Between opposition and strict loyaltyEditorial | Mary Ma 24 Nov 2020
The disappearance of an opposition camp may have created a vacuum in the Legislative Council, but some members of the pro-Beijing ruling coalition - including Alice Mak Mei-kuen - aren't shying away from taking up the role that they had to give up to defend the administration in the face of past pro-democracy opposition.
But can Mak and others effectively fill the vacuum left by the pan-democrats' departure?
The ruling coalition is formed by factions bonded together by a common political goal, as desired by Beijing. Now, they are trying to find themselves a new position in the new normal of political monotony - a non-Hong Kong-style norm.
It is one that not only the public must learn to get used to, but also the ruling coalition which has almost forgotten how to operate checks and balances after being part of the establishment for many years.
People want to hear different voices and, in the absence of a political opposition, the pro-establishment camp has to be seen to be offering that.
Evidently, Mak is leading the way in trying to set an example for the rest. It is not difficult for her since this is the nature of the Federation of Trade Unions to which she belongs.
Nobody should be surprised if others in the FTU join her to take an aggressive stance once again on matters confined to livelihood concerns.
The trade unionist has maintained a YouTube channel to hit out at enemies - outside the establishment in the beginning and within the administration now.
In a recent show, she took off the padded gloves to hit out at Director of Health Constance Chan Hon-yee and even Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor's top adviser in the Executive Council, Bernard Charnwut Chan.
Hong Kong's Covid-19 defense has been a little chaotic of late and Mak is now trying to blame Constance Chan.
Likening Chan to a "director living in the cloud," Mak accused her of keeping herself totally away from public view.
And she said nobody, including Mak herself, could really recall what the director looked like, while they could readily identify Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the Centre for Health Protection's communicable disease branch who regularly meets the press to give updates on the local pandemic situation.
In the same airing, Mak singled out Bernard Chan for attack, denouncing him for hiding from public sight during the anti-extradition bill protests last year.
Obviously, both Chans are on Mak's hit list.
If the handling of the local pandemic and the anti-extradition bill protests have been blunders, both Chans - in Mak's perspective - should be held responsible.
Will more names be added to the hit list? It's probable.
As someone who gained notoriety for swearing lividly at Lam during a closed-door session, Mak is the perfect political pawn.
What is happening of late is just the beginning. While others in Mak's FTU are expected to follow suit, other factions represented by Priscilla Leung Mei-fun, Junius Ho Kwan-yiu and other socially active lawmakers may catch up as the search for a new position continues.