• Wed
  • Oct 22, 2014
  • Updated: 1:59pm
My Take
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 14 November, 2013, 3:29am
UPDATED : Thursday, 14 November, 2013, 3:29am

Show solidarity, not indifference, in face of Philippine typhoon disaster

What is wrong with our leaders in Hong Kong and Beijing? If there is ever a time when realpolitik, cold diplomacy and humanitarianism converge, it is now.

Large swathes of the Philippines have been devastated by one of the worst storms on record. The country needs help - and fast. But while other countries are rushing in aid and personnel, Hong Kong is threatening economic sanctions over the hostage killings three years ago.

Can we pause for a moment to think about how that looks to the rest of the world? When asked about it yesterday, Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said the government has no plan to extend the one-month ultimatum before imposing sanctions. So the last person in the administration who is reputed to have common sense has lost her head too.

Lam and her boss, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, should come out now and declare the ultimatum has been cancelled. No sanctions will be considered, not now, not ever. That is not only the right thing to do; it is the only thing to do. They should then rush the HK$40 million in disaster relief funding through the Legislative Council for approval tomorrow and work with NGOs to bring the money and aid to the Philippines as quickly as possible.

Why? Because 160,000 of our expatriate residents are Filipinos; we should show solidarity, not indifference. We should show the world we are not all racist chauvinists like the pan-democrat People Power's Albert Chan Wai-yip, who spearheaded the sanctions initiative in Legco.

Where is Beijing in all this? Americans are dispatching an aircraft carrier and four battleships to help with relief efforts. Britain has sent a warship. Japan is sending troops. Together, they have pledged at least US$30 million, though the UN estimates the Philippines will need about US$301 million. Beijing has reportedly promised US$100,000.

Presumably that's only a preliminary sum, because if it is not, you might as well not bother. I know the party bosses have been preoccupied by the all-important third plenum to introduce reform. But that's no excuse.

At current growth rates, the Philippines will not stay poor forever. When it becomes the new tiger economy, you want to make friends, not foes.


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This article is now closed to comments

Like many readers I am always support our government and expect them to be strong. But this stupid sanction deadline crosses my line and I think our leaders are disgraceful and are coward. On another note these 160k Philippine maids are I think working like a slave here. Why? Imagine if this is SV California there are 160k maids I'm sure they will go up to protest as there families are dying in their country and they still have work hard everyday and the hosting government is not showing any respect of their country. How about an all out strike for a week or 2? Can we fire all of them? But yet these community is still so restrained and not saying anything. Do we make them like a slave?
I urge you all to change your user name to "shameful hk old name" As a protest in this blog and try to copy your comments to every comment area to protest until the government and our Ledgco members see this and try to make some changes. Shame shame shame...
U can easily goto your account and just change the user name and save it without doing anything lease. I think this disgraceful decision has crossed many peoples bottom line...
nice take alex lo
oh carrie lam is just obeying her masters coz if not, her "ring", external opening of her "waste warehouse" will be "ef" without mercy HAHA
Absolutely, well said Alex.
I am an American living in the Philippines. What surprises me is how the ordinary Filipino here views the intended insult from the Chinese government's offer of $100,000 dollars for relief. They just shrug it off and say that is how the Chinese people are. No anger on their part. Just acceptance. Compassion is tied to politics. China aspires to be a world leader. They have to do better. When Cuba was hit by a hurricane and US did not help. I was ashamed our government did not do more. Now it is the turn of the Chinese people to be ashamed of their government..
Dan i think someone on another commnts section pointed out that the US offered Cuba USD5mill, but the Cuban's actually rejected it. I do not know i this correct or not.
Yes, Cuba rejected the $5M based on their standing of not accepting help from a country that has an economic embargo against them. Nothing to be ashamed of.
I totally agree that US$100,000, if true, is a shameful amount even as a preliminary, and the attitude behind is equally shameful (as though the majority of the Chinese people will criticize Beijing for a more genenous sum!). What I do not agree is your claim that China aspires to be a world leader. Many people only look at China's 2nd-largest economy status, hardly recalling that China's per capita GDP is still around only $6,000, 1/8 that of the US. I don't believe any country with that kind of piddly economic level is in a position to become a world power. You don't call on an India to exert worldwide influence do you?
I agree with you on the per capita argument. I use it all the time in discussions with my Chinese Filipino friends. As for the aspirations of China, I should have kept quiet on that one. However, I am under the impression, they are already a world power. I was just trying to plant a seed that it is better we encourage all of our governments to separate politics from compassion when we can afford to do so. As for India, they have some very smart people there and if they can influence the world for the better, I would hope they would do so.




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