My Take

To fool others, pan-dems are fooling themselves first

Carrie Lam’s election victory is the start of the apocalypse, according to some comments, but she will do a passable job while delivering mediocre results

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 28 March, 2017, 1:59am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 28 March, 2017, 1:59am

Deception is a common survival strategy in nature as well as politics. What is less well-known is that self-deception, according to some sociobiologists, can also have adaptive value. This is especially true among humans living in an intensely competitive environment. We lie to ourselves in order to lie better to others. It’s those lies – more convincing because we believe them – that help achieve our hidden agendas.

Reading some of the websites, blogs and newsprints of anti-government groups on Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor’s election victory, you might think it’s the end of the world, or at least the beginning of the end:

“Even the Heavens are cursing with a foul mouth.”

“Western has its Mrs 777; the destruction continues” – a reference to the number of votes Lam received to secure her election.

“The spread of gonorrhoea has started” – a play on the Cantonese pronunciation of the sexually transmitted disease (Lam bang) with her Chinese name (Lam Cheng).

How Hong Kong’s pan-democrats failed to turn the tide of the leadership race

There are much more extreme examples, which are unprintable in a family newspaper.

My favourite, however, is one by a Methodist preacher, who based a whole opinion piece on 777, in the Chinese-language Stand News. He is, of course, referring to Psalm 77:7, a rather depressing prayer. I will use a modern translation: “Will the Lord reject me forever? Will he not grant favours anymore?”

Presumably, the “me” is Hong Kong. The priest does counsel against despair, though, pointing out “the Lord will never give up on Hong Kong”. Well, I am no believer, but am glad to hear of the Lord’s good intention.

Lam may turn out to be the anti-Christ or a Mao-like dictator. But given her past career and the law of averages, it’s far more likely she will do a passable job, delivering mediocre results. That, alas, is the fate of most governments in free – or democratic – societies, including Hong Kong.

‘Don’t give up on Hong Kong’: John Tsang appeals to supporters to continue dream for democracy

The diehard opposition, though, can’t sell that mundane reality about Lam but must prove that without their version of democracy as an unquestioned religion, Hong Kong cannot have a workable leadership or government. They prefer their self-fulfilling prophecy of inevitable doom if we don’t get to their democratic promised land any time soon.

And so they must deceive themselves – about the worst for Hong Kong – to make their case all the more convincing for others.