🌊The Election: Keeping up With Carrie Lam, or not?
Rumours on current CE's continuation, video conference with Beijing awaits...
Hope you had a nice sleep. Someone should be able to enjoy eight hours without having to search for an invisible mosquito at 3 a.m. How fantastic that spring in HK has provoked all the bugs here to bite back with a vengeance.
On a separate note, please enjoy this little illustration from my psychology textbook. Bless you, David Myers and Nathan DeWall, for including these absolute gems. Keep clam (ba-dum-tssh) and carry on :)
On Today’s Tide:
Politics | Is Carrie Lam running for re-election?
13 more quarantine hotels added
Vaccination records for recovered COVID patients at eateries
Economy | Finance chief gives optimistic outlook
Ethnic minorities, former offenders want in on voucher scheme
Efforts to help supply food to those struggling in the 5th wave
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Law and Crime | Huge load of illegal drug kratom seized at Customs
International | Biden pops off at Putin
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More than speculation - Is Carrie Lam running for CE or not?
Carrie Lam’s remark at the recent daily noon briefing hinted that she may not be running for a second term as Chief Executive, adding to the growing rumors. She said that the next government will be assessing fully the current health crisis, with her advising them.
Given that Lam has not yet formally indicated her candidature for another run, it is looking as though her time as Chief Executive will expire on June 30 with the end of this 5-year term. Thus far Lam has been reluctant to answer the question directly, stressing instead the importance of the city’s current protocols against COVID-19.
So who’s running?
The polling date for the election is scheduled for May 8 while the nomination period is from April 3 - April 16. A number of likely names have been posited as potential candidates, the most recent of which include Financial Secretary Paul ‘twice-in-one-Tide’ Chan and Chief Secretary John Lee.
Both were suspected of perhaps resigning soon to join the race, although the anticipation and speculation build as they and their spokespeople remain tight-lipped.
Meanwhile, Lam will soon face a 90-minute private video meeting (read: interrogation) from dozens of pro-Beijing politicians, which is apparently to question her on her plans to help HK face the pandemic and have her explain the policies enacted. Who was invited to this conference? Not me. The guest list includes China’s legislature, HK deputies to the NPC, local delegates to the CPPCC, etc.
COVID in HK
Coronavirus in Hong Kong
New cases: 8,037 (budding downward streak here)
Total cases: 1,128,507
New deaths: 151 (21 backlog)
Total deaths: 7,252
More quarantine hotels available
Following the recently announced loosening of travel restrictions, over 4,400 more hotel rooms will be provided for returning HK residents.
13 hotels have been re-converted from Community Isolation Facilities back into Designated Quarantine Hotels, which will “begin their services progressively on April 1.”
In total, there will be 38 hotels providing ~10,000 rooms for HK travellers.
Eateries stress over vaccination proof for recovered patients
The lack of “uniform proof” for vaccine exemption for recovered COVID-19 patients has caused a great deal of confusion for many HK restaurants. Misunderstandings run rampant with pandemic fatigue between frontline workers’ questioning of which documents they should accept and the difficulty of patients accessing the proper documents they need. The industry has called on the government to make a more concrete and standardized approach to this issue.
Reminder: by May 31, people wanting to enter 19 types of premises (including restaurants and supermarkets) should have 3 doses of the vaccine.
Hope for HK’s economy?
Exactly a week ago, we covered Paul Chan’s rather negative appraisal on HK’s projected economy: “negative growth in the first quarter of the year,” the Finance Chief said. Well, he maintains this prediction but remains confident in HK’s ability to recover and its future prospects. The unemployment rate is still predicted to increase, with the ~180,000 applications for the HK jobless subsidy in the first 3 days post-launch reflecting that trend. However, Chan expressed in his blog post on Sunday that “even if the pandemic disrupts the pace of short-term development, it will eventually pass.”
Chan cautioned that while local infections have dropped slightly recently (yay us), both the government and individuals should be careful about the relaxation of social-distancing policies.
Help for HK residents
Struggling ethnic minorities and former offenders want inclusion in voucher scheme
The HK$10,000 voucher scheme does not currently include ethnic minority communities and former offenders, which is why 50+ members of these groups are appealing to the government to change that.
They are supported by the Society for Community Organisation (SoCO), who said that these groups were struggling through the outbreak and deserved help. Indeed, ethnic minorities have been increasingly and unjustly blamed for the 5th wave, triggering more discrimination than ever.
Individual testimonials of these groups have stated that they are spending more during this fresh upsurge, and that the consumption voucher would greatly help their financial situations.
Here’s a list of charities from HongKongLiving that help support these groups, where donations are accepted :)
Local schemes to aid food distribution
The number of jobless people relying on leftovers to sustain themselves in HK has dramatically risen during the 5th wave. Curbs on businesses have caused many to suddenly lose their jobs, and with applications to food banks or social welfare programs reportedly taking at least 8 weeks, some locals are trying to help them “survive this difficult period.”
One of these good humans taking action is Wong Wai-Kit who started the “Gift n Take” fridge project, where refrigerators with supplies are placed around the districts.
With the rate of fridges emptying as quickly as volunteers can stock them with donated food items, the project has since been extended to about 40 locations across HK.
Wong’s project has helped some of those struggling to feel better about their situations and know that at least they have access to a daily meal.
Some charities/schemes which support food donation (out of many) include:
Events and deals
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Work with Wine @ La Cabane
Our friends over at La Cabane at looking for a new manager for their wine shop in Soho - if you’re a social person who’s able to introduce newcomers to good cheese, wines, and cold cuts, then look no further.
Experience with wine preferable. Bilingual English and Cantonese best. Five-day working week, lots of fun events.
Drop off your CV to email@example.com (tell them we sent you ;)
Oh, don’t forget, you can use our code HIGHONWINE10 on www.lacabane.hk for 10% off when stocking up on those lovely products that you’ll be selling in a few months (hopefully). Always test them yourself first!
Get into the groove with Hong Kong’s finest musicians
In the mood for a little swing? Tune in to Innonation Hong Kong’s ‘Jazz Thursday Explorations 2’, an upcoming live-streamed performance set to feature a string of local jazz artists, from Hong Kong-based saxophonist Scott Murphy to multi-discipline musician Justin Siu.
When: 7th April, 9:30 p.m.
Details: Watch the live broadcast of performances here
"A Woman's World”: Asia's first virtual exhibition highlighting NFTs
In celebration of International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, be sure to join our previous LoTW Sharmaine Kwan with Bamboo Scenes’ exciting new online NFT exhibition honoring local female artists exploring the endless possibilities of the Metaverse.
When: From 24th March, 2:00 p.m. onwards
Where: Access the virtual exhibition by clicking here
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