"But how can you live and have no story to tell?" Fyodor Dostoevsky
"It's a sign of the opposition's immense privilege that they mock a free scheme that benefits the poor."
Last week, I joined the government's Covid-19 testing scheme. To date, some 1.2 million people registered for the free test. Making an appointment online couldn't be easier. When I arrived at the test centre, I'm greeted, instructed to sanitise my hands, and then registered. Next, comes the test: a swab from my nose and one from the throat.
The only issue I had was my eyes watered a bit. I'm heading home after less than four minutes. Eighteen hours later, a negative result pops up on my mobile phone. The scheme is a testament to Hong Kong's organisational abilities, with the help of the Mainland. Now the government is extending tests to meet the demand.
This high uptake is despite the activities of the naysayers, who sought to disrupt the testing by encouraging people to stay away. Only in a demented world would anyone seek to stop such a worthy public health initiative by inciting mass hysteria.
Yet even medical doctors, with breathtaking deceit, came out to criticise. A quick examination of their backgrounds soon established them as members of the militant opposition. Their opportunistic ranting then faded as public support grew for the scheme.
Scrambling to find a point of attack, they seized upon the low rate of positives. Have they forgotten that a pandemic begins with one infected subject? Thus, any detections, even one, is a step in the right direction. But when you allow the infected to circulate, the deaths mount up and mostly amongst the elderly.
Am I the only one to get the distinct impression that some in the medical community have allowed politics to cloud their professionalism? Or is the fact that private doctors lost a potential cash-cow, something that irked them? After all, the government scheme is free. With private doctors charging thousands of dollars for a test, they've taken a hit.
Of course, the opposition politicians objected because, well, the Mainland is assisting Hong Kong. In their minds, anything from the Mainland is verboten. Seeking to dissuade the public from joining the scheme, they touted stories of our DNA crossing the border in some sinister plot.
When faced with unassailable evidence that the entire procedure takes place in Hong Kong, they embellished their fantasies. The best I heard involved the covert planting of a micro-chip on our bodies.
These malicious efforts exposed an opposition that is willing to sacrifice people's health for a perceived political gain. I'm not surprised. After all, these are the same politicians who turn up at Prince Edward MTR Station to worship the 'dead' killed by the police on August 31, 2019. Ask the likes of Legislator Claudia Mo to name of any of the 'dead' and expect a fact-free convoluted answer.
When you want details, these people go further down the rabbit hole with claims of a massive cover-up. They muse about secret trains taking the bodies away, families paid-off, and hundreds of people missing. Then gullible western politicians, blinded by prejudices, rush to repeat these fake stories. In no time, the narrative takes hold.
Only one problem - the dead are coming back to life. One popped up in the UK, where he is avoiding riot charges. Here's a thorough account of the events at Prince Edward MTR.
Anyway, I digress. At least legislator Doctor KWOK Ka-ki, of the Civic Party, had the good grace to acknowledge that Covid-19 testing has its merits and is well-run. Speaking on Radio 3, he waffled around the topic before finally letting his professional side make a rational statement. When pressed on what he'd do different, he had nothing much to offer. He next went completely off-script by praising the Mainland. Shurely shome mishtake!
Meanwhile, the government has preordered enough Covid-19 vaccine for one-third of the population. Plans are also in place to secure vaccine for the rest of the community based on two doses per person. With stage three testing of vaccines underway, the process of immunisation should start in mid-2021.
It's now inevitable that the opposition will build an insidious campaign around stopping this mass vaccination. No doubt they'll draw upon the anti-vaccine lunatics in the USA, who've contributed to the re-emergence of measles and other diseases.
It's a sign of the opposition's immense privilege that they mock a free scheme that benefits the poor. They can afford a test. No wonder the opposition stands accused of shameful hypocrisy.
While trumpeting 'human rights', they seek to deny people the right to a disease-free society. This denial disproportionately hits our economically-deprived elderly by exposing them to increased risk. All rational and compassionate citizens must embrace testing and a vaccine so that we can get back to a near-normal and protect our senior citizens.
Meanwhile, the opposition's mask of common human decency has slipped.
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.