而當時立法會三分之二通過消除功能組別議席,只須五十三票。而這建議又能有序地釋放大量空間讓新人參政,區議員這回千萬不要再讓「大佬」們再次把它否決掉了。


劉廼強 | 24th Aug 2008 | SCMP | (196 Reads)

As a small island economy, Hong Kong cannot be immune from the global inflation and the looming economic downturn. The poor is going to be the hardest hit.

The income disparity of Hong Kong is quite well-known, with its Gini coefficient rising to 0.533 in 2006, which is quite high by any standard. According to official acknowledgment, there are some 800,000 people living below the poverty line. Of these, about half is already enjoying Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) of about HK$3,750 of per capita per month, and with all their basic needs covered for free. For a family of 4, CSSA would amount to over HK$11,000.

The other half falls into the category of “working poor”. Some work for a pathetic wage of less than HK$20 per hour. That is, should they work 8 hours a day, 30 days a month, a family of 4 with both parents working can only earn HK$9,600. This family will be better off not working and applying for welfare instead.

If the government is not going to do anything about this unreasonable imbalance, when prices keep on rising, more people will lose their determination to work and be tempted to apply for CSSA. This is what any rational person is supposed to do. Out of the 400,000 working poor, should a mere 5% opt for this easy solution, the government will have to spend HK$1 billion extra each year to support CSSA.

These 400,000 who are determined to be self-supporting have earned the common respect of Hong Kong citizens, because we all suffer varying degrees of hardship under rising inflation. Not many people will object to our government making effort to assist them through the hard times.

There are existing schemes to subsidize food and transportation for the poor with minimum red tape and administrative costs. Based on the mechanisms of these successful schemes, we can subsidize the family members of the working poor to the tune of HK$200 per person per month. In the above example of a family of 4, a total subsidy of HK$800 will add about 10% to their earned income, and will bring them closer to the income of comparable CSSA families. To cover all 400,000 of the working poor, again a total outlay of HK$1 billion is sufficient. This is the most cost-effective measure even if we only judge it from the angle of preventing more people applying for CSSA. For comparison, the government controversial subsidy for our electric bill has already amounted to HK$4.4 billion.

Subsidies are temporary measures, which can go either up or down, or even be cancelled when the need is no longer there. Should inflation continue the top-up subsidies can be raised to HK$300, then HK$400 per person. However, the radical solution lies in instituting minimum wage, and maximum working hours.

The voluntary minimum wage arrangement proves to be a failure, and according to the commitment of the Chief Executive Donald Tsang, there will be legislation in the coming months. To make it really effective, this should be instituted across the board, with the exception of foreign workers. The mainland, Taiwan and all our neighbouring countries all have minimum wage and maximum work hour requirements. With the exception of the mainland, the rest are all capitalistic economies, and they are all thriving.

If our future development still relies on such blatant exploitation, this is going to be counter-productive. A US$30,000 per capita economy cannot be built on sweat shops. Instead we should strive for knowledge, innovation and excellence, which simply cannot be achieved through working for extremely long hours on appallingly low wages. The Donald Tsang administration led by practising a 5-day week, but went short of mandating it. As a result, our banks tried to follow, but recanted after a short trial period. It takes guts and determination to break old habits and push through reforms.


劉廼強 | 19th Aug 2008 | 信報 | (69 Reads)

奧運我們終於辦過了,賽事才過了一半,已可肯定拿到大破紀錄的金牌;接着來的殘奧,只是餘韻。奧運十六天的風光之後,中國要回過頭來,面對內外殘酷的現實。

璀璨之後的反高潮,本來已是意料之中,只是內外形勢,也確實變得太快和太壞了。奧運開幕式當中,格魯吉亞跟俄羅斯就幹起來了,而伊朗附近的海域,一支美國為首的龐大艦艇,現正在演習中,氣氛十分詭異。經過奧運之後,中國即便是自覺上,也要當上負責任的大國角色,和隨之而來的各種包袱。負責任的大國也者,就是要把這世界推動往好的方向發展。這在平常的日子中,已經並非容易的任務。如今二戰之後的世界秩序,包括金融、貿易、能源、糧食、環境等,全部一起解體。種種跡象反映,美國已因其揮霍無度和歐盟及中國的崛起,再難保持其支配全球經濟的獨霸地位。中國也有一大堆自己的內部政治、經濟、社會、安全等問題,在這環境當中,已經自顧不下,還要利己利人,其難度可想而知。

