29 August 2010

Post Mortem on a Massacre 屠殺後的檢討

Not since the SARS outbreak in 2003 has a news event gripped the city with such intensity, as live coverage of the hostage crisis in Manila unfolded on prime time television and left us in shock and disbelief. On August 23rd, what started out as a media stunt staged by a frustrated ex-cop ended in a shooting gallery leaving nine dead and three seriously injured. In the days that followed, as details of the bungled rescue were exposed, dissected and analyzed, citizens of Hong Kong united in a kind of collective anger never seen before directed at another sovereign nation. 

A lot of ink has been spilled by the local press over the sheer incompetence of the Manila police force. We saw it with our own eyes: rescue units performing a slapstick comedy titled Amateurs’ Night at Rizal Park. Using props from sledgehammers that bounced right off unbreakable windows to ropes that broke after a few pulls and purple glow sticks that smacked of a Halloween toy, the comedians completed their unfunny theatrical joke in front of a stunned audience 700 miles away. But the joke was on the victims and their families: a pair of young girls suddenly orphaned, a woman clever enough to save someone else’s child but not her own husband, and a mother weeping by the side of her comatose son after losing the rest of her family. Their stories tugged at our heartstrings and resonated across a city where taking a vacation in less developed parts of Asia is a national pastime. What happened to those families could have happened to any of us.

As is the case for other man-made disasters, many of us are looking for something or someone to direct our anger and frustration at. Unfortunately for the 150,000 Filipino expatriates working in Hong Kong, every aspect of the hostage crisis – from the gross negligence of the police force to the public relations blunders at the national level – feeds into our racial stereotypes. However untrue and unjustified, the stereotypical Filipino, ever lazy, sloppy and corner-cutting, has been part of the Hong Konger’s psyche since the first crop of domestic helpers from the Philippines arrived in the late 1970s. Within days of the Manila Massacre, a racial backlash started to simmer. Our chief executive, in an act of bravado that could only be described as closing the barn door after the horse has bolted, slapped the country with the most severe travel advisory the next day, not as a safety measure but rather a form of punishment against the tourism-dependent economy. Legislators organizing this Sunday’s mass rally urged participants not to carry racist banners or harass Filipino passers-by. Patience and understanding are in short supply in Hong Kong this week, and the already tenuous relationship between our city and its impoverished neighbor has gotten more tenuous still.

Determined to get a more balanced perspective on things, I sat down with a few of my Filipino friends earlier this week for some one-on-one, heart-to-heart discussions about the hostage crisis. Before I even began, Benny, a musician who moved to Hong Kong from Manila three years ago, asked me if the stories he had heard about Filipino maids being beaten or sacked by their Chinese employers were true. Indeed, rumors of violence and dismissals have begun to swirl within the Filipino community here. I could neither confirm nor deny these rumors, and so I instead offered Benny a rather cynical response: if there were abuses by Hong Kong people out of retaliation, the stories would have been all over the news and we would have known about it. Cold comfort, but comfort nonetheless.

On the subject of police incompetence, my Filipino friends proffered a unanimous explanation. In the Philippines, the police department’s budget is being strangled daily by rampant corruption. Police officers, including the half-hearted SWAT units charged with the perilous task of freeing the Hong Kong hostages, are under-paid and few are willing to risk their lives in the line of duty. “They just want to go home to their wives and children at the end of the day,” explained Lisa, a co-worker who sits three floors above me in the office. A cash-starved police force also means officers must muddle through the day with antiquated equipment and non-existent training. That explains why rescuers fumbled through the bus siege without so much as a step ladder, a battering ram or a pair of night vision goggles.

And so it once again boils down to that third world woe: corruption. The subject is echoed by every Filipino I have talked to and is the singular reason why the Philippines is mired in perpetual poverty. The country is currently ranked 139th on the worldwide corruption perceptions index, below even Bangladesh, Uganda and Libya. In the Philippines, corruption is simultaneously the oil that greases the economic machine and the venom that poisons it. With half of the country’s GDP controlled by 15 powerful families, bribery is the only way money can seep through the crevices of the crony system. Every new government since Ferdinand Marcos, crowned the second most corrupt head of state of all time by watchdog organization Transparency International, has run on an anti-corruption platform but none has made even a dent on the vipers nest. In my past visits to Manila, I tasted first-hand the poison of corruption that flows through every vein of society. In the wealthy Makati City neighborhood within the greater metropolitan area, my friends and I couldn’t get through the day without passing out “coffee money” to umpteen police officers like it was Chinese New Year in Hong Kong.

