【明報專訊】ABOUT A YEAR ago when I launched this column and picked the title "Common Nonsense", I meant to be more satirical than factual. However, the waves of unstoppable rallies and massive demonstrations unfolded in the last 13 weeks have relentlessly exposed the establishment's common nonsense in its very literal sense. Bad governance, bad motives, bad strategy, bad management, bad rhetoric, bad press cons and, alas, even bad spin (try to watch with patience the Chief Executive's zombie televised speech this Wednesday!)! Collectively nonsense it is and it is as common as muck!
Now the government is toying with the idea of invoking the "Emergency Regulations Ordinance", probably imagining that it could cling to life further and better by empowering itself with more draconian power which is exactly what we the people have despised the most and protested against throughout this decentralised popular movement. This summer has been all about how to limit the arbitrary power of the government. Starting from opposing the extradition bill, we the people were and still are opposing the arbitrary power of the Chief Executive to determine who should be extradited to the mainland under the proposed legislation. The much‑recycled discourse of judicial scrutiny is always a misleading hazard as the bill only allows the court to determine whether, on the presented evidence, there is a prima facie case against the accused. It has no jurisdiction nor competency at all to investigate whether the accused, once extradited, would receive an open and fair trial.
By invoking the Emergency Regulations Ordinance, the government would push the boundary of its common nonsense to a new level as if it would reach the dark side of the moon. The scary feature of the ordinance is that it is an empowering piece of legislation, empowering the most untrusted and distrusted office and its incumbent on this planet, Carrie Lam, our Chief Executive! It empowers her and her close advisers to make any regulations for the public interests of Hongkongers in the name of "Emergency":
On any occasion which the Chief Executive in Council may consider to be an occasion of emergency or public danger he may make any regulations whatsoever which he may consider desirable in the public interest.
Pardon me! "In the public interest" is fine but not according to Carrie Lam's interpretation, not to mention her interpretation leading to the dark side of the moon. And that "dark side of the moon" is called "emergency condition" here and now.
First and foremost, what is emergency and why? I trust the best remark has been well delivered by Winston Churchill when he was confronted with the inertia of the British Parliament before Hitler's invasion,
"Want of foresight, unwillingness to act when action would be simple and effective, lack of clear thinking, confusion of counsel until the emergency comes..."
I love Churchill and the cigar branded with his name! He said things that I (and most of us I am afraid) could never say better at all. "Emergency" (not counting earthquakes, hurricanes and climate change) is always not the cause but the consequence, the consequence of stupid and bad governance. But here the government led by Carrie Lam wants to have more power to quell the self‑inflicted tumults. Jesus, is this government a nut? Yes, indeed! We Chinese love to keep this idiom close to our hearts: Quench a thirst with poison (飲鴆止渴)! Carrie just loves drinking it for Christ's sake!
But so be it if you love to kill yourself provided that you won't bring down the innocent world with you. But Carrie Lam seems to be otherwise, trying to bring down the whole world to float herself on the angry and choppy currents.
"Some men (of course, women included) just want to watch the world burn," said Alfred, Batman's butler. And I always think his observation is beyond comics!
Lawrence is a life debater who has to debate with his life. Being a barrister makes him a living while reading and writing gives him a life. This is his cat 陳寅恪.