Wednesday, 25 September 2019

Race to the bottom

Jing’s letter in the South China Morning Post 
Race to the bottom

It has become a weekly routine to set fires on the streets and to vandalise public facilities while playing cat and mouse game with police. It seems that we are watching a reality tv show where everyone gets what they “want”:- throwing petrol bombs, shouting at officers and enjoying a moment of fame, surrounded by journalists taking “nice” pictures, plus medic volunteers and mediators offering assistance. So they say Hong Kong is “liberalised". 

It is no longer about the extradition bill or democracy. It is a deranged symptom in disguise against establishment. It brings the worst out of people. Vandalising public properties can create a false sense of freedom. Beating up people in disagreement while the camera is rolling can give you a sense of control. Hiding behind masks and operating in a wolf pack, they feel empowered and addicted. Once the thrill is gone, they would come back for more. Gradually they are chipping away Hong Kong’s core values as a well established civil society. 

The on-going unrest indicates the inability of Hong Kong political elites to rise above their self interest. Instead of protecting the general public in Hong Kong, it seems that they are locked in power struggle over political dogma. 

It is also worrisome that some intellectuals and students in Hong Kong have looked for answers in a glorified nostalgia of the colonial past, and descended into seeking foreign intervention and “leadership”. Lacking critical analysis, they simply blame every social problem in Hong Kong as “mainland erosion” and incite a tribal movement in the name of freedom that feed on the fear and resentment against China. 

It is a race to the bottom. 

What’s next? Democracy and human rights rhetoric and foreign interference will not help to resolve Hong Kong’s social discontent. 

Hong Kong has to free itself from the time capsule of its colonial past and develop a new vision for its cultural and political identity. By doing so, it will be able to rebuild the confidence to govern in the interest of its people’s livelihood and future. 

Ms. JL…etc