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  • Sep 3, 2014
  • Updated: 4:10pm
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.

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pslhk
whymak's comments in scmp are
"pearl buried in hay"
playing piano to bulls
(can't write Chinese in this notebook)
so beautifully sad
wwong888
not as sad as your pathetic life
johnyuan
There is no intrinsic virtue in silent (quiet) majority. On the contrary, when government and citizen sway from proper conduct with impunity, it is mainly they were acquiesced by the silent majority who become followers. Without them Peter Piper can’t sing all the tunes.
.......
Correction: Quiet majority is not equivalent to silent majority. The latter is just momentarily not noisy.
whymak
CHINESE SOUL #1
Mr. Lo: You have expressed my sentiments as well, though not yet with the transcendental nuances of a Chinese soul.
For those well versed in our history, China is a civilization state like no other. But one must not mistake this as exceptionalism and universal value beliefs practiced in the West.
Throughout many rises and declines of dynasties, tyrants and enlightened emperors, prosperities and famines, barbarian invasions and internal revolts, there is always a definable unique Chinese identity. Not until late 19th Century, conquerors never succeeded in imposing their value systems. Instead, new rulers were assimilated into our culture.
The Opium Wars changed all that. Worse than being colonized, China became a slave of many masters. Her social fabric became frayed, then tattered. Past Chinese diasporas turned from trickles into torrents.
Now the big surprise. Overseas Chinese prosper, not just survive. Such ubiquitous success depends not on their host country’s state of economic development. Most importantly, the Chinese maintain their identity, as well as a subtle form of racism.
Chinese “secrets” are plain for everyone to see. Work ethnic, firm beliefs in meritocracy that allow individual talents and efforts to shine.
whymak
CHINESE SOUL #2
But elitism corrupts easily without virtue. Confucianism takes care of that with benevolence and kindliness.
Modern Democracy cult harbors many shallow and self-contradictory ipse dixits. I suppose sticking to literal Confucianism would produce the same. What we must keep in mind is there is such a thing as the Chinese soul.
There are no perfect governments and blameless leaders. Prerequisite to all good governance is a broad knowledge of the political economy, management and organization design, implementation knowhow.
Virtues and fairness in leadership, though essential, are not absolute. Eternal entities, e.g., speech freedom to Utopians and pseudo intellectuals, must be balanced dynamically against the needs of hundreds of millions still living on basic subsistence.
I am unabashed with my contempt for self-hate Hong Kongers and supercilious China baiting expats. Perhaps debating with them is throwing pearls before swine, or as best quoted from 正氣歌: 牛驥同一皁, 雞棲鳳凰食.
Men are not created equal. Some are born ugly, stupid, wicked and arrogant. Most assuredly, only virtuous elites should govern. Although virtues are dictated and tarnished by group survival, yet survival calls for contemptuous kindness (an oxymoron?) of the scumbags in our midst.
What if we become a populist mob rule? Just like centuries of our ancestors under tyrannies, we must learn to live with that too. In the course of history, everything comes to past.
whymak
jve: You're arguing the same way like a good Jesus freak or Islamic fanatic and repeating the same set of dogmas self-referenced from the Democracy Book of Moron. Your arguments bear no semblance to first-order logic used by good college students in debates. Did you by any chance go to the same schools as Sarah Palin?
impala
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?
supracosworth
Well said Alex. Precisely my sentiments.
whymak
Dragon Eyes: What if I tell you I derive the bulk of thinking skills from dead white males and I love equally Chinese and Western Civilizations? Do you listen to Beethoven, read Kant and Russell, and study Einstein and Riemann? Do you have white brothers and sisters in your extended family?
jve: Your mathematical illiteracy deserves no comment. You don't even know the fundamental definition of information, of which all coding, protocols, digitization, information transmission and presentation of this web page depend on, let alone modeling assumptions. All you know is quoting circular definitions of Democracy like superstitious folks self-referencing contradictory nonsense from their Book of Mor(m)on.
wwong888: 王八蛋大出洋相. You direly need to increase your exiguous 4-letter word vocabulary. I suggest that you and "jve" visit New York together and buy two tickets for "Book of Mor(m)on" on Broadway. Perhaps then 'jve" could learn talking on the level of #1 dingbat Sarah Palin and you, cursing like a good-natured, benevolent Canadian lumberjack.
Dai Muff
Ah. the "some of my best friends are black / gay / white" defence. Sorry but the chip on your shoulder is too apparent.
Everybody is whoever they want to be on the internet. Just going off to polish my Nobel prize now.
impala
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?
johnrai7
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
impala
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.'
kennethng2009

