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

PUBLISHED : Monday, 24 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 24 December, 2012, 3:58am


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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