In this week’s hostage crisis, corruption reared its ugly head and did so on multiple fronts. Corruption was what made the police department sack the gunman Rolando Mendoza a year ago, when the highly decorated cop got thrown under the bus for bringing drug charges against the scion of a powerful family in the Philippines. Corruption is what starves the police department of resources critical to keeping it afloat and capable of responding to emergencies like a hostage standoff. And corruption was possibly the reason why the Mayor of Manila ordered to have the gunman’s brother arrested in the middle of a hostage negotiation, a decision that defied all common sense and ultimately pushed the gunman over the edge.

In the weeks and months ahead, citizens of Hong Kong are expected to step through the various stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining and mourning – before we finally come to terms with the heart-wrenching tragedy. Similarly, the Philippines will take a bit of time to recover from the national embarrassment of staging the most disastrous rescue operation in human history. But perhaps embarrassment is the last thing its people should worry about. Until and unless the endless cycle of corruption is dealt with, this country has no future.


  1. Hi Jason,

    A lot of things was going through my mind as I read line by line with restlessness of your well-written article. It flashed back my past frequent travel experiences on business trip in the Philippines, particularly Manila; and all of my former Filipino colleagues - some are of mixed race with half Chinese blood. Most of the Filipinos I've met are gentle, mild and soft-spoken.

    For this car-hijack of Hongkongers, I witnessed the whole event live from TV in shock. I asked myself if this was real and how this could have happened in the first place where there were so many opportunities for resolution without any loss of lives. There were many flaws and unanswered questions that I would like to have answers from all different angles. Poverty and corruption are the main causes........which translates to security threats and issues - when there is injustice for the poor and restless.

    From day 1, I've heard many hair-raising experiences on travel to Philippines - one colleague from HK office who deftly saved himself form being kidnapped/murdered with his wits. On a higher level, when there were unlimited security threats scare (there) from U.S. Corporate travel service, I only used the hotel car transfer service for - to and from the airport. Other than travelling in groups where we had the company van or shared cab, I never trusted the cab drivers and had not once taken a taxi ride alone. In sites where we indulged in team-building activity/event, our local company sent 3-4 strong bodyguards to escort us carrying guns throughout. Outside business hours, I only walked around inside big modern shopping malls where security guards with shot-guns would search all shoppers' body and bags when entering with scanners, so much so is the security high alert in a fragile deadly environment for happy shoppers!

    Once, I stayed overnight at my colleague house in a posh area of the city. On our way, the car had to pass through many security guarded gates fenced up with barbed wires and policemen carrying guns inspecting all cars and screening passengers. Upon arrival at the gates of the house, I could see big guard dogs and three private security personnel carrying shot-guns, which to me was quite scary, signalling the alarm of my personal safety. My Filipino colleague mildly told me that it was normal and nothing to be afraid of.

    This is Philippines - Mabuhay. Let's wait for the detail report of the incident so that only truth and nothing but the truth will be revealed.

    For those who died, may they rest in peace. For the injured, may they be healed and recovered quickly. For all the victims' families, may they gather strength after the grieving period to pick up their lives and move forward.

    I will be joing the march this afternoon in Victoria Park to vent out my anger, disappointment and disgust of the Philippines authorities of their mishandling of the situation of sending HongKongers into the firing line - out of their pleasure trip there.


  2. Martie,

    Thanks for sharing your travel experiences in Manila. Body guards and armed police are an integral part of the daily lives in the capital city. Many of my friends have their siblings or relatives kidnapped and they often speak of those experiences with a bit of nonchalance. Shocking, really.

    See you at the march.


  3. I am a Dutch-Filipina expat who live here in Hong Kong since last year. I am very grateful of the Hong Kong hospitality afforded to me and my Dutch husband. I consider Hong Kong as my other home now beside Philippines and The Netherlands.

    Please allow me to use your wall to post the message I sent to my fellow-Filipinos to let them know that we as Filipino people understand the outrage of the Hong Kong people. I offer my sincerest apology for the senseless death of your fellowmen. We miserably failed to protect them. I just hope the anger being felt by many Hong Kongers will not be directed to the rest of the Filipino people who ourselves also are victims of corruption. We are trying to rebuild our nation but we cannot change it overnight. If you know our history including the dark years of Martial Law, you cannot compare our government to your government. The Filipino people have been fighting for our freedom and to free us from the shackles of corruption is not an easy war to wage.
    I am sorry this is quite a lengthy message and might not be written well but the things I said came from the bottom of my heart.

