Monthly Archives: October 2011

‘Don’t shoot me’ , pleaded Muammar Gaddafi on 20 October 2011

‘Don’t shoot me’

 

‘Don’t shoot me’ is the last words of the 42 – year ruler of Libya, Muammar Gaddafi.
Reports can ‘t even agree how Gaddafi gets killed. Some said he was shot dead by one soldier. Others said he was beaten to death. A video shows the surrounding people pushed Gaddafi around and beat him with boots – an act of extreme humiliation reserved for slaves and prostitutes in Arab culture. Already half covered in blood, Gaddafi stumbled, fell down, pleaded his last words ‘Don’t shoot me’.
What is confirmed is his public display in a freezer, not in a crystal coffin like Mao. The purpose, according to the authority, is to let the public views his dead body to confirm his death and this attracted people driving hundreds of mile to view it. This is the destiny of a leader who ruled Libya for more than 40 years.
What does it mean? It’s a triumph of people. The Jasmine Revolution shows dictatorship regime is like tofu, collapse by the slightest exertion of pressure, either internally or externally. It shows the power of the people in overthrowing a regime of dictatorship.This is not a mere orthodoxy because I heard people around me saying it was Americans who stirred up all the trouble. In fact, it was America who lost out the most for losing Gaddafi, a stable ally, for providing steady supply of oil. While NATO did orchestra air strike campaigns, it is the people, armed with nothing but dignity, who started the revolution. Those who denies this capacity of people speak with their Qing pigtails still on their heads.

This triumph, however, is not spotless. The ways Gaddafi died left a deep black hole in this triumph. It amounts to a disgrace to how people, in the midst of euphoria, can humiliate and execute a helpless human, like cats ripping open a struggling rat.

What will the future be depends on people. With this displayed cruelty, Chip Tsao (陶傑) humorously commented that Libya will need her colonial lover, Italy, to bring back some democracy, instead of following the old unenlightened path of tribalism and racism (the article is available here)

His idea is not without merits. Only through genuine representative democracy, Libya can achieve a better future.

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Pacman: Strategies

Pacman is a deceptively simple game.

The four corners and the bottom line are the most dangerous places.

You guide the pacman inside a maze to eat all the 244 pellets and avoid the four ghosts. When you eat one of the power pellets at the four corners of the maze, the ghosts turn blue and you can revenge by eating them back.

Pacman has a clearly advantage that the ghosts never have; it is controlled by a superb human mind. You can move left or right and up or down. You can reverse direction and predict the ghosts’ movement  (as long as you know their psychology, discussed below). The ghosts are programmed to move in one direction. While you have the false feeling of getting chased by one of the ghosts, keep calm, reverse the direction and you’ll find yourself safe.

Pacman can out – run Clyde

Further, Pacman runs faster than ghosts. On the left, even when Clyde is chasing right at your back, you can be confident you can out – run him.  The ghosts immediately slow down when they enter the two side – tunnels at the middle but Pacman is immune from this penalty.

Only under one circumstance Pacman has no way to escape: concerted attack by 2 or more ghosts.

You can prevent this from happening by not going to areas where there are little escape routes. The four corners and the bottom line are the most dangerous place and you should eat the pellets there only when the ghosts are scattered or you can catch a timely power pellet.

There is always a way out

When you find yourself under attack though, again, don’t panic and keep calm. Observe their movements, and more than often you can find your way out. On the left, you still have an escape route, even when blinky and pinky are trying catch you from both fronts.

Know your enemies: blinky, pinky, inky and clyde. Blinky is the most aggressive and will chase you to death when he has decided to do so. Pinky can either act independently or more often work with Blinky to make a concerted attack.

From left to right: Clyde, Inky, Pinky, Blinky and Pacman

From my experience, Inky is the least predictable because she might sometimes chase you like Blinky or might just wander off. Most of the times, he seems to just frighten you off. Clyde is the least dangerous because of his targeting scheme. He only chases Pacman when it happens to have come close to him. The beauty of their psychology is sometimes they are predictably unpredictable and at other times, unpredictably predictable.

