General

Whatever Will Be, Will Be

According to SCMP, Alex Lo has been their columnist since 2012. I recall he used to write his column My Take almost daily until maybe last year, but he still contributes about two articles a week, which are rather readable. Yesterday (June 17) for example, he wrote under the title, “Beijing now has bigger stake in HK success”, beginning with “Death of Hong Kong” reports everywhere, but concluding that Beijing having now owned Hong Kong, “the measure of success is not democratic governance, but economic vibrancy,” hence its bigger stake, and with which I totally agree. It is interesting that Alex Lo’s political outlook had been questioned on the internet and labelled as pro-communist and pro-government, but I don’t think he cares.

What is interesting is that journalists everywhere write to attract attention and in turn achieve greater fame and fortune. The case in point is an Asian correspondent for Fortune and Time magazine Louis Kraar who shot to fame with his famous or infamous cover story on 26 June 1995 with the line “The Death of Hong Kong” written less than 750 days to the date Britain was to hand back Hong Kong to China. Kraar said that “the naked truth about Hong Kong’s future can be summed up in two words: It’s over.” From Google, I leant that Kraar was born in 1931 and would have been 90 if he was still alive. I looked deeper into the internet and found that Kraar died of a heart attack in March 2006 at the age of 71 when he was still remembered as the author of the 1995 article in Fortune with the controversial headline. In September 2001, Time magazine did a follow up on the article when Kraar wrote that all local officials would be monitored by hundreds of Chinese Communist Party functionaries, that the city’s elected legislature would be replaced with appointed members, that Beijing’s earlier pledges to maintain the city’s judicial independence would be brushed aside, and that Hong Kong’s independent currency would be replaced with the yuan.  Nevertheless, the 2001 Fortune Global Forum was again held in Hong Kong; and I had helped organized it from InvestHK. Too bad Kraar did not live long enough to witness the continuing economic vibrancy in Hong Kong and the almost out-of-control state in 2019 which ultimately precipitated the resolve of the Central Government to enact national security laws for Hong Kong, thereby restoring law and order.

But not all journalists are that pessimistic about Hong Kong’s future. David Dodwell whom I knew from my InvestHK days, for example, had written in his Outside In column for SCMP more than once that Hong Kong’s position as Asia’s top financial hub can’t be killed off by Macau, Hainan or even Shanghai, and more specifically, “whatever the international angst over the new security law, Beijing will not let anyone hinder Hong Kong’s growth, or dilute its contribution to China’s re-engagement with the global economy.”

Grenville Cross SC, the British barrister who was appointed Hong Kong’s Director of Public Prosecutions in October 1997 and held the post for over 12 years and who is now a criminal justice analyst, has also written many very readable articles for SCMP on the future of Hong Kong and argued why those who threaten Hong Kong’s judges deserve no mercy and why secessionists ought to be sentenced to ensure criminal justice would prevail over terror.

The news these days continues to focus on the pandemic and the arrests under the national security law. I am amazed that there are still many people, young and not so young people, who are of the firm believe that registering for COVID-19 jabs or using the Leave Home Safe app would open up one’s entire life history and private data for scrutiny by the government if not the state. To start with, who these people think they are and what information they are in possession or can offer that would be of interest to the government or the state that would warrant the instigation of such processes? My knee-jerk reaction is that these people must have something to hide or are about to commit some unspeakable crimes to the government or against humanity.

I have also “friends” on the internet who question the wisdom of the authority to arrest top people of Apple Daily and its parent company on suspected crimes under the national security laws. These “friends” argued that media and journalistic works necessarily require frequent contacts and liaison with foreign countries or external elements, which should not be regarded or classified lock stock and barrel as collusion with foreign countries, but they conveniently omit reference to the object of such activities which seek to impose sanctions or take hostile action against Hong Kong and the central government. I don’t think I would waste time to have any dialogue or conversation with these “friends”.

Meanwhile, we continue to plan our lives to generate maximum happiness and enjoyment for ourselves and our friends. As the Dalai Lama is said to have said, “The purpose of our lives is to be happy.” Yes, I am a firm believer of seeking happiness. I have always taken the view that I am an ordinary person with modest means and aims in life. Indeed, I suggest that most people in the world are average and normal people. The law of average and statistics have it that 95% of people would be in this category.  I won’t seek to be extraordinary and achieve the extraordinary. I believe that when the elements are in the right proportion and the conditions are conducive, whatever that should happen would happen, just like what the lyrics of Que Sera, Sera say, whatever will be, will be, released in May 1956 and sung by Doris Day. I would have been eight years of age then.

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