老實說，第一次拜讀你寫於一九八五年的《無權者之權力》（The Power of thePowerless）時，確是被你的真誠和直接打動。那是一種久違了的感覺，令我想到政治不能脫離日常生活根本是大道理。你一九九七年的近作《不可能的藝術：政治是道德實踐》（The Art of the Impossible: Politics asMorality in Practice）進一步啟發了我對政治應有的看法。你說得對，無論其他人從什麼角度看政治，對我來說也應是一種真實反映社會價值的藝術。也許真誠和直接不會令從政者變成如你一般的國際知名政治家，但最重要的，是頂天立地，問心無愧。
There is a new breed of democracy fighters today. They are young, vociferous, action-based, and most significantly, have scant regard for the established order. And their targets include the Pan Democrats. They are seeking to redefine meanings of friend or foe in our otherwise stale political spectrum. Some find this new development exciting. Others are worried what all this will lead to. Just last Sunday, this new breed of fighters, in the name of People Power, turned up in force to prevent the Pan Democrats from staging a public function in Times Square. The Pan Democrats' function was intended to be part of a movement to galvanize Hong Kong people to oppose the Government's plan to scrap by-elections in order to prevent "abuse" of the election system by resignations. This is a cause which the new breed shared. And yet, despite the commonality of goal, they shouted abuse and insults at the Pan Democrats present, in particular, members of the Democratic Party. Their abuses and insults were so fierce, one may be mistaken to think the recipients were supporters of the Government's proposal. Perhaps that was the picture members of People Power wanted to paint. But why? And to what end? All this started from the 5 District Resignations. Apart from the League of Social Democrats and the Civic Party, the Pan Democrats did not take part in that movement. But most Pan Democrats, especially leading members of the Democratic Party, did help out individually. Still, this created so much animosity amongst members of the LSD that the rift within the Democratic Movement became wider than ever and apparently irreparable. Then came the political reform. The Democratic Party and individuals who negotiated and struck a deal with the Central Government and supported the improved reform package were branded "traitors". Since then, the more radical supporters of LSD formed the People Power and the battle line within the democratic camp is now clearly drawn. The enemy is no longer the pro-government parties or individuals but members of pro-democracy movement itself. What sparked off this sea change is seemingly mere internal disagreements on the strategy to adopt in the fight for true democracy. Take the events of last Sunday as an example. What prompted the People Power to disrupt the Pan Democrats' function is simply that the latter did not join with the People Power in calling on people of Hong Kong to stage a siege of the Legislative Council on the last Council Day. It is important to note that the Pan Democrats did not oppose the proposal to besiege the Council. Some had even agreed to take part. But still, the passive behavior of the Pan Democrats invoked the wrath of People Power. Failure to support their proposed line of conduct is enough to cast all those who dare to disagree as "traitors", as politicians without morals or principles. And deserve to be ridiculed and annihilated. What is more worrying is the threat to unseat all leading Democratic Party members in coming elections. You may ask, how does this help the democratic movement? Nobody knows. Certainly nobody has explained what would happen or how will the people of Hong Kong fight for democracy, if the Pan Democrats are destroyed, or the Democratic Party is discredited and reduced to nothing. Perhaps the aim is to weaken the Pan Democrats' presence, and consequently, what little political power they now have, in the Legislative Council. Perhaps the aim is to weaken the Pan Democrats to the extent that they have to beat retreat from the Council and join the People Power in fighting for democracy in the streets. Perhaps the aim is to seek to replace the Pan Democrats with the People Power as the only true Democrats in Hong Kong. Perhaps the aim is to show how pointless it is to seek Democracy through peaceful means. Perhaps the aim is all of the above. Nobody knows. But if this is the plan, no one knows if such a plan will succeed. Only time and the coming election results will tell.
上星期在僭建風波中，我錯誤引用上訴庭的案例，一直令我耿耿於懷。對一些一直支持我的人來說，確是欠他們一個清楚解釋。我錯誤引用的案例始於1997 年。該案件關乎信和控告恒隆在一宗酒店買賣中貨不對辦，要求退出買賣。其中一個退出理由是恒隆的物業天台建有無數違法建築物。這些僭建設施早為屋宇署所知，但屋宇署不但不執法，更將入伙紙給予恒隆令其可如期把酒店出售。信和不明屋宇署拒絕執法的原因，故以物業有僭建物為由，拒絕完成買賣。屋宇署的內部文件顯示他們對天台僭建物是否屬於屋內存有疑問，代表恒隆的律師團亦成功以此為理據，在初審和上訴庭勝訴。05 年上訴庭在判辭中指出《建築物條例》第四十一（3）的豁免是指屋內（in the building）而非建築物內（inside the building），因此天台之設施並非僭建物，信和亦因此敗訴。我家的天台玻璃房亦於上訴庭判決後施工。
The Hong Kong government has long liked to tout itself as providing a "laissez-faire" economy, a "level playing field", and a free market.But how free is a market when there are no laws to guarantee fair competition? The idea of a competition law has been under review for around 15 years, and it's STILL only in the debating stage. With us in the studio to discuss why it's taken so long are the Civic Party's Ronny Tong and Victor Hung of the Consumer Council.