Arming with this knowledge, you won’t stay long when Blinky and Pinky are together and going to box you in. When Inky chases you alone, you won’t feel threatened, since she usually unpredictably wanders off. It shouldn’t be a problem to avoid Clyde, but just beware he is as dangerous when he cooperates with his other three colleagues.

Lastly, there are areas where the ghosts can easily gang rape you. I have mentioned the four corners and the bottom line. One commentary holds the two connecting side – tunnels are safe for Pacman because he is immune from the speed – down penalty. However very often, the ghosts can easily entrap you from both sides.One safe zone is the area around the ghost house where there are 6 escape routes, making it harder to for ghosts to trap you.I hope some of the strategies and techniques mentioned here can be a guide for all beginner to enjoy playing one of best game in the world – Pacman.

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Rule of Law in China = Battered Lawyers

Rule of Law in trash

‘Arrogantly make a fool of yourself because others are but mere humans and you the Barrister, is the enlightened Supreme Being’ said my mentor.

This is certainly true where the rule of law reigns. Where her sovereignty ceases, lawyers become battered hopeless creature (if not be too exaggerating to borrow from Hobbes – living in solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short life).

This Tuesday, a criminal defense team of four lawyers in Guangxi has been arrested for suborning perjury (i.e. inciting clients or witnesses to commit perjury.) Briefly, they spotted holes and inconsistencies in the prosecution’s accrued evidence against four defendants involving death case.

It is suspected the local government in Beihai, eager to keep the record – breaking report card in resolving homicide cases, attempted to silence them through these arrests. (The full news can be read here – Chinese version or here – the English version)

This amounts to a public showcase to how China see the law – as a maid to the executive expediency when a shining report – card can trash over innocence of four men, plus another four lawyers. When law serves as the executive’s extended arm, no one’s rights are guaranteed, not even the lawyers, let alone the people.

What is ironical is when Premier Wen said in last month at Da Lian that the party must separate from politics and law to prevent absolute corruption flowing from the absolute power. What the Beihai government now has done seem to slap right on Premier Wen’s face.

Last month, a draft of amendment to Criminal Procedure Law has proposed to add 99 more articles (from 225 to 285), relating to rule of evidence, coercive measures, criminal defense and representation, investigative measures, trial procedures, enforcement and special proceeding. What the Beihai government now has done has shredded those papers into trash.

Rule of law is not empty words, along with a speech from this or that official (not even Premier Wen’s speech can be counted on). Rule of law at least mean an independent judiciary and a group of lawyers who don’t need to be afraid of get beaten this day, and arrested the next.

Even if the words on paper prima facie ensure protection for victims, like the additional grand proposed 99 articles, how do we know they are followed? The police can still happily stand a strong light against the ‘witness’ for hours until coercing a ‘desired’ statement, without letting anyone know.

We can’t hold any complacency here in Hong Kong. Do not forget our small island constitute an ‘unalienable part’ of this imperial empire. Following the precedence from Ng Ka Ling, NPCSC’s arm has again successfully encroached Hong Kong’s rule of law in the Congo case. Space here does not allow a full explanation but in essence, NPCSC rules Hong Kong will be governed by absolute immunity, in contrast to restrictive immunity practiced by the common law world, marking another blow to Hong Kong’s autonomy under One Country Two Systems.

I have recently finished reading a book on 1911 Revolution and realize revolution is not just about Sun Yat-sun but the people. It is the people who made history. Now, we, and the four arrested lawyers are part of the history in retaining the rule of law.

