Public Eye

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 26 May, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 May, 2010, 12:00am

A telling lesson in redefining history

It's that time of year again. Thousands of Hong Kong people will soon be marking the 21st anniversary of the June 4 crackdown. Or was it a massacre? If Hong Kong or mainland schools ever seriously discuss the issue, what should children be taught? That mainland soldiers butchered thousands of unarmed protesters? Or that the West exaggerated the whole thing? Public Eye suggests we seek advice from the Texas Board of Education. Its members are wise in the ways of defining history. For example, after last week's revision of the state's curriculum, history books will have a totally different definition of the slave trade. Children will be taught there was no such thing as the slave trade, after all. It's being renamed the Atlantic triangular trade. And since Texas is a big schoolbook publisher, many schools across the US will be using the curriculum, too. Maybe instead of the June 4 massacre or crackdown we should just call it Tiananmen Target Practice Day.

OK for US to meddle, but not vice versa

Don't worry if you've never heard of Texas Republican senator John Cornyn. He isn't exactly a towering political figure. But our rulers up in Beijing might want to note, for future use, what Cornyn and his fellow Republican, Arizona senator John McCain, said during Mexican president Felipe Calderon's recent US visit. Calderon is disgusted with a new Arizona immigration law which in effect allows the authorities to racially profile Hispanic-looking people. He made his disgust clear in a speech to the US Congress. That got Cornyn and McCain mad as hell. They lambasted the Mexican leader for meddling in America's internal matters. This is the same Cornyn who has insisted China must end its one-child policy. And this is the same McCain who two years ago urged a presidential boycott of the Beijing Olympics unless China cleaned up its human rights record, including in Tibet. This is what he said of Beijing's behaviour: 'It does, will and must concern us.' In the world according to McCain, it's OK for the US to meddle in other people's business but not the other way round.

Tsang hands losers a second chance

Public Eye hates cliches. That's why we never use them. But we are now compelled to use one - snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Ugh! That sounds so awful, but it's exactly what Donald Tsang Yam-kuen has gone and done. The chief executive was riding high when voters shunned the so-called democracy referendum orchestrated by his opponents. A smart politician would have savoured the moment and moved on. But no, Tsang had to challenge a chief instigator of the referendum to a live TV debate. That's like giving the loser another chance to win. Whoever heard of that in politics? Civic Party leader Audrey Eu Yuet-mee couldn't convince enough voters to demand that Beijing commit to true democracy without the despised functional constituencies. Now she gets a second chance on live TV, compliments of Tsang. For her, there's no downside. She can throw embarrassing questions at him. For him there's very little upside. He has to be on the defensive propping up Beijing's position. How dumb is that? He says he doesn't mind sacrificing himself to sell his message that democracy legislators should back his political reform package. Doesn't he know that in politics there are no saints, just winners and losers?

Police should come clean on minorities

What does it mean if the police rejects an ethnic minority job applicant on language grounds even though he's got a grade A in Chinese? A police spokesman insists the failed applicant, a locally-born Pakistani, was re-tested for Chinese-language skills simply to determine his 'motivation and maturity'. Public Eye would like to know this: do the police likewise test the motivation and maturity of Chinese applicants by re-testing their Chinese skills even though they've got excellent school grades in the language? Why don't the police just come out and say it: it doesn't want minorities in the force.