Are we rich enough? That sounds like a silly question at first brush, but that in fact is a very pertinent question nowadays when one considers the quality of governance of our Government. Are we rich enough? Can we afford to be a more caring society? Or more precisely, a more caring government?
Let's look at the facts: if we add up all our surpluses over the last 14 years since the handover together with our deficits and divide by 14, we get the figure that our Government has consistently under-estimated our fiscal income, on average, by a staggering 30 billion per year! Yes, you heard it right, 30 billion. On average. Each year. This is not to take into account that we have fiscal reserves enough to meet over 20 months of expenditure without a single cent of income. No government will be able to survive 20 months without income. It is not a question of money but a question of politics. So, in a way, it is pointless to keep reserves to cover more than 12 months of expenditure. On top of that, we have a vast foreign exchange fund reserve enough to make any small nation proud.
So what does this translate to? It means either of 2 things: either we are taxing too much; or we are not spending enough. Article 107 of our Basic Law stipulates that we should "strive to achieve a fiscal balance, avoid deficits and keep the budget commensurate with the growth rate of its gross domestic product." If we consistently maintain a substantial yearly surplus over a long period of time, we are not achieving fiscal balance. If we are taxing too much, we should be reducing tax. Not dishing out cash payments to everyone including those who do not pay tax. A government is not a bank. It raises tax to maintain a fair and harmonious society, not to pay out public funds to appease a disapproving population.
If the answer is we are not spending enough, the next question is: are there areas we could spend more on? The answer is: yes, there are! There is the pressing issue of the wealth gap, the lack of social mobility, the burden of being one of the most expensive cities to live in driven by high land prices. There is the problem of our health care system slowly falling apart caused by a lack of sufficient resources and an aging population. There is the question of our ever falling education standards over all. The Government responded by saying it is increasing resources across the board by large percentages every year. But all this is relative. If you start off with a relatively low threshold, you will never catch up with the ever increasing wealth gap and a fast aging population.
There is another glaring problem: the Government's mentality towards the poor and those who take a different view on government policies. It doesn't trust them. Whenever it seeks to enforce a policy aimed at alleviating the harsh living conditions of the poor, it is almost paranoid about avoiding overpayment. For example, before an elder is able to seek CSSA payment on an individual basis, he or she must prove to the satisfaction of the social welfare department that his or her children had signed a declaration to the effect that the latter would no longer support him or her. Not to support their parents is a taboo no Chinese would lightly admit breaking. The result is there are many old people left to their own devices, without any help from the Government. Take another example; for the lowly paid to apply a travelling allowance of a mere HK$600, you have to satisfy conditions which are even harsher than claiming CSSA payments. Why?
It is not as if the government is ignorant of these problems. It is not as if those who take a different view is quiet and have not voice their disagreement. At the heart of the problem is a lack of vision and caring by our administration. And an inability to maintain an inclusive mentality. Our Government will rather decide to pay out over 30 billion cash to silence the people of Hong Kong than to pay out 3 billion more every year to increase the resources of our health care system. Immediate political advantage is far more important to this administration than taking a long term view of our community. This Government would rather pander to the public than to care for its future.
Are we rich enough? The answer is: yes, we are. And we are mature enough to deserve a better and more democratic government! Let’s just hope the next chief Executive is a good listener!
也許我是錯怪了他。一位主張透過理性對話解決政制紛爭的從政者，有甚麼資格批評一位藝人在表演上妥協？但這妥協確實改變了他在我心中那近乎超然的社會詩人形象。我從來不覺得他是一位歌手，因為他的唱功實在太不敢恭維。但在我們那年代，有誰不為他歌詞中的大時代氣息所動？他在《時代正在轉變中》（The Times They AreA-Changing）對政客的指控、在《答案正在風中飄搖》（Blowing In The Wind）對人性的質疑、在《花兒都到哪裡去了？ 》（Where Have All The Flowers Gone？）對戰亂的慨嘆，影響了多少人的價值觀？但今天醒來，那些激情、那些質疑、那些勇氣，去了何處？
Yesterday was a busy day. I took 350 under-privileged children and their families to Disney in the morning. Then went to Victoria Park in the afternoon to join in the Oppose Budget March. Then rushed back to Disney to join the children and their families for an enjoyable evening. My feet hurt like mad and my back is killing me. But it was all worth it!