Legislative Councillor Wong Yuk Man is in the news again today, but this time the story happened in his own backyard.
From today’s Ming Pao:
I am not interested in politics, and I have never had any personal dealings with Wong (other than turning down an invitation from his assistant to speak at a forum on Commercial Radio which he was then hosting some years ago, because I knew his only interest was to humiliate his guests, not to listen to them). I simply want people to be very wary of politicians who outwardly play political heroes and privately pursue their own hidden agenda.
Here is why:
I was in Secondary Three, and as a young teenager, I was beginning to question the meaning of life. It was the era of the Cultural Revolution, and I easily and totally bought into Communism ideology. Mao Tse-tung promised a future world where there was no exploitation of the poor, where all people were equal. To build that utopia, our duty was to serve the people on the one hand, and bring down all the evil capitalists on the other.
So I became a firm believer in Maoism. I read Mao’s writings fervently so that I could come to grips with Maoist thought. I kept a copy of the ‘little red book’ and read it every day. I collected medals with Mao on them. I sought out classmates who had a similar interest, and we formed a cell group and met regularly to study Maoist thought. On weekends, we went to leftist schools to learn to chant anti-capitalist and anti-British and anti-Hong-Hong-Government slogans, and to learn to sing Communist songs. I was proud of being a lucky ‘awakened’ teenager, who had found the goal and purpose of life. I even thought of quitting school and going to China to become a Red Guard, which was the highest honour for an awakened teenager.
But disillusionment came only after a few months, when the Cultural Revolution reached its heights in 1967. Hundreds of thousands of people in China were beaten or tortured to death in political purges, in the name of cleansing China of reactionaries and capitalists. In Hong Kong, there were riots every day, and bombs were killing hundreds of innocent people.
I began to think: “Why is this happening? Who is this man called Mao Tse-tung?”
Soon, I realized that all the ideology was only a grand excuse for the extremists to go about their evil hidden agenda. I immediately severed all contacts with my leftist acquaintances. I learnt that there was a lot of hypocrisy in politics. Since that day, I have never trusted any single politician unreservedly. The more radical a politician is, the more suspicious I am of him. (Later in Secondary Four, when I read the Animal Farm, and Ninety Eight-four, both by George Orwell, which exposed the cruelty of communism and the hypocrisy of politicians, everything in the books clicked with me.)
Now, Wong and his ilk claim to be fighting for universal suffrage? Do they really want it, or are they simply playing heroes? Does Wong really believe that resignation en mass will bring us universal suffrage?
Shortly after he was elected for the first time, veteran street-fighter Long Hair contended that if he later found he was not able to achieve anything inside the establishment, he would quit after he finished his first term, and even before he finished his first term. He would then go back to the streets to ‘fight for the people’. At that time, I still had a little respect for him, thinking that perhaps he did have his conviction. But soon, he never mentioned that again. When his first term as a legislative councilor came to an end, he never discussed whether he was able to achieve his ideals or not, and simply ran for a second term. Now, had the status, or the fame, or the income, become too irresistible?
As for Chan Wai Yip, I feel sorry for him. When he quit the Democrats a decade ago to become an independent candidate because, according to him, the Democrats did not go out of their way to fight for the interests of the poor people, so that he didn’t want to belong to this club any more, I thought: Here is someone with some character. He proceeded to work diligently for his constituent, keeping their votes with concrete contributions. But after he joined Wong and Long Hair a couple of years ago, he thought he had to toe the party line, and began to turn radical. I feel sorry for him because by nature, he can never be another Wong Yuk Man, or another Long Hair. But he feels compelled to imitate them now that they belong to the same faction. His change is a perfect illustration of the wise observation that nothing distorts human personality more than politics does.
But that’s enough. The maxim that I have for myself has always been: Believe in democracy, but be wary of democracy swindlers.