Be wary of democracy swindler

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:

 

 

社民連內訌5行委辭職
疑憂買會址須供款

 

【明報專訊】明年1月將會換屆的社民連,昨日爆出內訌,5名行政委員提出辭職,抗議該黨立法會議員陳偉業在兩次籌款活動中處理不當。但有消息指出,5行委不但對陳偉業不滿,退出亦與社民連購買會址有關,因該黨未有足夠資金購買會址,或須由行政委員供樓,有人擔心債項「上身」而選擇不當行委。

 

抗議陳偉業處理籌款不當

社民連現有19名行政委員,當中5人包括張錦雄、李世鴻、翁洛興、趙子霆及曾浚瑛,昨日突在《香港人網》發聲明辭去行政委員。聲明指他們不滿該黨年初舉辦山頂步行籌款,陳偉業曾說若遺失籌款表格必須報警,但陳氏遺失了籌款表格卻僅交回手寫遺失聲明了事等。聲明其後被網站封鎖,但本報記者在其他網站找到轉載的聲明。

據社民連成員網上爆料及消息人士指出,社民連籌款一直未達購買位於大角嘴會址的300萬元,若要購會址,其餘的100多萬元須由行政委員負責供款,暑假期間到美加籌款的主席黃毓民及陳偉業表示在美加已籌得數十萬元,故將來供款應由其他行委負責。

社民連的組織章程寫明,社民連「如有欠債,行政委員會的委員須負上責任」,消息人士指出,並非所有行委也有能力供樓,買樓隨時有負債風險,而大部分黨員亦認為毋須急於購入新會址,可待樓價調整後才決定,但黃毓民卻堅持買入。

李世鴻昨晚回覆本報表示,5人退出行委會,主要是不滿該黨的決定往往不是由行政委員會「話事」,而是遭黨團架空,是次他們便是透過myradio節目才得悉黃毓民購入會址一事已達議價階段。黃毓民前晚在節目中指出,已看中一個價值320萬元的單位,正與業主議價,若能商談至300萬元,便很大機會購入。李世鴻坦言擔心要「上身」,至於會否退黨,李世鴻表示「尚待考慮」。

行委不足法定14人

另外,原本亦屬行政委員的陳士齊,在facebook專頁表示,本周三已經退出社民連,連同5位退出行委者,現時社民連行委不足法定的14人。

對於社民連現無足夠行委人數,黃毓民稱不會影響該黨運作,因黨章規定,行政委員會休會期間,由主席及秘書長處理日常具體事務及對外發言。至於購買會址一事,昨晚黃未有再回覆本報查詢。而陳偉業及多名行委均對購買會址一事表示不知情,記者找黃毓民回應。

 

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.

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One thought on “Be wary of democracy swindler

  1. Hi Paul,
    To echo your views on Hong Kong politics, I’d like to quote a letter to the Editor in SCMP which I agree with – though I consider myself to be the norm of Hongkongers who are indifferent to local politics.
    ***
    Quote
    “Pan-democrats just cannot see beyond universal suffrage

    I would be more enthusiastic about universal suffrage if the pan-democrats would give some proposals on What next? after it becomes law in Hong Kong.

    I have waited in vain for them to tell the public how the present problems will be solved when each person has a vote. The leaders mislead the public by calling for universal suffrage but never say how the people’s grievances will be addressed.

    If universal suffrage makes life better for the worker, why are so many people, including university graduates and non-graduates, prepared to leave their countries (for example, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand) which have universal suffrage, to work in this undemocratic society in Hong Kong? In each case, the answer is that only the rich in their countries benefit from one person, one vote. They have learned to buy votes from the poorest of the poor. Some overseas workers rightly complain of discrimination here. Nevertheless, I have found that most of them consider Hong Kong to be more democratic than their own country with its universal suffrage.

    No democracy should be introduced until its promoters have found a way to balance the power of rich and poor. Otherwise, the elite will find a way to influence the vote, usually by corruption, but also by ensuring candidates who address the subject of the poverty that will follow universal suffrage, disappear. The carnage in the Philippines has already begun a year before the next elections.

    I doubt if our legislators read anything about the world and what has happened in other Asian countries and most of the countries of South and Central America and Africa, after they were cajoled into handing over their resources to former colonial countries. Remember, the present western democracies are of the same kind which stole land and resources in their colonial days. They have not changed. As Noam Chomsky says, They resort to unilateral use of military power to ensure uninhibited access to key markets, energy supplies, and strategic resources.

    Do the democratic leaders of Hong Kong ever read recent history? ”
    Unquote
    Source: A letter by Elsie Tu, A12, SCMP, July 9 2009
    ***
    Chris Patten wrote in ‘East and West: China, Power, and the Future of Asia’ that ‘Hong Kong has a liberal – alas not democratic – model of governance.’ I tend not to agree his tone despite seemingly accurate content. Why use the interjection ‘alas’?

    I, as one of the Hong Kong citizens, seem to find it comfortable and contented situating in the liberal, if not democratic model of governance – at least, Hong Kong is renowned for its anti-corruption over half a century (compared to many other countries who are practising a ‘democratic’ model in the world.)

    Why highlight ‘democracy + in the name of Hongkongers’? So, what is the ultimate discourse?

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