Elections can give paws for thought
Concerns raised by Executive Council member Cheng Yiu-tong about the flaws of unrestrained democracy have attracted a lot of comments. He was worried that some sex symbols might get elected if we adopt a "Western style" democracy.
It was not clear if he had Ilona Staller, aka Cicciolina, in mind. She was a porn star who was an Italian MP between 1987 and 1992.
Famous for delivering political speeches with one breast exposed, she continued to make hardcore pornographic films, which in fact was her livelihood, while being a member of parliament. But before deriding her completely, one has to note that she was never linked to secret bunga bunga parties or sex scandals like some of the country's top political leaders. So it is bit hard to argue who came off better here.
Cheng's argument is that some kind of filtering is needed before candidates are allowed to stand for election. Being just popular should not be the only criteria.
He may have a point here. Because if you go by popularity alone, Brother Cream, the cat, would probably poll more votes than some of the political leaders we have.
The demand for Brother Cream's book and rush to get its "pawtograph" at the Hong Kong book fair that ended on Tuesday, was a clear sign of that.
Unlike books by scantily clad models or pop star hunks, Brother Cream's book attracted fans across all age groups. Not many of our leaders can claim such a following.
It is not unheard of for cats to enter the political fray. In the recently concluded mayoral elections in Mexico, some voters in a town called Xalapa put up Moris the cat as a candidate. "Tired of voting for rats? Then vote for a cat" was their campaign slogan. Moris got 130,000 likes on his Facebook page and supporters claim he got some 12,000 votes too, though it did not feature on the ballot paper.
Voters turn away from recognised candidates and look for alternatives when they get frustrated. If the choices put before voters are probable leaders with vision and principle, it is difficult to see how a sex symbol or a cat could win over the voters.
That's what leaders like Cheng should be worried about - when an electorate feels a sex symbol or a cat is more desirable than the leaders on offer.