The latest issue of TIME dated 23 November is all about the 2020 US Election with “A Time to Heal” as cover title and Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on the cover. The Editor-in-Chief and CEO said his colleagues had begun planning for the story since early last year through in-depth profiles and interviews with the major candidates so as to get to know not just their positions and platforms, but more importantly, who they are as human beings. The tasks of the reporters were very difficult, even without the pandemic; and the differences in reception from Trump and Biden were striking. Trump had expected a straightforward win so that he had not planned to reach beyond his political base. Interesting indeed. Even more interesting is how the Editor compared the situation on 7 November in the country with that facing United States when Gerald Ford was inaugurated President in 1974. O both occasions, the country was deeply divided and in pain. The Editor recalled that the TIME cover story was “The Healing Begins”. He was a 7-year-old kid and for some reason, he had kept the family copy all these years, or for 46 years. I have been a TIME subscriber since the early 1970s and I still receive the weekly copies, even though I can’t always find time to read most of the stories; and I had kept certain issues before.
The Editor concludes with the following statement, “Our dueling American realities remain. Biden and Harris, and all of us, have much work ahead.” How true! Unfortunately, and so close to home, the same holds true for Hong Kong. The 7 million in Hong Kong are so utterly and bitterly divided. Many people are not talking to each other and never would, so it seems, but do we have the equivalent of Biden and Harris to start the badly needed healing process?
The divides in the community have become obvious shortly after the social unrest last June and July; the divide between age groups and even within a family, the divide between political parties, the divide between Hong Kong and mainlanders, and the divide within the government and even within the Police, to name just a few. And it does not take a genius to realize that the task of bridging these divides would take a few generations, if not forever.
The resolve of the Central Government to introduce national security laws in Hong Kong has indeed stopped the bleeding, and has managed to paper over the divides, but it would take a lot more initiatives and measures coupled with effective political leadership to bring about real and quick changes. Let’s hear what Carrie Lam has to say next week.