Current Affairs

Posts filed under Current Affairs

‘未雪’被火車撞死的事

Filed in Current Affairs, General, Hong Kong, 中文文章

Not until today did I see the video recording of 'Mei Suet', the homeless dog hit by an MTR train this week. It was obvious to me, someone very experienced with dogs, that: (1) Mei Suet was good natured, (2) Mei Suet was very aware that her location on the tracks was extremely dangerous, and (3) the employee sent by the MTR to deal with Mei Suet knew absolutely nothing about dogs and was in fact afraid of dogs. The MTR simply didn't care. Since privatising and listing on the exchange, the MTR has become an insensitive, immoral company where service and infrastructure/equipment come a distant second in importance to profit.

我今天才看了未雪的片段。對很熟識狗狗的我來說,很清楚看到:(1)未雪是良性的,(2)未雪很明顯知道路軌那個地方是危險的,(3)公司派來那個職員明顯什麼狗狗的事都不明白,甚至怕狗。MTR根本沒有心去好好地處理未雪的事。從私人化上市開始,MTR公司已變成一間沒有什麼人性的、沒有什麼道德的、服務和設備是次要的、錢是最重要的公司。唉!btw,致電SPCA或漁農處不會是好辦法。未雪大多數一樣會死。致電別的慈善機構比較可靠得多。

蘋果日報:唐狗「未雪」被撞死 全城憤怒 控制中心草菅狗命「1分鐘內處理好佢」

香港電視節目幕後幕前的黑日子

Filed in Current Affairs, Entertainment Ind., General

昨晚香港政府公報不發牌給香港電視 但偏偏不肯交代。對有心拍好電視節目的幕後幕前的工作人員,今天是一個黑日子。注意;NOW 只會買賣節目,不會拍什麼電視劇,而有線的資源有限,有心卻沒能力拍好的電視劇。亞視。。。不用說!

香港政府不出牌!

Filed in Current Affairs, Entertainment Ind., General, 中文文章

香港政府遲遲都不出牌照給香港電視。不出的話,幕前幕後的人員,觀眾,廣告商都受害,只有無線電視的大股東著數。究竟,香港政府是為市民做事還是為無線電視的大股東做事?

Corruption; A Fact of Life

Filed in Current Affairs, General, Hong KongTags: , ,

From an article in The New York Times comes these two paragraphs:

For decades, corruption was accepted in Southern Europe as a fact of life, a way to distribute the spoils, and few people — including, in many cases, prosecutors — gave it a second thought. But the grinding economic crisis, which stalled projects and ended the flow of cash, has helped lift the veil on corrupt officials, exposing graft, bribery, payoffs, secret favors and other misdeeds on a scale that few imagined.

At a time when Spain, Italy, Greece and Portugal are imposing deficit-cutting austerity plans on their hard-pressed citizens, these revelations of widespread political corruption are stoking bitter resentment, destabilizing governments and undermining the credibility of the political class as a whole.

The first paragraph is interesting in that it reaffirms that corruption is commonplace in many countries throughout the world. I would go as far as to suggest that wherever there is a government, there is corruption, although we should remember that corruption doesn't necessarily involve the government.

"a fact of life" is pretty much the way corruption is considered in China as well; which is why Hollywood film companies buying their way into China are concerned about the Anti-Trust investigations currently underway in the U.S.A., but if Walmart can 'resolve' its anti-trust problems (related to transactions in Mexico and China), then the Hollywood companies can probably too.

The second paragraph highlights something else I've been considering lately. Corruption has allowed the gap between the rich and the poor to expand at an ever increasing speed. Corruption has allowed greedy selfish corporations (including many here in Hong Kong) to oppress their work force in return for higher profits that usually only benefit the rich. The strike currently being undertaken by the freight pier workers here in Hong Kong is extremely important in that their situation of working long hard hours without work considerations that shouldn't need to be fought for, and without any pay raises in the last 15 years, reflects the situations of many many working people here in Hong Kong.

When SARS hit Hong Kong, the government asked the people to be patient and work hard together to resuscitate the economy. What the government didn't tell the people was that even when the economy had recovered, pay raises and better working considerations would not recommence. Greedy corporations took advantage of the fear of not getting work, and the low levels of pay, to enslave the workers of Hong Kong.

The result is that there are now huge gaps in the standards of living between the average Hong Kong citizen and the rich. If the average citizen was living a comfortable and happy life, this wouldn't matter, but the average citizen is now working much harder for much less than is fair or healthy.

With so much pressure and unhappiness, and no apparent hope for a better future, any exposure of corruption and the riches obtained as a result will cause ripples through society. If the government and their greedy cohorts are not careful, civil uprisings will come.

Even China's government with its micro-management of its people, the media and social networks is getting nervous, and rightfully so. It will be interesting to see if a handful of public exposures and indictments against corrupt officials will be enough to calm the general population which is becoming more and more aware of the greedy selfish acts of their leaders.

But again, as the article points out, this type of corruption is not limited to China. It exists in possibly every country of the world (and absolutely in every country where its sovereign right to print and issue money has been ceded to a private entity, including the U.S.A., and every member of the European Union).

Too much to say on this topic. I'll leave the rest till a later time.

We saw Iron Man 3 yesterday (here in Hong Kong). Loved it! But I left the theatre wondering "where were the Chinese actors highlighted in the recent Iron Man 3 news?"

