• Mon
  • Sep 22, 2014
  • Updated: 6:18am
My Take
PUBLISHED : Friday, 25 April, 2014, 3:58am
UPDATED : Friday, 25 April, 2014, 3:58am

No winners as Manila bus hostage row finally ends

BIO

Alex Lo is a senior writer at the South China Morning Post. He writes editorials and the daily “My Take” column on page 2. He also edits the weekly science and technology page in Sunday Morning Post.
 

Hong Kong can finally normalise relations with the Philippines. It never made much sense to ensnare our entire community and government over the Manila bus hostage crisis. But that we did. Contrary to the inflammatory front page of a certain local Chinese-language newspaper yesterday, the settlement reached this week between the families of the victims and the Philippine government should be welcome.

Philippine President Benigno Aquino made a complete mess in the handling of the aftermath of the killings more than three years ago. He has steadfastly refused to offer an apology. In the event, the official statement of "most sorrowful regret and profound sympathy" was the best the victims' families could get. With much reluctance, they have wisely accepted it, along with undisclosed amounts for compensation.

The central government and the Leung Chun-ying administration will think they have been vindicated in putting pressure on Manila through public criticism and imposing sanctions against Philippine officials. Indeed, it's doubtful the Philippine government would have responded positively if they had not raised the issue to the level of a diplomatic spat.

But it has hardly been a shining moment for Leung. Our government maintained the "black" travel warning solely as a means to exert political pressure, thereby compromising the integrity of this travel alert system.

It announced sanctions last year just as the Philippines was being devastated by a super-typhoon. That made us look vindictive and petty. Now that we have reached a settlement, both the questionable black travel alert and sanctions have thankfully been lifted.

Leung jumped on the bandwagon of public sentiment by adopting heavy-handed measures against the Philippines. But like much else his government does, he will get no credit for taking measures that have public support, only blame when things go wrong.

With its maritime disputes with Manila, Beijing opportunistically exploited the hostage crisis to add to the pressure. It has achieved that purpose but won't be getting any praise from Hong Kong. There are no winners. But at least all of us can move on while the families find closure.

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This article is now closed to comments

whymak
pslhk:

Right on! No respect, no forgiveness. It started out with Hong Kongers having no respect for Filipinos. This was reciprocated by Aquino's disrespect for CY Leung. Worst of all is the persistence of contempt demonstrated against Chinese leaders by Western and local media, Anson Chan, Martin Lee and other morons in tow. They euphemized their hatred as speech freedom.

In the Bible, Jesus said all sins can be forgiven, except for Pharisees' sin against the Holy Ghost. Presumably, this is because closing the door to the Holy Spirit is equivalent to shutting off the mind. Self-hate Hong Kongers closed their minds to our one family (country) and mainland brethren long ago. Should media-brainwashed folks be forgiven?

Money is only part of your equation. But it matters little to fanatics. Self-hate bananas are all too willing to cut off our livelihood to spite the one country in one country two systems.
pslhk
“With much reluctance, they have wisely accepted it” !!!
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How could any reluctant acceptance be wise?
What’s the moral?
-
money + regret = acceptance + reluctance
Reluctance = ?
-
IMHO, a better expression would be:
acceptance for reasons of humanity and hope for a better future
then the concerned Hkers would rightly or wrongly
place Filip morally in debt and themselves in credit
Money + regret + respect = acceptance + forgiveness
philpaul
If money can bring closure to grief, it was not grief to begin with.
andreaswagner
This whole case was actually an eye opener for people who did not get this earlier. It showed that what makes HK tick is only, and nothing but money. Just the quantity needs to be right.
Honour, pride, morality, real values. LOL, think again. Case closed:)

And CYL, aka 'Dog Balls' was allowed to bark a bit by his Peking masters. Hope he finally got laid.
daily
I don't think it's a matter of whether any side wins..............there was nothing really to win in the first place.................it was just a matter of being at the wrong place at the wrong time that this happened to a bunch of HK'rs and the issue was politicized to the point that was getting annoying for everyone.................Still, I am not surprised how finally it took some $$$$$ from the Philippine side to finally shut the surviving members of the victims...............Guess, they were after money all along, and the request for apology was just an indirect way of begging for more $$$$$$$.
giggsy72
A.Lo, you're kidding yourself. True that no-one is covered in glory in this episode, but HK's true colours have been stamped across the international media for all to see. This all started when Bowtie stamped his little feet, because Aquino didn't take a call. "How dare a President of a country (a silly little brown country no less!) doesn't take the call of what is effectively the Mayor of a city!?!? The blatant cheek of the man. Right We'll teach him!"
And so, the saga started and a bunch of HK lawmakers used this episode for political gain. Unfortunately, the families allowed themselves to be used and paraded in the media, assuring all and sundry that it was all about the 'apology'. "Just an apology, that's all we want". So they got one, from the Mayor of Manila. But that "wasn't sincere enough". What the..?? Are you kidding, who do you think you are? Then after nearly four years, the same man apologises again, but this time he brings a bigger chequebook and all is right with the world again!! Yay!
Let's call a spade a spade. The Manila police force are inept and this was a tragedy, but the actions of one man, not a country. The HK govt are self-serving little weasels, who think they are more relevant on the international stage, than they actually are. And lastly, HK people talk about principles, but essentially they are grasping, money-grabbing and greedy. Hmm, just like the elites of the city. What a great example they are to us all.
anthonygmail
It was foolish for the HK Government to get involved. An apology was demanded but not given. Instead, the government now stops all retaliations just because the aggrieved citizens accepted cash.
williechow
8 Hong Kong citizens were killed and some 13 injured.
In Mr. Lo's eyes, what would be a win for Hong Kong?
chaz_hen
I suppose to you a "win" for HK citizens would be when every single Filipino apologizes in person, the UN General Assembly apologizes to and recognizes HK as the most advanced society in the universe, and all HKers are offered free accommodations and airfare to the Philippines in perpetuity?
 
 
 
 
 

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