Aficionados of the art of unrestrained, indeed compulsively incontinent, shoe-shining reach with glee for their favourite sick-bags this morning as the Standard indulges in an unseemly double-grovel of tycoon Li Ka-shing and his number-one son Victor.
The paper leads with the story of how the plutocrat is personally getting involved in the dock-workers’ strike at Kwai Tsing container port, and so “with Li’s help, the strike will end very soon.” Reuters seems to think otherwise, but what would they know? And while we’re waiting for Superman to solve his (or his contractors’) industrial relations problems faster than a speeding bullet, we are invited to relish the glowing coverage of boy Victor in the HK General Chamber of Commerce’s hitherto unheard-of bulletin, The Bulletin. Hong Kong’s disharmony is a media-made fiction, the green-friendly visionary scion intones (no strikes here!), and the city has a special place in his heart. (The Bulletin is here; tragically, it won’t open properly without an obscure add-on from Adobe – the PDF obsequiousness plug-in – which I can’t be bothered to download.)
Former Central Policy Unit boss Lau Siu-kai doesn’t share Victor’s optimism. He sees radicals hijacking the Occupy Central protests next year, with the result being bloodshed. He is not alone. Ever willing to encourage the elderly to play a productive role in the community, the South China Morning Post kindly publishes a letter from former Chief Secretary Sir David Akers-Jones of West Kowloon (the 33rd floor at Sorrento, to be precise). One flap of a civil-disobedience butterfly’s wing, he warns, might cause a tornado of rioting because, after all, it’s still 1966 isn’t it.
One or two likely participants won’t be happy until and unless the police pepper-spray them on camera. But this sort of demonstration, should it transpire, depends entirely on non-violence to have any chance of making an impact. Assuming the vast majority of protestors understand the Thoreau/Gandhi/King principles, things will only get nasty if the Hong Kong Police make it so. And being, as we all know, a bunch of counseling-dependent pussycats, they probably won’t unless someone higher up in government is dumb enough to insist they play rough in order to dissuade onlookers from joining the sit-down. Can we assume that our decision-makers realize that this would be counterproductive and boost public sympathy for the demonstrators?
The SCMP quotes the property tycoon who runs the Tourism Board as worrying about what would happen “if these young people run onto the road and are hit by cars.” Which makes him sound a bit, you know… sort of dim. But then he says Occupy Central could deter tourists. And suddenly, all bets are off. Rioting. Rubber bullets. Broken windows. No tourists. Yes, please.