ON SECOND THOUGHT
Column
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We must have hope for the sake of our next generation

After the oaths saga there’s risk of us swallowing the bait of disharmony, hook, line and sinker

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 17 November, 2016, 6:22pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 17 November, 2016, 7:04pm

Never have so few upset so many as the pixie pair from Youngspiration, advocating independence for the city. Since their ill-fated oath-taking in the Legislative Council last month, they have hit the headlines and achieved near celebrity status.

At their swearing-in, among other things, their choice of the six-letter word “Chee-na”, to mean Chinese and China, was unfortunate and angered many.

This C-word is ethnocentric and dredges up imagery of cruelty and carnage of the war years. Moreover, any attempt to degrade people by the use of pejorative racial slurs against them is just wrong,

This is not politics. This is common decency . . . Bad words, like bad breath, hang in the air like a thick fog, not easily dispelled.

From the turn of events, it is clear that there is every risk of us swallowing the bait of disharmony hook, line and sinker.

The question whether the pair should be given a second chance to swear their allegiance properly was asked. The administration obviously thought not and immediately put in a court bid to strip the two of their Legislative Council status.

A pledge is a pledge. Like a wedding vow, one is seldom , if ever, asked to repeat the vow again, and again, until one gets it right.

Early this month, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress announced its interpretation of Article 104 of the Basic law, governing appropriate behaviour in oath-taking before assumption of duty. The city was instantly divided, and those who were for the interpretation claimed that it was both timely and necessary to clarify murky areas of the law.

Others simply regarded such interpretation as interference. Any interference would rattle the nerves of those who fear erosion of the rule of law and the demise of the “one country, two systems” principle.

Politics is a matter of perception, which is now that this city is not only polarised in ideology but also divided in loyalty.

The High Court this week gave its judgment on the bid by the administration and it disqualified the pair from Legco.

Whatever the outcome of the pair’s appeal, it’s time to get on with our lives and look to the future with hope and the willpower to heal wounds. We owe it to ourselves and our next generation.

Elizabeth Wong Chien Chi-lien was secretary for health and welfare from 1990 to 1994 and a lawmaker from 1995 to 1997