    Our precious lives sometime hang on the hand of one man and confluence of events.

    Thank you.


  4. I think we should not worry for now about the backlash on tourism in the Philippines. First, we have to see to it that the families of the victims could come to terms about the tragic deaths of their loved ones. The Philippine government must conduct a thorough, objective, and swift investigation and provide this to the Hong Kong authorities. Those who committed mistakes must be punished. We should admit that we committed mistakes at the expense of innocent lives.

    Mistakes in the handling of the situation should be admitted unconditionally. Emotions are running high and anger among Kong Kongers is justified but we can only pray that they will not result to more violence and animosities between two nations: physical and emotional. Incompetence of the police in handling the situation is part of this. But there are many lessons we can learn from that incident like this that can happen everywhere.

    We need only to review similar carnage and senseless killings that happened elsewhere in the world including China. Example, last April an unemployed man entered a kindergarten in Jiangsu Province in eastern China and stabbed 28 kindergarten students and three adults, critically wounding at least five children. Similar attacks happened in March and May elsewhere in China.

    In Germany, a 17-year-old gunman dressed in black opened fire at his former high school in southwestern Germany killing at least 15 people before police shot him dead.

    April 16, 2007: A gunman killed 32 people in a dorm and a classroom at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va.

    There are many more incidents to cite.

    Reactions are varied. It is not the same when one is killed by their own people and killed by other nationality. It is easy to blame and condemn the murderous acts perpetrated by other nationality than our own. The reaction on Islamic people after the NY terrorist attacks could prove this. This is the usual reaction.

    Filipino people are normal targets of the anger but we just hope and pray that Hong Kongers will realize that this is an isolated incident and hope it will never happen again. Mine is not to justify the incident but only to say that sometimes, things happen out of control. To die because of incompetence of the police is worth renouncing; the same with the mishandling of media.

    At the end, regardless of race, we are all (all people from all nations) exposed to atrocities, disasters, etc when we travel to other countries and in even in our own country. Incidents and accidents could happen like bombings of hotels and trains. Killers regardless of their motives don't choose nationalities.

    I can only ask: what could have been a better scenario to save all the hostages. I don't know the gunman but I think that as a desperate man, he was all out to kill and ready to be killed.

    The Manila incident will leave a black mark in our country but this is something that we as Filipino people in our collective psyche should accept with humility and just hope nations especially Hong Kong will understand that the incident is caused by a lone gunman compounded by police incompetence and as an outcome of long history of deep-seated corruption.

    My heart goes to the victims and their families. I wish our country was able to protect them but we miserably failed in this regard.

    We all hoped and prayed that there was a better outcome of the hostage. Unfortunately and sadly, lives have been sacrificed so that others may live.


  5. Thank you for your comments. I don't know understand how you could compare the Hong Kong hostages were killed by other incidents. Human life is valuable and priceless. I was shocked to see Philippines students and police took picture in the front of the Hong Thai Tour bus. Can you tell me why??? Is is a tourist attraction? People smiled while they were taking pictures. I am not angry with the Philippines people but your comment is senseless. What do you mean by "lives have been sacrificed so that others may live"?



  6. Dear L.,

    I am traveling at the moment and I have not seen first hand on TV what happened nor keep track of all the events. I have not even seen a single footage of the incident on TV since it happened. The news I got are from Facebook, and internet (mails from friends) and made my own conclusion.

    When I wrote that "lives have been sacrificed so that others may live", I mean they died senselessly because of the incompetent action of the police and ended the hostage. Others came out alive. What if ended the hostage taker killed them all?

    We all wished that all tourists will be saved but events happened which we did not wish and expected.

    I cannot agree with you more about despicable Filipinos smiling while taking pictures of the bus. I have not seen this myself and I am sure if I saw it I will feel the same way as you did. This should never happened. I cannot apologize for everyone's despicable action but for this I offer again my apologies.

    If you read through the examples I gave I only suggest that a killer can strike anytime. The police force came too late and so many have died; in the case of the Philippines, the police came to soon with their action and so people were killed.


  7. Although the Philippines' president Benigno S. Aquino III blamed the media for its live coverage of the incident as one of the cause to trigger the gunman to open fire, the media was doing its job well in this incident.

