Social harmony key to reconciliation in HK

Social harmony key to reconciliation in HK

People will rally behind leaders who respect their opinions


A top mainland official has called on Hongkongers to support chief executive-elect Leung Chun-ying.
A top mainland official has called on Hongkongers to support chief executive-elect Leung Chun-ying.
Photo: Sam Tsang/SCMP
As the Chinese proverb goes, "harmony is precious". When I was small, my mum taught me how to forgive, tolerate and accept others, as these are the keys to harmony. And harmony is the key to a better world.

Wang Guangya, director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office of the State Council, said earlier this month that reconciliation is essential for Hong Kong now, and that different social sectors should put aside their differences and lend their support to the new chief executive, Leung Chun-ying.

Seemingly, promoting the "Great Reconciliation" may be just the thing for Hong Kong these days. It comes at a time when the popularity of our leader does not appear to be high enough to stabilise society, when protests occur regularly, when fake kindness is used by some parties to gain favour and trust. Nevertheless, do unending forgiveness, tolerance and acceptance always bring us a better future?

Imagine you're a sailor. Your ship's captain has decided to choose between two sailors who always flatter him to be your group's leader. Neither of them is seen by the group as the right choice, but all the captain wants is someone who will follow orders.

Once the captain makes his pick, the winner is viewed with mistrust by the crew and the losing candidate.

Worried about maintaining order, the captain scolds the crew and orders them - especially the losing candidate - to co-operate with the new leader.

After this, he gets no more complaints, no obvious resentment and no apparent dispute - the picture of "harmony". But I doubt that this dream world is one we would like to live in.

There must be different opinions in a society. These are essential for progress, and the government should understand - and respond to - the needs of citizens.

Being harmonious is important, but whether it is a good thing for a society depends on the principles it is based on. Whether a society is good depends on the quality of life of the citizens, including their physical and mental health, and the freedoms they enjoy.

If these are accomplished, a harmonious society would surely not be far off.

Harmony is the finishing point of a happy, prosperous society. Harmony cannot be achieved if people don't trust their leaders. Yes, a lack of harmony among citizens might be a nightmare for leaders who don't understand that the basis for society is the public itself.

So perhaps, to solve this problem, we should start with the leader instead of the public.



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