All Around Town, December 6, 2012
Legal system etched in stone, scholar says
Law professor Albert Chen Hung-yee from the University of Hong Kong has taken issue with former justice secretary Elsie Leung Oi-sie about what the Basic Law's promise of "an unchanged way of life for 50 years" means for Hong Kong's legal system.
Leung said last month that it did not mean everything in Hong Kong would remain unchanged.
The "legal system itself is ever changing", she said.
But responding to questions from the press, Chen said yesterday that "an unchanged way of life for 50 years" in Hong Kong embodies the idea that the city's legal system will remain "fundamentally unchanged".
"It is because Hong Kong's original legal system and its systems for protecting human rights and freedom are the most suitable for the city. The people of Hong Kong also want those systems to be preserved, so the design was that the basic legal principles, values, ideas and systems should remain unchanged for at least 50 years," Chen said.
Chen also implied that he was not trying to challenge Leung.
"I cannot see anyone advocating that Hong Kong's legal system needs fundamental changes," he said.
Tony Cheung and Joshua But
'Celebrated loser' gives cold comfort to his fans
One of the most bizarre spectacles after the Legislative Council election in September happened outside Lau Kong-wah's district council office in Sha Tin, where a high-spirited crowd gathered and celebrated his defeat.
The vice-chairman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong has since kept a low profile. But recently he was interviewed by the Young Reporter, a Baptist University student publication.
Lau, crowned "the most celebrated loser ever" by the magazine, said he considered himself "an icon" among his party colleagues for having a "clear-cut opinion and stance".
"Maybe I need to soften the way I deliver my message, but I will always stand firm on my stance," he said.
He added that many of his supporters could not accept the election result.
"I often see neighbours who feel sorry for me crying in front of me. And I'll have to cheer them up, sometimes by promising I'll be back in four years."
But he does not really mean it. "I only promised to run again in order to comfort my supporters," he said.
Lam brings diversity plan back from dead
What do Tung Chee-hwa's infamous 85,000 flats target and Leung Chun-ying's troubled illegal structures have in common? According to our chief executives, both of them "do not exist any more".
But not all our top officials have short memories. In a speech to business leaders this week, Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor spent half an hour pointing out what the government had accomplished in the past few years.
But more surprisingly, she re-emphasised the importance of diversifying Hong Kong's economy by developing new industries.
The idea to boost six new sectors - including medical services, environmental industries, testing and certification, education services, innovation and technology, and cultural and creative industries - was propelled by Lam's former boss, Donald Tsang Yam-kuen. But it remained a mere slogan when he left office.
Since Leung won the top job, the idea has disappeared from public view, as if it never existed. Perhaps Lam, now nicknamed "the nanny", could clarify it some time later.