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My Take
PUBLISHED : Friday, 03 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 03 May, 2013, 3:52am

History has left Martin Lee behind

I still remember midnight June 30, 1997. I was one of dozens of journalists waiting outside the old Legislative Council building when Martin Lee Chu-ming, the late Szeto Wah and their Democratic Party comrades raised their fists and vowed "We shall return". I had tears in my eyes then. These were men who were ready to go to jail and face torture for democracy. South Africa had Nelson Mandela. Former Czechoslovakia had Vaclav Havel. Poland had Lech Walesa. Hong Kong, I thought, had Martin Lee.

This week, I read his commentary on democracy in this newspaper. I shed no tears; just kept rolling my eyes. Lee would have joined those great dissident leaders if Beijing had remained a totalitarian state. Alas, its behaviour has been benign and tolerant, at least towards Hong Kong. That rather spoils Lee's chance at martyrdom. Long on emotion but short on analysis, his piece would have done just fine for his fans. It is full of his old ideals, untainted by developments in Hong Kong and on the mainland since the handover.

He was angry, he writes, for being "thrown out of the Legislative Council" in 1997. Well, Beijing imposed the Provisional Legislative Council and overturned the "through train" for Legco because, with reason, it considered Chris Patten's unilateral political reform a breach of the deal it struck with the previous Thatcher government. Lee writes: "[Our] core values are obstacles to Beijing, as it wants to control Hong Kong just as they control the mainland." This was what everyone assumed in 1997. The past 15 years rather prove Beijing has honoured "one country, two systems" to an extent unanticipated by most so-called old China hands. Beijing may not be Lee's cup of tea, but it is a legitimate government.

On democracy, Lee writes: "I asked … are we not ready?" Of course we are ready. It's Beijing that is not ready. On this, everyone can agree, even if we can't all say it out loud. You can't expect Beijing to behave like a democracy when it is not one. But if Ebenezer Scrooge was willing to donate a significant sum to charity - that is, offering conditional suffrage to Hong Kong - you have to admit this is a real start, not window-dressing. And you negotiate from there, in good faith, not by vilifying Beijing at every opportunity.

