The rich and powerful exploit so-called democratic systems

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 21 July, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 21 July, 2009, 12:00am

I am afraid that Stephen Chan ('Skewed view of democracy', July 14) and Reuben Tuck ('Tyranny ends when leaders are accountable', July 15) express hopes but not facts in present-day democracies, mostly implanted by former colonials. Everyone votes, we are told, tyranny is abolished and rulers automatically become accountable.

History has shown that nothing of the kind happens. Yes, I know the meaning of 'democracy'. Both in Greek and Chinese, it means 'power of the people'. In recent years, many countries have traded their natural resources to Western powers in exchange for a voting system that results in a struggle for power, strife and greater poverty, while the powerful neglect their responsibilities and enjoy wealth, fame and frequently, corruption. Social activist Helen Keller said that the candidates are all from elite families, so voters had 'a choice between Tweedledum and Tweedledee'. Democracy is now a buzzword for grabbing the resources of the people.

The promised trickle down of wealth to the poorest never happened. Instead money travelled upwards into the billions of the wealthy, some of them elected leaders. The rich will not accept the end of their tyranny, but will place their money in safe havens, refuse to pay taxes and compete with one another as to who is the richest. We must prepare for that possibility.

I would hope that democracy in Hong Kong would not go the same way as modern 'democracies', where people are just now realising that their vote has no power at all. In the US and Britain, voters had no say on whether or not to begin the war on Iraq. They just had to accept their leaders' lies and pay in lives and money. Where was people's power then?

Have those who demand democracy now even consider the direction in which modern 'democracy' has gone? Do they expect the wealthy to pay higher taxes, or accept any legislation that reduces their power? Democracy, to me, means people's power, but political parties will be intent on party power I'm afraid, with candidates throwing dirt at each other in the hope of winning power for themselves.

Elsie Tu, Kwun Tong