As the Occupy campaign entered its 17th day on Tuesday, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying still finds himself between a rock and a hard place.
Calls for him to step down intensified after Australian media revealed that he took a secret US$7 million payment from an Australian engineering company, raising questions about his integrity at a time of heightening political tension and public discontent in Hong Kong.
What to do in the face of this wrenching dilemma? Stand-up comedian Dayo Wong offers some unsolicited suggestions on how CY Leung can ease the situation.
One of the problems presented by the pro-democracy movement is that the protesters are gathered not just in one place, but are occupying various areas including Admiralty, Causeway Bay and Mong Kok.
Speaking in a talk show, Wong suggests that CY Leung shows up at the rally sites.
“First, he should buy a good pair of running shoes. When he arrives in Mong Kok, he needs to do some warm-up before saying hi to the protesters at the other end of the street.
“Once the public catches sight of him, he should start running. He can run along the Nathan Road, race through the Cross Harbor Tunnel, and Admiralty will be his last stop.
“When he looks behind him, he will find that all the protesters in Mong Kok have followed him to Admiralty. Problem solved.”
Wong also tackles the controversial use by police of tear gas and pepper spray on the unarmed and peaceful protesters. Critics call it an inappropriate and excessive use of force.
But the chief executive commended the police force for handling the situation in a “professional” way.
As far as Wong is concerned, however, it’s a public relations disaster.
Here’s his take: “Let’s look back and ask, how many times did the Hong Kong police fire tear gas in the past? I bet they only used it about once every 10 years. So how can you call something you do once every decade professional? For example, you cannot call yourself a chef if you only cook once in a couple of years. It is understandable if you accidentally added too much salt to a dish if you were an amateur in cooking.”
Going by this argument, Wong believes that the Hong Kong leader could have spared himself much of the blame if instead of saying the police acted “professionally”, he had said the police were firing tear gas “amateurishly”.
If we look at how riot police in other countries use tear gas to disperse the crowds, they often fire the cannisters from a distance. This is exactly what the Israeli soldiers do when handling a group of rock-throwing Palestinian protesters. (They also use other weapons, of course.) They would keep a distance of about 20 to 30 meters before they unleash the tear gas on the crowds.
The aim is to disperse the protesters and make them go away.
But in the case of the Hong Kong police, they fired the tear gas at such a close range that people had nowhere to go. The protesters could have trampled over each other, and serious accidents could have occurred.
In that sense, Hong Kong police were indeed not very professional in the use of tear gas.
Wong’s ideas may not be practical, but they do provide laughter for Hongkongers in these difficult times.
[Go to Facebook]
– Contact us at [email protected]