'Occupy' unpopular

Updated: 2013-04-10 06:23

(HK Edition)

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'Occupy' unpopular

If the very essence of democracy - majority rule - is to be respected and here to stay, the time is now for advocates and supporters of the "Occupy Central" movement to back off, after 70 percent of Hong Kong residents gave a thumbs down to the movement in a survey conducted by the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong.

The results of the survey are meaningful and relevant, considering the fact that respondents have been picked randomly and have a thorough understanding of the issue after weeks of heated debate and media coverage on the subject.

The fact that 65 percent of those surveyed fear the protest could paralyze Central and cause huge economic losses should remind us: people, particularly average citizens, care more about their livelihood than anything else, and expect the government to focus on solving the more urgent problems such as housing, poverty and the wealth gap that are plaguing the society.

In this context, advocates of "Occupy Central" are pitting themselves against the people because the campaign, if it proceeds as planned, is set not only to bring havoc to the local economy but also distract the SAR government from its priority tasks.

At a time when Hong Kong's economy is still on the road to recovery from the impact of the last global economic crisis, any setback in the economy is the least desired scenario for the city and its people.

Furthermore, the reality that 70 percent of the respondents believe the campaign is unlikely to achieve its goal is sending another clear message to the advocates: they are doomed to fail.

In other words, if they stay on their present course, advocates of "Occupy Central" are committing political suicide by inflicting hardship on people while championing a doomed endeavor.

The only way to avoid such a lose-lose situation is for the opposition camp to resist the idea of taking the whole economy hostage in pursuit of their desired version of electoral reform, and to agree with the government a mutually acceptable reform package. After all, politics means compromise.

The author is a current affairs commentator.

(HK Edition 04/10/2013 page9)