June 14, 2006

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The Don recently claimed that 70% of Hong Kongers support his newest white elephant - the Tamar government headquarters proposal. From his place on the top floor, The Don can gaze across the harbour (pollution permitting) at West Kowloon and ponder what next in his edifice complex. Meanwhile, 50 floors below in the basement, LegCo members can continue lamenting their low pay and why they should at least earn as much as the civil servants they question in LegCo sessions. It's all about respect, you see.

But how did the government discover this magical 70%? Was it through a scientific polling of the public? Or an ad hoc exercise in working backwards from a result? The SCMP yesterday:

A senior official yesterday refused to be drawn on the basis for Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen's claim that there was 70 per cent support for the Tamar project. Speaking on a radio phone-in programme, Director of Administration Elizabeth Tse Man-yee said the figure was the sum of different opinions collected through various channels. "Over the past few months, we have done internal analysis," she said. "We also paid attention to newspaper editorials, letters from the public, and people who made calls to radio phone-in programmes. We gathered and organised all this information.

"We have scientific grounds to do our analysis. We understand the public has different views about Tamar. We've also refined our project according to the feedback. "We've reduced development density and maximised opportunities for public enjoyment of Victoria Harbour. We've responded to public worries."

Ms Tse's comment came a day after a poll of 1,033 people, commissioned by the South China Morning Post, found only 28.1 per cent wanted a government complex to be built at Tamar.

Ms Tse said the poll result reflected the government's findings, as 28 per cent indicated the site should be a venue for recreation and cultural events while 26.4 per cent wanted a green park. "When we look at the reality, over half of the Tamar development project is for recreational land use," she said, referring to the government's plan that over half of the space at Tamar will be open.

Will the government release the detailed compilation of these numbers? Would such a slap-dash approach even pass muster in local high schools? What will ESWN say? And if this is how the government conducts surveys, perhaps Hong Kong's a better place without such democracy.

posted by Simon on 06.14.06 at 10:33 AM in the Hong Kong category.


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Approximately 76.4% of statistics are completely made up out of thin air and have no basis at all.

posted by: kennycan on 06.14.06 at 05:56 PM [permalink]

What I thought was really interesting was the press coverage of this story. Or, actually, the lack of press coverage.

The Standard had two stories in two days about the government claims and the challenge to do a poll and the opponents of the project calling the Don's bluff on the poll. But they never followed up with the results of this poll that showed the Don was pulling numbers out of his...

Could say the same thing about the way the Don was (ab)using numbers back in December to claim majority support for his lack of vision on Constitutional reform. (see the latest poll numbers on Hong Kong's thoughts on being prepared for universal suffrage)

posted by: Tom - Daai Tou Laam on 06.16.06 at 07:19 AM [permalink]

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