Friday, August 29, 2014

The danger of 與虎謀皮

The tiger is baring its teeth.  Communist Beijing is setting outrageously demanding bars for nominations for the Chief Executive “Election” to be held in 2017.  The intention is clear - no one not endorsed by Beijing is allowed to contest the election, guaranteeing a chief executive under its control.  Many pro-establishment types are flocking to sing praises, bad-mouth the opposition, make false accusations, …  It is plain ugly.  

Under these circumstances, it is no surprise that people in Hong Kong are unhappy.  Many, perhaps the majority, would like to see a relatively open and fair election.  But this is akin to 與虎謀皮. History has shown that Communism does not work.  Most people know that by now, having seen the failures in Russia, Eastern Europe, North Korea, and elsewhere.  In an open and fair election by an educated electorate, the Communists will lose.  Hence it will not permit such elections.  

Many people are in such despair that they seem determined to Occupy Central as a protest.  As long as it is done peacefully, it is in the noble spirit of civic disobedience.  They deserve our respect, and even support.  They are speaking our minds.


What I am afraid of is that some may go overboard and become violent in protest,. Provocateurs may incite the crowd.  The police may get violent anyway in their eagerness to show their loyalty to the establishment. …  Violence does not work.  A violent revolution solves one problem but creates others.  I pray that sense will prevail, people will behave as peacefully as in June 4 vigils and the protest against "national education",  and we will not see violence. 




Wednesday, August 27, 2014

與虎謀皮 - The Quest for Open Elections

Communist Beijing is dead set on maintaining its dictatorship over China, and Hong Kong. It will not allow anyone who is not under its control to take power in China, because its very existence depends on it. By extension, Beijing will not allow it to happen in Hong Kong.  Hence it is not going to accept any election arrangement under which it is possible for someone not under its control to be elected.  Hence it is not going to allow any such person to be nominated.  

Hence what the “Occupy Central” gang is asking for is akin to asking a tiger for its skin - 與虎謀皮.  Without its skin, the tiger will die.  By the same token, without its power, the Communist party is as good as dead.  It is not able to compete fairly in a truly democratic, open society.  So it won’t.  That’s why it is so intransigent. 

We should not give up striving for open elections and true democracy.  But violence is not a viable solution.  It is a hard place to be in.  




Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Bananas


It is safe to say you have bananas coming out of your ears in Rwanda.  


People carry them any way they can.


The flower is so amazingly intricate.  But they don't eat them, unlike the Cambodians and other south east Asians.  Not sure why.

We also learn to improve the yield of bananas by cutting off dead leaves from the plant.  Here technology, even very basic technology can be helpful. 





Monday, August 25, 2014

Lousy Marathon Route

For years and years, we have been running the Standard Chartered Marathon on deserted highways, tunnels, and side streets.  Only along the last couple of kilometres do we run through populated streets.   We have been told repeatedly that (allowing us to run on populated streets) would cause unbearable disruptions to traffic and businesses.  Even though we run on Sunday mornings, when most businesses are closed. 

However, several hundred people were allowed to run from Victoria Park to Charter Garden on Sunday morning, 17 August, to demonstrate against “Occupy Central”.  They were allowed to take up the whole street, on the busiest Hennessy Road, on which we were never allowed to run. 

We have ~70,000 people, almost 100 times more people than the pro-government “run”.  And our event is an increasingly popular, international sports event.  Running on populated streets would, of course, be good for the runners.  And it would also make a much better spectacle.  It can only be good for Hong Kong. 

What kind of logic is that?  Perhaps the unstated rule is: If you are pro-establishment, than anything is possible?

Friday, August 22, 2014

Public Works - Rwanda Style

While we were visiting some of the AEE’s Self-Help Groups, we passed by hundreds of people working furiously on the road.  They were digging drainage ditches on the side of the road.  Some were widening the road, some were digging the ditches, and some were moving the earth from one side to the other.  There were no machines other than their shovels.  It was an amazing sight.  

The people were paid by the government to work in the project.  The pay was very little.  Still, they worked hard because they live here.  It is evident the people here care about their neighbourhood very much.  Just like other places in Rwanda, there were a lot of earth but no garbage.  


It is also evident that the government is doing a lot, to generate work, to give people incentive to work, to train people to work, and to instil a sense of pride about their country.  It is a country full of hope.  




Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Opposition to “Occupy Central”

It has long been evident in Hong Kong that many people are not happy with the prospect that the election in 2017 will be tightly controlled, that only people approved by Beijing will be allowed to contest the election.  Some are advocating “Occupy Central” to show their displeasure and to press for a more open election.  

It is now evident that there is also a significant number of people who are opposed to “Occupy Central”, who are willing to accept the Beijing-style election, ostensibly because they think “Occupy Central” is bad for Hong Kong.  They deserve respect it is an honest opinion. 

However, it is also quite evident that many of the people who marched to oppose “Occupy Central” were paid, pressured, or otherwise enticed by other benefits.  This is regrettable, even despicable. 

Beijing does not allow truly open elections because it is afraid that someone disagreeable to them could be elected, that it might lose control of Hong Kong. 

If the large number of people who signed the petition and marched to oppose “Occupy Central” are genuine supporters of Beijing, then Beijing should not be afraid.  These people will vote for someone favoured by Beijing anyway, even in a truly open election.  If their number is as large as claimed, than they will win any election, open or manipulated.

So if Beijing continues to be afraid of truly open elections in Hong Kong, that can only mean only thing - that it does not trust those who profess allegiance to Beijing.  It knows that loyalty bought with money, power or other privileges is not true loyalty. 





Sunday, August 17, 2014

Teddy bear? Sloth? Dog?

At first I thought it was a teddy bear; I have never seen someone carry a teddy bear this way.  It actually looked more like a tree sloth; I have never heard of someone keeping a tree sloth as a pet. In Hong Kong?  Probably not.  If it is true, it would be interesting.  

Upon close look, it turned out to be a poodle. Some dogs in Hong Kong do live better than people.