Leadership Vacuum


Supposing a spaceship were to arrive from Mars and land in Statue Square. A party of little green men descend the ramp and ask to meet Hong Kong’s leaders. To whom should we introduce them, I ask myself.

One obvious candidate would be our Chief Executive Leung Chun Ying, but in recent weeks he has delegated most responsibilities to the Chief Secretary, saving for himself only the important task of giving outstandingly awful media interviews.

Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet Ngor is viewed favourably by most people, or at least was until recently, though her standing may have taken a hit after the rather wooden performance in the debate with the students. But one of the reasons we are in this present pickle is that she refused to meet them in the first place during the consultation phase of the political reform process. And not only the students by all accounts: other moderate democratic groups were also pointedly ignored.

What kind of leader sets out on a high profile public consultation exercise, but deliberately leaves out whole swathes of the community? And then presents a report to the Central People’s Government, mendaciously pretending that it is a fair reflection of the community’s views.

If the civilian side of the administration can’t be relied on, how about the disciplined arm. Police Commissioner Andy Tsang Wai Hung has had a lot on his plate, and his men and women have put in a generally commendable performance, so he should be considered. But then we remember that he completely disappeared for the first three weeks of the biggest single policing operation of his career. Mm, perhaps not.

On we go, next stop our Legislative Councillors. They will be evenly divided between those who think Martians should not be allowed in Hong Kong because they are not mentioned in the Basic Law or various interpretations/decisions of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, and those who think they should be immediately enfranchised and given their own representatives in the nominating committee. Better leave them to sort their ideas out first.

How about the three wise men who dreamed up the whole idea of Occupy Central in the first place. Just where are Associate Professor Benny Tai Yiu Ting, Reverend Chu Yiu Ming and Dr Chan Kin Man anyway. Well the short answer is they were gazumped in their own civil disobedience movement by the students. By their own admission, they have now completely lost control of the situation and are not in a position to steer the occupation anywhere. How could we present them to our Martian visitors as persons of influence?

Which leaves us with the Hong Kong Federation of Students. Their leaders – Alex Chow, Lester Shum, Yvonne Leung, Nathan Law and Eason Chung -- are scarily intelligent, articulate to a degree and passionate about Hong Kong’s future. They totally outclassed the government team in the recent televised debate, and clearly they are the best candidates to emerge so far. But alas I think they are weak on strategy. They captured our hearts, won our support and led an occupation of key road junctions that has paralysed large parts of the city and had a major impact on daily life. But they have no end game, no exit strategy. Their “plan”, if it can be called such, seems to consist of sitting in the streets until something turns up. They should have quit two weeks ago while they still had the initiative, with the unspoken threat to return if necessary.

Well Beijing has no intention of changing course, and the SAR government doesn’t seem to have the brain power or creativity to break the impasse. So I am afraid unless the youngsters have a sudden brainwave we are stuck where we are with no way out.

But then I have an idea of my own, a surge of the old grey cells if you will. Why don’t we just ask the little green men if they would like to take over running the whole damn show.

 
Mike Rowse
email: mike@rowse.com.hk