Reflections on recent events, plus the occasional fact
free rant unfiltered by rational argument.
Going punk and shouting "f---k you!!!" might make you feel good for five minutes, but who’s laughing now? It’s never a good move to behave like a sixth former, after two beers, when operating in a rules-based environment. This simple fact didn’t get through to several former Hong Kong legislators.
Yesterday, our independent Courts barred four legislators from office for improper oath taking. This is the second batch to give-up hard won seats in our de-facto parliament. Nine months ago, Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching got disqualified. They changed their oaths to include insulting phrases about China. The Youngspiration duo won a stunning victory in the 2016 LegCo elections. This, in turn, paved the way for fresh blood in our political process. The chance to make a difference was theirs. Then, they blew it.
After 11 days in office, they went. Their immaturity and total disregard for decency backfired. Both now face bankruptcy. Judicial appeals drag on, whilst the government seeks back the salary paid them. Some of that public money went to buy a PlayStation and a large stock of alcohol. Evidence came to light when journalists got access to their abandoned offices. The mess they left behind causes me to question if they ever intended to be serious about their important role.
On the back of the stupidity of Leung and Yau, China decided to act. Their insulting conduct was too much to ignore. China’s top legal body reinterpreted the Hong Kong’s law to make oath taking a solemn occasion. Under the law, China has every right to act. I stress this because the so-called democrats always cite the ‘rule of law’ principle.
The reinterpretation opened the door. Four other legislators, who’d given corrupted oaths, now faced action. The Courts ruled against them, but they will no doubt appeal. The acts that brought us to this situation are listed here.
To understand the gravity of the situation, let us suppose this is the UK Parliament. Their oath is;
I swear by Almighty God that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, her heirs and successors, according to law. So help me God.
The religious reference can be omitted, but not the mention of the Her Majesty. At present, seven elected UK MPs cannot take their seats because they refuse to take the oath. This is the standard in the ‘mother of parliaments’ that the democrats aspire to emulate. Would the US Congress allow a Senator to defile the flag in the chamber? No. Yet, our so-called democrats believe such conduct is acceptable. They appear to confuse democracy with anarchy.
In reality, it’s all about opposing China and grandstanding for headlines. The democratic camp failed to get anything with its 2014 Occupy movement, thus it's now clutching at straws. In the process, LegCo has descended into a farce. Objects get thrown. Legislators yell like spoilt children, whilst business is disrupted on frivolous grounds. Leung Kwok-hung (aka Long Hair) makes a habit of getting thrown out of the chamber at the start of any debate. Thus, he can avoid working the rest of the day.
There is a strong argument that the so-called democratic forces don’t want true democracy. In 2015, they vetoed a bill that would have given the electorate the right to pick our Chief Executive. The so-called democrats make a living by being an opposition, that vents on one issue. Beyond democracy calls, they have no coherent stance. Don't ask them details on the economy, environment or other major policy areas. So, if true democracy came, they’d struggle. They'd have to work much harder, as their evident weaknesses would emerge. It’s easy to play to the gallery, claim yourself to be the victim. Real politics is too hard, especially when formulating long-term policies.
Fall out from this saga will rumble on for some time. Our new Chief Executive, the hapless Carrie Lam, enjoyed a two-week honeymoon period. She reached out to the opposition democrats, hoping to build bridges. Those nascent bridges have collapsed into a swirling river of unavailing fury. The gulf between the government and the opposition is insurmountable. Without any sense of hypocrisy, democrats called for Lam to intervene in the Court decision. This is robust evidence of their duplicity. They’d be marching on the streets if China did the same.
Of course, this all feeds the western media narrative that Hong Kong is under China’s thumb. This, in turn, influences the ignorant western politicians, who couldn't even find Hong Kong on a map. The truth is far more complex. Hong Kong’s so-called democratic forces have misplayed their hand to invite trouble on themselves. Meanwhile, the rest of us shake our heads in disbelief at their asinine conduct. The Hong Kong people are the victims. Victims of naive, wannabe politicians, who don’t have the common decency to abide by the rules. Remember … if you go punk, you may get punked!
Walter De Havilland was one of the last of the colonial coppers. He served 35 years in the Royal Hong Kong Police and Hong Kong Police Force. He's long retired.