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"I was really afraid" – Donald Tsang

“When the egg was thrown at me, I was really afraid”
“I was really afraid” (Donald Tsang 2011) should become a golden quote, commemorating how afraid he really was when Long Hair threw the egg on him.
It is almost a cliché to recount how George Bush has reacted to the (two) shoes thrown at him. He avoided 2 times and afterwards joked: “If you want the facts, it’s a size 10 shoe at that he threw.” No matter how much I dislike this cowboy, what he said has certainly cracked a smile from me.
Another cliché to recount is our dear Terminator – Arnold Schwarzenegger who also get thrown by egg and said “This guy owes me bacon now. You can’t have egg without bacon”. This sense of humour has defied his robotic image from the Terminator.
Now in Hong Kong, we did not fall behind. We have Donald Tsang saying “I was really afraid” when he visibly (and should also expectedly, as happened many times before) see Long Hair throwing the egg at him, from such a distance in the new Legislative Council, and was really afraid. This strikes a sense of humour as much as the cowboy and the Terminator, well in another way.
What kind of people produces what kind of things. A timid Donald Tsang produces a timid proposal; one that lacks a planning, a vision. The only effect I can see in giving every senior a 2$ ride for MTR and bus is giving them a chance to make more living by crossing several more districts, then collecting some more old cans and free newspapers for sale.
What I want is not some cheap acts of mercy but a complete review and implementation of a pension scheme for all retired old people. What I and everybody in Hong Kong want is a vision.
Donald Tsang does not need visions anyway. He proudly said he has worked in the government for 44 years. Yes, a 44 years of working in close door and taking instruction from the seniors (and in these recent 7 years, from China).
Now he is leaving. His legacy is certainly impressing; his golden quote “I was really afraid”, along with a whole bundle of problems.
Let’s hope the next CE will bring Hong Kong a vision.
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Movie Review: 白蛇傳說 (The Sorcerer and the White Snake)

白蛇傳說

Director: Ching siu – tong
Cast: Jet Li (as Fa Hai), Eva Huang (as White Snake), Charlene Tsoi (as Green Snake) and Raymond Lam (as Xu Xian)
Overall: 6/10
Spoiler Warning: Yes

The very story incurs me to make a comparison with Green Snake, directed by Tsui Hark starring Joey Wong as White Snake and Cheung man – yuk (or Maggie Cheung as she is now better known) as Green Snake.

Both basing their movies on the classical Legend of the White Snake, Ching tries to visualise all the supernatural powers, tsunamis, fights of the Fa Hai with the giants monsters and snakes with the CG technology but end ups with crude visual effects that almost wreck the movie altogether. The half – human half – snake looks of Eva Huang and Charlene Tsoi are horrible sights to human eyes.

During the time of making his movie (in the 80s), there wasn’t so much CG technology available and so Tsui Hark relies on light, colours and illusions to beautifully show the mystical atmosphere throughout the whole movie. While Ching hopelessly uses the computer technology to present realistic scenes, Tsui unscrupulously perpetuates mysteries in a myth.

Ching made attempts to integrate some western elements in this Chinese myth. Turtles, rabbits, giant bat are all examples. The fight between Fa Hai and the giant bat monster in the volcanic mountain reminds me of the one between Gandalf and Balrog in the The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings (but again, the CG effect seriously hampers the quality). It seems quite refreshing at certain times, especially the scene where Xu Xian goes to see ‘relatives’ (the badly disguised rabbit, turtle, and reptile) of White for marriage. But at other times, the overall effect is weird and even quite anti – climatic, like when the rats easily break the spells of the monks by biting them.

青蛇
(Green Snake)

Instead of putting something else into a melange, the Indian ball dance in the opening scene already shows how Tsui Hark merge exotic elements with the seductiveness of snake. Rain with lightning, the strange metallic Indian music coupled with the laughters of men and women arouses Green from the deep lake to crawl onto the roof to have a look inside. Eager to participate, she transformes into human form, half naked, and danced with the other Indian dancers (This scene is still available in YouTube, here). This is one of many other scenes to show how seductive the snakes are (especially Maggie Cheung at her prime time) but also the decadences of the people at the time.

Time and space only permit me to compare the visual arts. Let me deal with the character and plot in the next entry.

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Keep our knee straight. Do not Kowtow to China.

The banner reads: ‘Maintain One Country Two Systems. Promote Hong Kong’s Long – Term Prosperity and Stability’ 

– What a joke


Since this month or last, radio and TV talk a lot about the 1911 Revolution. As a person living in Canada for almost ten years and never having a chance to study Chinese or Hong Kong history, I never realized that Hong Kong has had such an intimate relationship with the efforts of Mr. Sun Yat – sen and his colleagues in organizing this historical momentous revolution. 