昨天看了「鐵甲奇俠3」。很喜歡,但走的時候在想“最近新聞中的中國演員去了哪兒?”

'Iron Man 3' Criticized for Scaling Back Chinese Actors' Screen Time

Stealing Intellectual Property is Good for Consumers?

Filed in Current Affairs, General, TechnologyTags: , , , , , , ,

It is intriguing that companies who steal intellectual property frequently complain that the original inventors are hurting consumers and inhibiting innovation when they sue them for theft. Unfortunately, most of the public is naive and prefers to believe the "victim's" hype, usually because they want to buy what the thieving company is now producing, usually at a discounted price to the products produced by the original inventors; eg, Apple vs Google/Android Samsung/Galaxy.

Great ideas are very hard to conceptualise and develop, but usually cheap and quick to copy. I realised a great analogy of this recently while playing The Cave on my computer. There are approximately ten puzzles in The Cave. Without instructions, a single clue or a cheat-sheet, any of the puzzles could take me up to 10 hours to understand and solve, and one or two of the puzzles completely stumped me. BUT, once I knew the answer, those same puzzles would take less than 15 minutes to complete. The same principle applies to ideas. Before the idea exists, there are no clues and the idea can take a very long time to conceptualise, develop and perfect. But once the idea exists and is made public, anyone else can copy the idea with very little effort, time or expense.

Apple's slide-to-unlock method took many many months to conceptualise and perfect. It takes less than a day for a competitor (like Google) to copy it.

So when Apple sues Samsung (i.e., Google's Android) for using its slide-to-unlock invention, is it hurting consumers and innovation as Google and Samsung like to assert? In a short time frame, it might affect consumers because they won't be able to use this cool feature on competitors' products. In the long term however, it's a different story. If competitors are free to copy and steal ideas/inventions, they won't need to invent their own. If they don't need to invent their own, there will be no innovation and consumers will be worse off because of it. (many examples of this can be found on the 'net)

An additional argument is that if a company needs to spend a year and vast amounts of money to create a feature to distinguish their product and make life better for their consumers, a feature that their competitors can then copy at will, why then should the company create those features?

Consumers need to think. If you hear a company complaining about consumer rights/choice and innovation, ask yourself; are they really helping consumers and supporting innovation by copying someone else's ideas? The answer will almost always be "no".

Unfortunately, while the Apple/Samsung legal battle wages on for two, three or more years, Samsung profits from the ideas they (and Google) have stolen from Apple and will continue to do so until the legal battle hands down a verdict. Samsung is proving to the world that it profits to steal ideas. They are also proving that there is no profit in creating new ideas or in being truly innovative.

蘋果 iPhone 保養的問題

Filed in Current Affairs, General, Technology, 中文文章Tags: , , ,

由83年的 Apple IIe 到現在擁有的 iPhone 4S,我用蘋果的產品已30年了。我喜歡他的完美主義,不會為了省一點錢而把產品的質素降低。好看亦好用。

提到 iPhone 的保養,除了國家規定消費品保養期最少為兩年之外(例,法國)蘋果的保養在全世界(包括香港)都只是一年。iPhone 的確是非常好的電話卻實在不便宜。我把它扔壞或弄濕而蘋果不保是合理的(我曾經駕車的時候意外地把我的蘋果 iPhone 3GS 放了在一杯港式奶茶裡邊!笨!)不過如果機內的東西壞了,那就不同,尤其電池。所以在 iPhone 方面,我也覺得保養期為兩年比較合理和公平。

我也有興趣知道。在中國,別的聰明手提電話的公司提供的保養都為期兩年嗎?是的話就真好的。

RTHK1 and Hacking in New York

Filed in Current Affairs, General, Hong Kong, Uncategorized

A news item this morning on RTHK1 caught my attention. They revealed that a newspaper company in the U.S.A. had been hacked. What was curious about the item was that they didn't refer to the company by name.

The New York Times was hacked for a period of roughly 4 months, from September last year, just a few days before they published their first exposé of the wealth of Chinese Premier Wen Jia Bao's family. The Chinese government prefers to keep the wealth of its members a secret and vigorously disputed the article, going as far as to block access to The New York Times website from China. A cyber-security consultant firm hired by The New York Times investigated and monitored the hacking activity, and after comparing the patterns, methods and timing of the activity to other investigations in their database concluded that the hackers were based in Beijing.

You can read about the hacking and the investigation here:
Hackers in China Attacked The Times for Last 4 Months.

Again, I found it curious that RTHK1 didn't mention The New York Times by name. Commercially, it doesn't make sense to omit the name. The New York Times is not a competitor to RTHK. That leaves politics. I doubt that the Hong Kong government would direct the radio station to omit the name, so I can only surmise that RTHK made an internal-monitoring "politically correct" decision to omit the name, possibly to prevent curious listeners surfing over to The New York Times and reading the whole story.

Another matter related to The New York Times' Premier Wen Jia Bao article: Does anyone else think it curious that less than 4 months after The New York Times published its Premier Wen Jia Bao article, that the Hong Kong government surreptitiously passed a law preventing the public from accurately identifying or searching corporate directors and shareholders by their full name and ID? The relationship of these two events? The reporter who investigated and wrote the article obtained all of his data from public records by tracing the directors/shareholders through multiple levels of companies. Again, whenever RTHK has discussed the new law, no one has brought up The New York Times' story. The new law allows a new kind of corruption to go unchecked, but nobody's talking about it.

Makes you think...