Every now and then the political arena of Hong Kong attains new records of absurdity and stupidity and puts the tolerance of any sensible person to the most daunting test. Too often I found myself so overwhelmed by frustration and irritation that I can hardly utter a word.
Yet the latest challenge came today when Ming Pao Daily News reported that Cantonese opera master Yuen Siu-fai was barred from being registered as an individual elector of the functional constituency of Sports, Performing Arts, Culture and Publication. Notwithstanding his personal achievements in this traditional art form of Guangdong and Hong Kong, Mr Yuen's reputation and on-stage presence of more than 50 years should have made him one of the most qualified members of the electorate.
Unfortunately, this is not the case. Once again, common sense has to give in to absurdity and nonsense in Hong Kong politics.
I can't help verifying the eligibility of electors to this particular functional constituency by checking out the web site of the Electoral Affairs Commission. To spare the reader of this blog the trouble of ploughing through the 19-page document, let me summarise the qualifications of an eligible elector as follows:
Any person is eligible to be registered as an individual elector for the functional constituency of Sports, Performing Arts, Culture and Publication if he/she is registered as a elector in any geographical constituency, AND, at the same time, a voting member of any registered body or association listed in the document.
The first requirement that any person who wants to be registered as an eligible in any functional constituency has to be registered as a geographical constituency elector is fair enough. However, the Chinese Artist Association of Hong Kong, the sole organisation that represents performers, musicians and workers in Cantonese opera, is not included on the list. This alone explains why Mr Yuen, as deputy chairman of the Chinese Artist Association of Hong Kong, is unqualified, assuming that he is already registered to the geographical constituency – although it seems unlikely. If he were told, as Ming Pao Daily News reported, that he is not eligible simply because he has not received any grant or subsidiary from the Hong Kong Arts Development Council or relevant government departments over the past few years, it is sheer nonsense.
I must confess that I haven't paid any attention to the functional constituency until most recently, when I received a letter informing me that I am eligible to be registered as an elector in the education sector and asking me whether or not to opt for registration to the District Council (Second) functional constituency. The fact that I am now an employee of a local educational institution but not engaged in any teaching or research work still qualifies me is by all means incomprehensible, if ridiculous. Now having read the news about Mr Yuen, I think I have made the right choice of opting out of the Education functional constituency. The absurdity of local politics merely goes beyond any human imagination.