Reflections on recent events, plus the occasional fact
free rant unfiltered by rational argument.
Somebody should tell the Hong Kong Pan-Dems to go away to study Sun Tzu’s ‘The Art of War’. Perhaps then, they’ll stop getting their bums kicked at every turn. Locked within Sun Tzu are secrets applying to any business, struggle or your personal life. Strategist Liddell Hart comments: “Sun Tzu has clear vision, profound insights, and eternal freshness.” These are qualities that evade the Pan-Dems.
The principles of strategy are the same for all people, all times, and in all situations. Sometimes the tactics change as circumstances dictate. We define Strategy as ‘doing the right thing,’ while tactics are about ‘doing things right.’ A subtle difference. Admiral Mahan in his seminal work on sea power noted that the point of ‘contact’ separates strategy from tactics. Contact with the enemy or a customer is the dividing line when you move from strategy to tactics. All the Pan-Dems know is tactics.
Using Sun Tzu, they’d do better. My favourite quote is: No victory is gained in the same manner as another. This crucial observation gets lost on the Pan-Dems, who have won some successes. But they then apply the same formula to each situation. Repetition is pure folly. One answer or response does not cover all cases. Customising approaches to conditions is crucial, especially when your opponents adapt. Filibustering is a classic example. The Pan-Dems deployed this with relentless passion. Then the opposition changed the rules. In a flash, your tactics are redundant!
What is difficult is to make a devious route the most direct, and to turn disadvantage into advantage. In other words, don’t attack head-on. That’s all the Pan Dems do. Charge, head-down at the opposition, all guns blazing. There’s no finesse, subtleness nor nuance.
To subdue the enemy without fighting is the supreme excellence. There’s no chance of that. Even those with moderate intelligence know not to fight every battle; you must pick your moments. Yet, the Pan-Dems are fighting on all fronts at once. As a consequence, they have no focus, little effective coordination and soon exhaust themselves. On a related point, Sun Tzu asserts: Fight only battles you can win. The stunning simplicity of this advice is resounding. But the Pan-Dem’s aren’t listening. Wrapped in their hubris, they’ve lost the plot.
Form a single united body in one place. This is the most significant failing of the Pan-Dems. They remain un-united, distrustful of each other; as well as lacking a unified strategy. Coming together for coffee mornings, lunch groups or forums cannot replace the utility of a single command. Add to that the fact that they are in a constant state flux. Parties form, then break up, as fractions detach to move on. Time and energy get wasted on internal struggles, with minor details mulled over in endless debate. That’s why the ‘united front’ forces of the pro-government camp will always defeat them.
Irrational dogma hangs like stale cigarette smoke over the Pan-Dems. Their every move tainted by stupidity. CHU Hoi-dick introduces a motion to ban the press from LegCo, announcing he’ll vote against it. Then, we have a disgusting exploitive act by Chan Chi-chuen of the radical group People Power.
On this week’s 80th anniversary of the Nanking massacre, in a sudden he seeks to introduce a motion to debate the historical tragedy. This is a guy who has decried China time and time again. It’s not that he is an instant patriot. His aim made clear; he sought to delay debating the LegCo rulebook change. This is a man who would use the rape of women, the massacre of children and the destruction of a city, to score a political point.
On second thoughts, the Pan-Dems don’t need Sun Tze. They need a lesson in common human decency.
Walter De Havilland is one of the last of the colonial coppers. He served 35 years in the Hong Kong Police.