Boy, has Hong Kong gone crazy? A minor spat with the police involving a primary schoolteacher has become a cause célèbre and sparked a clash between rival groups on Sunday involving thousands and paralysing Mong Kok traffic.
As it turned out, Alpais Lam Wai-sze, the teacher in question, was the only one who acted with some dignity and rationality yesterday in calling for calm and apologising for a second time to parents and students at her school for her behaviour. She also praised police professionalism on Sunday in keeping the peace and separating the protesters to avoid violence. Whether you are pro-Beijing, pro-Falun Gong, pro-democracy or pro-colonial, you should respect Lam's wishes and put this behind us.
The furore started on July 14 when Lam was videoed shouting foul language at police officers over their handling of a dispute between the Falun Gong and the Hong Kong Youth Care Association, a pro-government group. She went into a tirade against the Chinese Communist Party, about how it condoned the harvesting of human organs, and professing herself to be a true Hong Kong person speaking her mind.
It was all a bit off topic and unrelated to the issue at hand. But it was a hot summer; and we are all a bit tense and under pressure these days. Truth be told, I have gone into such outbursts myself against unruly drivers and the traffic police who failed to tame them on the road. Luckily, no one taped me and put it on YouTube.
The incident took on a life of its own after leftist newspapers Ta Kung Pao and Wen Wei Po wrote furious editorials denouncing Lam.
The Junior Police Officers' Association and the Hong Kong Police Inspectors' Association also accused her of inappropriate behaviour. It was all very silly.
It's not the police's place to decide whether a citizen has acted appropriately, whatever that means, but whether the action breaches any law.
The leftist editorials soon caused a backlash. Now, every anti-Beijing and anti-government ideologue has jumped on the bandwagon, milking the incident for all it's worth - hence Sunday's mass rallies and clashes.
It's time to calm down and move on.