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1/13/98 - 1/26/98

Hong Kong Six Months After the Change-Over

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From the Perspective Of Public Education

by Edmund Tsang

Simon Lau, Chief Information Officer of Hong Kong's Department of Education, said "nothing's changed" regarding policy since July 1, 1997, when the British colony was returned to the People's Republic of China (PRC, as communist China is identified). The same senior staff members as in the last several years still run the department, which last fiscal year (September 1996 to August 1997) spent HK$20 billion (about US$ 3 billion) to educate 1.1 million students from kindergarten to Secondary 7, including special education and vocational and pre-vocational training. (Students completing Secondary 7 and passing the Hong Kong Advanced Levels exams are equivalent to undergraduates completing their first year in college in the U.S.) [_Full_Story_]

Four Views

by Edmund Tsang

[Author's note: The views of the four people profiled here should not be considered to be representative of their respective professions, but merely reflect the diverse views of Hong Kong's citizens.]

Like a significant portion of Hong Kong's professionals who received their university education and training overseas, Kenny Leung Kin-Man graduated with an engineering degree from McMaster University in Canada in 1973. He joined Union Carbide upon graduation and worked his way to become a plant manager in Sault Ste. Marie, Canada, then was transferred to stints in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Thailand. "The next transfer would have been to Mexico City, which I didn't really want to do," Kenny said in his cramped office on the tenth floor of a 16-story building he owns in an older section of the business district in Central Hong Kong. He also owns the investment and security company, which has a staff of 20, he started a little over ten years ago with a classmate from secondary school. As an indicator of the tremendous growth experienced in Hong Kong, particularly in its real estate, Kenny said a square foot of his office has increased from about HK$300 ten years ago to over HK$7,000 now.

Kenny says he recognizes the contribution of Great Britain toward the stability of Hong Kong, which provided an environment where much wealth has been created, benefiting a lot of Hong Kong people since the 1960's, including himself. "There is no better place to raise capital, with the exception of maybe the United States," he said. And this opens the door for Hong Kong people to participate in other affairs of the city, both in the political and the social spheres. Even the exclusive Her Majesty's Hong Kong Royal Jockey Club eventually opened its door to the Chinese majority, Kenny explained. He reasons that without the stability, however, there might not be the economic development. "You look at Africa and the Middle East, the poverty and the instability," Kenny said. [_Full_Story_]

Update: MBI vs. Aetna Insurance

by Edmund Tsang

The legal dispute between Mitchell Brothers, Inc. (MBI) and Aetna Insurance Company will resume January 14 in the courtroom of District Judge Braxton Kittrell. This trial, which began October 27, 1997, will decide if the liability insurance that MBI took out with Aetna would require the insurance company to cover some of the attorney fees that MBI incurred in defending itself in two recent lawsuits involving allegations of housing discrimination. [_Full_Story_]

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