These days, saying nice things is tough

Central Station | Nury Vittachi 15 May 2020

Readers make me laugh. Comments in this column's mailbox and social media channels yesterday showed how tricky it is for Hong Kong people to speak openly these days - when we worry about being slammed for saying anything nice about the government.

Reader Kenneth Kwan said he found the free reusable mask comfortable and breathable but was nervous about admitting this on social media.

"I hope people won't hunt me down because I gave them a thumbs up," he wrote nervously.

A quick reply came from Anton Sysiaco, who warned that he might be doxxed for publicly expressing happiness with the government.

"No, no, no. I am not happy," Kenneth quickly added. "Just less annoyed!"

* * *

Never let it be said that Li Ka-shing is not doing his part. His supermarket chain Taste has cut the price of chocolate from HK$43.50 to HK$43.20. (Spotter: Adrian Chan.)

* * *

Mark Webb-Johnson said he was pleasantly surprised: "The Hong Kong government's online reservation process was painless despite millions accessing it, the text notifications clear, and delivery both quick and efficient. I really can't believe I just used the words 'painless' and 'quick and efficient' in the same sentence as 'Hong Kong government'."

* * *

When reader Colleen Thane received her mask and put it on, her husband felt it was definitely worth cheering about.

"Hallelujah!" he shouted. "The government has given you a muzzle!"

* * *

Readers Patrick Starr, Ezra Ting, Steve Wordsworth, KC Ling and Semirah Darwin joined in the game of rewriting the free masks announcement in the style of different media outlets.

Epoch Times: The masks are made from the harvested organs of Falun Gong members.

Fox News: Hong Kong's efficient mask operation has clearly been inspired by President Trump's resolute leadership.

The Guardian: The masks are tested with the tears of arrested child journalists.

Global Times: Hong Kong is following Beijing's celebrated series of medical giveaways which have saved the world.

Daily Mail: Millions of Hong Kong people queue up to wear recycled ladies' PANTIES.

* * *

The Hong Kong government revealed that it had empowered workers by letting them choose their own work-from-home laptops.

A tech-minded reader's eyebrows rose when he examined the list.

Labour Department staff bought 21 notebooks from brands such as Dell for HK$4,232 to HK$5,000.

Highways Department staff bought 116 ultra-powerful Lenovo notebooks costing between HK$21,300 and HK$31,600.

"Woohoo! That's enough computing power to play Assassin's Creed Odyssey at 4K resolution," he said. "Although, of course, they'd never do that."

* * *

Hong Kong's new technology minister Alfred Sit yesterday visited Cyberport, where four start-ups have reached unicorn status.

He seems to be born for his new job - the abbreviation for his post, Secretary for Innovation and Technology, is SIT.

* * *

Peter Beilby-King noticed a curious coincidence in key dates from last year.

November 19: HSBC closes down a protest-finance bank account containing millions of dollars.

Also November 19: Records show a sudden drop in levels of violence.

"A strange coincidence," Peter said.

* * *

Donald Trump retweeted a Tiktok video of a brave motorist stopping his car and physically carrying an old man across a dangerously busy highway.

"My faith in humanity has been restored!" the caption read.

Hong Kong's Daniel Dumbrill asked: "I'm really curious if Trump knows this is in China?"

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