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?