"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
"The superior man is watchful over himself, even when he is alone" "故君子愼其獨也"
The Choi affair continues to rumble on. In an ignoble incident, the senior police officer was caught inside an unlicensed massage establishment and then suspended from duty.
Now cleared of any criminal charges — the right decision — he will return to work. Meanwhile, a discipline review by the Civil Service Bureau will consider his fate. That’s the proper course of action. Yet, it's obvious that Choi placed himself in a compromising position with all the attendant risks.
Naturally, this saga has drawn considerable public comment, damaging the image of the Police Force at a difficult time. And because Choi headed up the new National Security Unit, the story continues to provide easy fodder for those who are intent on undermining the police.
On that score, eyebrow's rose as Choi is to now lead the section that deals with internal discipline. Of all the roles that Choi could fulfil pending a decision on his future, this appointment will continue to attract attention.
What is the ordinary citizen to make of this? What conclusions are junior officers to draw? After all, the Police Force strived for decades to shake off the tag of corruption, rudeness and indifferent service. It made commendable progress starting in the 1980s and gained broad public support as quality service initiatives sought to build a culture of integrity.
And while recent events have seen a setback due to a demonisation of the police by hostile elements, this palaver doesn't help matters. The longer the affair drags on the more reputational harm the Force suffers.
Whatever happens next, it may be worth revisiting Confucius's opening discourse in 'The Doctrine of the Mean’:-
There is nothing more visible than what is secret, and nothing more manifest than what is minute.
Therefore the superior man is watchful over himself, even when he is alone. 故君子愼其獨也。
Confucius saw every individual human as a sovereign actor in pursuit of happiness. And yet, he recognised that humans could indulge too much, stray from the path and therefore suffer pain. He foresaw that even what brings pleasure can induce pain.
Later in 'The Doctrine of the Mean' Confucius has this to say:-
In a high situation, he does not treat with contempt his inferiors. In a low situation, he does not court the favor of his superiors. He rectifies himself, and seeks for nothing from others, so that he has no dissatisfactions. He does not murmur against Heaven, nor grumble against men.
Wise words indeed. I'll leave it at that.
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.