Friday, 25 May 2012

Absurdity Beyond Limit

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.


  1. Samson4:30 am

    Your two recent articles reflect the common frustration on the HK political structure. Yet the political reality is that HK people have no power to resist the direction of political gravity.

    1997 is a long year. It has its beginning but no end yet It was the year of Hong Kong conveyance (neutral use) or Handover (British use) or Return (Chinese use). I would call it the commencement of RETUNING. We had heard the “promise” from the high official in Beijing that “Horses will still run and dancers will still dance.” Unfortunately he forgot to tell that the old horses will die and be replaced by new horses; and the dancing music will have new tunes. 1997 ends when Hong Kong is retuned to look like China, to sound like China and is China. By that time all the old guards of the cursed former colony, the demons for demoncrazy and the Falun Gong warriors all receive calls from Karl Marx. Then Hong Kong is finally RETURNED and RETUNED to its motherland.

    Ontario, Canada

  2. Yes, you are really spot on. The transition since 1997 has shown no sign of completion, and as I said five years ago when I jotted down my thoughts on the 10th anniversary of the handover -- pardon me for being politically incorrect but I'm never really into the word "return" -- Hong Kong has already lost its orientation without really knowing. Too many changes and promises we have already seen, and yet few of us can keep up our spirits as we did for no reason during the 1980s. Even if we were a city-state as Singapore is, I don't think the case would be any better, because we are too used to serving masters at the helm.

  3. Samson9:45 am

    The development in HK since 1997 is no surprise to me for I never have any illusion about the “promises” from Beijing. Having lived in China in my tender years I could imagine what was going to happen. I cautioned friends and relatives in HK “Fasten your seatbelts for the bumping road ahead.” when they chose to stay in there.

    What disappoints me is their passive withdraw and to dumb and numb themselves for the society they live in. I know their attitude is very much wide spread throughout HK. Mind you that they are well educated and are not the illiterates in the markets. It is one thing they chose to live in HK bodily and quite another when they give up their intellectual capability to think and discuss issues affecting them. Is retiring to their sanctuary the best way for their salvation? Or am I expecting too much of Honk Kong people who are traditionally apathetic towards social and political matters?

    Ontario, Canada

  4. Any sensible person should at least have some reservations about what politicians say, especially for those whose track records are tainted for whatever reason. Yet I believe whether to go or to stay is a matter of personal choice, albeit and hard one, but not everyone enjoys the privilege of making such a difficult decision. My family chose to stay not because we have any illusion about the future, but simply we can't afford to, among other considerations that I may not be aware of.
    Yes, I think you are expecting too much from Hong Kong people, so am I. I still believe our forefathers have passed on us many traditional values that have been lost on the mainland, but we are voluntarily and unwittingly forgoing these for economic gains.


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