My Take

Pundits can’t always get it right

It’s a shame that liberal studies teacher and political commentator Edward Yau has caved to pressure from the Silent Majority over ‘Nazi’ remarks

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 April, 2017, 3:26am
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 April, 2017, 3:26am

If you can’t stand the heat, don’t go into the kitchen. In this day and age, if you write about controversial political topics, you can expect to draw some serious flak. Yours truly speaks from long experience in that regard.

So I am somewhat sympathetic when blogger and liberal studies teacher Edward Yau declares he has thrown in the towel after being hounded by “blue ribbon” groups like the Silent Majority, for comparing the Hong Kong police to Nazis.

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He told his disappointed fans that he would, from now on, only write for Catholic publications and that he would no longer express political views online.

In a sense, he brought all this on himself. You want the proverbial faeces to hit the fan, just compare someone or some group to Hitler and the Nazis. And he made the ill-advised comment after a policeman had already offended many by comparing his colleagues to persecuted Jews in Nazi Germany at a police rally in February.

The chastised officer was likely to be insufficiently educated. You can’t say the same of Yau, who of all things, actually teaches liberal studies. When you compare thousands of police officers to the “many SS officers who participated in the slaughter inside concentration camps”, you deserve some harsh criticism. Whatever you think of our police, it’s a terrible comparison. It raises questions about your suitability as a teacher.

However, I do think it was a bit much that the Silent Majority people approached the principal of Yau’s school to raise the issue. Given the widespread reporting of the controversy, his bosses must have been well aware. If they had wanted to take action – or not – it should be entirely up to the school, rather than because of outside pressure from a political group.

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But Yau was quite fair, and declined to describe the pressure and criticism against him as “white terror”, though he was invited by some reporters from the “liberal” press to apply the label. It appears Yau has learned a lesson and should be the wiser for it.

Obviously, Yau and I are at opposite ends of the political divide. But as a fellow commentator with a following, I don’t think he should only write for religious publications. We all make mistakes. He should press on and not shy from controversies. Just be more careful next time.