The Macmillan Dictionary defines
a ruler as “an object used for measuring or for drawing straight lines,
consisting of a long flat piece of plastic, wood, or metal marked with units of
measurement”. These units of measurement are standardized meaning that 1
centimetre is of the same length across the world. The same dictionary explains that
the rule of law is “a situation in which everyone in a country is expected to
obey the laws”. Hong Kong has been my home since
my parents brought me here from mainland in 1949 when I was barely 2. In this
liberal though many denounced as undemocratic society of Hong Kong, equality
and rule of law are our core principles. We believe we apply the same rules and
standards when we judge.
But in recent years, these
treasured values are put to test. I falter in my convictions as I find that 1
centimetre no longer a constant length or distance. It is stretched for some
groups and shortened for others. And yet, such inequality is accepted as necessary
for proclaimed bigger causes. I am confused. I am not happy.
Rude and disruptive behaviour are
branded as righteous. Legislators throw objects at government officials during
meetings. Schools and private buildings are stormed. People speaking on behalf
of the police or the government are spat on. Use of fake identity cards is to
be pardoned. Differences are not tolerated. Nobody has the patience to listen.
Yelling and cursing are the trends.
It is a showdown. The demarcation
is clear. You are either with me or against me.