That unauthorised building works have been found at the luxury residence of Chief Executive-elect Mr Leung Chun-ying has dominated the local news since last weekend. Almost everyone in the political spectrum spares little time to jump on the bandwagon to criticise Mr Leung of his negligence, if deliberate fraud, in the run-up to the Legislative Council elections in September. Online communities are, as usual, flooded by criticisms, parodies and sarcasms.
How amusing. This is because most of us still remember how Mr Leung attacked his opponent Mr Henry Tang in the Chief Executive elections on the lavish unauthorised building works in his Kowloon Tong home.
So much for the laugh. This piece of news is yet again very irritating. For one thing, Mr Leung's so-called explanation is hardly comprehensible. Even if the Hong Kong Institute of Surveyors has issued a statement to implicitly support his claim that there are so many different types of surveyors that he is not necessarily aware of the unauthorised building works, questions around the date of property purchase and whether those structures were bequeathed from the first owner, as he claimed, are left unanswered. This is precisely where the parodies set in.
Although Mr Leung has acted way faster than Mr Tang in addressing public concerns and suspicions, his failure to provide a credible statement supported by adequate, timely information is likely to cost him dearly in political terms. Days have passed and time is running short. While his rationality may propel him to insist that it is unnecessary to provide any further information, he must not forget that he is now facing a highly emotional and sceptical population that has little confidence, if any, in him. It has always been said that he is going to fight an uphill battle to build public confidence, which is essential in achieving effective governance, but few of us knew he has so little time to even get prepared.
From what I read from local media reports throughout the years, Mr Leung seems to be a man of iron will and is very unlikely to yield to public pressure and resign. However, Beijing may think otherwise. Unlike his predecessors Mr Tung Chee-hwa and Sir Donald Tsang, Mr Leung was not really the sole favoured, if designated, candidate. If Mr Tung's resignation and Mr Tsang's poor governance were embarrassments of Beijing, Mr Leung may not necessarily so. Apparently he does not have the unanimous support from the top leaders and thus he had to make such enormous efforts to get elected. His political career does not necessarily hold so much stake for Beijing. For this reason, I would not be surprised by any action beyond imagination across the border, despite the fierce political struggle behind the walls in Zhongnanhai.
For another, the people once again stop short of making fun or pointing an accusing finger to the man, missing the real issues at stake. Why are there so many unauthorised building works around Hong Kong and only a handful of ordinary homes in the city are being inspected and the law enforced upon? Why politicians, tycoons and local gentries who have obviously contravened the law are spared from government scrutiny? Instead of making fun of Hello Kitty, can we be a bit more serious in coming up with suggestions of enhancing impartial, comprehensive law enforcement on this issue?
Farces and blunders have been staging almost non-stop in the local political landscape. Lies, distortions, smearing are everywhere. I am so annoyed, frustrated, weary of all these. And yet I can kind of imagine the situation would not be much better even if we have an accountable democracy. The hearts and minds of too many of us seem to be contaminated and I don't know whether those poor souls can be cured. It seems our world is falling apart, being turned upside down and there is little we can do about it.