15 September 2010

"Money for nothing" for whom?

Imagine, if the company you work for is paying the rent of your flat as a part of your package, and luckier still, the owner of the flat one day decided to waive the rent for a month, should the company add that sum they saved to your pay cheque?

Yesterday, our favourite tabloid reported a controversial ruling by the High Court, judging that a CSSA recipient living in public estates are entitled to receive the rent and rates waived by the Housing Authority as part of the relief measures to help to poor in the annual Budget. Detailed judgements are yet to be released, but they could possibly apply to the rest of the 150,000 CSSA recipients in this Village. According to the report, one of the reasons behind this ruling given by the judge is that,

The government has been "paying money from the left pocket to the right pocket" and had failed to relieve the poorest in society when announcing the waivers.

"Money for nothing (... and her rent's for free)", the headline used by the tabloid linked above, and some other reports from the Chinese papers all suggested that the plaintiff is a nutty who is obsessed with complaining. Are they misleading us to think that such case shouldn't be put to the court in first place? CSSA recipients are just scums who try every means to get all the benefit for nothing? This is the stereotyping our local media offered and for most of the time we gladly accept.

We can't say at the moment whether the judgement is logically and lawfully sound. However, this case did show the fact that the society is stereotyping the poor all the time, especially the CSSA recipients. This also showed that those relief measures are not meant for the ones who're really in need of them. For example, 27,300 families living in public estates are classified as "Rich", with their total income and net assets value 2 times, 3 times or even more of the ceiling. They receive such benefit as a "relief" not because they need it, but simply because they are living in the public estates and the Housing Authority has failed to kick them out.

Readers, the death of the news media of this Village is just around the corner. But no worries, the Libertines Pub is at your service.

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