• Fri
  • Dec 26, 2014
  • Updated: 11:40pm
PUBLISHED : Monday, 24 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 24 December, 2012, 3:58am

The world didn't end, but illegal structures saga should

Alice Wu says that since the Mayan calendar goofed, let's get on with life and finally put the illegal structures issue to rest

So, Friday wasn't the end of the world. Now that we're still here, we've got to move forward. For those of you who put everything on your credit card, just in case the end of the Mayan calendar was indeed The End of humankind, you may want to start worrying now.

And for those of you who stockpiled your cupboards with loads of canned and dry foods, it's time to carry them to your nearest food shelter. Let your questionable decision benefit others, befitting the holiday spirit of giving.

And for our politicians who have been stuck in this year of "illegal structure" politics, can we please just move on? We have been talking about illegal structures since Donald Tsang Yam-kuen's private property was found to have a glass-enclosed balcony - and that was in the summer of last year. Eighteen months have passed, many government officials and legislators have been found with illegal structures, the supposedly anointed chief executive candidate lost his bid because of illegal structures, and the purported end of the world has officially come and gone, and we're stuck on illegal structures.

Listen, the damage has been done. Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has been dragged through enough shame for his illegal structures. He has paid and will continue to pay the price for riding on his moral high horse during the campaign. Yes, he deserved the public outcry - every bit of it.

But he also survived, first, a vote of no confidence, and then a motion to invoke special privileges to launch a special investigation over illegal structures, and he will surely survive the impeachment proceedings. But we still won't let up.

As the saying goes, "all things must come to an end". This political soap opera is tiresome, it's boring, and if our lawmakers would just take a break from being so self-absorbed for a moment, they would realise they may have just missed a chance to quit while they're ahead.

Did they miss the RTHK forum held at the beginning of last week, in which the very respected University of Hong Kong's public opinion programme was in charge of randomly selecting callers? Not one asked about Leung's illegal structures. They asked him about what he plans to do about housing and other pressing social issues.

And what about the latest polls, which say that despite the illegal structures and the political posturing to run Leung into the ground, public confidence in the Leung administration went up 11 per cent?

On Thursday, before the Legislative Council adjourned for the holidays, Legco president Tsang Yok-sing hilariously "rejected" December 21, 2012, to be the end of the world, citing the many important tasks that lawmakers must attend to after their break as the reason for the "ruling".

We do need these people to "get on with it", so either they learn to multitask or make a choice between what they want and what the public wants. One thing, though, is certain: there isn't a lot more political milk to come from this illegal structures cow.

Have a very merry Christmas!

Alice Wu is a political consultant and a former associate director of the Asia Pacific Media Network at UCLA


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This article is now closed to comments

Dai Muff
You miss the point. As Ronny Tong said, he was initially against impeachment because a little untruth during elections is a common thing. But when a Chief Executive goes into the Legco chamber and continues to dissemble and evade it becomes a bigger issue. The issue is one of TRUST, not illegal structures. Why could we not get a SIMPLE answer on the Stanley property from the chamber? At least Donald, once caught, did not continue to lie. And if you think the revelations about Donald and Henry were not connected with this, you seem a little naive. If you were involved with a person and that person dissembled or evaded, would you still trust him or her? Doesn't our CE owe us honesty? If he doesn't, maybe we'd better change the Basic Law to make the post 100% unimpeachable instead of 99.9% unimpeachable as it is now. And it seems to have evaded you that the only reason he survived those motions is that the deck is stacked.
John Adams
Ms Wu
It seems the previous commentators don't support your point of view
But I certainly do support you !
I am much more concerned about the greater issues that face HK : the environment, the cost of housing, and of course free elections one day soon
Yes, please do let's move
We all care about these issues, but just refuse to be sheep following every path that the media lead us down and then attempting to take the high ground when they (the media) tell us that we now have to forget about the controversy that they created. HK-Lover is spot on in saying that the media should have analysed and reported outdated regulations.
The worst thing is the way that the SCMP and their media cronies can get away with creating such hateful feelings within society. It shouldn't be CY answering questions it should be the executives of the SCMP.
Who was it to start making such a big thing out of CY Leung having trellis without a permit (in what other advanced and civil country do you actually need a permit to put up trellis on your very own property? ) ? It was the very you - the SCMP and all your colleagues form the media. And now you cry foul after it went out of control? Instead, you should have analysed and reported about our outdated regulations in regard to illegal structures which make us an offender for every nail we put into our walls !
Dai Muff
Some of you didn't mind that outcry when it affected the "election" in CY's favor. Strange eh?
Well said. I've maintained the media have played an enormous, if not primary role in dragging this issue longer than necessary.
Dear Ms. Wu, how about you move into a 420 sq.ft. flat in Ho Man Tin and reflect on why HKers might be angry enough about their politicians' double standards to keep this issue alive. Indeed your point of view seems transparently geared toward the interests of people with indiscretions they would rather see buried. Have you made full disclosure of your consulting contracts to SCMP?
The only milk you guys in the media can still drag out of it is to continue your denigration of indigenous villagers. You know the campaign you started last year. The one where you are trying to create discimination against a section of society in Hong Kong by branding them as 'Greedy' and where you argue that no exceptions should be made to the law. The one where you the SCMP have editorials pontificating about the evils of illegal structures and the law-breaking villagers. The one where you say its not fair that urban residents are treated more harshly and this must stop. Do you remember the war that you started? Now you want to finish it? Does this mean we will see no more attacks from you?


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