Hegemony of the developers, cont’d

March 15, 2012

More evidence of the hegemony of the developers in Hong Kong and people’s willingness to make a fuss about it…

The Seymour is a fancy new development at the top end of Seymour Road in the mid-levels which is just getting the first people moving in. The potential purchasers and residents could probably have done without this:


which completely blocked Seymour Road for at least 30 minutes this evening.


Compliments are due to PC number 54383 who was the only one on the scene when I went out to take a look (about 30 minutes after all the shouting and car horning had started), and who eventually managed to get the protesters to move back onto the pavement in reasonably good humour.


although when his back was turned talking to the property security they snuck back again!


Eventually (probably an hour after all this started) some police reinforcements arrived and managed to keep the road (and later the footpath) reasonably clear.

Apparently the complaint is quite simple – the developer of this luxury property (where apartments rent from HK$80-150,000 per month) hasn’t bothered to pay some of the contractors who built it.

Maybe they used to be able to get away with this sort of thing, but my impression is that the masses are increasingly revolting against the whole property developer hegemony that has run this town with impunity for so long.

Edit – I’ve just discovered that the developer of The Seymour is Emperor International – part of the empire of that well-known gangster and pimp Albert Yeung Sau-sing, about whom I’ve written before.

Second edit – as noted in the comments by Ulaca, in fact Emperor sold on the development rights rather than do it themselves. It’s not immediately clear to me which company the protesters’ grievance was with (maybe someone who can read the banners can tell me).

Are there any engineers in The House?

October 5, 2011

The BBC reports that

The Italian government’s credit rating has been slashed by Moody’s from Aa2 to A2 with a negative outlook.

The ratings agency blamed a “material increase in long-term funding risks for the euro area”, due to lost confidence in eurozone government debts.

To anyone with any sort of engineering background this is as clear example as it is possible to have of a positive feedback loop leading to hunting oscillation. And the answer in this case is equally clear – break the loop and then, if it is certain that controlled feedback has some value, remake it with some appropriate hysteresis in place.

Breaking the loop means simply shutting down the ratings agencies – any useful purpose they may once have served is now vastly outweighed by the damage they are doing through providing this feedback mechanism. I would suggest also simply banning short selling for a period – this too is clearly a major contributor to hunting oscillation. Once the markets have reached a more stable state, and after a period of careful thought, then some elements of positive feedback could be reintroduced, with appropriate regulatory controls.

Sadly, with governments staffed by lawyers and under the sway of the gambling bankers I fear this is unlikely to happen. It’s a great shame that there aren’t sufficient people of a rational scientific or engineering background in government.


February 23, 2011

Not the Hong Kong Sign-Writing Department’s best effort…

I think they just did!

Racism in the SCMP

October 12, 2010

I was surprised, and not a little saddened, to read the racist views of Alvin Sallay in the SCMP on Sunday when writing about the Hong Kong ladies cricket team:

Godiva is one of nine Chinese girls in the 15-strong women’s squad. The rest are non-Chinese, but all are united in the fact that they qualify for the games by being born in Hong Kong and holding SAR passports.

This is a quite outrageous sentiment. People who are born in Hong Kong and are citizens of China holding Hong Kong passports must be “Chinese”. What else could they be?

Read the rest of this entry »


August 20, 2010

It’s been a bit quiet here – sorry about that: I’ve been spending a lot of time leading groups of people around the hiking trails of Hong Kong, and just haven’t been inspired to write. Read the rest of this entry »

Some sanity on the question of risk

April 6, 2010

From the Winton programme for the public understanding of risk at my alma mater comes this post from David Spiegelhalter highlighting an excellent new report in the UK about the risks and benefits of kids undertaking outdoor adventure programmes. Read the rest of this entry »

Government by Fear (again)

March 3, 2010

With thanks to Bruce Schneier for highlighting it in his blog, I must recommend this essay by Tom Engelhardt for getting to the essence of the US Government’s “management by fear” approach to terrorism. Sadly, many other governments seem to follow their lead.


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