Time for us to discard warped values and ideals

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 07 October, 2001, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 07 October, 2001, 12:00am

Along with others, I have been appalled by several events during the past few weeks:

Appalled by the horror of what was inflicted on human beings in the United States on September 11.

Appalled by the dangerously jingoistic sentiments whipped up by an American President who sees the whole issue in the same terms as those who perpetrated the horror, namely as a battle of 'good' versus 'evil'.

Appalled by the failure of America's leaders to ask why these murders were carried out and to indicate they are determined to address the underlying causes rather than simply seek revenge.

Appalled that many innocent Afghans, after 20 years at the mercy of murderous Russians and fundamentalists, are now threatened with further horrors.

Appalled that a deadly attack on a few buildings in the US can apparently disrupt the economic order of the entire world, with not one voice raised as to why this order is so fragile and so undemocratically dependent on events in one nation.

And appalled at the appeal to gods to justify murderous attacks on individuals, whether perpetrated by one side or contemplated by another.

Gods are but the projection of our longings and dreams and, alas, our baser instincts. Our baser instincts give rise to the sort of gods that justify the use of bombs and murder. We should discard such false gods. If we must have gods, let them be gods of love, compassion, tolerance and social justice among peoples, and not gods of hatred, revenge, prejudice and intolerance.

It is time to replace the god of 'competitive advantage in the globalised economy' with older and better international ideals and values that have been distorted in the US and Hong Kong, values such as selflessness and working with others for the common good. Competitive advantage for the self or the nation with a 'to-hell-with-the-others' mentality, is not a civilised dream. It is a global nightmare, one that is reflected in the death of millions through malnutrition and poverty against the backdrop of the selfishness of those who 'have'. It is a nightmare linked to what happened in the US.

Dare one hope that out of this appalling tragedy there will come a popular determination to bring about a fairer, more representative world order based on international values and accompanied by a pledge from world leaders to work together to address what has gone wrong?


Sai Kung