    I was watching iCable, Now, and TVB HD Newschannel all at the same time on Monday and Wednesday.

    The media's conduct on this incident is something worth reviewing. Was the Media, as mentioned by Benigno S. Aquino III, to blame for the gunman's action? I doubt it.

    In fact, the HK media was reacting very quickly on Monday. However, a bit of sensitivity should be exercised by TVB and NOW. iCable immediately changed its logo to black on Monday night. Yet Now and TVB HD were still using their normal colour logo. Alright, it was only a logo, you may say.

    To give them back another brownie point was on Wednesday night, when they repeated the footage of the incident, they only showed the so-called SWAT team approaching the bus, WITHOUT repeating the glumsome scene of shooting. That, I think, is a positive step of the HK media.

    Also, to my ignorance, I did not know iCable shows live coverage on their website. From this incident, now I know. In fact, I watched the Legco Security Panel meeting on Thursday via their live website. Good on you iCable.

    Another thing is that the HK media was showing pretty much the same coverage. If you go to Youtube, you will see much more coverage from the Philippines' TV stations. Some even showed the hostages got taken from the ambulances to the ER.

  8. Thanks, Phil. Looks like I am not the only news junkie around!


  9. Hi Jason

    My two cents on post-mortem of massacre:-

    1) President Aquino, with a gun-bullet still embedded in head - lacked political acumen & sensitivity, even in his "fake" show of taking charge before TV at his first appearance trying to defend actions. He was foolishly undiplomatic in course of crisis of not taking up or returning HK CE Donald Tsang phone call swiftly. It was a mockery in aftermath when his Palace announced they indeed knew well who Donald Tsang was. Perception to the public at large was that Aquino either dwarfed HK as a city & not a sovreign country or too busy wishy washy with other issues - were excuses only. In crisis management, every second counts. So, a return phone call is a blink away & why didn't it happen when lives at stake. It was futile after massacre when deaths cannot be brought back to life. The wry on Aquino face with calmness without sadness revealed his personal trait as if he was merely reporting on a minor street incident frequented in Philippines. While broadcast live before TV to world, his remorse statement showed insincerity with no respect of human decency in his character. His comparison of bus-hijack was unwarranted when he tried to prove what SWAT did in which he wrongly compared incident with hostage takings in Russia & Germany where there were more than one armed terrorists (not a lone disgruntled local citizen) for a different cause & differnt demands that could be resolved easily. Many viewers questioned what if tragedy be different (in same setting) with tourists from either U.S. or Japan & how would Philippine Foreign Office handle if phone call was from President Obama. Would outcome be same ?
    2) Two isolated cases - a group of smiling school girls & an uniformed policeman with another girl taking snapshots before crashed hijack bus as a tourist spot was unjustifiable & humiliating - signs of disrespect for victims. Question is why site not cordoned off but given slack access easily to dilute/tamper post evidence gathering.
    3) Philippines funeral home (probably bribed) complying local media requests opening caskets to picture taking of deceased. The act was inhumane & disrespectul of victims.
    4)Draping Philippines national flag in casket of Mondoza was unwarranted to showcase on TV for his acts of atrocity. A disgrace to Philippines priding heroism. Even if done by family, Philippines authorities should know local media would be after Mondoza corpse and funeral. How could they allow this to happen & then remove it when only protested by Philippines PRC Embassy officials. Act of pouring salt into wounds.
    4)Philippines reported both Aquino sisters & Estada son had backlash encounters at Rizal tragedy site & HK Immigration. These are overblown making a mountain out of molehill. Did she expect victims' families to stay mute at tragic site where they lost loved ones. What if they were her family members. On Estrada son's context, he seemed insensitive as expecting a courteous smile as a well-known Philippines Senator. Disaapointed that no ceremonial treatment given at HK Immigration.


  10. Hi Jason,

    I really like your article on this massacre with your personal thoughts and experiences. It's really thought- provoking. One thing I really agree with you. There is no hope for the future of the Philippines if they dont really treat the corruption seriously. But I dont think they can do much in these few years with this stupid and irresponsible president. He has "A-字膊"! No no no...I should say he has "no shoulders". What can we expect from him???


  11. Dear Jason,

    Finished reading your new article an hour or so ago and man, it was touching and heart-breaking at the same time to re-live those moments. Especially knowing very well that I have fought so hard once to come out of a coma and I was praying and praying that Jason Leung will be OK. He has a very treacherous road ahead of him, help the kid, to fight for himself and to wake up to the horror that his family members are lost.

