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Alpais Lam Wai-sze

Alpais Lam Wai-sze, a teacher at Pui Ling School of the Precious Blood in Fanling, sparked a protest in Mong Kok on August 4, 2013, after a viral video from July 14 showed her shouting profanity at police officers. In the clip, Lam was seen openly criticising the way the police were handling a confrontation between the Falun Gong and the Youth Care Association. Lam has taught for 18 years and won the Chief Executive's Award for Teaching Excellence in the 2010/2011 academic year.

CommentInsight & Opinion

Public opinion turns on anti-government protesters

Lau Nai-keung says officials should ride the tide to lay down parameters

PUBLISHED : Friday, 16 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 16 August, 2013, 4:09am

The dissidents made a big mistake by staging a mass confrontation on August 4. They stormed the stage of a pro-police rally organised in the wake of a political row sparked by a video. The video, which went viral, showed a schoolteacher hurling verbal abuse at police officers at an earlier protest.

With police intervention, the August 4 confrontation ended with a lot of shouting but without violence. The reaction both in the traditional and new media was clearly in favour of the police and their supporters.

August 4 marked a watershed … the majority has broken the spell of the ‘spiral of silence’

August 4 marked a watershed in public opinion, as the majority has broken the spell of the infamous "spiral of silence". Many in this group have in the past been afraid to speak their mind for fear of being stigmatised and victimised. Now they have come out en masse, knowing they are not alone.

Incidentally, a group of professionals and academics calling themselves the Silent Majority for Hong Kong came forward a few days later and organised a campaign against Occupy Central.

Seizing the moment, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying visited Tin Shui Wai last Sunday, his first trip there since being elected, to fulfil an election pledge. This time, the situation was not that peaceful. During the visit, his resolute stand on various issues astonished many people. If my observation is correct, this will be the start of a new phase in his term.

This vindicates my assertion that mainstream Hong Kong people badly want change, but not to the point of rocking the boat, never mind some kind of regime change as some dissidents would like. When our dissidents go too far, the silent majority will rise up and try to push them back, and this is what we are witnessing now.

So much for the good news. The problem is that a lot of harm has already been done. Undoing it will take strenuous efforts.

Take the well-planned showdown over constitutional development leading to universal suffrage in 2017. Is there any way to avoid it, apart from the central and SAR governments making an unconditional surrender?

Or, to sound more realistic, should the central and Hong Kong governments wish to negotiate a surrender, who should they talk to? Let's deal with the more modest, more peaceful and, above all, more organised Occupy Central movement. Can Benny Tai Yiu-ting guarantee he has the authority to negotiate a compromise and call the thing off? And can the authorities take that assurance seriously? The crucial point is that a confrontation is inevitable. A change of tide in public opinion can only limit the damage.

Now that public sentiment is more in favour of the establishment, the Hong Kong government should pay more attention to damage control. Upholding police authority is one example, and this was obviously the objective of Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor's statement of support a few days after the Mong Kok confrontation. Leung later put his support into action by ordering an investigation into the primary-school teacher at the centre of the row.

A more positive step is for the Hong Kong government to seize the opportunity to spell out the official parameters for constitutional development, to manage expectations. Unlike what our dissidents would like us to believe, according to the agreed rules in the Basic Law the ultimate authority for constitutional development in Hong Kong lies in Beijing's hands. Deviating from the Basic Law and challenging the central authorities will only be counterproductive.

This vital message has to be made known to the public, and the earlier the better, to stop any crazy ideas, groundless speculation and unrealistic expectations.

Lau Nai-keung is a member of the Basic Law Committee of the NPC Standing Committee, and also a member of the Commission on Strategic Development

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This article is now closed to comments

Dai Muff
"Public opinion turns on anti-government protesters". There is no evidence of this whatsoever. Rather the opposite in fact. And if you don't trust the public to be intelligent enough to vote why invoke their opinion at all anyway?
wwong888
it all makes sense now! @whymak is lau nai keung! the racist, china-apologist, commie sychophant extraordinaire! now that i know who you are, i feel vindicated in my initial assessment of you as a meglomaniac with a severe superiority complex trying to comprehend his total irrelevance to the world. and with that, now i can just ignore you.
caractacus
Keep dreaming. C.Y. Leung's administration is becoming increasingly mired in controversy. It is paralysed by indecision or more often, bad decisions and by CORRUPTION.
The rotten Political Appointments System is based on cronyism and by definition excludes any original thinkers or people with the moral courage to be their own men or women, is rapidly destroying the people's confidence in the process of government.
wwong888
who is this mr lau? other commie crony? go f-ck yourself. its pretty clear what the people want. one vote per person to elect our leader. as promised. give it to us now or we will riot. its that simple. stop calling those advocating democracy dissidents. i hope you aren't giving leung advice on how to run his office - you make it sound like he has done so well handling these latest confrontations. its a disaster. lau nai keung you are a m-oron. sycophants like you are why we are where we are. f-ck off and die, hk doesnt need you.
chuchu59
This article states that public sentiment is more in favour of the establishment.Where are the stats to prove this. Wild-guessing.Then I shall make a wild guess too and say its just the opposite. Public sentiment is anti-government as never before with public distust at its height following the revelations of misdeeds by Barry, Paul, Timothy and Mak. In a way, Franklin may have been redeemed. I honestly fail to see how public sentiment can be in favour of the establishment. Obviously, the public at large wants stability but they dont trust CY and its government at all. CH Tung was way better and I, for one,am saddened by the way he was ousted. I believe he truly cared for Hong Kong.
superdx
SCMP, where's the counter opinion piece to this? Or do you just publish pro-Beijing articles now?
privatebeach
The term "dissident" is usually used with connotations of approval to describe those who stand up against a tyrannical dictatorship. Are you trying to tell us something?
Another Social Critics...
Mr. Lau had Long been... Wanted to be Earning Most from that 'CY' & Its Related Group...!!!???
If it hadn't been Happening...YET!!!???
Perhaps He want to be Appointed by that 'CY's Group, from Time this Articles be expressed...
Onwards...Right!!!???
See What'll be Happening...!!!
Seeing One by One Stepping Down from that 'CY' & Its Related Group...
Still got Mr. Lau's Support...Expressedly!!!???
Most Probably be Begging for Positions from that 'CY''s Administration...Again!!!
Another... Chow Yung, Mr. Ma, & So On...
Yeah...That 'CY''s Group Did Need New Blood to be Replaced Continually, up till its End...Yeah!!!
You'll Name It More...Selling-Off One's own Spirits...Exchange for Profiteering...
Human Evil Nature...
See What'll be Happening to that 'CY' & Its Related Group...
Even BoXiLai with that Family BackGround be Pulled Down, though Reluctantly by Central China Government...
As Long as that 'CY' Group...Committing more Crimes...
Damaging & Selling-Off HK's Best Interests & Future...For Own Self-Interests...
Inevitable Falling as BoXiLai's Incident... INEVITABLY...
mercedes2233
There are pro-left papers, pro-Govt papers, tabloid, Chinese, English, horse racing, etc. There is absolutely no requirement for SCMP to be Hong Kong's only totally neutral paper. Readers can vote with their feet /eyes/pocketbook.
jkhleung
@superdx: Published in the hardcopy edition of the Post is Albert Cheng's article "A retreat in political neutrality is a reflection on Leung's poor leadership" which is displayed more prominently than NK Lau's piece. As usual, you only see and hear what you want to.

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