In just a handful of words, the UK government has done more for the people of Hong Kong than the damaging threats from America and China put together.
These two countries just don’t get it. Threats don’t work on intelligent people.
Threats might make perfect sense in the minds of the leaders of the world’s two largest economies who believe that might is right. After all, one country sent army tanks to quell dissenting students 31 years ago. The other also believes it is right to send in the army to silence peaceful protesters.
The UK government has, instead, offered to give Hong Kong citizens holding British National (Overseas) passports the right to live in the UK for an extended period, which could provide them with a pathway to citizenship. That could mean a more predictable future for around 350,000 Hongkongers.
Additionally, another three million Hongkongers who are eligible but have yet to apply for their BN(O) passports could move to a safer place should China continue with its plans to deny Hongkongers their human rights.
Chances are Hongkongers will not want to move away from the place they call home.
But the mere opening of a backdoor should be enough to restore a modicum of confidence in the former British colony. It might even alleviate the unrest on the streets of Hong Kong that is heart-breaking to watch.
However, it seems that confidence and trust are two ingredient that are in short supply, not just in Hong Kong, but almost everywhere.
Without trust the global economy could find it hard to recover from one of the worst health crises in our lifetime.
Trust and confidence
Whilst Hongkongers are right to be worried about their futures, the rest of the world is fretting about whether it is safe to venture out of their homes….
…. some are worried about whether it will be alright to board a plane, dine in a restaurant, meet friends and family, and even invest in shares. We are also worried about the fallout from the childish spat between the US and China.
It is little wonder, then, that billions of dollars have found their way into safe-haven Singapore bank accounts from non-residents. Clearly people are worried. They also trust Singapore.
But as smart investors, we must never lose sight of our goals, even in these difficult and trying times. Goals will be different for different people.
In my case, it is to continue buying income generated by dependable companies that have been carefully vetted….
…. I trust that the people who run those businesses will do the right thing in both good times and bad. They haven’t disappointed.
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Disclosure: David Kuo does not own any of the shares mentioned.