Donald Tsang a simple minded man who wants 40% more in HK

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    In this thread on places in Hong Kong that are in danger, seems that need a post or two on the whole of Hong Kong! Especially given interview by Donald Tsang, HK Chief Executive, with the Financial Times – in which he suggested that need more people here, and could have 10 million.

    Quotes by Donald T within the interview:

    Well, how I will be remembered is rather irrelevant. … I'm a simple minded man and I will just do accordingly.

    hmm, I'd heard of Donald being smart guy. False modesty, perchance?

    we need to do is to find the reasonable level of physical development but balance it with environmental protection and heritage preservation. We have been lagging behind in terms of infrastructural investment over the last few years in relation to our neighbours with whom we compete. For that reason we have to think hard [about] what we need to do while we have the resources, the financial resources. But we are acutely conscious of the need to preserve our cultural heritage.

    – notice that not mentioning preserving natural side of HK; and unsurprising really, as if want all this infrastructure and population, won't be much space left! [not even much space for humans]

    The second area is the quality of life in Hong Kong. It needs to be tackled. That includes air quality, water quality and so on. This is fundamental. We are investing quite a lot and I don't think we've done enough yet. This is not only a territorial issue. It¡¦s a regional issue.

    – ok, true enough

    I do believe that we have the fundamentals like New York and London to create a global financial centre and a reasonably good living for 10m people here at the end of the day. We're at seven. I think we can do well for 10… in the long term. The optimum level city – look at the size of Manhattan and New York and London, for instance.

    – and, err, might also look at smaller Singapore; also at big cities like Jakarta, Manila, Mexico City, Sao Paolo, Karachi, Lagos – which show that huge population is not necessarily criterion for a city that rivals New York and London for economy, quality of life.

    I'll be very happy if I maintain 7-7.5m by the end of my term. But I can see a city like us using physical development and good use of land and so on can accommodate a population of that size [10m].

    – so, any notions re where we're to get 40% more water, 40% more power, how to expand the transport network, where to put 40% more buildings?

    And what of the increased air and water pollution – above, Donald saying that should reduce pollution; here blithely suggesting population increase that (without who knows what measures) will mean substantial rise in pollution, as well as adding to already major strains on waste disposal. With 10m people, by no means everyone will be able to live in sizeable place with a costly carp pond in the grounds.

    I'm certain the air quality in Hong Kong in terms of a variety of emissions will be a lot better by the time I leave office in 2012 than now. And I would also wish to do something about global warming as well although we are doing pretty well in terms of carbon emission compared to Europe and compared to America. I will be an active player in this.

    hmm, looks good on paper, but surely the air quality is declining; and as to doing anything good re global warming – building huge bridges and other infrastructure, increasing population, doing diametrically opposite.

    At end of the interview, is question from FT: "What are your memories of managing Shatin [a ¡§new town¡¨ in Hong Kong¡¦s New Territories] as a district officer in 1982-84?"

    It was wonderful. That was my best job in public service. Best job. We got freedom. I did not have environmentalists in my hair in those days [laughing]. We were moving 100,000 people every week into Shatin. We were pulling down mountains. We were reclaiming seas and we were building our new town. We were turning a village into a modern city. It was very exciting for me and the community was very supportive. We worked very happily with them. It was a lot of groundbreaking things we did during my two-year stint in Shatin.

    – scary!

    Seems Donald views his job as aiming to do something like Sha Tin on Hong Kong wide scale. To Donald T, it appears "sustainable development" just means "development" but with the word sustainable in front, and despite govt having sustainable development (bureau), this latter word means little: we should still be reclaiming seas, building new towns…

    To me, this last quote rather recalls Chairman Mao exhorting masses to plant grain on the beds of lakes, on the tops of mountains. Lakes were indeed drained to plant grain, and grain replaced crops on hills and in other areas (even tho would barely grow there). Helped lead to perhaps the biggest famines the world has ever seen. We won't starve quite the same, but Donald might look to China to see the folly of development that becomes just development for development's sake (come on – can anybody really explain the point of the big bridge being built over Stonecutters?).

    Also from China, from Taoism: Stretch a bow to the full, and you will wish that you had stopped in time.

    Full FT article at: Transcript: Donald Tsang

    Some criticisms within HK Standard item: Tsang comes under fire over vision for 10m population

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