Nasty Habits

I was chatting with a friend about the nasty feud between Emily Lau and Ronnie Chan and how it spilled over into our class. He noted that in the past week we saw former Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa shouted down by protesters as he was delivering an address at a convocation at which he received an honorary degree. In addition, he remarked, a senior government official sharply criticized Anson Chan Fang On-sang on her first day as a legislator. The political climate in Hong Kong is getting so tense and the attacks from all sides are becoming more pointed and vitriolic, he observed. Is this simply a natural development as we approach legislative elections next year? Or is our society becoming more and more fragmented and the debate divisive and negative? Maybe this has always been the case and the enmities are harder to hide as crucial polls near.

I would think that the public would prefer a kinder, gentler approach to political discourse and resolving our disputes, but is that likely? And if indeed the environment is becoming more tense, will this affect Hong Kong's stature as a global city? Perhaps it only shows to the rest of the world that, like any society, we have differences of opinion - and that we are a free, open and vibrant community. Any thoughts?