PM Lee's plans spark soul-searching in HK

PM Lee's plans spark soul-searching in HK
Pedestrians walking against strong winds in Hong Kong on August 13, 2013.

ON SUNDAY, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced steps Singapore is taking to consolidate its status as an aviation hub, strengthen the health-care safety net and provide more affordable housing.

Earlier the same day, Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun Ying sought to make himself heard at a grassroots townhall meeting in Kowloon. Outside, six protesters were arrested for rowdiness.

A few days earlier, the leader had found himself having to debunk insinuations of triad links, after gang members were nabbed in a clash between his supporters and the pan-democrats' camp.

Fighting such fires while mired in governance quagmire is part of what is becoming a worryingly typical week for the Hong Kong government - a state of affairs that leaves many people here angry and exasperated.

It is thus little wonder that Sunday's National Day Rally (NDR) prompted comparisons between the two cities and a fresh bout of soul-searching in Hong Kong.

Yesterday, 15 - nearly all - of the famously polarised and freewheeling newspapers here devoted extensive coverage to PM Lee's announcements, with three putting the news on their front pages.

In a scathing commentary, the leading Ming Pao Daily News wrote: "Looking at Singapore's detailed strategies, Hong Kongers feel frustrated not only because we are being left behind, but also because we cannot see where we are heading to and how. Hong Kong is stuck in political mud, mired in endless internal clamour."

Regionally, media in China, Taiwan and Indonesia also covered the rally, with China's official Xinhua news agency outlining at length Singapore's policy changes.

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