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  • Aug 31, 2014
  • Updated: 4:44pm
My Take
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 04 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 04 July, 2013, 3:44am

Why I can't help sitting on the fence

Someone's got my number. A critic in a blog, which I will call "Small Melon, Various Fruits", describes my column as a "Beijing-sympathetic-but-not-pro-Communist, pluralistic-but-not-pro-dem act." I couldn't have used fewer words if I tried to explain myself to my elderly parents.

For that, he said I surely deserve a Bronze Bauhinia Star. Just bronze? I was hoping for gold, despite the precious metal's price plunge. But I doubt Leung Chun-ying, our government boss, would consider me for the august prize, given the disproportionate number of nasty columns I have devoted to rounding on his government. My fruity critic has a much more impressive routine, though, a sort of "I feel compassion for Hong Kong but only because I'm so much cleverer than the natives". We have plenty of expats with that sort of superiority complex that is constantly hinted at but a social taboo to admit to. That would be too arrogant and possibly racist now, wouldn't it?

As for my sitting on the fence, which a few readers of his blog apparently consider a sin, I can't help myself. Sorry, there are just no real communists in China to join forces with; those who still fancy themselves as such are either nutcases or nonagenarians dozing off in Zhongnanhai.

What about my failure to support the pan-dems? Well, I don't know about you, but I really find it hard to side with such old drama queens as Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, Jimmy Lai Chee-ying and Martin Lee Chu-ming. Perhaps my blogging critic likes and admires those kiddies from Scholarism, as many in Hong Kong apparently do. As a father, I consider it bad parenting to let children spend so much time holding forth in press conferences and fighting city hall.

We live in an age of democracy and there is no rolling back the clock. But as soon as you point out there might be problems, you unfailingly hear the same comeback: "No one ever says democracy is perfect/ideal/a cure-all …." But the way some people fetishise "democracy" and brook no criticism, you kind of get the impression they really think it's godly perfection itself. Well, at least they believe in something.

My dear critic seems to believe, first and last, in his own witticisms and cynicism. There are at least some "isms" he believes in.

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honkiepanky
SCMP could raise the quality of its journalism 10 times by replacing Alex with Hemlock.
John Adams
Mr Lo, I strongly suspect that you speak for the 95% fence-sitting majority.
You certainly speak for me.
But unlike the 94.99999% silent fence-sitting majority who don't speak out ( the other 0.00001% being your -ism-based critics) you do speak out.
Thanks.
wwong888
what a pathetic retort to biglychee.com
Hemlock 2, Lo 0
take another shot Alex, and try not to put the ball in your own net as you just did today
jandajel
The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis. - Dante
scmpbeijing1
The problem is that Mr. Lo spends too much time hanging from the wrong side of the fence. Furthermore, I wish he had 1 percent of the courage, intelligence and principles that Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, Jimmy Lai Chee-ying and Martin Lee Chu-ming possess.
wwong888
alex, you aren't sitting on the fence... you are sitting on your new commie mainland editors c-ck
impala
"As for my sitting on the fence, which a few readers of his blog apparently consider a sin, I can't help myself. Sorry, there are just no real communists in China to join forces with; those who still fancy themselves as such are either nutcases or nonagenarians dozing off in Zhongnanhai."

Are we to conclude from this that Mr Lo would preferably be seen as a 'real communist'? Is that where his ideological loyalty lies?

What Hemlock was hinting at, is something that has disturbed me as well: a lack of consistency and principles in Mr Lo's musings. One day he will come down hard on Hong Kong police abuse, and a couple of months later he criticises the US State Department report for citing those very same abuses.

You don't have to affiliate yourself with anybody Mr Lo to have a clear set of values. You don't always have to side with a group, but what do you stand for yourself please? Despite reading this column for years, that remains a mystery to me. There are some flares of more philosophical considerations at times, but mostly it appears you take a populist, opportunistic approach to what is right and what is wrong.

Sure, nothing is a panacea. Democracy isn't either. What is? It is a gratuitous statement. We are all well aware of its flaws. But let's get down to business. Do you support democracy of the universal suffrage in Hong Kong, or do you support a continuation of the status quo kleptocracy? Or something else? A simple answer would clarify a lot.
Dai Muff
Well, he's criticising you for making straw man arguments basically, in which you have specialised the past week. Maybe you should advise your kids not to mess with those either. Still waiting for the "totalitarian dictatorship is not a panacea" article.
XYZ
Methinks Mr. Lo doth protest too much. Obviously a well-aimed arrow struck home.
shouken
Dictator? You mean who? Xi? He is just one of 7 elders, or, perhaps, just one of 25. These days, dictators are a very rare breed, a sort of endangered species. I prefer the old China emperors than today's democratic conformists. Dreary politicians all.

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