Public Eye

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 17 December, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 17 December, 2008, 12:00am
 

Are the wigs muddling our judges' minds?

Public Eye has always said, and we did so again last week, that Hong Kong's senior judges don't live in the real world. It's not just their silly outfits or their self-serving logic that pay cuts would hurt judicial independence. It's how they view the real world from where they sit. Maybe the uncomfortable wigs they wear are to blame for muddling their minds, but last week was a perfect example of how they pontificate from the bench. Blind to the community's desire to move towards greater freedom of speech, the appeal court ruled in favour of dictatorship. The three appeal judges in effect ruled the chief executive should have dictatorial powers to decide who can have a broadcasting licence. The operators of the unlicensed Citizens' Radio had argued that this dictatorial power was unconstitutional, and a magistrate agreed. But the appeal judges ruled you cannot use the constitution to defend yourself. Huh? Are they saying the constitution, which sets the moral and legal direction of a free society, is worthless in court? Legal purists could argue the judges ruled according to the letter of the law. But they certainly didn't rule in the spirit of Hong Kong's constitution. That's why Public Eye keeps on saying they don't live in the real world.

Taken for a ride with blatant prejudice

Citybus took us all for a ride last week. It treated us as fools. It said it did not discriminate, but it flatly refused to rent a bus for a gay parade. It called its action a commercial decision to protect its 'company image'. Public Eye calls it blatant prejudice. We have a term for those who say one thing but do the opposite: speaking with a forked tongue. How can you say you don't discriminate but refuse to do business with people just because they're gay? We want to ask Citybus this simple question: can you explain how you reached your 'commercial decision' that doing business with gays would hurt your 'company image?' Is your decision based on the bigoted belief that it's bad for business to deal with people who some in society do not tolerate?

Some in society do not tolerate blacks, turbaned Sikhs, women wearing Muslim veils or even mainlanders. Will you refuse to rent them buses, too? Are you saying profit is more important than principle? There is a far better way to improve your company image: do something about the Arctic temperatures in your buses. That'll do wonders.

Bush and Tsang both in the firing line

Until three days ago the only tie that bound US President George W. Bush and our own Donald Tsang Yam-kuen was their lousy opinion poll numbers. Now the two leaders share a new bond that makes for a good tale when they sit their grandkids on their knees. Both survived a close encounter of the scary kind - flying objects hurtling their way. No doubt there'll be a degree of embellishment in the retelling. How else can you boast to your grandkids about being nearly hit by a banana, or a pair of shoes? How the two reacted to the missile attacks says a lot about their reflexes.

The agile Mr Bush impressively ducked one, then another, shoe hurled at him by an angry Iraqi TV journalist. Mr Tsang didn't duck at all.

Maybe he felt it would look more macho on TV facing the full force of the bananas. But more likely he knew the hurler, legislator Wong Yuk-man, was a lousy shot.

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