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!
kennethng2009
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.
whymak
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?
impala
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?
wwong888
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
mh0908
I read you column this morning and I just want to tell you I agree. Thanks Alex!
tennisboy
You look at the above photo and you see a bunch of teenagers holding colonial flags. I am sure they are missing the "good ole days" of British rule when they were in their diapers and feeding on mommy's milk.
lokuohsiung
I agree with you, Alex.
John Adams
Dear Mr Lo
Seems you can't win.
But anyway, you are not alone
johnyuan
Don’t be that sure your neighbors are quiet majority. The habit of staying away from limelight doesn’t prevent one still engages in the protest through social media. In fact, I think taking to the streets is a passé. Who knows who my neighbor really is; the alias in the comments may be your neighbor who has been writing you all those hate letters. You are a fish in a fish bowl a condition which comes with your job.
KwunTongBypass
Sad to see that Alex Lo is also no longer immune to "Singapurification".
wwong888
alex - how much is the HK Liason Office of the CPP paying you on the side? or did they promise you a deputy editor position at the Global Times once the Kuok's shut down this sad publication... I propose we replace your column with a link to biglychee.com
ngsw
One of the organisers when asked why they do not deploy academic bodies to do the counting said these bodies are NEUTRAL for academic reasons, and the crowds were happy with the 430000 they announced. I prefer 380000, in which 3 and 8 are lucky numbers, and they can manipulate the number and still holding integrity when they declare they stand for democracy. I like democracy, as I can do anything after I have persuade enough people to stand on my side.
thung01
Mr Lo, none of my neighbours attended the pro-government rallies, and their numbers were much smaller than the pro-democracy rallies -- so, by your logic, what does that prove? That the overwhelming majority do not support the government?
"By definition, we may be in the majority", you say. Who are "we"? All those who did not join the protests? Hold a referendum (if the government dares), and you'll find out who "we" are.
Dai Muff
Didn't I read this in the Global Times yesterday?
Never mind Mr Lo, at least you are not even pretending to be sitting on that fence any more.
anson
Under any system there are only going to be a few with true power. The power to get things done their way and quickly. A democratic system is no different from any other, with the exception that once every few years the population gets to vent its frustrations or signal its approval through the ballot box. The problem in Hong Kong is that the focus is on the system of choosing the select few to run the city and not on forming a vision of an ideal society, i.e. should there be universal welfare, should there be low taxes, free education, etc?
Hong Kong people would do well to look at other countries that do and don't have democracy to see how the status quo rules.
In both the UK and the US, the Conservatives and Labour, the Democrats and the Republicans, electing one party or the other does not lead to any great changes. This is often reflected in quite low voter turnout. In Australia of course, real voter apathy is reflected in a law that makes it compulsory to vote in a general election. Australia does not even give its citizens the real democracy of choosing not to vote.
The majority of people in these countries and the majority of Hong Kong people are wise enough to understand that power will always remain in the hands of a select few, who whether elected by all or chosen by a few will do exactly what they want. The majority here are no different from the majority overseas in just not getting involved.
pslhk
We should like to see
how self-styled democrats,
leaders of Demo / Civic, etc parties
respond to AL's opinion which
I believe represents the overwhelming majority
-
No slogan please
-
We mustn't allow public protests of bigots,
those brainwashed by outdated Western ideology
which they in any case misunderstand,
become a part of HK culture
and misrepresent HK
as a city of stupid copycats
unconscious followers
of red / yellow shirts and people's power
Dai Muff
And what are YOU unconsciously following?
XYZ
I attended the march. Maybe I don't live in Mr. Lo's kind of neighborhood.
blue
But you didn't attend the mark to support Snowden. He was a true freedom fighter.
impala
Well then, at least we now have a slightly better idea from which direction the wind blows with Mr Lo: a sheer unconditional nationalism with respect for the CCP that claims to embody the nation, combined with a materialistic opportunism: as long as his bread is buttered (and that of his neighbours), and economic growth is positive, The Party is doing a good job, and basta.

