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  • Dec 26, 2014
  • Updated: 8:14am
My Take
PUBLISHED : Monday, 05 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 06 November, 2012, 4:44pm

Flag-wavers have right to be ridiculous

What should be done with people who tried to provoke the government and Beijing by waving the British colonial flag during protests? Absolutely nothing. Lawmaker "Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung has a closet full of Che Guevara T-shirts. No one would waste time trying to tell him to wear something else. At least the British are for free trade and an open economy, not murderous Marxists like the revolutionary.

People do all sorts of idiotic and offensive things and the worst you can do is to provoke them further by making them feel important instead of ridiculous.

But Lu Ping, a former mainland official in charge of Hong Kong and Macau affairs, took the bait and denounced the young protesters. He said they should leave the city if they disliked it so much. Now Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has appealed to people not to wave the colonial flag.

Perhaps officials have a bigger concern. The flag-waving is part of a nascent movement that is either calling for independence or full autonomy for Hong Kong - its members can't seem to make up their minds what they really want.

"These guys who advocate for Hong Kong independence are sheer morons," Lu said. "Deprived of support from the mainland, Hong Kong would be a dead city."

His former deputy, Chen Zuoer, earlier called for firm action from the authorities. "The rise of a pro-independence force in Hong Kong is spreading like a virus," he said.

Didn't Confucius say silence is golden? If there were ever such a time for retired old men to be silent, this is it. There is no sign the movement is anything but the asinine rumblings of a few malcontents and juveniles.

As a Chinese citizen, I too find the flag-waving absurd, offensive and stupid. Those who think tiny Hong Kong could lead the rest of China into the land of milk and honey understand neither its own insignificance nor the nation's millennial history and civilisation.

But let me do a Voltaire routine here, not that I am comparing my puny intellect to this great man of letters. Let us defend their right to be ridiculous.

Most sensible people in Hong Kong realise their absurdity and treat them as a joke. But as the saying goes, "it takes a whole village" to convince them of their idiocy, not complaints from a few retired officials.


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This article is now closed to comments

The likes of Lu Ping and Chen Zuoer, of course, can be ridiculed. But the problem is that they do not just express their opinion as Party officials; they speak the mind of many millions of ordinary mainland Chinese citizens. If the time comes, those demonstrating against HK independence will far outnumber those protesting against Japan over Diaoyu Island.
It took 4 years and the loss of 500,000+ lives for the northern Americans to suppress the secession of 11 southern confederate states 1861-1864. (so costly and unworthy that they finally had to whitewash the anti-secession war into a crusade to free the blacks, as though the northerners truly loved the blacks so much!). For HK, maybe 4 days.
Who is making an INDEPENDENT HONG KONG ? HK Govt together with China !
China gave HK the following privileges :
- Separation of the 1.67m HK descendants mainlanders from uniting with HK families
- Hong Kong Land for HK people only
- No freedom of movement of mainlanders across HK borders
- Use of HK currency
All these privileges breed anti-mainlander sentiment and ALIENATE Hong Kong from China
A well educated man today has advantages over Voltaire in the 18th Century, however smart he might have been.
There are many kinds of freedoms. Speech freedom bad mouthing a proprietor infringes on his economic freedom. When people demonstrate, block sidewalks and cause traffic gridlock, they deprive others freedom in movement. Freedom of assembly to prevent construction projects could mean taking away employment from your fellow men.
An exercise of one kind of freedom will necessarily restrict another person’s freedom in a different area.
Conceptually we must define an objective function comprising of all different kinds and then optimize it into a policy. Every nation has its own priorities and hence its own OF. In Hong Kong and the US, we seldom suffer from needs and wants of adequate amount of food, a roof over our head and a “free” education. Therefore, the defined OF weighs toward speech freedom and property ownership.
China’s OF is quite different. It must be defined in more primitive terms, i.e., freedoms from hunger, shelter, and insufficient education. Optimization means trade-offs. This is one good reason why China must not allow subversive speech freedom that is destructive to her economic development and national construction. Waving a Union Jack and not taking up significant amount of public space in Hong Kong is a stupid act. In and of itself, this act creates no measurable perturbation on the optimization process.
Instead of bashing the people calling for independence, maybe our, the Mainland government and Mr. Lo should think long and hard what caused the movement to be formed in the first place.
Calling those people morons and threatening to cut of HK's water supply in the event of independence won't make Hong Kongers love China any more. Show us that being part of China will make us more prosperous (not just the property developers) and I'm sure people here will start liking being China.
BTW: Being patriotic and loving the country is not the same as loving the communist party.
Dai Muff
Say one thing for the colonial administration. The wives seemed to be a whole lot more reliable than those of the current BMW ("blame my wife") brigade.
The beauty of it all is that they CAN be ridiculous and wave that flag in HK (for now, at least). No harm no foul and any official that steps into that mess by addressing the issue shows lack of maturity and sheer stupidity.
Mainlanders WISH they could do such things.
Vive le freedom!
It is convenient and perhaps even comforting to some people to label the Hong Kong Flag wavers and their supporters as a handful of "malcontents and juveniles". The truth is many of them are well-educated, working adults born and raised in Hong Kong. Since the return of Hong Kong to Chinese sovereignty, Hongkongers have seen first hand how China governs its people. They threaten and insult us. They don't keep their promises and they are incompetent. Why should there be any surprise that we miss the British administration? The coloinial era of Hong Kong is part of our history, indeed now part of our heritage. We own it. There is no reason to hide or erase them. If China wants to gain the hearts of Hongkongers from their attachment to the British administration, all they have to do is out-perform them. Any attempt to insult, humiliate or suppress these flag wavers will only bring more flag wavers to the street, me included.
I hope the comment gets to be read particularly by all who aren’t happy about the state of Hong Kong. The concise comment which is pointing in target but widely in wisdom telling what have had gone before our time is food for thought for all of us.


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