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the sun also rises
Of course we are fully ready for our long-pursuited democracy ! Certainly it is Beijing which is not ready and will never get ready ! On this, everyone can agree, even if we can't all say it loud (especially those who are hired by the Chinese-capital companies and leftist organisations plus those blind-loyalists/ slave-servants in town !) You can't expect Beijing to behave like a democracy---of course not, it is never a democracy ! If Mr.Scrooge (the miser in Dickens' novel:A Christmas Carol) was willing to donate a significant sum to charity---that is, offering conditional suffrage to Hong Kong---we have to admit this is a real start, not just window-dressing !
the sun also rises
of course, now we are fully ready, though some evil-minded guys here in this Comment column fiercely attacking our road towards a demcoratic Hong Kong where people can choose their leader and all lawmakers in the upcoming years.Only when the leader of a place or country is elected by her people,will he/she be accoutable/responsible to his/her people and those who vote him/her in can also vote him/her out once he/she is found to be corrupted or incapable.Right ? Democracy is a good thing and is considered the best existing political system in our world---the 21st century world where most countries practise democratic political system.The recent ones are Egypt, Libya,Iraq,Afghanistan and Mynamar (former Burma).Even Vietnam is now developing into a more democratic government.The autocratic countries which remain are:Cuba,N.Korea and Mainland China only ! But their days will be numbered while being surrounded by numerous democratic countries ! Just wait and see !
the sun also rises
' an illerate writer enthuses here' ? I wonder if there is really an illterate writer as you addresses him to be---how can he dare to write here in this local English language newspaper since he is so illerate ? Your words and rude description of another writer here should be condemned by all other writers and readers with sense and righteousness in town ! 'More and more countries go democratic' can be written by one who hasn't even a primary 6 level ? I wonder.This 'whymak' claimed once taught briefly (at a kindergarten maybe ?) and now he even claimed to be/had been a scientist (politcal scientist at Beijing University ?---a joke !) Your level in politics especially those related to Mainland China is really poor and distorted indeed ! Go and learn world politics attentively for five more years maybe helpful to you, I think.Taiwan,Iraq,Afghanistan and Mynamar (Burma) have all gone democratic in the past two decades ! Do you know, you geniune moron in democracy !
whymak
An illiterate writer enthuses here, "more and more countries go democratic."
If everyone has HIV and tuberculosis, I wonder if he wants to have the same.
A moment's reflection distresses me no end. A moron's logic may be unfathomable. Yet guesstimating from writers' opinions in SCMP Op-eds as well as those of their most vocal readers, I find Democracy is still the ideology/religion of choice after discounting for the fraudulent "votes" from one single imbecile.
Unlike Hong Kong's ivory tower's pseudo intellectual airheads, I respect Mr. Lo's pragmatic intellectualism. (No one has yet told me this term is an oxymoron.) Naturally, I am curious why he sometimes seems to concede in this column, not exactly inconspicuously I must say, to the ungrounded hypothesis which implies Democracy is the End of History.
As teacher and scientist in my brief early career, I reject the superstition in the universal suffrage dogma, along with other myths about God of Abraham as no more than mankind's eternal mirage, a human condition that occasionally wreaks havoc on the progress of human civilization.
Perhaps as Mr. Lo unfolds his reasoned political philosophy piecewise in this daily column, we could hear his erudite arguments why troglodytes and eschatological fundamentalists still have useful roles in the 21st Century.
the sun also rises
The most illerate 'writer' here in this Comment forum is nobody but this so-called' whymak'---a group's name indeed who can write nothing logical or convincing but instead keeping on attacking maliciously at a certain writer here personally.How evil-minded you are---the shame of all intellects in the Chinese society and a shame of your ancestors who have such descendants----hired so-called 'writers' here to attack other democracy supporters ! Shame on you and your evil words ! 'Shameful 'and 'shameless' are the two most appropriate words to describe you and your group----'-redchinagroup' ? Right ?
the sun also rises
Alex Lo has to shed his tears not for the change of Martin Lee (not becoming a martyr for the democracy in the territory) but for himself-----changing from an idealistic journalist in 1997 to a 'practical' experienced reporter-****-columnist who has to be cautious on what he writes for fear of breaking his rice-bowl in SCMP which can never angers the giant in the North ! Right ?
whymak
A reader says: "An educated population, with a higher level of income and properity."
Does the word education cover the semi-literates commenting on Mr. Lo's column?
Where did our high income and prosperity come from in the first place? Early immigrant arrivals from the mainland built Hong Kong light manufacturing and textile industry. Before that, the be-all-end-all aspirations of an average Hong Konger consisted no more than civil service jobs, and for those more capable, a solicitor or physician. Later, these entrepreneurs leveraged mainland's cheap labor into Hong Kong capital formation.
How ironic? In less than three decades, we have turned our welcome into contempt.
Still same people, same language and same culture.
We ought to have our heads examined. Democracy and communism are just convenient terms for dim wits and morons who don't know how to frame relevant issues in this political economy.
Rabble rousers full of themselves are taking advantage of Hong Kongers' stupidity to propel themselves into power.
True, our subculture is not Chinese mainstream. True too, we started out from a different set of conditions. As a result, our separate evolutionary courses must be different. Any prediction of convergence for our two systems at this time is premature.
But realization of brotherly differences is a far cry from the deep hatred of China expressed in SCMP by self-hate Chinese.
The reader I quoted almost qualifies.
the sun also rises
several weeks ago, our frequent contributor here:pflim040 has kindly advised you to go home and brush up your so-called English before coming back here to attack the pan-democrats in town and their supporters.Yet regrettably you haven't taken his nice advice,your English is still below average and your message is far from understandable,not to say your concept of democracy and communism.As most people know,communism is just a type of authoritrarian rule only.Kuomintang (from 1927-1987) is an authoritrarian rule by Chiang's father and son but not communist rule at all .So did the rule of Macrcos in the Phillippines in last century:capitalism but authoritrarian rule ! You are definitely a moron yourself, I dare say !
jkhleung
@"mail delivery sub..": Your frequent personal attacks on people who hold different views are unwarranted. Your English is obviously no better than "whymak" and yet you've repeatedly abused him using different pen names. You're frankly doing the democratic cause a disservice. It's this kind of behaviour and mentality that turned me off from the Democrats many years ago! I will not even shed a crocodile tear for you and Martin Lee if you should be stupid enough to join the Occupy Central movement next July and get arrested.
the sun also rises
I am sorry to say,jkhleung, your so-called English is not better than your team member, a so-called 'whymak' whose English is really below average---according to international and Hong Kong standards as well. As all know,English,like other languages, is a tool to communicate and express oneself.If one can never/hardly express himself or herself clearly and properly ,then his/her standard of the language is below the average ! Right ? Both of you two should go home( across the border at Lowu maybe ?) to brush up your English before coming back to monitor our websites and attack our pan-democratic camp supporters !

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