Politics is theatre. So everyone puts on a show. Our chief executive and other top officials would go around kissing babies if they could without being met by too many irate protesters.
But if you go to a few of these protests, you will find the same faces. Inevitably, it's the same people from Scholarism, university student unions, the League of Social Democrats and People Power. So protest is theatre too. You can hardly blame Leung Chun-ying for visiting a Lunar New Year fair in Tsuen Wan on Monday without announcing it beforehand. But pan-democrats like lawmaker "Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung complained C.Y. should have let the media know ahead of time. "If he had governed well, there would be no protest," he said. Perhaps.
Leung Kwok-hung's real complaint is that he and his fellow demonstrators weren't alerted so they could stage another protest.
He was especially upset about a statement from C.Y.'s office, saying the unannounced visit was to avoid attracting people who cause unnecessary confrontations just to attract public attention. That seems a pretty fair statement on many professional pan-democratic protesters, who have fought with police, blocked public forums and interfered with the right of other members of the public to exchange views, critical or sympathetic, with Leung and other officials.
Fair or not, the pan-dems are out to discredit and destroy C.Y.'s government - to make sure whatever happens with universal suffrage in 2017, Leung will not have a second shot at leading Hong Kong. And dogging him with protests is one of many ways to make him look more unpopular than he already is. That's just hard-ball ruthless politics, disguised as a moral crusade. This includes selling toilet paper with his face printed on it.
But all that comes at a cost to our society. I believe C.Y.'s expansion of housing and land supply, his anti-poverty programmes and measures against property speculation have made him more effective as chief executive than any previous ones we have had.
But he gets no credit for doing what is necessary, only blame for real or imaginary sins. He has turned on its head the old Scottish motto: anyone can attack me with impunity.