My Take

Why I can't help sitting on the fence

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 04 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 04 July, 2013, 3:44am

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.