Self-confessed “Hong Kong-loving citizen” Kwan Wing-yi’s impassioned speech berating the government in LegCo yesterday has since gone viral, earning admiration from netizens.
The Hongkonger’s three-minute speech took place in LegCo as part of a special Panel on Welfare Services meeting open to the public. Kwan first addressed proposed criteria for the Universal Retirement Protection Scheme (URPS), for which citizens would need to have assets totalling less than HKD80,000 in order to receive HKD3,230 in welfare.
“Are you messing with me?” she said incredulously.
“In today’s Hong Kong, with its colluding officials and businessmen and soaring inflation, even buying a pound of ‘poison vegetables’ (from mainland China) in the market costs HKD30. […] How is HKD3,230 supposed to be enough for daily expenses?”
Kwan went on to single out Secretary for Labour and Welfare Matthew Cheung, saying his HKD300,000+ salary blinded him to the “everyday difficulties of the average Hong Kong citizen,” otherwise he wouldn’t be so “cold-blooded and callous” to say things like “HKD16,000 is a generous salary”.
In response to Chief Secretary for Administration Carrie Lam’s comment that implementing a retirement protection scheme could lead to budget deficits, Kwan said she couldn’t help but laugh.
“When it comes to ‘white elephant’ infrastructure projects […], the government spares no expense, but somehow giving money back to the people is too much?” Kwan said, before lambasting Lam for having the “nerve” to talk about budget deficits.
“You’re all worse than thieves,” she rebuked, using the example of the policeman shooting his gun into the air being deemed to be within protocol as proof that Hong Kong is “morally disintegrating”.
“The Hong Kong government and police force’s sense of justice extends and retracts at will, just like that officer’s arm,” Kwan said. “Speaking of which, apparently you can now spread unverified rumours in the Legislative Council, like randomly taking [an illegal] boat to China in order to visit prostitutes.”
In reference to the murky circumstances behind bookseller Lee Bo’s disappearance, Kwan mockingly expressed the fear that she would “use her own methods to return to China” the next day after speaking out in LegCo.
“If [a Hongkonger] can’t even be protected now, why are we talking about retirement protection?”
Before getting cut off, Kwan called for universal suffrage, saying Hongkongers should use “6.89 million votes to elect a chief executive, instead of central government using 689 votes to elect a faulty product.”
Her speech has since been liked and shared over 80,000 times on this post alone, with the majority of commenters commending her outspokenness and courage.
However, some reprimanded her for being overly negative instead of offering solutions to the problems she raised, while others said Hong Kong would see returns on its investment in infrastructure projects, but welfare is “just spending”.
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