Face the people

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 27 November, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 November, 2003, 12:00am

Originally, I was going to begin this column with a witty quotation, and proceed to wax lyrical on the prickly nature of self-defence mechanisms and Sonic the Hedgehog.

I changed my mind.

Inspiration is like an impulse: try to grab it and it will elude you, tantalisingly just out of reach; go with the flow, and everything will fall into place. Both fade with barely a murmur once subjected to over-analysis. Timing is of the essence here - there's not a moment to spare for the details.

Just as well, then, that I faithfully keep a journal in which I scribble all of my random musings in anticipation of writers' block, which I am currently experiencing.

More beautiful than impulse, the transient, and the ephemeral, however, is devotion - the steady flame of a burning candle, the passion of a roaring fire, a beacon of light that scours the darkness relentlessly.

The crackling blaze of July 1 still burns brightly. District council elections this week have not only demonstrated Hong Kong's newfound civic awareness, but also our yearning for democracy.

Desiderius Erasmus once said: 'The fox has many tricks. The hedgehog has but one. But that is the best of all.'

His words underlined the superiority of a short-term confrontation over evasive action.

The Chinese government would do well to heed his words and tackle the issue of Hong Kong's democratisation now. Trying to sweep the matter under a carpet is like containing a bonfire with paper. Ignoring our growing discontent will not cause it to subside in resignation; rather, the government's dalliance only serves to fuel the ever-vocal cries for reform.

As influential young voters make their concerns known, there will be mounting pressure to hasten the democratic process. Youth are impatient, idealistic and full of energy; with an undefeatable drive to push forward their agenda, they are a powerful force to be reckoned with.

The emergence of this collective consciousness is a living, breathing time bomb. Dismiss it and it could one day erupt in a frenzy of chaos and political instability. Broken shards and rusty nails scattered in our fragrant harbour, it will be too late to make amends.

No responsible entity can ignore the needs of its constituencies; it's time to face the people.

Ms Yeung is a student at the University of Pennsylvania