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20 June Editorial Questions
Alleviation of Poverty
Publishing Date: 2012/6/29

[1] Recent surveys have found Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen's approval ratings dipping lower and lower. Citizens are turning their backs on Tsang not only because he has been found to have accepted tycoons' hospitality and lavished taxpayers' money. The principal reason why Tsang is retiring ignobly from public service is that, after seven years at the helm, he has left Hong Kong in the mire of deep-seated conflicts, with all the potential consequences.

[2] According to statistics released by the Census and Statistics Department, Hong Kong's Gini coefficient based on household income grew from 0.533 in 2006 to 0.537 in 2011 (the larger the coefficient, the greater the wealth inequality, with maximal inequality represented by a coefficient of 1). Hong Kong's wealth inequality is at its highest in 40 years, and is also the highest among the world's developed capitalist economies.

[3] At the same time, Hong Kong society is generally felt to be getting more and more turbulent in recent years. In March 2012, a public opinion survey on social harmony carried out by the Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies of the Chinese University of Hong Kong found that disharmony between the government and the public had reached an all-time high, and was one of the three major causes of societal conflicts. Clearly, as a result of the growing disparity between the rich and the poor, conflicts between the people and huge corporations as well as between the people and the government are getting more and more serious, leading to social unrest.

[4] With regard to wealth inequality, Tsang said in his farewell Policy Address in October 2011 that "in a free, open and mature capitalist economy, the wealth gap can hardly be eradicated". This line of thought is consistent with his argument that high rents are "the price we have to pay for our success". Tsang may feel good to regard government malpractices as "administrative successes", but what he says does not hold water.

[5] In no more than twelve days, the Tsang administration will pass into history. However, Hong Kong people have yet to deal with the deep-seated conflicts Tsang is leaving behind. This is a situation Leung Chun-ying and his government must handle with particular care. For housing problems constitute the core of Hong Kong's wealth inequality, and given the very delicate nature of the issue, the incoming government cannot afford to make any mistakes, or it will have to face the serious consequences of a catastrophic collapse in property prices.

[6] Leung has made it clear that poverty alleviation, economic development, financial development, and land and housing are to be the four major priorities of his new government. He will personally serve as chairman of an anti-poverty commission, which points to the importance he attaches to poverty alleviation. However, deeds speak louder than words, and it remains to be seen what concrete action Leung and his government are going to take in the area of poverty alleviation.

[7] We are convinced that equal opportunities should be central to any poverty alleviation policy. For instance, equal education opportunities will effectively contribute to greater social mobility. As long as government policies and measures are formulated in the spirit of equality, people will enjoy a level playing field where they can build a bright future by their own endeavour. This is why, while there was wealth inequality in Hong Kong in the past, there was no hostility against rich people and business tycoons. Seen in this light, the establishment of an environment and a social system permitting fair competition should be an important objective of the new government's poverty alleviation work.

Source: Editorial, Ming Pao, 2012.06.20

真人發聲 英譯社評:
http://english.mingpao.com/cfm/Database3.cfm?File=20120620/critic/ema1.txt

QUESTIONS

1. According to the writer, what is the main reason for Donald Tsang's increasingly low approval ratings?

2. According to Paragraph 2, which of the following statements is/are correct?

i) The income gap between the wealthy and the poor in Hong Kong has been increasing.

ii) The income gap between the rich and the poor is higher in Hong Kong than in anywhere else in the world.

iii) The income gap between the wealthy and the poor in Hong Kong is higher now than at any time in the past 40 years.

A. Only statements i and ii are correct.

B. Only statements ii and iii are correct.

C. Only statements i and iii are correct.

D. None of the statements is correct.

E. All of the statements are correct.

3. Find four words (adjectives or nouns) in Paragraph 3 which are opposite in meaning to "harmonious" or "social harmony".

4. What does the expression "does not hold water" (Paragraph 4) refer to?

A. Problems that will flow easily

B. Something that is not supported by logic or evidence

C. Something that can change state easily

D. Solutions that are too small to solve problems

5. The writer of the article is uncertain about what real steps Leung Chun-ying will take to alleviate Hong Kong's poverty problem.

□ True □ False □ Not stated

6. Why is providing equal education opportunities an important step to alleviating poverty?

7. Which of the following words comes closest in meaning to "endeavour" (Paragraph 7)?

A. effort B. skill

C. good fortune D. quality

[solution]

《語文同樂》第35期 2012.06.29

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