面對當前全球新形勢,我國一方面要在短期設計應付在各種危機底下,美國經濟衰退,以及由此引致全球經濟衰退的預防措施。另一方面,更要設計如何適應美、歐、中鼎立,和日本、俄羅斯、印度、巴面等多元推動的經濟新局面。於未來這兩年,中國要集中力量,保持社會穩定,經濟維持健康增長。為了達致這目標,不管外邊有多大的壓力,該幹的事情,就要幹;該頂住的,就頂住。於此同時,堅持改革開放,敢於實驗,敢於創新。但改革開放本身不是目的,對外開放要以我為主,以民為本。

在這惡劣的形勢底下,我們毫無選擇,首先要自救,之後才能救世界。當前我國對內首要之務,我較早已提出,是一大力反貪,以提高政府威信,促進社會平穩和諧;二是貫徹大部委改革,以大振領導威信,大增政府效率;三是真正落實科學發展觀的範式轉移和「十一五」的內容,尤其是啟動內需和致力自主創新,以及建設節約型社會和循環型經濟。1事實上,這三點都是既定政策,按道理應該都在進行中,毋須費時用勁去醞釀和準備,只要求加猛和加速,認真落實攻堅,而且都有立竿見影的經濟、社會和政治效益。這三點如能做好,那怕外邊狂風暴雨,中國這邊只會更加陽光燦爛,經濟維持百份之八左右的增長。

以我國立場來說,回歸自力更生這經濟發展健康的立足點,趁勢大力全面啟動內部消費,這一思路是與「十一五規劃」和「十七大」精神完全一致的。當前我國經濟失衡,積累了大量外匯,對國計民生,都一無好處。在「以人為本」的指導思想底下,可以清楚看到問題的根源在於貧富懸殊,整體消費不足:富的不願消費、中產不敢消費、基層無力消費。所造成的生產力過剩,只能通過往海外市場低價作割喉式傾銷來解決。毛利微薄,企業沒有足夠累積作提升創新,只能繼續依靠血淚工場、粗放浪費、破壞環境、大量污染來維持。現在如加快從「三農」和流入都市的外勞這些佔了人口過半的弱勢社群的收入和福利入手,再搞好城市的教育、醫療、社會保障等福利措施,內部消費一下子便會起來。任由它國際經濟風高浪急,我國的經濟持續發展已經有了基本的保障,朝着「要好要快」的方向走,通過經濟發展帶動社會發展、生態保育,最終提高人民的福祉。

對外則較為複雜,首先是山雨欲來,形勢險峻,但我們能夠起作用的着力點不多,摃杆不夠力。另一方面,我們毫無經驗,暫時只有一些基本原則和指導思想,便要無可奈何地馬上進入負責任大國的角色。我們需要清楚的認識到,這次的全球秩序從崩潰至重整,是一個漫長而痛苦的過程。只要在未來這一兩年中國能站穩腳步,不被狂潮所沖倒,在全球滿目瘡痍的情況底下,自然一枝獨秀,而且到處都是機遇。

從過去一年的風風雨雨看來,現行這個國際金融制度是為美國,尤其是美國幾個跨國寡頭服務的一個國際大騙局。尤其是一到緊急關頭,什麼理論,什麼原則,都可以棄而不顧,行政介入,本國利益至上,財團利益至上。連像我這本來就不相信自由經濟的人,都看得目定口呆。

以匯率為例,日本於「廣場協議」被逼急升匯率,之後倒霉了十年,至今依然一撅不振。這教訓我們已經深受警惕。尤其是今天國際上天文數字的外匯交易,其實際的國際貿易基礎,只不過是微小的百份之一。在此之上,還有這數字幾十倍的各種天天新款的衍生工具。但是這些虛擬和極具賭博性的交易所構成的流動性(liquidity),卻實實在在的成了人民幣匯率的巨大壓力,影響着十多億人實實在在的生計。這個制度的公平性和合理性,橫看豎看,也找不出多少。我們如不看透這制度,盲目追求全面開放,與國際接軌,簡直是自招滅亡。

十年前,堅固的防火牆擋住國際金融風暴,不但維護了改革開放的成果,更開拓了與東盟國家的密切關係。這十年來,由於種種原因,這幢防火牆的功能已經大為削弱,對於即將來臨的風暴,我們只能盡力做好防風措施,並且期望它不要來臨。一旦受襲,種種措施是否還能抵擋得住,之後會有多大損失等,需要於風暴過後才能知曉。此刻,我國的金融改革和外匯制度,股票自由行、人民幣可兌性等問題的處理,還須十分謹慎,方向要以固本為目標。一些可做可不做,和沒有迫切性的改革,大可暫緩。

