• Thu
  • Dec 18, 2014
  • Updated: 7:54am
My Take
PUBLISHED : Saturday, 09 November, 2013, 3:25am
UPDATED : Sunday, 10 November, 2013, 2:51pm

Aquino apology call reaches fever pitch with Manila sanctions vote


Alex Lo is a senior writer at the South China Morning Post. He writes editorials and the daily “My Take” column on page 2. He also edits the weekly science and technology page in Sunday Morning Post.

Philippine president Benigno Aquino is right. He should not have to apologise for the hostage tragedy on behalf of his country. Hong Kong's self-righteousness and indignation has reached a feverish pitch, culminating with the passage of a non-binding Legislative Council motion for sanctions on Thursday.

The timing is far from ideal; it just exposes our callousness. Typhoon Haiyan, one of the most powerful ever recorded, slammed into the Philippines while our lawmakers deliberated in the air-con Legco chamber on sanctions.

It has set off landslides, caused blackouts in an entire province and cut communications in the country's central island provinces. At least four people have died but the death toll is expected to rise.

Albert Chan Wai-yip, a pan-democratic People Power lawmaker, launched the motion to impose sanctions against the Philippines unless Aquino cries uncle. The pro-establishment Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, our ex-security chief, helped with its passage by calling for an end to visa-free access for Philippine visitors to Hong Kong.

Jumping on the bandwagon, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has said he supports sanctions. This is perhaps a negotiating tactic, but more likely a cynical ploy to halt his plummeting popularity.

Now that's a political ménage à trois you rarely see in this town. It is, indeed, some kind of political pornography. But if Leung thinks that would help salvage his dwindling public support, I say don't bother. He will get no credit if Aquino apologises, only the blame if he doesn't.

Over the decades, how many Philippine domestic helpers have been mistreated and abused - how many driven to suicide? Should Manila demand an apology and a victims' fund from Hong Kong?

Dr Rizalina Bunyi, 55, was one of the victims killed in the Tiananmen Square terrorist attack last week. Shouldn't Manila now demand a formal apology and compensation from Beijing? How many Hong Kong visitors have been injured or killed in accidents that could be attributed to official negligence on the mainland? Should Beijing apologise?

The families of the victims of the Manila killings deserve closure. But our belligerence will not achieve that for them, only make it worse.


For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive



This article is now closed to comments

I would also like inform everybody that an apology had been sent after the event and it was rejected by the government. The representative of the government was rudely rejected, humiliated and thrown out of the country. If they never recognize that an official apology was sent in the first place then they are not really looking for an apology, but a humiliated nation for the subject of bullying. I wont be surprised if the Mainland has something to do with this.
This HK move is obvioulsy nothing but an idiotic political move to please the supporters of those who fall victim in that Manila tragedy. Without regard to the likewise countless Filipino victims in HK due to crime or outright abuse by local employers. I agree with Pnoy. This country doesnt need to apologize. At most, if there should be one, then it should be mutual coming from both countries.
As for the sanctions they imposed agains the Philipinnes? These HK politicians are simply ...stupid.
It is a big mouthful from you. Problems can't be solved like that. Take one thing at a time and you may see you have overstated about my post.
Be peace and calm with you.
@Rickroll: You say it's unreasonable to demand a sincere apology after all that's happened. (if you don't know the facts, go google it). I say it's unreasonable that we, as Filipinos, regardless of what our president decides, can't earnestly reach out to HK's victims in a positive way. Why the hate? Why the reverse anger? They have the right! Their people died...and they were dissed by our Prez afterwards!!
All I have to say is this, as we Filipinos continue to evolve as a culture (because honestly, our relatively recent history originates is from the fields and bushes if we want to be historically correct, compared to other parts of the word) we will start to understand that PINOY PRIDE is actually a pretty stupid thing. Whoa whoa you say. What? How so? It's good to be proud of who you are and what you stand for, and your background. The problem is too many uneducated folks like yourself get confused with pride and hubris, with the latter usually taking over. If you don't understand this point, then well then that is my whole point. This is not something you can teach. And as for your comment about o exhalted one? Well, you said it, not me. But those that have lost because others have taken the high roud usually rely on sarcasm as a word filler to avoid shame. You brother have just walked into that one.
If you invite people into your home, you treat them as guests.If you do not treat them with respect, you should not expect to be treated as respected guests in their home either.This is a simple matter of ethics and diplomacy.If we Filipinos do not understand this, we should not call ourselves a civilized democratic people and nation.Lest we not forget, a simple apology is exactly that.A simple thing.If our democratically appointed leader cannot even muster up the courage to face accountability and apologize (without a smart-**** smirk), then expect to pay up in 1 form or another and be prepared to have our country, government, people will continue to be viewed as pathetic joke to the rest of the world.If we really want to break down the math of things, we are comparing our hundreds of millions of 'lost' tourist dollars to HK vs the lost BILLION of OFW wages to domestic helpers alone (a year).But all of that are just minor facts about money, relatively unimportant compared to life and death.So let's talk about life and respect instead.Aquino is a elected representative of our country.No respected elected official of a civilized state should have to be reminded to apologize for the loss of life of foreign tourists in his country. If he thinks an apology means "kowtow", then frankly speaking, we're not a very educated country if this is the guy we choose to represent us. I don't care about the visas, but we should not be petty.Take the highroad and say sorry.That's patriotism.
"Already apologized"...LoL. About as sincere as the hooker that told you she loves you.
Do you know for a fact that the Madrigal family has not been addressed by the Chinese government privately? Have the family expressed displeasure? Who are YOU to speak for the Madrigal or Bunyi family? Either way, do YOU yourself require a public apology? If you do, ask our great leader to ask for one. But Aquino has not, and won't, because he himself hasn't and won't even meet the Filipino family. I think even the likes of you knows that when you apologize you don't smirk. Why doesn't he have the same smirk at his mother's funeral? You RickRoll are one that measures your actions based on others. And that is a sign that you are a small minded simpleton.
That's not name calling. The description befits you perfectly based on your comments that show an obvious lack of understanding of the facts. And as for my high horse, well you keep on coming back and asking for more, and you put me up here...and exhalted me for that matter. I was just citing facts. You brought up the 2 Filipino families, not me. And you are still talking about them hypothesizing that they "don't think it's worth the trouble". So in fact, you are speaking for them. See what I mean? Small minded simpleton = bingo. Keep talking...it only serves to show how silly you are.
Your point, there is no evidence either way, so why talk about it then? You're just talking in circles, and apparently with nothing else better to do by to copy-cat. It's funny reading your comments.
And those 2 incidents you cite have nothing in common with the killing of the tourists in Manila. Go educate yourself and them come back and write something intelligent. I might read and respond then, but I'll likely be riding my high horse that you so generously gave me. LoL, You lose, and that's the last word read sucker.
I like the way someone on Facebook described Hong Kong's (or should we say China's) demands at this time - it's like kicking someone when he's down. Apparently, some people in China enjoy kicking people when they're down, don't they? Well, I hope you're happy now.




SCMP.com Account