Think twice: democracy’s not the ultimate solution for a happier Hong Kong

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 21 April, 2016, 6:02pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 21 April, 2016, 6:02pm

I have been living in Hong Kong for a few years and I have some knowledge about the place and people.

I love the city and wish the best for it. However, with the political climate gradually deteriorating, I feel compelled to offer my two cents on the situation.

When the Occupy Central movement began in 2014, I, like many others, viewed it as a passing storm, but the way things have progressed, with calls for not only a democratic but now even an independent Hong Kong, matters have turned serious.

We should examine the notion that a fully democratic government is inherently better.

Supporters for a democratic Hong Kong should not forget that the ultimate test for good governance is raising the standard of living of the people.

The so-called “core values” which they propagate, should not be placed above the prosperity and well-being of the people. I think normal people would not support the democratic movement if it meant endangering their livelihoods.

Also, they should note that democracies can have inefficient and ineffectual governments.

In fact, in many instances, a democracy has brought regression in societies, not progression. I mention this because starry-eyed college students, who lack real-world experience, should acknowledge the phenomenal progress China has made in lifting hundreds of millions of its citizens out of poverty and into prosperity.

One only has to compare China to India to see how slow democracies are in making progress. Political deadlocks and lack of power to bring about much needed reforms are the order of the day in India.

However, this is not to say that single-party rule does not have its drawbacks. But any balanced view of the Chinese leadership in the past few decades cannot deny it is very competent and has been very successful.

Hong Kong risks a lot by allowing notions such as independence to be publicised and gain support by college students and professors who are basing their philosophy on lofty ideals and dislike of China without considering the ground and the economic realities of present-day Hong Kong.

They don’t seem to fully grasp the consequences of what they preach.

Something that can imperil the future of the city should be thought out seriously by Hongkongers.

I, for one, think the city should focus on what matters the most, which is prosperity, relatively good standards of living, and social stability.

Akshay Parekh, Tsim Sha Tsui