General

Politics, Anyone?

Since I last wrote to you, a lot has happened and so it seems: America has installed a new President who wasted no time to make his presence felt; the Year of the Rooster has crept in; and we marked the beginning of spring a few days ago, on which day Carrie Lam also announced her election platform pledging to reconnect the people of Hong Kong, making her the fourth and possibly the last candidate in the contest for the office of the next Chief Executive. Yes, a lot always happens in between my posts on the website, and it doesn’t really matter how often I post them.

I have never been a great fan of the United States of America, but somehow I have spent time there regularly since the mid Seventies after I married Rosita whose parents and siblings were all in California. We first visited the country on our honeymoon in December 1976 and I still recall the scene at the checkout counter of the local super market where the young lady won’t let me take out two bottles of bubblies until I showed her my international driver’s license to prove I was not a minor. Well, I looked rather young then.

America is a great country: it has a lot to see and it offers a lot of opportunities to the people and organizations its government of the day wants to: but somehow I have never grown accustomed to its face in the context of Professor Higgins. Fate had it that both my two children now live in the country and both have told me in no uncertain terms that they have no intention of returning to Hong Kong in the short to medium term. In my young days when I read International Relations, I developed a view that American foreign policies are a reflection of inexperience and clumsiness on the part of the people there, citing JFK’s handling of Cuba as the prime example. I was also alarmed by what its government did to its own people of Japanese descent during the Second World War. I have reached a conclusion that the country doesn’t need Trump to make statements that purportedly would protect its best interests. It has always been doing that.

Now, with the Trump rhetoric and the dramas unfolding every day, we don’t need TV dramas anymore. The week Obama left office, I heard him say something like that he would once again become an average citizen and would not speak up unless freedom in particular freedom of speech is at stake. Well, he has already made some sort of a statement a week or so after Trump came to office. What conclusion, if any, can one draw.

I was going to say let us leave the Americans to sort out their own country and their own domestic affairs, but then Trump is now signing executive orders as if he is making breakfast orders. Whereas he needs personally to pay for the breakfast he ordered, the country and in turn the world could be paying for the consequences of his recklessness. I have already given my views on American foreign policies, but would add that foreign relations and for that matter international law is not as iron clad and enforceable as it seems. International law could be very fragile indeed, such that for every UN resolution passed, one can expect at least two other member countries failing to fully comply with the conditions and with absolutely no fear of retributions or sanctions. The USA for example has been very slow in making payments for its share of contributions to UNHCR during the boat people crises in Hong Kong in the Eighties and Nineties.

The bottom line therefore is this. Each country must take care of its own people and their interests. For no country will ever risk a nuclear war which will spell the end to the world and to the civilization as we now know it. With Trump in the Oval Office, we can expect the unexpected every day. Hence it will be in every country’s interests and for that matter in the interest of everyone to take his actions as TV dramas. What world leaders would call a federal judge a so called judge and blatantly flout the Constitution as something not worth the parchment it was written on.

Closer to home, we can expect more rhetoric, bickering and creative reporting on back stabbing and back scratching in the days leading first to 14 February and then to election day towards the end of March 2017. Again, let us take stock and look around us as the dramas unfold. Until we have a new election model – the one thwarted by the last Legislature – we rely on the Election Committee of just under 1,200 members to select the next Chief Executive, and until the next Chief Executive can build broad consensus amongst the Legislature, we would be no better than before. The good news is that we have China backing us up. China is a country that needs to be reckoned with by any country, including America.

All these years, I have refrained from discussing politics. I am getting on and I am changing the course. I hope to talk to you again soon.

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