Wither People Power


Dalmatian or Poodle?

The Hong Kong Umbrella Revolution spearheaded by students continued for five days in defiance of warnings, with no hint of any resolution with the incumbent Chief Executive CY Leung. A resolution means CY Leung stepping down in defeat. It will also reflect weakness in the authority of Hong Kong government, which in effect, is tantamount to a blow to the National People’s Congress (NPC) power. That is highly unlikely to happen anytime soon. On the contrary, the Communist Party’s People’s Daily fired the first threatening salvo and warned that “if matters are not dealt (with) according to the law, Hong Kong society will fall into chaos“.

The NPC is the largest parliamentary body in the world with almost 3000 members in 2013. But the real power is held by the ruling Communist Party of China which effectively controls the composition of people’s congresses at various levels at NPC. It is evident that the person anointed to govern Hong Kong is also subject to this shadow power of the Communist Party.

Almost two decades have passed since Hong Kong ceased to be a British colony and became part of China. China may not have exercised absolute control over the territory in the early years as she was then morphing from Communist ideology into a capitalist regime. Hong Kongers are naive to believe that the notion of universal suffrage would be similar to what western societies expect it to be. If China nominates a slate of candidates for Hong Kongers to “elect”, there is still a form of universal suffrage in the eyes of the NPC. There is only a slight tweak to universal suffrage. Hong Kongers are still eligible to choose between a Dalmatian or a poodle, but not between a dog and a cat. That is better than no choice at all.

In the “democratic” west, as frequently championed by the US, the choice of candidates to represent the people is largely confined to Democrats and Republicans. In similar fashion, there is a form of choice regarded as universal suffrage. But truly, do Americans have a real choice? It is still between a Dalmatian and a poodle, not very different from what Hong Kong is experiencing. The US Presidential election is again a contest between two parties and not true representative of people’s choice. How many Americans truly believe that they do have a choice besides the nominations of the Democrats and Republicans? Universal suffrage in the US is a farce, but very craftily camouflaged as democracy. It is a contest of money power, not people’s choice!

The young citizenry of Hong Kong wants freedom of choice. The reality of politics is that choice is never free. Choice can be bought with money. Choice is the exercise of will. But choice can be easily managed and is often done by the political machinery of those seeking power. When a person picks up an item from the shelf of the supermarket, there was already a conscious choice of what to buy. But there is a more subtle yet potent mind conditioning that steers him to pick up what he thinks was his choice. He may feel a little happier that he was given that choice. In effect, his choice is only a belief – an illusion. There never was a choice. The only choice a person truly has is his choice for his own eternal destiny. Greed, power and money are suffocating forces tugging at his heart. Yet, none of these can take away his choice to be free. He has no real power to choose what is beyond him.

The participants of the Umbrella Revolution are crying out to be free. It is  not about the choice of the Chief Executive. They want to be free from the tyranny of evil and injustice. Unfortunately, ridding evil and injustice is beyond anyone’s control. The protests may be noble. But it is more noble to change from within man himself. Man cannot change the world, but man can change himself. A changed man will change the world even without him noticing. Protests are exogenous manifestations that have lesser impact than a changed man.

Related posts:
When Leaders Lie
Umbrella Revolution
Protest Diplomacy

Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.