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  • Nov 22, 2014
  • Updated: 3:06pm
My Take
PUBLISHED : Monday, 10 February, 2014, 2:46am
UPDATED : Monday, 10 February, 2014, 2:46am

Signs that Hong Kong society is tearing at the seams

If you survey the political landscape of Hong Kong today, terms like "splittists" and "splittism" may come to mind.

Apologies in advance for using such loaded words; they were first used by Maoists to denounce people whom the Great Helmsman deemed counter-revolutionary enemies of the Communist Party state. But they are useful and graphic descriptors of the Hong Kong political scene, where you find people splitting away from their once-mainstream and dominant political parties or associations, whether it's the pro-Beijing, pro-government or the pan-democratic camps. This is why such general terms - of which I am guilty as a columnist for using too much as shorthand terms - are no longer adequate.

You have seen how bullies from People Power assaulted leaders of the Democratic Party in Central last week. The divisions within the Alliance for True Democracy, an umbrella association of key pan-democratic groups, are well-known. But the traditional allies of the government are breaking away, too. The Liberal Party, much weakened and now needing to play the populist card, is no longer a pro-government party. In fact, as a proxy for the business and property sectors, it has been a frequent opponent of the Leung Chun-ying administration's policies, especially its anti-property-bubble measures. Among the property tycoons, Leung probably can only count on Ronnie Chan Chi-chung of Hang Lung Properties.

Despite being a member of the Executive Council, Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee and her New People's Party have proven to be unreliable. Even the Heung Yee Kuk - arguably Hong Kong's most powerful special-interest group, its lobbying being more effective than even the business and developer communities - is now divided over whether to form a new political party. Much of the split has been provoked by Leung, who is seen as inimical to those traditionally pro-government special interests. Ironically, the widespread antipathy that Leung has caused is one of the few factors that unites the pan-democratic groups. Had there been a more sympathetic chief executive, they may be even more divided.

The fight over democracy is not just about that; it's also a sign that our society is tearing at the seams.

