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Treat people like animals, they act like animals

2019/7/5 — 14:07

Treat people like animals, they act like animals HK people herded like livestock

Hong Kong bureaucrats, in the absence of proper check and balances, are getting more daring by the day in their view that the people are to be treated like sheep, to be herded and controlled, rather than being helped and guided. The most indicting manifestation of such high handed arrogance can be seen in the increasing proliferation of cruel looking, impenetrable, road side railings that are now becoming an epidemic that plagues all of the city.

In this article (link to earlier writing here), your author will show how Hongkongers have been demeaned by this low opinion their rulers have held of them, especially when contrasted to treatment of other fellow human beings in equally cosmopolitan cities.

廣告

Starting with road junctions and crossings, HK railings are erected at any conceivable location so as to prevent people from crossing roads, with often dangerous and inhumane levels of congestion and jaywalking resulting from this draconian overdose of barriers, as shown below:

This HK obsession with putting cars first is made obvious by the fact that over 1,500 kilometers (source) of railings now line the roads, more than twice the 730 kilometers that existed merely 8 years ago – a compound annual growth rate of 9% a year, far in excess of the city’s GDP growth of a paltry 3.4% for the same period!

This HK obsession with putting cars first is made obvious by the fact that over 1,500 kilometers (source) of railings now line the roads, more than twice the 730 kilometers that existed merely 8 years ago – a compound annual growth rate of 9% a year, far in excess of the city’s GDP growth of a paltry 3.4% for the same period!

廣告

Further to the widespread prison-like steel fences everywhere in HK, there is a total absence of attempts to beautify nearby surroundings, forming yet another sharp contrast with global peers – in Singapore, well tended and lively greenery act as barriers rather than crude railings (Figure 1b), even at the busiest of pedestrian crossings.

The wholesale purchasing of the meanest form of crowd control equipment makes one question the mental state of the persons in charge of such decisions – in HK the most common railing being put up everywhere nowadays are the “type 4 railings for control purpose” (Figure 2), even sheep will laugh at the poor pedestrians of HK (Fig 3):

Instead of helping to ease flows of people, the AM sedan riding mandarins will only pamper to cars, according to a joint Transport and Highway Department circular, railings are “not designed to protect pedestrians from vehicular impact but to control and guide pedestrians for road safety and traffic management purposes”(source). So the bureaucrats sacrifice the walkability of city centre streets by forcefully pushing people into ever narrower pedestrian strips where they often have to contend with stalls, loading goods, and a thousand other road-side activities, while the neighbouring car lanes often remain empty. In contrast, the bollards and absence of any type of barrier in Singapore and London in the above examples show how sympathetic road administrators there are to fellow human beings.

Alcatraz vs Santorini?

The same hostile mentality can be seen also in Refuge Islands in HK, and the following three examples prove the point conclusively:

Again, Hong Kong’s overenthusiasm in erecting railings is a sign of lack of confidence in its own people – here most refuge islands are heavily impregnated with railings, whereas these are rarely found in Singapore in London. With car lane provision prioritising ahead of pedestrian facilitation, people on foot are goaded into careless or dangerous situations, whilst cars now drive more recklessly too.

Brainless application a symptom of centralized planning

In the first pictures above, one can see that even the busiest streets in caring metropolis such as Singapore and London can do without railings, which makes Hong Kong criminal in its blind sprinkling of savage railings, even in quiet walkways with barely any traffic (Figure 5b):

Private sector care contrasts sharply vs bureaucratic nonchalance

Before losing faith in the future of pedestrian experience in HK, you will be pleased to know that, when managed and cared for by nearby residents and landlords instead of ivory tower dwelling civil servants, there are some exemplary good cases in HK’s railings too, as shown here:

It appears therefore, that the excessive use of hostile railing is a problem due not to the people but to the way roads are managed.  If private property owners can introduce stylish, convenient, and generally pedestrian friendly rails, perhaps this should be a power that is returned to land owners or even district councils.

Only by returning power to the people, road designs, designations, and management can truly be tailored to the individual character and needs of the local community.

The author would like to thank Shaun Cheung of The University of Hong Kong for assisting in data collection, analysis, and drafting of this article.

 

 

 

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