These are strange days in Hong Kong. There are times when I almost feel sympathy for the pan-democrats over universal suffrage, and I blame Beijing for my "pan-democratitis".
Like many moderates and "silent majority" people, we never expected Beijing to allow civil nomination or even a low threshold for becoming a chief executive candidate. But we had hoped for a considerable expansion of the four sectors of the nominating committee, which would make it more representative and democratically legitimate. We could accept having just two to three formal candidates, but were hoping they would not need at least half - that is endorsement from 600 members - to qualify for the poll.
But if press reports are anything to go by, and these include Beijing mouthpiece Ta Kung Pao, all these hopes are now dashed. As for seriously reforming the legislature for its 2016 election, forget it. The harsher-than-expected framework for the chief executive election is, in a sense, worse than the current system that elected Leung Chun-ying in 2012. At least Albert Ho Chun-yan only needed the support of 150 members of the election committee to become a candidate.
I am temperamentally close to the political conservatism of the local establishment; and as a mild patriot, I want to see China succeed both domestically and on the world stage. I have no time for the noblesse oblige of the barristers of the Civic Party. The Democrat old timers are sorry shadows of their former selves. As for the flame throwers and disrupters of Legco, well, they are just beyond the pale. And more than ever, I think Occupy Central will do more harm than good to Hong Kong.
But the reform package that looks set to be handed down on Sunday is so one-sided and intransigent that even moderate pan-democrats will have every right and reason to vote against it in the legislature. That would mean going back to square one. Some people have warned that would be Armageddon for Hong Kong. Well, it may not be so bad!
If I am allowed the privilege only of voting for Moe, Larry or Curly of the Three Stooges, it would be a waste of my time to drive to the voting booth. I would rather forgo the privilege and hand it back to the "small circle" election committee.