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dynamco
Definition: Hong Kong Politician
A being who practices politics. "Politics" is derived from the words "poly" meaning "many" & "tics" meaning blood sucking arthropoda.
A sub-species life form originally of human origin of the phylum Animalia but generally invertebrate (spineless), this sub-species is more often akin to phylum Coelenterata (@), often of unfortunate appearance & coiffure, more interested in self-enrichment, advancement & self-promotion, collusion with those who can enrich them or their parties (those make their policies for them & who pull their strings), than representing the people's interests, rights & welfare especially the working poor who are deemed incapable of sense, reasoning or opinion especially by Coelenterata Feminae.
Most coelenterates have tentacles that contain stinging cells that are often used for self-protection. The tentacles also frequently act as catapults. They have an external ectoderm & internal endoderm to ward of criticism, like water off a duck's bxm.
(@) Jellyfish, the digestive system is incomplete which means that coelenterates have just one opening to the digestive cavity; this single opening serves as both its mouth & an us.
clc2
"The fight over democracy is not just about that; it's also a sign that our society is tearing at the seams."
The one doesn't necessarily follow from other. If it does, why?
Eddy_hey@yahoo.com
The author's apologies should be for his false accusations of protesters and using SCMP column for delivering "cheap" message rather than using whatever use of words.
The author put "...People Power assaulted leaders...". The word "assault" denotes physical attack, though one might argue assault could be in verbal form, "verbal abuse" is a proper phrase to avoid misunderstanding. Nobody reported hurt and nobody was trying to hurt. Like it or not, it was a non-violent protest, which is not tolerant in an open society? Goodness Me.
I am not sure what the author wanted to say. I thought parties or political camps split or merge with others was a common sense. It happened for many years along the political spectrum. I just can't see the casuality that it to sympathy of the chief executive.
The news about political splitting or blah blah blah should be in elsewhere but not in the column, there is just no substances in the article.
By the way, probably the author fears "splittism". Bhabha (1996:55) references Habermas (1987) work, saying that "the risky search for consensus results in the kind of differentiation of the life-world of which loss of meaning, anomie and psychopathologies are the obvious symptoms".
markwhouston
In 2002 when the Hong Kong Government instigated registration of Chinese medicine practitioners, two events occurred which were subsequently swept under the carpet and kept quite:
1. All foreigners who meet all requirements for recognition as grandmasters, were rejected. They were all told they could not be recognized because they were not Chinese. It seems that the foreign grandfathers, failed to obtain the most important qualification - CHINESE BLOOD.
2. Before the handover most Chinese medicine associations had foreign members to enable communication with the British Government. After the hand over, these same Chinese medicine associations, erased all foreigner names from their books, and rewrote their registries, with just the names of Chinese members. Foreign practitioners were not even told they were no longer members of the associations. The Chinese Medicine Associations, upon rewriting their registries, printed new Certificates of Membership, and send all Chinese practitioners a new certificate. Foreigners received nothing.
I find it odd, that such blatant racism has not been discussed in the media. It's even more odd to think that the next step, for all the Hong Kong Chinese, to turn on each other, is being see as something unusual. I mean, all long term no-Chinese residents, knew exactly what the Hong kong Chinese were planning for each other, and now, our predictions have come true.
johnyuan
From AL’s ‘Divided pan-dems risk societal rift’of last week, I commented the following:
‘It is a mental burden to anyone to see the disintegration of unity in politics in Hong Kong. If Hong Kong falls into a state of being a bowel of loose sand once described by Chinese intellectuals of Chinese before the downfall of Qing Dynasty, hardly we can expect any cohesion could be had unfortunately because of our behavioral trait. There are as many different voices as there are mouths in our political arena. The cacophony is frightening.
.
Time all spent on what differences between us than what similarity we do have.’
.
PS I shall add the following:
AL’s article has generated a handsome 22 comments within 3 days. Reading those comment-postings they didn’t give me peace and confidence of what political future Hong Kong may encounter.
321manu
Worrying about labels...is that the equivalent of politicians worrying about sound bites? They're both oversimplifications of reality. It seems Mr. Lo is more interested in having neatly partitioned groupings, and less interested in the possibility/reality of political diversity. Interest groups are exactly that - they're groupings based on shared and common interests. But people can have more than 1 interest, and it's impractical to expect that those who are like-minded in one arena must be like-minded in another.
Based on Mr. Lo's prior positions, my guess is that his concern is primarily with the splintering of previously pro-government groups.
johnyuan
In order to sample our observations the current political arena in Hong Kong, the Legislative Council is a good place to start. It epitomizes the extraordinary lack in cohesiveness as a body that any work can be done rationally and constructively. It is just a perfunctory show for its individual member aiming narrowing as a watchdog to fend off what could damage from other’s own interest. Outside of the legislative chamber, the political parties including the trade representatives of the functional constituency which supply the sweat and blood equally to the Legco and our political scene are all in need of history which all lacks to be efficient and dependable.
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johnyuan
The legislator council’s precedent in the colonial period prior to 1985, with half of its members was government officials and the rest appointed were only advisor to the Governor. Law was made by the governor but the internal mechanism is unknown. It is not until 1984 that members were elected. The Legco became a fully elected legislative not till 1995. We have actually barely 19 years of experience to not totally lead by a Governor. But the long years of colonial rule as a forerunner of present as a city since the 50s for 50 years is deep and much impoverished in our skill in give and take politics. Unfortunately, we are still in a state like being letting out of a cage fighting for our own survival openly or by proxy. In the process, we are constantly creating new and more opponents. The bowl of loose sand is still so befitting perhaps even without the colonial experience of our characteristic Chinese traits – independent and selfish.
johnyuan
Hong Kong must save itself by removing the road blocks that are causing the cacophonic politics. Do it rationally, pragmatically and selflessly in removing those road blocks to make Hong Kong always a relevant city with no time limit.
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Hong Kong hasn’t been holding together as one society for sometime, and we are now seeing the manifestation and increasing so by the day and week. There is no seam left to tear but many seams to build. I believe CY Leung by his many actual works in a short period and proposals for the near future is struggling to pull Hong Kong out of its irrelevancy that it has become in recent decade.
caractacus
It is childish to blame colonialism for the present dysfunctional political system. The problem is massive CORRUPTION at the top of our society.
At the heart of the corruption is the political appointments system whereby sycophants are elevated to powerful positions for which they are totally unsuited either by ability or integrity.
Leung and his gang have little or no understanding and even less respect for the Rule of Law. The gangsters of the H Y K are entrenched and using their malign influence only for their own benefit in the NT where no-one else's interests are considered or listened to. Corruption rules the planning process in the NT yet the Govt isn't interested in the impending destruction of our countryside and degredation of our Country Parks. Quite the opposite, Govt. is actively colluding with the H Y K and its developer associates so a few can get rich at the expense of the majority and the environment.

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