• Fri
  • Aug 22, 2014
  • Updated: 8:53am
My Take
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 February, 2014, 2:11am
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 February, 2014, 2:11am

Benigno Aquino's the only sane voice amid the madness

Many Hong Kong people despise Philippine President Benigno Aquino over the 2010 Manila hostage crisis. But by promising not to retaliate against Hong Kong's half-hearted and laughable sanctions against his country, he is behaving like the only adult in the room.

Philippine lawmakers are often portrayed in a bad light in the world media. But by refusing to heed the call of Congressman Winston Castelo to retaliate and giving their president a free hand to settle the matter, they have proved to be more reasonable and professional than those belligerent airheads in our own legislature.

Why should Aquino worsen a diplomatic spat that makes no sense in the first place, especially when he is already embroiled in a serious fight with China over maritime claims? Any sensible government should try to de-escalate it. Instead, the government of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, in a desperate attempt at populist politics, is needlessly politicising the incident.

The sanctions imposed - forcing a few hundred Philippine officials to get a visa to enter Hong Kong - are supposed to make a statement, but they are so limited as to scare no one yet provoke everyone in the wrong way.

Opportunistic politicians such as Albert Chan Wai-yip and Ray Chan Chi-chuen, both of People Power, who have been calling for sanctions, have squeezed every mileage out of this tragedy. What irony that our supposedly Beijing-stooge of a government is following the lead of the loudest and most irresponsible pan-democratic party. The sanctions must have Beijing's support, too.

Yes, as a community, Hong Kong and its government have every responsibility to help the families of the victims - in fighting for compensation, raising funds, perhaps even making their legal case in court. We should help them recover from their unimaginable trauma any way we can. But it's not our responsibility to ensnare the whole city in a diplomatic spat, a foreign affairs matter over which Leung's government may not even have proper legal authority.

Imagine the killings happened in Washington or Beijing where the taking of hostages by deranged individuals is not unknown. Do you think Barack Obama or Xi Jinping would apologise or even bother to negotiate?

Share

For unlimited access to:

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

 

48

This article is now closed to comments

tolitsb31
If Noynoy insists on not apologizing, eventually, he will have to do so, unless he believes that the overseas Filipino workers in Hong Kong and the Filipinos who are not with the government won’t get angry at him for making them suffer from his refusal to apologize for something which he is responsible and accountable.
And when the stiffer sanctions come in, concerning trade, and when Mainland China gets into the picture and imposes more sanctions, can Noynoy stand firm on a no apology stand? And to think that all his illogical and stubborn stand comes from his refusal to accept responsibility and acknowledge accountability on everything that goes wrong, preferring to lay the blame on someone or something else.
That’s what Filipinos get for having brought to power a totally unfit, irresponsible and irrational president.
alex.richard.herrera
Thank you to the author, coming from the South China Morning Post, it shows there is hope for humanity but not for Politics. Filipinos are one with HK residents, I agree with Alex Lo - "But it's not our responsibility to ensnare the whole city in a diplomatic spat, a foreign affairs matter over which Leung's government may not even have proper legal authority."
artdig18
Alex very well written.
sorrenissa
I can’t, for the life of me, understand why this is even an issue? The perpetrator of this unfortunate event was effected by an individual and not the state. You cannot seriously expect a state apology for the action of lone individual. True, hostage crisis could have been better managed but I believe that was the best they could do at that given time provided with those specific circumstances. Looking backwards, sans the pressure, it’s easy to be critical and say they could have done this better.. they should have done that.. they should have prevented this.
Due to the volatility of a hostage situation there is no “fail proof” solution. That is to say, if this hostage situation occurred in Hong Kong who would say that the outcome would have been different. Hostage situation will always be a damage minimization exercise.
Wait, I think I know why this is a big issue. Power play. Politicking of Hong Kong puppets to further humiliate the PH because of the maritime disputes against China. China, Hong Kong. Makes sense to me!
Heron
The problem here is that people unwittingly or purposely confuse sorrow with an apology. Sorrow reflects an identification of the plight of the victims and sympathy, but an apology indicates a responsibility for what has happened. In this case, believe that everyone including Aquino are very sorry about what happened, but the state cannot take responsibility for the actions of a private individual. It is unfair for people, who should know better such as our politicians, to claim that Aquino does care because he won't apologise, when he had professed his sorrow.
Hong Kong will not apologise when a domestic helper is abused and they should not because if states apologised for every bad thing that had a citizen had done wrong to a foreigner, then the word apology would become a cliche and meaningless plus there could be an unlimited financial implication on that state as a consequence.
michael.michael.1447342
Getting abused and getting KILLED is two different things.
whymak
Mr. Lo, I love a good debate. So I applaud reflexively your argument. But there are holes in it. The economic seppuku gig performed by the Aquino-Abe duo indicates that Aquino may be insane, and you can't apply logic to nut cases.
A village idiot like Aquino was elected the same way by imbeciles as King George Bush the Moron. Mediocre leaders are to be expected in most democracies. But I must warn you that challenging superstitious faith of Democracy Cultists is a galloping futility.
Subversives posing as pan democrats can't be deterred from singing their looney tunes. Like Aquino, Benny Tai and company's Occupy Central threats are just another harakiri akin to Aquino's. So stay tuned.
A more consistent argument for why people go berserk with demonizing a nation and its people is their lack of purpose in life. Living the politics of resentment fills their void. Demonizing China and Chinese produces a high for their addictive hatred.
Democracy and universal values are ultimately a smoke screen. You can judge some Hong Kong pan democrats by their behavior and predict how they will act in the future. They may claim universal suffrage as their credo. Were they to lose an election, they would act no different than Thai's yellow shirts or the Western leaning Egyptian liberals at Tahrir Square. This is the nature of all power hungry psychotics.
sorrenissa
For someone who claims to love a 'good debate', I say you're doing a pretty good job!
ssslmcs01
Most readers of Alex`s column are used to his belligerent comments but this time he has insulted the decent people of Hong Kong with his opinion, an opinion that could only come from an ignorant lowlife.
acraigbennett
I have lived in both places. There is a good deal of mutual misunderstanding going on.
Filipinos need to understand that Hong Kong is an exceptionally safe place to live. Gun ownership is practically unknown in HK. Its citizens tend to assume that other places are, or should be, equally safe, and the quite senseless deaths of a number of people on holiday shocked Hong Kong to a far greater extent than Filipinos, with their quasi-American attitude to guns, realise.
Hong Kong people need to understand that the Philippines is an actual democracy. President Aquino was very badly let down by men whom he did not appoint, most notably Fred Lim, but he had no direct responsibility for their shortcomings. Lim and his cronies were lazy, careless and venal, but that was not Aquino's fault - he was a new President. Lim and the others were not criminally liable; they did not set out to kill the hostages, they were just arrogant, lazy and careless. Furthermore Lim in particular is a politician in his own right, he was holding elected office at the time and he was not and is not and not a member of President Aquino's party or of his administration. .
The families deserve to be properly compensated, but "sanctions" against the Philippines is just too silly for words. It shows the immaturity of some voters and politicians in Hong Kong.
Time to move on,

Pages

 
 
 
 
 

Login

SCMP.com Account

or