All Around Town, April 18, 2013
Marathon blasts spark Occupy Central fears
While the Boston Marathon bombings triggered discussion about security issues in the United States, local pro-establishment lawmaker Jeffrey Lam Kin-fung suggested looking closer to home.
Associate law professor Dr Benny Tai Yiu-ting, of the University of Hong Kong, has been calling for at least 10,000 people to block traffic in Central in July next year if the government does not deliver an acceptable proposal for universal suffrage.
Commercial sector legislator Lam, who graduated from Boston's Tufts University, said if such a peaceful occasion as the Boston marathon could result in such devastation, who could guarantee the occupy movement would be free from violence?
Ip Kwok-him, from the Beijing-loyalist Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, said it might be too far-fetched to link the Boston tragedy to Hong Kong, but he agreed it was difficult to ensure nothing would get out of hand in a mass protest.
Mandy Tam's radical move fails to shock
Wong Tai Sin district councillor Mandy Tam Heung-man's decision to join People Power may be big news for some political pundits, but it was not a surprise for Beijing-loyalist lawmakers in the Kowloon East constituency.
On Tuesday, Tam - a founding member of the Civic Party, which she quit in 2009 - confirmed with the South China Morning Post that she was joining the radical party.
The Kowloon East lawmaker Wong Kwok-kin, from the Federation of Trade Unions, said that while the news was "sudden", it did not came as a shock.
"Some of the ideas that People Power and Tam have been advocating are similar; I guess that's why they are coming together," Wong said.
Chan Kam-lam, from the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, was also unfazed, suggesting Tam's political stance had been "wavering".
Democrats all a fluster over latest filibuster
As a parliamentary manoeuvre, the filibuster has quickly become an infamous call to arms since first appearing in Hong Kong some years ago. While the time-wasting tactic should be targeting the government, this time round the pan-democrats have been the first to feel the heat.
To show a clear distinction to the radicals who filed nearly 800 amendments to the budget bill, the Democratic Party, Civic Party, Labour Party and other independents decided to drop their own amendments, although they had not been filed as part of the filibuster.
The moderates said they had learned a lesson from the earlier Old Age Living Allowance debate when they were mistakenly identified as filibusters.
But Au Nok-hin, a Democratic Party district councillor, was one of the voices of dissent. "It is our responsibility to take a stance no matter what others do. We must not give up our own belief towards the budget," he wrote in his column in Ming Pao.
The NeoDemocrats was the only party to choose the third way: it would neither join the filibuster, nor withdraw its amendments, it said.