Public Eye

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 29 February, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 29 February, 2012, 12:00am

Leaders scoffed at our warnings - now they're paying the price

So now do you believe us? Public Eye warned our leaders more than two years ago to wake up and smell the revolution. We warned of a fuse burning towards a time bomb. We said that our chief executive should be scared, the tycoons should be scared, and Beijing should be scared. But no one listened. That bomb is now exploding. Not all at once but in slow motion. The shrapnel is flying everywhere. It has rained down on chief executive candidate Henry Tang Ying-yen. It has struck his rival Leung Chun-ying. Donald Tsang Yam-kuen is bleeding profusely from it. And the tycoons are running for cover. If only they had listened. But they didn't feel they needed to. They never believed it would come to this. They scoffed at those who told them it could. It's not just Tang's luxury basement. Or Leung's alleged misconduct in judging the West Kowloon arts hub design contest. It's not just Tsang's luxury travel aboard fancy yachts and private jets or his palatial three-level retirement penthouse. Or that the tycoons assisted in this lavish lifestyle. All these things have combined to feed the public belief that our leaders are in cahoots with the tycoons at the expense of the people. This perception has long festered. There has been no shortage of warnings that the people were restive. But the ruling class shut its eyes and ears. The tycoons continued to behave as if they were untouchable overlords. They ignored the seething anger at their arrogant ways. Our leaders couldn't fathom the rising public rage. They hobnobbed more with the tycoons than with the people. They couldn't understand that this fed the perception. They ruled in the belief that they knew better than the people what's best for the people. They believed if they just threw money at the masses at budget time the people would be content. Well, they gave tax rebates, free electricity, free rent and much more, yet the people are calling for blood. We should all be scared that a society with full employment and bulging surpluses can still be so angry. The time bomb has blown up in the faces of the ruling class. The tycoons and our leaders can run for cover but there really is nowhere to hide. They need to face the people, atone and change their ways.

Public perception of collusion has been fuelled by officials

Perception is everything. Once it is formed you have to move mountains to reverse it. In the minds of the Hong Kong people top government officials and the tycoons have long colluded to benefit each other. Officials feed the greed of the tycoons with favourable policies and are rewarded with cushy post-retirement jobs. That's the perception. Our leaders refused to open their eyes to it. Instead of reversing it they fuel it. Now it is ingrained in the public mind. That is why even when Donald Tsang donated HK$2 million to charity by selling his wine collection the people did not applaud but suspect he had somehow benefited from the deal. People are now ready to believe the worst in our leaders. And it's not the fault of the people. They've been given plenty of reasons.

Impeachment attempt is a telling sign of the times

Want to know the shrapnel reach of the exploding bomb? It is far and it is wide. Our chief executive has been summoned under threat of impeachment to go before the Legislative Council tomorrow for a grilling on his luxury travels aboard yachts and private jets owned by tycoons. It now looks almost certain he will kiss goodbye to his palatial retirement penthouse in Shenzhen. The tycoons are squirming under public derision. They are being forced to deny that they collude with the government. Would you have ever imagined just a few short weeks ago that all this could happen, that the chief executive could actually be threatened with impeachment? That's how far and wide the shrapnel has reached.

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