此刻千頭萬緒,還是「急則治其標」,「先為不可勝」。當前要務,就是不要讓過去一年湧入中國高達數千億美元的國際熱錢,一下子大量流出,而沖垮經濟。回顧上次亞洲金融風暴,香港的經濟經過整整十年,才回復被襲前的水平,可見炒家的破壞力非同小可。

這一點,有關當局已看得很清楚,最近出爐一些政策,包括加強銀行系統的定期申報,和收緊內地旅客赴澳門旅遊等,都顯示正在這方面着力。我看這方面的措施還陸續有來,一條更加重要的是:高調全面打擊黑匯,嚴懲罪犯,沒收款項。京奧之後,人民幣再難持續升值,到時樓市和股市進一步回落,熱錢於虧損之後,欲走不能,我國金融和經濟的穩定和健康得以保障,安全不受威脅,國際炒家一段時間也不敢再來搞中國,連帶香港也逃此一劫,國際金融中心的地位才能確立。


劉廼強 | 15th Aug 2008 | SCMP | (69 Reads)

There have been so many fakeries in recent Chinese history that many outsiders have developed some stereotype about the country. For the Chinese themselves, who actually suffered because of such mischievous deeds, there is a general feeling of detest of anything fake.

After the grand opening of the Beijing Olympic Games, two aspects of the show gradually released through the media. First of all, of the 29 footprints represented by firework marching through the city towards the “bird nest” stadium to kick off the show, only the last one was real, the rest were synthesized through the computer. Secondly, the nine-year girl with the perfect combination of angelic face and voice was actually doing lip-sync, which is a common practice in many “live” shows.

To the film director Zhang Yimu, who created and directed the show, there was nothing wrong about this, as he does it all the time in making movies. A show has to be perfect, and as such, there are many elements of make-believe. But unlike movies, which have invariably at the end, a scrolling down of long lists of who-is-doing-what, he should have made proper acknowledgements during the subsequent press conference. Even the people who released the information to the public saw nothing really wrong about the tricks, they just wanted to tell people what had actually happened and properly acknowledged the other girl who did the wonderful singing. They do not have anything to hide, and there is no finger pointing. In fact, the names of both girls were listed on the programme.

The ensuing heated debate on the web is also very healthy. Some abhor anything even bordering on faking in the Olympics, and they want a show that is perfect in the sense that it is genuine in every aspect. Others just enjoy a spectacular show, knowing full well that it is a show anyway. This just goes to illustrate the high expectations of the Chinese public about the show and the Olympic Games as a whole. One thing is for sure, Chinese people do not condone faking.

For some China bashers in the Western media, they suddenly found treasure and made a big fuss about it. Let me tell you what: if the Chinese authorities really want to fake things, like any other government, they will make it a state secret, and nobody will be allowed even to talk about it.

The real fuss, it turns out, is not about the show. They just made use of these known facts to insinuate China faking and cheating in the competitions. A case in point is the female gymnastics competition. Unlike their American counterparts, these little Chinese girls are so tiny that in the eyes of Westerners, they are suspected of being under-aged. An American reporter pointedly asked one of the athletes whether she was in fact only 16. Many stories in Western media dwelled on this point, citing above incidents in the opening show as some sort of substantiation to their allegations.

It all boils down to one thing: some people are bad losers. If indeed they have the so-called “evidence” as they claimed, I suggest they file a formal complaint to the International Olympics Committee, which is obligated to get to the bottom of it and do something to make it right. Defamation will not help anybody get a gold medal.

Watching the Chinese athletes grabbing one gold medal after another, I fully understand the feelings of some Westerners. The Chinese are coming up so fast that many just find it difficult to accept. It will take some time for them to adjust their superiority complex and acknowledge Chinese as equals. It is a Western problem, not a Chinese one. For the Chinese, they are now basking in glory and pride that they do not care a bit about what these people think.

Talk about faking, what about the case of NBC changing the order in which the athletes were shown marching in, presumably to keep viewers’ eyeballs until the Americans had arrived? This trickery was not voluntarily divulged as the case in China, it was exposed by flaws in the cutting. This is what I call faking, and a badly executed one for that matter. But I do not really care, because it is harmless.


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