    This is an event that shake (and move) the recent history of Hong Kong. Aside from the blood and gory and "drama", so much politics (and political folly) is involved in this. Not to mention the global prevalence of the problem of corruption. You know what, with every word I progressed in your piece, the word "PRC" loomed ever larger and larger and darker and darker at the back of my mind. We in HK are "privileged" already to be sheltered somewhat from such blatant corruption, but there is no telling when it is going to meander into our system, especially as one of my friends said, D Tsang is "kowtowing" to the PRC government everyday.

    Dunno, just some random thoughts as I read it, and getting more and more upset especially that I can witnessed the procession demonstrating outside my office window just now.


  12. Thanks for sharing it with me. Do keep writing commentaries and reviews. I love reading them and so do all of your readers.


  13. Thank you all. I wrote the article so that I will always have this piece of history with me.

  14. Its unfair to point all fingers at innocent Filipinos. One of the Fili kid was also shoot. The majority of Fili nationals were embarassed by the corrupted and incompetent government.They r also the victims of daily abuses by those lousy cop...s.

    I hope we HongKongese(Hongkie LOL) can demand a reasonable explanation or compensation from that nation but not pointing our fingers at the victims of both side. Furthermore, we should express our concerns and our frustration that Hong Kong people wouldn't tolerate any corruptions and incompetence despite of nationalities.

    We should show the Peking gov't that beating up HK journalists, illegal arrest, forbidden of speech, daily bribe...and other "weakness" that is.."popular" in most popular 3rd world countries r nor equivalent to HK culture. If HK people suffer from this, we will point our fingers,frustrated.I hope the mainland Chinese can learn a lesson from this incident.



  15. Dear Jason,

    Just as any Hong Konger who disgusts the ineptitude seen to Manila police force, I condemn such act of atrocity too. I bow my silent prayer for the ones who were left in grief. However, I see it on a different angle, something that has leaning towards the Filipino nation. The tragedy should be a serious wake up call to the ailing policing system we do know about the country;I feel extremely sorry that lives were lost. ( I am sure the culprits are now banging themselves hard because of the ridicules thrown at them, not only coming from you, but moreso from us, as their countrymen) I couldn't agree more with you that "Until and unless that third world malady of corruption is addressed, the country has no future." Typically, I remain optimistic that somewhere along the line, changes will be seen, for it's not just visitors like you , who felt the pinch of the works of corrupt hands. We, the citizens, have very little power too to wriggle free from this ugly facet of the country's system. Optimistic, I still remain, just as how I have always been, that NOT ALL Chinese employers put their helpers in an abusive working relationship. I ,for one, is a living proof of such circumstances.


  16. Responding to SC (PART 1):

    Thank you SC for putting things in the right perspective. The Philippine government learned from the hard lessons but our country has still a long way to go. We just elected a new president who addresses so many domestic issues at all fronts; fighting entrenched corruption cannot be done overnight since we are dealing with powerful people in high places. It must also be done in a democratic manner and democratic process can be slow-grinding, unfortunately otherwise doing it swiftly will have semblance of dictatorship which Filipinos won't accept having experienced Martial Law.

    Our government is new and are not trained for this kind of situation. It did not happen before and really ill-prepared for the situation. Dealing with hostage takers I believe is not (yet) in the political agenda of the new government: addressing poverty, corruption, migration, health, education, food security are the ones being addressed first after 9 years of corrupt government is.

    The Philippines is a home of more than 1 million Filipino - Chinese many of them came from Mainland China and Cantonese speaking and opted to be naturalized citizens. They occupy important places in our government, institutions, private sector. They are very successful entrepreneurs and owned large business conglomerates. I never heard any sort of discrimination against people of Chinese origin in our country. They live freely and enjoy privileges just like Filipinos, sometimes more. Historically, we have welcomed Chinese immigrants with open arms.

    We failed to protect the Hong Kong tourists this time. This is unfortunate and we have to suffer the consequences.


  17. Responding to SC (PART 2):

    As people, we have massively expressed our grieve and solidarity with the victims and their families. We also mourn and we denounce the government for the mishandling of the situation. We asked for forgiveness. The only thing we are asking back from Hong Kong people is respect and allow us to live with dignity just like we must respect all human beings regardless of race, religion, and nationalities. We demand the same from my countrymen.

