Monday, February 28, 2011

Ineffective Government

Why do we keep getting government officials who are oblivious of what citizens need?  Why do our officials boast of encouraging people to drink expensive red wine, yet are completely ignorant of how much the men on the street are paying for food?  Why is that when they do try to hand out small favours, they end up enriching already-rich fund managers?  Why is it that they can only give inane answers such as “I don’t like fish and corn” to fair and reasonable questions?  Why is it that we seem to be governed by a bunch of aliens, who eat and drink and live in a different world?

The obvious reason is that these officials are accountable not to the citizens they claim to serve, but only to their overlords.  Lower ranking officials are accountable to higher ranking officials in HK, who, in turn, are accountable only to their overlords to the North.  They have no motivation to understand how normal people live, and what they need.  Even when they try to do something to help the men in the street, they don’t know how.  They don’t even know how to answer questions, nor to respond to criticism.  So they either stone-wall, or worse, get upset. 

If the process used to select a government is more open and democratic, then officials will have to learn to listen to and answer to their citizens.  They will be forced to spend the time and effort to learn about matters the citizens are concerned about, such as food, housing, education, clean water, retirement, hospital care, etc.  The result will be a more knowledgeable and effective government.  This is a good argument for a more open and democratic selection process, quite apart from the fundamental principles of human rights and equality. 

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