Bad boys of Legco are no radicals

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 11 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 11 October, 2012, 10:00am

Coughing repeatedly; unfurling a banner of Dr Sun Yat-sen; and shouting a question about whether newly elected Legislative Council president Jasper Tsang Yok-sing was a communist. Were those all the disruptive antics our bad boys of Legco could muster during their swearing-in yesterday? No helium balloons or throwing of bananas? Frankly I am a bit disappointed.

Their fans no doubt expected more of League of Social Democrats' "Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung and People Power lawmakers Wong Yuk-man and Albert Chan Wai-yip. The trio will have to work harder if they hope to keep their reputation as "radical" pan-democrats.

Of course, "radical" is a misnomer. Whenever our reporters describe them as such, it inevitably provokes a few reader comments that we should stop calling them radicals when all they are pushing for is democracy. Our readers are right. Everyone is for democracy nowadays. The Basic Law says that's Hong Kong's ultimate political goal. Even Beijing has promised it to Hong Kong. So there is nothing radical about that.

Leung's idol Che Guevara was radical. Karl Marx was radical. But, I hate to break it to you - there is nothing radical about Leung.

He might have been protesting long before it became fashionable. But times have changed. Today, even the secondary-school kids in the Scholarism movement - of anti-national-education fame - can command a much larger crowd than Leung at the drop of a hat. Rather Wong, Leung and Chan are more like naughty schoolboys who provoke their teachers to kick them out of class so they don't have to stay and do schoolwork.

They never refer to their Legco briefs, leading to suspicions they have never read them. After disrupting a Legco session, they get thrown out by security guards, leaving the more diligent lawmakers, many of them pan-democrats, to stay and do the people's business.

The desire for democracy is not the same as achieving it. By demanding democracy now, our Legco bad boys are denouncing all those, like the Democratic Party, who show willingness to negotiate and compromise.

Merely shouting down officials and obstructing negotiations will not get us to the Promised Land. Sadly, many of their fans don't seem to appreciate that.