Saturday, November 28, 2015   

War of words muddles reality

Mary Ma

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Ever since Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen initiated his "Act Now" offensive, there has been no lack of sarcasm attacking it.

And as the days go by, the gimmicks are getting only more creative. Even Tsang had to admit this on his Facebook page, referring to the creative alteration of the Chinese words for "Act Now" into "All Wrong" - while keeping the characters 90 percent intact.

Certainly in Tsang's view, what's "all wrong" was the opposition lawmakers ganging up to veto the proposed democratic reforms in 2005.

Minds have changed over time. Politicians have been making the rounds drumming up public support for the 2012 package, and the sessions are starting to liven up.


At a Kwun Tong secondary school yesterday, a teacher became a warrior and students turned into soldiers before the TV cameras, as they confronted Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun- wah during an exchange on democratic development.

The male teacher waved an A3-size paper bearing the "All Wrong" slogan. This was reminiscent of an episode at another school where a female teacher challenged Chief Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen in a similar tone.

There were also confrontations over the police seizure of the replica Goddess of Democracy statues at a pre-June 4 rally. Fortunately, police acted quickly to defuse the potentially explosive situation by returning them yesterday.

The teachers and protesters aren't idiotic. On the contrary, they're smart. But are they right or wrong? It depends on who you ask.

Yet, what is clear is that, however creative the episodes may be, the core question remains the same one that has been repeatedly asked these days - what do we want in 2012?

Do we want nothing to change for the good, or do we want to progress so that the SAR will get closer to its goal of achieving universal suffrage in 2017 and 2020?

The recent creative remarks won't change the bitter consequence that Hong Kong will face in the event the 2012 package is voted down. There will still be the dim likelihood society will be polarized further, with some behaving even more radically. In the end, the general public will be the losers.

It has been suggested the 2012 chief executive and Legislative Council elections should be split up for separate voting, to ensure the passage of at least the less controversial half of the package. This should be the last resort. It's still best to keep them intact during the vote unless it absolutely can't be achieved.

There is also the proposal by the Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood to postpone the vote from mid-July to October. But this would only delay the inevitable necessity of choosing between progress and the status quo.

There is no harm in staging the sideshows as long as key players remain focused on the core matter. The rigorous scenes at schools are nothing to fear.

Perhaps the school forums are no longer those that older generations used to understand. But do the non- conventional exchanges give everybody an opportunity to express their views?

In the end, the core issue remains the same.

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