• Sat
  • Jul 26, 2014
  • Updated: 6:05am
Public Eye
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 05 September, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 05 September, 2012, 2:28am

It's a battle of wills over national education

BIO

Michael Chugani is a Hong Kong-born American citizen who has worked for many years as a journalist in Hong Kong, the USA and London. Aside from being a South China Morning Post columnist he also hosts ATV’s Newsline show, a radio show and writes for two Chinese-language publications. He has published a number of books on politics which contain English and Chinese versions.
 

How much longer will it take before the administration of Leung Chun-ying realises that national education is belly-up - at least in its current form? We're now seeing more than just a stalemate - we're seeing a battle of wills between the government and its citizens. There is seldom a happy outcome when leaders fight with their denizens, as we are seeing in an extreme form in the Middle East nation of Syria. Ours is a peaceful revolution, but it's still the people vs the government. Is Leung blind to the fact that an undemocratically elected government is forcing through an unpopular policy? Doesn't Leung know that if he bulldozes his way through, he will lose the hearts and minds of the people? Officials say that the silent majority supports national education. If that's true, they're awfully silent. Officials are betting that the issue will eventually die, especially after the Legislative Council election this Sunday. But that is a losing bet. The people's disgust will only deepen when confronted with a deaf government.

So who is it that controls Hong Kong's border?

Whew, now we can all relax. Our leaders have given us a three-week reprieve before allowing millions more mainlanders to descend on tiny Hong Kong, under Shenzhen's open-door policy. Leung Chun-ying has pulled a few cheap political stunts lately to save his flagging popularity, but this "reprieve" must be the cheapest. The government says that interim will give it enough time to negotiate with the Shenzhen authorities on how to handle the influx of mainlanders. It took our government a decade to outlaw idling engines, Leung still hasn't dealt with the simple matter of illegal structures months after being elected, while Development Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po still hasn't come clean on his links to subdivided flats. Yet Hong Kong officials still think they can perform a miracle in three weeks to satisfy furious Hongkongers and overstretched immigration officials. What is there to negotiate anyway? Shenzhen unilaterally announced the travel perk for some 4.1 million non-permanent residents, and our government was neither informed nor consulted beforehand. Hong Kong only pleaded for negotiations after the move sparked an uproar at home. It makes you wonder who controls Hong Kong's border. Public Eye has said before that mainland visitors should be welcomed because they are the lifeblood of our retail sector. But it is every city's responsibility to make sure the city can cope. Our government has not done that - it threw open the door and lost the right to stop it from being opened further. Hongkongers don't want a three-week political stunt. They want real fixes.

Cardboard cut-out cops are just the ticket

There are cardboard cut-out cops to fool speeding drivers. Life-size, too, with the faces of real officers. One is even holding a radar speed gun and another holds a clipboard. How wonderfully realistic. Now that the police have found a new way to scare road maniacs, how about sending out real cops to put the fear of God into drivers who idle their engines and those who double park? Surely they're just as despicable. Reckless driving can kill, but so can filthy air. If our real cops won't dare ticket the tycoons' chauffeurs, then we suggest leaving the job to tougher forces - menacing-looking cut-out cops. A life-sized cut-out of a policeman ticketing a famous tycoon outside the Hong Kong Club should do the trick.

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