He ideally does want full democracy, less inequality and so on, but it isn't worth agonising The Party for that, since after all they butter our bread. Let's above all not antagonise The Party by our frivolous demands for democracy, fairness, freedom of Article-23 and other details.

For we already have a bunch of things, and no place is perfect anyway. So why bother making it better, or striving for ideals? Don't bite the Beijing hand that feeds you, says Mr Lo. Don't even nibble it, because it may get upset. Instead, sit pretty and do as told. Forget your ideals, forget Hong Kong's unique identity, forget dreams of a better society. After all, other places have their trouble too and we wouldn't want to become Egypt! Shock! Horror! Fear! (the similarities to Republican scaremongering about 'the US will become Greece' are striking).

Needless to say I disagree, but it is good that Mr Lo has spelled out his morally shallow and intensely opportunistic stance loud and clearly.
Dai Muff
And these people who believe in not fighting for anything would almost always be on the first plane out to Canada or the US, with their kids, if or when the you-know-what really hit the fan. Take full advantage of the democracy other people have fought for, while at the same time most likely despising the citizens of their host country.
John Adams
Mr Lo, this is one of your 'pure gold' columns, and I agree with every word you say.
I also did not march on July 1 and I also don't know a single person who did march (seems there were more spectators than marchers, based on what I saw on a brief stroll Monday)
We don't know how lucky we are in HK .
As a lifelong Mainland friend visiting HK on July 1 said : "As long as you don't break the law or behave corruptly, China is a very good and well-governed country to live in . I certainly would never want to live in the USA, and not even in UK or Europe nor any other S.E Asian country. And I certainly would never want to live in any emerging middle eastern democracy like Egypt "
Having worked half my life in China I fully agree with my friend.
I hope you don't get 'hate' mail as a result of what you wrote today because what you wrote today is the truth.
Please accept this 'love' mail in gratitude for your sincerity and willingness to speak the truth
wwong888
you are f-cking sheep... baaaahhh.... you make me sad... you are just a little pragmatic kleptocrat as well... you are right, you actually don't deserve more
whymak
Mr. Lo, I can say the same about my family and friends. A few young ones may be reticent with their anti-mainlander bias before us elders, but not to be point of making fools of themselves as mindless slogan chanting demonstrators. Staying gainfully employed and educating the next generation are still Hong Kong responsible citizens' major concerns.
Having a poor opinion of HKSAR politicians or condemning their incompetence is one thing, but actively trying to subvert order in the hope of gaining political power in anarchy is now the goal of charlatans and their brainwashed hordes.
Just look at the intransigence of both the majority and minority in Egypt, Thailand, Turkey, etc. They all want universal suffrage. After a majority government is elected, the minority will find every means to overthrow it with endless street demonstrations. Many HK July 1 demonstrators will likely sing the same tune. Maybe they really have a death wish - blood in the streets.
Now sit back and enjoy your hate mail.
wwong888
so whymak, you have clearly pointed out the flaws you see with democracy, primarily by listing a few failed democracies in third world countries... may i ask what you propose? you propose an extension of the kleptocratic authoritarian communist party governance to hong kong? or do you think the current governance structure in hk is appropriate and effective? or do you think you should be in charge given your infinite wisdom as a retired IT consultant with some basic knowledge of world events? please, inquiring minds want to know. otherwise you are no different than the pan-dem supporting trolls you spend most of your time bashing. i am awaiting your response. thanks.
whymak
I don't dignify a foul-mouthed illiterate's question with my response.
Dai Muff
Funny how you never have anything negative to say about those groups ramping up the Cultural Revolution rhetoric and anti-democrat thuggery in HK. There won't be blood on the streets unless someone spills it. Or is that what you support?
whymak
Your question is a common debate tactic used by someone with a low IQ. What does Cultural Revolution have to do with what I say? Spinning more and more irrelevant questions and derogate your adversary's motive, of which you know nothing, belittle no one but yourself.
 
 
 
 
 

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