Leung's wind of change can stifle hollow howls of critics

PUBLISHED : Friday, 30 March, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 30 March, 2012, 12:00am


Faithful followers of this column will note that all my predictions about the chief executive election have come true. That's quite a remarkable feat, if I may say so, given the extraordinary twists and turns that have taken place.

In fairy tales and cartoons, good invariably triumphs over evil. But, in the real world, the heroes may not live happily ever after.

Chief executive-elect Leung Chun-ying won the fiercely contested battle, which featured daily attacks on his integrity and an accompanying fall in popularity. After his election, he was told he still had to face six time bombs, namely the alleged 'West Kowloon-gate', 'black- gold' politics, the alleged proposal to shorten the renewal of Commercial Radio's licence, the claims about suppression of protests against Article 23 legislation, his position on June 4, and the accusation that he is an underground Communist Party member.

On top of that, Leung was reminded that he would have to deal with four thorny issues: Article 23 legislation, national education, constitutional development and RTHK.

And, with the Legislative Council election coming up only two months after his swearing in, poor Leung is not expected to enjoy a honeymoon period with his people. As if those threats are not worrying enough, his opponents have warned of a mass rally of more than 100,000 participants on July 1, a rare scene in recent years. There is an old Chinese saying that 'biting dogs won't bark, and barking dogs won't bite'. It means that the noisier the hissing and rattling, the more hollow it all sounds and the less actual action there will be.

As we all know, most of Leung's opponents are in the business sector, and most businesspeople love to make money, not enemies. Behind the war cries, many have already paid secret tribute to the new chief and pledged their renewed allegiance.

Even before the election, we began to hear the call for an armistice from all sides, and of course Leung is only too happy to oblige. The media are now busy shifting their positions in the new political environment, and the politicians, instead of expending their efforts on bashing Leung, will be too busy fighting for their survival in the upcoming Legco election.

The fact is that the more Leung's opponents feel under threat, the more they will be busy fighting for their life, and the more peaceful the political and social scene will be - at least until the dust settles after the September election. There will be a honeymoon after all, albeit a short one of perhaps three months, depending on the result of the poll.

Conventional wisdom has it that there will be a pendulum effect from one election to the other. If that is the case, the dissidents will have a tactical advantage in the September election to balance the power of Leung, who is believed to be very pro-establishment and pro-Beijing. But the winds have already changed, and the failure of Leung's opponents to notice this proved to be their downfall.

After a full 15 years of official dilly-dallying, with most people feeling that things were unjust, many have started to realise that what they need is not a fettered government that can do no evil, but a capable one that can actually do some good and bring about much-needed reforms.

There is an increasing number of people who distrust the dissidents, regardless of whether they are moderates or radicals, because they have proved incapable of effecting change. The turnout at their rallies has been disappointing, time and again, a sure sign that they are fast losing support.

Leung won the election on the ticket of change. People have empowered him with this important task even amid all these accusations and allegations. And, they want him to succeed. The dissidents had better move aside and let him do his job of leading us out of this cesspool. Otherwise they risk a mauling by the voters.

Lau Nai-keung is a member of the Basic Law Committee of the NPC Standing Committee, and also a member of the Commission on Strategic Development