Monday, December 22, 2008

SCMP letters to the editors...

Ok... This is the first letter 2 weeks ago by Martin Brinkley of Ma Wan...

Neoconservative quick fixes will roll back years of progress

The swift solutions proposed by neoconservatives in our community to counteract the financial crisis could roll back in weeks the progress made on many fronts in recent years.

Out go the minimum wage for local workers and better working conditions for staff in cross-border enterprises. In come the relaxation of anti-smoking legislation, shelving the tax on plastic bags, embarking on mega construction projects regardless of the consequences to public health and quality of life, destroying the historical centre of our city, selling off parts of public beaches and giving public funds to wealthy citizens to buy consumer goods they do not need. These are just some of the ideas that have been put forward.

Unfortunately our government, desperate to create jobs at any cost, will clutch at every straw that floats past and the naked self-interest displayed in these proposals will be conveniently overlooked.

Instead of harnessing public sentiment that is belatedly recognising the virtues of thrift, long-term vision and a productive and sustainable economy, our gullible government will be dazzled by proposals put forward by the neocons to embark on an orgy of quick fixes that will create only short-term opportunities and lead us down the same boom-and-bust route that created the problems we are facing in the first place.

There have been many illuminating and informative articles published recently on the causes of the financial crisis, a marriage of unsustainable greed and easy credit and its consequences in the form of global warming, environmental degradation and ever-increasing income disparity and social divisions.

Hopefully some officers in the administration are reading these rather than listening to the bleating of the neocons.

The world is on the edge of a precipice. The financial crisis is a wake-up call that unabated consumerism will cast us into the abyss. Our community must ignore the demands of the neocons and with a 21st century vision follow a sustainable economic model that turns challenges into opportunities and curses into blessings.

Martin Brinkley, Ma Wan

And after reading it, I sent a letter to SCMP as a reply...

Neocon label harms debate

I read with great disappointment the letter from Martin Brinkley (Neoconservative quick fixes will roll back years of progress, December 12).

While sharing his opposition to many of the supposed anti-financial-tsunami government policies mentioned in his letter, such as Japan-style construction projects, I am dismayed by his casual labelling of all things he opposed as neoconservative.

Admittedly, attaching the George W. Bush label to any policies worldwide is a crude but effective way to spin and garner opposition, but it unfortunately harms the honest debate needed to truly win the hearts and minds of the people. And without honest debate, a healthy and functioning democracy will remain beyond our grasp.

A good example of honest debate winning hearts and minds occurred recently concerning another of Mr Brinkley's plethora of issues.

While he believes it should be made law today, we at the Lion Rock Institute remain steadfast against the minimum wage. We are unwavering in our efforts to protect workers such as new migrants and the young seeking to get on that crucial first step of their career ladders.

In fact, invited by the Civic Party, we recently sent our 26-year-old research associate Nicole Alpert to debate senior counsel Ronny Tong Ka-wah and veteran union leader Lee Cheuk-yan on this issue. After spirited debate, the audience consisting of Civic Party members held a vote.

They voted to oppose the minimum wage.

Perhaps Mr Brinkley has been on this non-fully-democratic barren rock of Hong Kong for too long and has forgotten that institution that holds up democracy - the free market of ideas.

Andrew Shuen, research director, Lion Rock Institute

My letter touched a nerve over at the Civic Party, which then sent another reply to the SCMP.

Civic debate

I refer to the letter from the Lion Rock Institute's research director, Andrew Shuen (Neocon label harms debate, December 17), which mentioned the Civic Party's recent civic debate on the minimum wage. I feel some clarification is needed.

The Civic Party's English Language Group organises civic debates, normally on a monthly basis, on various topics of interest, covering political, economic and social issues.

These debates, which are sometimes discussions rather than formal debates, are open to the public, are publicised in the media and are free.

Invariably, the majority of those attending are not Civic Party members.

This was the case at the civic debate discussion on the minimum wage that Mr Shuen referred to in his letter.

I agree with him that the discussion was spirited, but surely that is what a debate or discussion is all about?

John Shannon, deputy convenor, English Language Group, Civic Party

Contrary to rumours I heard, I applaud this frank admission by the Civic Party that that particular debate was held.

And people were telling me they are acting as if that debate and vote was never held... tsk tsk... vicious rumours...


  1. Haha, well said, these civic party people are bad losers and even worse economists, and those who attended must at least be civic party sympathisers. Did Mr. shannon admit a vote was held and ronny tong et al were defeated. Hardly! We need people to carry the masses and not vice versa. They are hardly the ones to do so.

  2. Oz.

    Feel free to pick up an app form from the Lion Rock Institute.

    I am going to do a Uncle Sam here... We need you!! hahahahahaha

    And yes, they didn't even admit they lost the vote!

  3. Pakman,

    提早同你講句Merry X’mas

  4. I thought I never get invited. I shall do so indeed when i come back from hong kong. Merry Christmas to you and many many happy drunken hours during festive season.

  5. Yo OZ,

    Merry Christmas and may the wine, song and women never cease over this festive season...

  6. Merry Christmas to you from beijing. I like that wine and women analogy. Makes me sit up and savour. And I wish you all the best in all your endeavours.

  7. George W. Bush is a raging racist.

    George W. Bush committed hate crimes of epic proportions and with the stench of terrorism (indicated in my blog).

    George W. Bush did in fact commit innumerable hate crimes.

    And I do solemnly swear by Almighty God that George W. Bush committed other hate crimes of epic proportions and with the stench of terrorism which I am not at liberty to mention.

    Many people know what Bush did.

    And many people will know what Bush did—even to the end of the world.

    Bush was absolute evil.

    Bush is now like a fugitive from justice.

    Bush is a psychological prisoner.

    Bush has a lot to worry about.

    Bush can technically be prosecuted for hate crimes at any time.

    In any case, Bush will go down in history in infamy.

    Respectfully Submitted by Andrew Yu-Jen Wang
    B.S., Summa Cum Laude, 1996
    Messiah College, Grantham, PA
    Lower Merion High School, Ardmore, PA, 1993

    (I can type 90 words per minute. In only 7 days, posts basically like this post of mine have come into existence—all over the Internet (hundreds of copies). One can go to Google USA right now, type “George W. Bush committed hate crimes of epic proportions and with the stench of terrorism,” hit “Enter,” and find more than 350 copies indicating the content of this post. All in all, there are probably more than 1,000 copies on the Internet indicating the content of this post—it has practically become headline news. One cannot be too dedicated when it comes to anti-Bush activities. As I looked back at my good computer work, I thought how fun and easy it was to do it.)

    I am not sure where I had read it before, but anyway, it goes kind of like this: “If only it were possible to ban invention that bottled up memories so they never got stale and faded.” Oh wait—off the top of my head—I think it came from my Lower Merion High School yearbook.