    Obviously, we as Filipino people and our government have to work hard to regain respect and this is not an understatement considering the ridicule we have to bear from all fronts. Personally, I take this challenge seriously as I have helped in peace activities in Europe as an aftermath of 911 (New York). There was a pervading (still is) anti-immigrant in Europe and we have to work hard to differentiate between terrorists and people with Islamic background.

    I live in Hong Kong as Dutch-Filipino expat since last year and I feel warmly welcomed by my Hong Kongers friends. I have many good things to say about Hong Kong and appreciate the people for upholding democracy just like how you solemnly commemorate Tienanmen Square. However, this time I cannot help but feel some apprehensions; the same feeling our Filipino domestic helpers have. After all, any racist remarks won't ask for nationalities but how you look.

    I just hope the situation will not escalate in Hong Kong at the 911 level. I trust the democratic loving Hong Kongers that they will uphold universal human rights. Expression of anger is welcomed and understandable. We say no to racism!


  18. Responding to LRN:

    Filipinos hav been in HK for decades and a lot of them r also Hong Kongese (Hongkies lol) Look, we don't even hav our own name LOL. Thats why I understand how bad u will feel when dignity being offended. I don't think to offend other race is our mainstream culture and I definitely don't want this happened.

    I always welcome other nationalities live in HK since we have lost our identity of our own:( I like the Filipino smiling face and u guys laugh a lot and always happy no matter how harsh the external situation is. I really treasure this since most HK people always look desperate and sad esp Poker face is their only facial expression.

    When people have laughing face as Filipinos have, that means they have life and energy. However it was misunderstood by most HK people that Filipinos didn't take the tragedy seriously.

    I know there r some Chinese race people became Filipinos. Only 6-8% of this Chinese-Filipinos dominated over 60% of Philippine's economy. I always shameful about this since they manipulate Philippine in their own way : Corrupt, non-democratic oligarchy. They r always like this. I'm not a real Chinese, I'm a Hongkie, but still I feel embarass.

    There's some words spreading the misunderstanding between the both side through media and internet discussion forum. Thats why I'm here. I refuse to follow the media's tatics but do whatever I can to clarify and discuss the whole case. Best wishes !

    I'm a ...RACCOON !!!


  19. SC,

    I just hope the tragic incident will stimulate better understanding between Hong Kong and Philippines. It shows our cultural diversity just like black is the colour of mourning in the Philippines and white for Chinese. Different countries mourn in different ways. In Ghana, bereaved families even poor people have to spend thousands of dollars for funeral which includes band, organizing dances. To show respect to the bereaved families, people have to dance, literally! I experienced this once in Ghana and I myself was surprise but who am I to judge the way Ghanaian people express their sorrows? For outsiders, this can be easily misconstrued as lack of respect; lack of decency.

    Chinese and Filipino people live together whether in Hong Kong or in the Philippines but I wonder how much we really know of each other's culture. The tragic outcome in Manila should be resolved; those who committed mistakes must be punished but I think we should also focus our attention to the future. We promote a culture of tolerance instead of fueling hatred. Understand each other's culture and support each other so that we can make our world a better place not only for Filipinos and Chinese but for everyone.

    I have been working with various migrant groups for the last 10 years (Africans, Latinos, Asians) and I came to realize whatever be our race, we are all migrants when we live in a foreign country regardless what work we do. I just hope Hong Kongers realize that Chinese living in other countries are also as vulnerable as the Filipinos living in Hong Kong.

    PS: The Filipino smile is difficult to understand even for those experts who who measure poverty in the Philippines. How can poor people
    smile when they are hungry, embarrassed, or committed mistakes?


  20. I am especially saddened for all the affected families, but I am more saddened about how this has turned into a racial confrontation. There are demented civilians committing these types of heinous crimes in any culture.

    Tsang's public call to halt tourism was an overreaction as if an act of war had been committed and everyone's life were at steak raising the alert level.

    But Hong Kongers I believe are smarter than this. :)

    And the Standard is still advertising great trips to the Philippines and people will continue to travel to this country.

    The government is however in the international public eye and will have to respond to international scrutiny.


  21. I analysed your article in terms of what a linguist calls move structures for the course Discourse Analysis. It's one of the courses I had to study in order to be able to fullfill the requirements of the master degree programme I was doing.

    I love your writing.

    I've learnt a lot simply by reading your articles.