Carrie Lam must be wishing that like Shakespeare’s Fairy Princess Tatiana, she could summon Puck to cast a spell over everyone to forget what has happened over the past months.
The behavior of Hong Kong’s chief executive suggests that either she has had a bilateral prefrontal lobotomy or the Central government has prescribed a drug for her that has enabled her to detach herself from all reality.
Leaks from the central government’s representative confirm that the Extradition Bill that she has suspended indefinitely, was all her own idea. Her reputation has always been of blinkered ambition.
Such was the comprehensive flood of opposition to a law that would have exposed anyone in Hong Kong to the risk of transportation to the darkness of mainland China’s communist party criminal justice system that she was compelled to halt its progress through the legislative process.
But like the little girl who would rather rip the head off her favorite doll than have it taken away from her, Lam refuses to withdraw the bill completely.
What began as arguably the world’s most impressively peaceful protest by up to two million people from every walk of Hong Kong life, was subjected to ill-disciplined, disproportionate and indiscriminate violence by the police.
Wiser heads in the community called upon Lam to set up an Independent Commission of Inquiry headed by a reputable judicial figure to look into the cause of the civil protest and investigate the acts of violence perpetrated by both police and civilians.
Carried away by her own importance, Lam blithely ignored the police violence captured on camera, maintained her obstinate refusal to withdraw the Extradition Bill and turned a deaf ear to the calls for an Independent Commission of Inquiry.
Peaceful means having failed, is it any wonder that the wilder elements amongst the protesters concluded that a more powerful message needed to be sent? A group of them stormed the Legislative Council building, breaking the doors and defacing the Assembly hall.
Curiously, no attempt was made by police to prevent this, prompting speculation that the government wanted an escalation so that they could justify the crackdown.
Since then, the protest has gathered momentum, still predominantly peaceful but with increasingly sporadic outbreaks of violent behaviour by small groups amongst the protesters which has been met by exponential amounts of tear gas, bean bullets, rubber bullets and indiscriminate attacks on individual protesters and the press by gangs of police, some of whom wear no identification.
Let me be unambiguously clear: Violence against person or property is totally inexcusable, whether by members of the public or police officers.
In the current volatile political temperature, there is too ready a willingness to resort to violence on both sides.
Ordinarily, the police are in an invidious position: under a duty to maintain order and to prevent matters getting out of hand, there is a very profound and regrettable public perception that they have abandoned their impartiality and have embarked on a campaign against the protest per se.
This perception of partiality found striking substance in the failure of police to come to the rescue of innocent travellers on the MTR at Yuen Long who were attacked by uniformly white-shirted thugs – some of whom were later identified as being in apparently friendly conversation with police officers, while still carrying the very sticks with which they had beaten the passengers – sending over 40 to hospital.
The white-shirted thugs are believed to be Triad members who are being paid to attack the protesters. It is highly improbable that the Hong Kong government are the paymasters.
The tragedy of what is going on is that what began as a peaceful protest against thoroughly ill-conceived proposed legislation has been shanghaied by extremists amongst the protesters and leveraged to violent reaction by the police.
Meanwhile, Carrie Lam floats around, rarely seen save in the company of the central government buttock-embracers. Having initially professed that she would listen to the public with all humility, she quickly reverted into her vinegary little self-imposed role of victim.
Hong Kong’s intellectual dwarfs gather in their pro-Chinese Communist Party covens spewing meaningless diatribes which have as much effect as fleas on an elephant.
The tired old allegation that foreign forces are behind the protest gets dragged out of its musty closet like the distinterred corpse that it is. But any objective evaluation quickly demonstrates that this is a home-grown movement by Hong Kong people of all ages and persuasions who love this city and are proud to belong to its unique system within China.
It does not challenge China’s sovereignty, it celebrates Hong Kong’s singularity.
Beijing’s local mouthpiece warns of the central government’s capacity to deploy the People’s Liberation Army to crush the protesters beneath their tank tracks, as if anyone needed such a warning in the light of the PLA’s record in Tiananmen Square.
Reaction to the protests which now embrace virtually every facet of Hong Kong’s society grow more shrill and ugly, day by day.
It defies belief that Lam cannot recognise that her duty to the people of Hong Kong and by the same token, to the central government, is to kill off the Extradition Bill and establish an Independent Commission of Inquiry in the patent impartiality of which the public will have confidence.
Her oft repeated mantra, repeated by a greek chorus of sycophants, is that the central government has full confidence in her. How could anyone with an iota of intelligence not realise that the people of Hong Kong do not?
Lam’s inadequacy for the job and her failure to identify with the people of Hong Kong has only sharpened the public sense of injustice at not being free to elect their own leader and legislative representatives.
Universal suffrage is written into Hong Kong’s Basic Law. The failure of a succession of puppet chief executives to implement what was provided for, has only served to exacerbate the public disquiet.
But killing the Bill and instituting the inquiry would virtually guarantee to restore Hong Kong to relative normality.
These simple steps do not need Puck’s magic spell, simply the exercise of sound judgment.