My Take

A Mandela lesson for Wong Yuk-man?

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 12 December, 2013, 3:54am
UPDATED : Thursday, 12 December, 2013, 3:54am

"Do you know who I am, little girl? I'm Wong Yuk-man. Would I take it back?"

A hapless female reporter provoked this arrogant response, broadcast on Cable TV, from the boisterous pan-democrat after she asked if he would retract his "petrol bomb" remark against Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor. Bully boy Wong has been embroiled in a row with the government ever since he said in the legislature that people would start throwing petrol bombs and not eggs at officials like Lam.

Now he claims he wasn't making a threat, only sounding a warning about the direction the government's "fake consultation" on political reform was going. It was only the news media that were misreporting him and we all know the newspapers in Hong Kong are, to use his own word, "degenerate".

Let's accept Wong's self-justification for a moment despite all his screaming and shouting at Lam in Legco. At the very least, he shows complete contempt for Lam - and absolute moral certainty that he alone is right. A reader asked me to forward to Wong a speech by Ravi Zacharias, the evangelical speaker, on the death of Nelson Mandela. But why bother? Such sentiment is completely alien to someone as full of himself as Wong.

"I mourn the loss of not just a person, but an example for all politicians," Zacharias said.

"Where are the leaders like him today? Many of those who are eulogising him have evidently not learned from him. He bore no hatred towards his oppressors.

"When he acquired freedom he did not ask the oppressed to 'go and vote for revenge'. He did not use the microphone to whip up hostility, division and frenzy or go on diatribes blaming his predecessors for doing everything wrong. He did not use language that some in the media do, verbiage that is too vulgar to even repeat. He wanted to correct society, not penalise or pollute it. He won supporters to his side with grace and dignity, not by bullying."

The greatest strength that Mandela had, in my opinion, was his ability to show respect and courtesy even to his most implacable enemies. Mandela the statesman, according to a recent biographer, always got up when someone entered the room, even if it was just the tea lady. Does Wong shout at his domestic helper?