• Sat
  • Dec 20, 2014
  • Updated: 6:24pm
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?

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This article is now closed to comments

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,
jenny@asian-emphasis.com
Will Hong Kong apologize to the maid allegedly bashed by her employer? Come on, the act in the Philippines was the act of a deranged person. Even in the best rescue plan, the hostages may not have come out alive - who knows? The only reason that HK is going on and on about this issue is that they think that the Philippines is vastly inferior to Hong Kong. HK thinks it is more important than it is really. Why the arrogance all the time? Please move on! Honestly.
realestate
HK is starting to act and speak like the Mainland..the Philippine incident is one such example.
It seems to have lost a sense of rationality and fairness in the need to suck up.
Urban kid
I totally agree with the tone of this article. Let’s move on, this dispute benefits neither Hong Kong nor the Philippines. People Power and other legislators have lost all credibility by continuing to pursue this issue and they certainly do not represent the views of the majority of Hong Kong people.
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.
rvto
Maybe they will make apologize after Mr Xi do this to the Philippines regarding the 28 October bomb attack before the Beijing Forbidden City entrance. But shall, Mr Xi do this ?
chaz_hen
"I think the U.S. president would apologize." I don't think so.
He'd profess great sorrow at the tragedy, perhaps. Did he apologize to the people of Connecticut for the mass killing at Sandy Hook School? No.
Camel
Boycott the Philippines, stop inviting maids from the Philippines and offering them work here. Don't travel anymore to the Philippines. That should be the reaction. Demanding apology from a President? revoking free visa only on travellers like officials? What will this accomplish? Nothing but laugher and it is dissappointing that our HK Governement handle this issue like amateurs and kids. Even worse, they let themselve being pushed to do this. If you want to teach the Philippines a lesson then do it in a way were it hurts them really (and not with half baked kindergarten teasing).
Camel
I totally agree. CY Leung and his Administration let themselves played like a bouncing ball by HKs lawmakers demanding gestures and measures which normally are found in Kindergartens. Visa restrictions... laughable and with no effect at all. Only that HKs lawmakers once more proof that they do not know what they are actually doing in the Legco. And that the Philippines government proofed that they are more mature and grown up than our own one in HK, hurts, it really hurts, but is fact.
chaz_hen
Did Deng XP apologize for Chinese lives lost in TAMS, 1989? Will Xi and his CCP do so now that Deng is gone?

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