Public Eye

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 02 November, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 02 November, 2011, 12:00am


Democracy's dirty, slippery truth

Are we done with cream-puff politics? Have we progressed to playing dirty instead? It sure feels that way. Just look at the recent headlines. Sex, smearing campaigns, and secret political donations - we've had it all. This is hardball stuff, not the child's play of hurling bananas at the chief executive. Are we ready for it? We'd better be. We asked for it. It's called democracy. What can be more democratic than a free press exposing the sex life of a married man who wants to be our next leader? Or making unproven claims that a rival candidate is a wife-cheater too? Forget the argument that extramarital affairs are a matter between husband and wife. That only applies to common people. Nobody cares if Mr Fok next door is a philanderer. But Henry Tang Ying-yen and Leung Chun-ying want to be our leader. If they cheat, the people have a right to know. Isn't that what they say about democracy? Tang has admitted infidelity. Leung has denied it. Those who confessed that newspaper tycoon Jimmy Lai Chee-ying had secretly bankrolled them, including the Democratic Party and Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, insist the millions came free of strings. The Liberal Party insists it was not playing dirty when it ran newspaper ads smearing the Civic Party for helping foreign helpers win right of abode. Truth and lies merge in the fog of political free speech.

Get used to it.

Extravagantly tone-deaf

A tale is told of bonus-bloated bankers sipping champagne while sneering from their swanky offices at the Occupy Wall Street protesters. Burn that image into your brain. It beats Marie Antoinette's 'let them eat cake'. But nothing can top Hong Kong's own tale of extravagance. As Occupy Central protesters took their message of poverty and corporate greed to Mong Kok, corporate boss Bruce Rockowitz was blowing a hundred million bucks on his wedding with singer Coco Lee. Yes, HK$100 million lavished on a glitzy two-day wedding. Movie stars were flown in, booked into luxury hotels and helicoptered to the wedding. Champagne flowed and, of course, there was wedding cake. How Rockowitz blows his millions is his business. But with anger rising against the wealthy's excesses, there surely must be more sensible and sensitive ways to do it.

Wishful thinking

Public Eye has a simple plan to save our heritage without spending a single cent of Hongkongers' money. Let's spend the tycoons' money instead. They have far more money than they'll ever need. They haven't bequeathed their assets to charity like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. Most haven't even given to the Community Care Fund as they were supposed to. Many had a hand in destroying our historical buildings for profit. Let's tug at their conscience. They can easily afford to pool money for a fund to save what remains of our heritage. They can start by paying off fellow tycoon Ho Min-kwan, who wants to replace her historic Peak mansion with villas worth HK$3 billion. They can then top up the fund to save other heritage sites. Give back to the community that enriched them. Go ahead, laugh. But the tycoons must have a conscience hidden somewhere in them.

Stool school for dummies

Our recent walk along Bowen Road in search of the dog poisoner yielded results, but of a different kind. We came upon a public toilet that offered a choice of a sit-down toilet bowl and a crouch-down toilet over a hole on the floor. An illustration on each door showed the exact body posture required to use the facility. An idiot's guide on how to poop. We couldn't help but wonder: if we are all such idiots, the authorities should surely also put up illustrations showing how to use the toilet paper when done.