The real catastrophe the Mad-dog General is trying to sweep under the carpet is the Pandora's Box that will be opened. Hong Kong's government-appointed Commission on Poverty has set its first poverty line at half of the median monthly household income. By doing so, it is boldly confronting the problems of wealth gap, labour disquiet, housing affordability and myriad problems that come about when the rich have too much, while the poor are ignored. Politicians may tell you different, money is a zero sum game. The MG does not have the cajones to face facts like the top 1% in Singapore has an annual salary that is more than 58 times that of the bottom 3.4%.
In economics, cliff effect is the disproportionately positive or negative result of an action. In telecommunications, the (digital) cliff effect or brickwall effect describes the sudden loss of digital signal reception, where the digital signal "falls off a cliff" instead of having a gradual rolloff. Chan's version is that by using a single poverty line to assess the family status, those below the poverty line will receive all forms of assistance, while other genuinely needy citizens outside the poverty line will be excluded. Well, the means test - which Khaw Boon Wan promised not to implement, then went ahead after the elections - has already afflicted that kind of damage several times over.
The "cliff effect" we have seen is the 60.1 percent of the 2011 electorate marching like lemmings into the dark void. And if they continue to swallow the bit about being able to receive "all forms of assistance", more will be tipped into the abyss of lies in 2016.
The truth is that you have to grovel before a member of parliament being getting a $10 food voucher at the weekly meet-the-people session (MPS). If you happen to be starving to death in the interim between MPS days, don't bother to call. There's no help centre giving out food stamps within walking distance. Vouchers to help pay for utilities are harder to come by, last we heard, those are not available at opposition wards.
Someone hiring a maid for the time learnt that the maid levy for a caregiver is halved if her aging mother is above 65. Her maid agency was ignorant of the fact. The social worker who told her about the "discount" disclosed the useful input like divulging a state secret. The government does dole out financial assistance, they are just too damn stingy about it.