• Sat
  • Apr 19, 2014
  • Updated: 6:47pm
My Take
PUBLISHED : Friday, 05 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 05 July, 2013, 4:39am

Where were my neighbours on July 1?

If those who joined the July 1 march represent Hong Kong's majority, then where are those people in my neighbourhood? Statistically, the odds must be good for me to come across one or more protesters. I ran up and down the road to ask my neighbours this week if they took part on Monday and couldn't find a single one. Maybe they just didn't want people to know about their involvement, but I seriously doubt that.

From my highly unscientific and partisan survey, I conclude that there is the real quiet majority, people who have no time for politics or protest because they are not upset or don't care enough. Sure, I think most Hongkongers like me and my neighbours want full democracy, clean and efficient government and a fairer society. But most of us realise we already live in a free and safe city, with a relatively efficient civil service. Yes, it's a semi-democratic society full of defects and problems, but then what society isn't?

Many of us also don't want to antagonise or confront the central government. This may be for purely pragmatic reasons, but not a few of us may have patriotic respect for Beijing for what it has achieved in a generation by making the country, while not rich, at least not terribly poor like it was. We - like the vast majority of citizens on the mainland and most governments around the world - accept the central government as the legitimate government of China. And we believe it's better to work with Beijing in good faith to bring about full democracy than confronting it at every turn and denouncing mainland officials at every opportunity.

Such reasonable beliefs are not so hard to understand. But our anti-Beijing crowd insists on not understanding them, or ignoring and suppressing them, because they are at variance with their self-righteous and ideology-driven narrative. By definition, we may be in the majority but we don't make enough noise and attract attention. I respect people's right to protest, but I resent being presented with false choices - democracy good, Beijing evil - as if we were facing an existential moral crisis.

Like most ordinary people, I don't get invited to spring receptions with mainland honchos and local ministers. But if there is an occasion where a mainland official is present and wants to shake everyone's hand, I would certainly shake his as a respectful gesture. If my children tried to join those HKU or Scholarism under-aged protesters, I would ground them for a week and cut their allowances for a month. When the national anthem is played at a public event, I expect them to stand up.


Related topics


This article is now closed to comments

So, continue to shine your enlightening vision please. How much information does the current system of CE selection capture? What kind of mandate for a city of 7 million is a largely pre-determined vote by a self-selecting group of 1,200 kleptocrats?
Smart words, pleasing to everyone... just say in one word you want to be a "neutral" just give a small tiny winy thought when you stop writing,would HK be so, what it is today. if there would not be for these protest and complaints against the Scary selfish politician??? ;)
John Adams
Mr Lo
Perhaps a final word....
As you know, I agree fully with your column today
You can take comfort in the fact that the silent majority are by definition silent
A lot of what has been written today in the comments section has been written by the non-silent minority
Fortunately under universal suffrage ( if we get that far) we will all have one vote - silent majority and non-silent minority.
Hopefully by then reason will prevail
Yes indeed. And therefore, it is really odd that Mr Lo attempts to use the 'silent majority' argument to make a point that 'we' ('they,' as in: the 'silent majority') don't need (or rather: don't really want) democracy based on universal suffrage.

If anything, it is a great argument in favour if it. With any form of a one-man-one-vote system of proportional representation in the legislature, and a clear mechanism by which the executive power needs majority support from that legislature, or any variant of such arrangement, there will be much less need for marches, protests, demonstrations, hunger-strikes, shouting and so on. Sure, fringe and minority-interest groups may still do this, and that is fine, but at least we can then clearly point to a government that has a mandate to implement whatever policy is at stake. And that will be a mandate precisely from 'the silent majority' (assuming they are not too silent to vote once every 5 years).

If Mr Lo is indeed convinced that there is a large silent majority in Hong Kong that is more or less happy with the DAB line of policy, including the slow but certain rapprochement vis a vis the mainland, then implementing universal suffrage and proportional representation should be a piece of cake. The DAB candidate would then win the first CE election hands-down.

And then we won't have to rely on the likes of Mr Lo to provide us with anecdotal evidence of what may or may not be the opinion of the 'silent majority.'

Its crystal clear that HK under CY Leung’s administration, without legitimacy, is becoming worse in just one year’s time in aspects of human right, freedom of expression, rule of law and equality, not even mentioned those daily live problems such as housing that can’t be resolved. Seems Alex is blind to witness such obviousness.
The central government is a single-ruled dictatorship party government without legitimacy. Only those immoral animals enjoyed benefits from it accepts its ruling. Please don’t generalise your immoral act with HK people. Alex is naïve to think we can work with the central government to achieve full democracy. Will a dictator work with you to share you his tightly-gripped power in which the communist party can make a sea of monetary benefits from it? We HK people have been waiting for 16 years for universal suffrage, while till now there is no progress at all. We only see the backward development of human rights, equality, freedom in many aspects in our everyday live.
Contrary with Alex’s education to his children, if my children tried to join those HKU or Scholarism under-aged protesters, I would praise and reward them for their righteousness and braveness to contribute to the society, and the ability to distinguish right from wrong, unlike those immoral writers. And I am sure I will even double their allowances for a month!
I have the impression that Alex is an employed writer for the communist party after reading his passage. I doubt if he writes with the same tone if he lives in mainland China being exploited with basic human rights and personal freedom. He always takes his naïve opinion as those of the majority of HK people. He is naïve enough to take the view that his neighbours didn’t take part in the 1July marching represents the majority of HK people is like him, a free-rider who desires full democracy yet passive and silent. He commits the fallacy of one sparrow does not make a summer. Its no strange you can’t find one around you who went marching as it seems you are paid to write for the central government.
Generally, I find the pro-democracy readers in Mr. Lo’s column dumber than pro-China ones. They often regurgitate blindly white men’s mantra about choice, freedom, etc. without proposing a single original, useful idea. Here is an election format that helps derive more information about winners and losers.
In a plain vanilla election between two candidates, one votes for either A or B, characterized by a duple value: (1,0) or (0,1). There is only one unit of information in this election format. However, if we include a vote against a candidate with a -1 value, we have now 6 choices: (1,0), (0,1), (-1,0), (0,-1), (-1,-1), (1,1). (1,-1) and (-1,1) are not allowed because it would amount to casting a net difference of 2 votes.
All of a sudden, a ballot yields 2.58 units of information (log 6 to base 2).
Voters will now get an important piece of information hitherto denied them – the issue of mandate.
Suppose out of 1.5 million votes cast, instead of a CE candidate winning by 755,000 votes, he has a net of only 100,000 when negative numbers are tallied. What kind of mandate is that for a city of 7 million?
Western Democracy theology will spin all kinds of objections against this better electoral system. That’s a given. If this system is implemented with poor choice of candidates, election will soon become toast.
Will Hong Kong be the trail blazer of this more informative election system? Don’t hold your breath on this one.
Dai Muff
"regurgitate blindly white men’s mantra" What a nasty little racist comment? Not a DAB member by any chance are you?
Ah it was only a matter of time wasn't it. Comrade whymak returns with make-up mathematics that bear no connection to reality whatsoever.

So, continue to shine your enlightening vision please. How much information does the current system of CE selection capture? What kind of mandate for a city of 7 million is a largely pre-determined vote by a self-selecting group of 1,200 kleptocrats?
its always about race isn't whymak... like i said, get over the fact your white boyfriend dumped you for a more exciting man... jeez... there are plenty of other men out there for you



SCMP.com Account