If lead-contaminated water is safe, why won’t Carrie Lam drink it?

By Ernest Leung, La Salle College
By Ernest Leung, La Salle College |

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Hong Kong Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor attends a meeting in Legco Chamber in Tamar.

Recently Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Yuet-ngor ordered all government officials to refrain from being forced into drinking any of the samples of lead-tainted water to safeguard the dignity of the Hong Kong government.

Hold on a second, I thought the Head of the Educational Department Ng Hak-kim once said that students wouldn’t be affected since they “are not in the school for a long period of time, and they do not drink water from schools on a long term basis”?

Meanwhile, one of the pro-establishment legislators, Ng Leung-sing, said these water sample could quite possibly bring health benefits and prolong life. If that’s the case, and this water is safe to drink in small doses, and may even provide health benefits, how would drinking it humiliate the government?

We still don’t know how many housing estates and schools in Hong Kong have been affected by this problem and we have yet to find out how many citizens are drinking the water that Carrie Lam refuses to touch.

I thought government officials were public servants whose duty is to serve citizens, not act like their dignity and health is more important than everyone elses. However, it seems to me that the citizens have become less of a priority, and government officials are forgetting who their duty is to. This is essentially the government telling people that their health has no value, so they can drink the water, but we will be protecting our own, so we won’t drink it.

The government needs to prove that the water is safe through action  – by drinking a sample of the water.

After the Fukushima accident, there were rumours online about radioactive seafood in Japan. Shinzo Abe, the Prime Minister of Japan, personally went to Fukushima to try out the freshly caught seafood in an attempt to prove that the seafood was safe to eat.

Bill Gates, before telling the public that nano-processed water from feces is safe to drink, filmed multiple YouTube videos and attended TV shows drinking the nano-processed water himself in an attempt to prove his point.

Even if it is only a political show; even if it is just to win public support, it is only right to demand the government officials to prove their point in a more convincing manner. It would certainly make me more confident about the water I am drinking.

If the lead-contaminated water truly is safe then what’s the problem with being asked to drink a cup of it? I guess they have given us the answer.