"If you want to read a blog to get a sense of what is going on in Hong Kong these days or a blog that would tell you what life was like living in colonial Hong Kong, this blog, WALTER'S BLOG, fits the bill." Hong Kong Blog Review
Sometimes even an old curmudgeon like me struggles to find things to rant about. Then, like today, it lands in your lap. The banner above appeared on my afternoon stroll. Where do I begin?
There is a telling scene in the movie ‘Meet the Fockers’. The CIA father - played to perfection by Robert De Niro - mocks his son-in-law's ninth place sportsday ribbon. Well, Mr Fungus Fung, has declared himself a full member of that under-achievers club.
Anyway, am I supposed to celebrate that you’ve achieved (sorry- ‘successfully added’) a pedestrian crossing to a location two miles from the banner. Not that distance should in any way negate this stunning triumph.
Of course, Mr Fung could have attempted something else. How about improving the lot of the elderly working poor by seeking funding for a community or medical centre? Alternatively, if that’s stretch, then pursue a transport management policy that mitigates congestion. Perhaps he could work with the police and other agencies to help relieve the illegal parking by agreeing a strategy. Then engage with the local community to support and sell the policy.
Maybe Mr Fung had those things in mind. I don't know because all I have to work on is the banner. Or was it the case that the low-hanging fruit of a pedestrian crossing was too tempting. By the way, I don't wish to be a pedant but the government 'added' the crossing at the taxpayer's expense. All Mr Fung did was make a proposal for which he receives a monthly payment of HK$32,150.
But wait a minute. There are other road crossings in the area. None of these too far away. So, this raises a question. Is Mr Fung’s crossing really necessary? No doubt he felt it was.
Mr Fung is a member of the Liberal Party. The term ‘liberal’ shouldn’t get confused with the traditional meaning of broad-based, humanistic and open to ideas. The Liberal Party is a pro-business and conservative political group established in 1993 to protect the interests of a few. All its LegCo members are from the functional constituencies. They represent a small circle of self-interest. To his credit, Mr Fung is elected.
With the aid of google translate, I was able to find that Mr Fung is a Master of Arts, Oxford University (Oriental Studies). His bio is only in Chinese. He’s not deemed his non-Chinese reading constituents important enough to provide an English version.
As I stood to bask in the glow of representative government that Mr Fung’s banner emanates, a group of young adults joined me. I asked, “What do you think?”. My question met with laughter and then words I won’t publish here. I surmise Mr Fung won’t be getting their votes.
The appearance of the banner heralds the approaching district council elections. Soon we will see Mr Fung and friends standing at major intersections or on traffic roundabouts waving at startled motorists. That’s what counts as canvassing in this town.
But I don’t wish to be unfair. I’ve worked with several district councillors who were first-rate. They’re committed to their community, embedded with strong grassroots support and a grasp of issues. DAB members excel in this regard. Highly organised and exhibiting a disciplined approach, they proved active representatives. The so-called democrats were less engaged at a local level. My impression is most so-called democrats saw the district council as a forum to further a personal agenda or as a stepping stone to LegCo.
So, Mr Fung, my message to you - do better. Is the bar so long that suggesting a pedestrian crossing is worthy of merit. If you are going to boast about your achievements at least do something substantial. Pedestrian crossings don’t cut the mustard when we have big issues in this town.
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.