Hong Kong was, of course, unique to offer such a chance where Sun Yat – sen and other revolutionaries could arrange meetings in a relatively safe environment, distribute pamphlet on ending slavery under imperialism, publish newspapers about democracy and liberalism. This has all been possible only because the Qing dynasty ceded Hong Kong to the United Kingdom in 1842 (Hong Kong island), 1860 (Kowloon) and 1898 (New Territories). With Hong Kong at his base, Sun Yat – sun ended the 2000 years of kowtow. 

During my job – shadowing with Mr. Alan Leong, senior counsel barrister – at – law and leader of the Civic Party, has told me ‘Hong Kong since the time of Sun Yat – sun has been a breeding place for liberating political ideas and a place where people can enjoy liberty and rule of law. 

Rule of law is a hallmark of Hong Kong. How long and how much we can maintain this precious rule of law depend on how much autonomy we can still enjoy under ‘One Country Two Systems’ (OCTS) – 100 years after Sun Yat – sen planned the revolution and overthrew the Qing dynasty in 1911. 

Jiang Zemin promised the Mainland Communist China and Hong Kong will be like river water and well water that won’t ‘mix with each other’. The 14 years of OCTS have shown that the two waters are, in fact, quite well – mixed. 

In the legal field, the NPCSC’s interpretation in 1999 about Ng Ka Ling showed CFA was incompetent to interpret the Basic Law. Professor Albert Chen, law professor in the Hong Kong University, explained this was the power vested in the Basic Law and that NPCSC has the full jurisdiction to do the interpretation. Despite how the Basic Law should have been drafted in the first place, Chen’s explanation overlooks the full political impact it entails. 

The interpretation by NPCSC implies the hollowness in the notion – ‘Hong Kong people rule Hong Kong people’. It shows, in the eyes of NPCSC and China, how incompetent Hong Kong people are in handling our autonomous affairs. Ronny Tong, barrister – at – law and also member of Civic Party, commented Ng Ka Ling and Chong Fung Yuen hampered the democratic development, since we, Hong Kong people, can’t rule ourselves.  

In the social and economic fields, China’s rise in the recent decades open new enterprising opportunities for Hong Kong to ripe. The Chinese scheme to let more mainland tourists coming to Hong Kong and the CEPA scheme after 2003 should have been optimistic signs but my feeling grows somewhat easy after reading Identity, Sovereignty, and Economic Penetration: Beijing’s Responses to Offshore Chinese Democracies by Guoguang Wu. He said in that article Beijing used economic penetration, such as effort to integrate Hong Kong into the Pearl River Delta, to curb the demands for democracy with businesses and monies.   

Our rule of law has come to another critical moment. Vallejos Evangeline Banao has won a temporary victory in Vallejos Evangeline Banao v. Commissioner of Registration and Another but she has a long way to go. What I can’t bear the most is the demonstration by the DAB yesterday. Beside demanding the HKSAR government for a quick appeal to CA, they even demanded HKSAR government to ask NPCSC for interpretation in case the government fails in CFA. 


Where is the rule of law? Do you throw it away so easily when it is the value upholding Hong Kong? Do you let our autonomy reduce to ash?


I left those question for them to answer, while I thought demanding the government to ask NPCSC for interpretation is equivalent to selling out our rule of law and our authority. 


At the end of the day, it is us, Hong Kong people, to defend our own core values. My heart sinks further when my Vice – Chancellor and President of HKU, Tsui Lap – see, said ‘The Hong Kong University has ceased to be a university of Hong Kong but has become a university of Hong Kong in Chinese soil’, at the exact place where Sun Yat – sen 100 years ago was learning and organizing his revolution against the imperial China. 


In 1911, Mr. Sun Yat – sun ended 2000 years of kowtow under the imperial dynasty. Now 2011, keep our knee straight. Do not kowtow to China. Hold the rule of law in our hearts and defend it at every moment.   
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