• Sun
  • Dec 21, 2014
  • Updated: 4:26am
Public Eye
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 December, 2013, 5:25am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 December, 2013, 5:25am

Are we throwing away our idea of democracy?


Michael Chugani is a Hong Kong-born American citizen who has worked for many years as a journalist in Hong Kong, the USA and London. Aside from being a South China Morning Post columnist he also hosts ATV’s Newsline show, a radio show and writes for two Chinese-language publications. He has published a number of books on politics which contain English and Chinese versions.

What do you call it when missiles are hurled in the name of democracy to stop those you disagree with from having their say? We call it defiling democracy. Missiles intended for Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying at a town hall forum last Saturday missed, but an egg landed smack on Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah's head. Sure, you can argue it's no big deal for eggs or shoes to be hurled at political leaders. It happens from time to time in democratic societies. Politicians such as Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, David Cameron and Ed Miliband have all been recipients. But most are random acts by kooks or disgruntled lone protesters. The ugly scenes of last Saturday and Sunday were anything but random. They were orchestrated attacks by political parties belonging to the so-called democracy camp intended solely to thwart Leung's right of free speech to discuss issues that directly affect the people. Is that how our self-proclaimed champions of democracy define democracy? If yes, Public Eye wants none of it. Every leader, loved or hated, has a right to communicate face to face with the people. Those who can't stand Leung can choose to stay away from his district visits. If they hate him enough, they have the right to organise a peaceful mass boycott. That is what people who understand democracy would do. Hurling missiles to disrupt others from hearing what Leung has to say is what thugs do. Public Eye is waiting for the democracy camp to condemn in the strongest possible terms last weekend's thuggish behaviour by some of its supporters. But we know that won't happen.


Revolution won't fit into people's social calendar

Forget eggs, radical lawmaker Wong Yuk-man wants to progress to petrol bombs next. His threat of a violent revolution over political reforms during a verbal clash in the Legislative Council with Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor rattled nerves. C.Y. Leung joined Lam in sternly warning that the government would not tolerate such violence. But aren't we making a revolution out of a mountain of eggshells? Hurling firebombs to win democracy? For goodness sake. Hongkongers are a lot of things, but revolutionaries they are not. They love their wine, mobile phones, facials, horse-racing and yum cha too much. Hong Kong's democracy struggle involves a round of golf in the morning and a protest in the afternoon. Who can forget Anson Chan Fang On-sang sneaking off to a beauty salon minutes after making a big show of joining a democracy march? Hongkongers only revolt when they have one fewer television station on which to watch soap operas. So let's lighten up over Wong's big talk of petrol bombs. He's not nicknamed "Mad Dog" for nothing.


So what happened to John Tsang's kung fu moves?

Has Public Eye remembered it wrong or does John Tsang always boast about being skilled in fencing and kung fu? Yes, he does. So how come he doesn't know how to duck? Aren't kung fu guys supposed to know what's coming at them? Any Bruce Lee movie would attest to that. Even former US president George W. Bush knew how to duck when two shoes came flying at him, one after another in quick succession. But not our "Black Belt Tsang". He couldn't even dodge an egg hurled at C.Y. Leung by a protester with lousy aim. If that isn't egg on the face for a kung fu master, we don't know what is.


Michael Chugani is a columnist and TV host. mickchug@gmail.com


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This article is now closed to comments

If Chugani is conflicted, then you are downright racist.
The "movement for unfettered democracy" that you and yours advocate is nothing more than a ploy to destroy this city's existing democracy, rights and culture enjoyed by the MAJORITY of its people. BTW, this silent majority will come out to vote thugs out the next election. The majority do not want chaos and your 'democracy" where Orwellian nightmares become a reality.
Just see how much the pan dems Legco members have burgeoned - don't they all remind us of the lead character in Animal Farm?
Yes, a vote against democracy.
I agree with Mr. Chugani here. Throwing eggs and trying to disrupt his right to be heard is extremely juvenile. Trying to suppress a message that you don't like is normally the domain of the CCP, and it's disappointing that 'democracy'-advocates would stoop to such levels.
From what he has been posting
this is a fair self description
of so-called jpinst
Poor Chugani is much too conflicted.
A South Asian in a city that only merely tolerates the presence of South Asians; an American citizen that detests the US and has probably made no contributions to that country other than leaving it; a person that benefits from the free speech in HK but constantly berates the movement for unfettered democracy in the SAR; a self professed "I love HK guy" but cannot stand his uncouth neighbors and the right of his greedy landlord to raise the rent.
Poor guy must be stewing in his self loathing.
It really depends how bad things get. They have become progressively worse over the last decade and if the trend continues, I think all bets are off.
I call it a vote
Mr Chugani,
When one gets rid of all irrelevancies, dogmas and hate passion, which is the driver to Western democracy, to get at the truth, it’s really simple. Good governance is the only issue.
Let's assume we could elect anyone with freedom undreamed in any society even if it’s absurd mathematically. Nevertheless, we pretend it isn’t.
One issue immediately arises. How do we avoid many pitfalls known to all proven unworkable systems governed by the rule by mediocrity? Here are my 2 humble suggestions.
All elected legislators and CE must pass a short quiz relevant to a bill before being allowed to cast a vote or affix a signature to the legislation. It’s only fair to require politicians do some homework before they are allowed to vote.
For each bill, a large group of questions will be designed to test the understanding of the issue at hand. 10 to 15 are randomly chosen from for each legislator. This can be easily administered by computer within 15 minutes.
The second suggestion is prevent the choice between 2 undesirable candidates in many democracies. Instead of just casting 1 vote for a candidate, the voters can cast votes in the following manner, +1 for yes, -1 for no, 0 for don’t care: (+1,+1), (+1,0), (0,+1), (-1, -1), (0,0), (-1,0), (0,-1).
The information content is 1 for conventional voting; mine produces 2.81. Do you want CY to win with only +1000 votes out of a 3M electorate?
HK morons won’t like this because they have been brainwashed.
What is "so-called" about the democrats? What is their objective if not democracy? Chugani chose to call them the "democracy camp", which is not a name any group formally holds, and then at the same time says they're only "so-called"? Meaningless mumbo-jumbo revealing Chugani's true anti-democratic mindset (not to mention is shallow intellect).
"So called" is the language of a mainlander. Although common in the mainland China vernacular, the phrase is less common outside of China.


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