“Loss of the Rule of Law” by Lian-Hee Wee

hk

March 23, 2015

Pixen and Schulos hold dear the Rule of Law. Citizens in their city too are swayed often by arguments on what might threaten the rule of law. The rule of law has been demonstrated to be superior to other forms of government thus far. Yes, the law serves only those who can afford it. While there is law, there isn’t necessarily justice. However, there is no better system. Laws are just, we just need to implement them properly, they all say.

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“THIS is in violation of the law! And tolerance of such lawlessness would breach the bonds of justice that is at the foundation of this city’s life and culture.”

Curiously, these same words were the headlines of two different speeches. One by Justin Pixen the city’s mayor and the other by Lavinette Schulos, an activist now wanted by the police for inciting rebellion. By “THIS”, Pixen refers to the relatively harmless act of activists spray-painting subway train exteriors with graphic pictures critical of the government. For Schulos, “THIS” refers to a long list of crimes, none of which was reported by the allegedly free press: (i) Orgies of police violence perpetrated upon those they arrest or those reporting crimes; (ii) Pixen’s unaccounted $50million from a foreign company; (iii) publicly financed projects such as the $2m spent on a Facebook page to promote tourism; and (iv) $300,000 to refurbish four rusty bicycle racks at the city’s edge, among others, not all confirmed.

Naturally, Mayor Pixen has his supporters. He is backed by the 0.01% who want to widen the gap between the haves and the have-nots. He is also backed by the grassroot leaders who pander to him for handouts and the hope of upward class mobility. He is even supported by many of his victims, civilians hegemonically convinced by “free” presses privately owned by the mayor’s “friends”. In this democracy, Pixen has a mandate. Among all the dirty things Pixen gerrymanders, rigging the election is not among his crimes. Thus Pixen argues that he represents the mandate of the people, evidence itself that he has not broken any laws.

Schulos has her supporters too. She is backed by a silent group of people who see through the inconsistencies in the “free” press and recognize the strangeness of how life seems to get worse while the numbers disseminate a hopeful story. But why silent? Because otherwise each member would lead a very inconvenient life. Many will therefore have to work clandestinely, what- or whoever it is they work for. Schulos is also supported by those from the city but no longer in it. Those who can desert cannot be silenced. Yet it is true that Schulos broke many laws, which she defends by quoting Thomas Jefferson: “When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty.”  Thus Schulos argues that her lawlessness is in defense of a law that has failed to curb the evils of Pixen.

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20 years ago, 2064. Kesamet High School, world history class. Pixen and Schulos co-present a reading on a certain Harcourt Village, Hong Kong that appeared in the fall of 2014. HV had no law. HV was ruled by reason. N.B. HV was dismissed as an unsustainable daydream and myth by both presenters and the class as a whole.

The author is heavily indebted to Jason S Polley who has served numerously as mentor in my recent creative efforts. Also, Lee Kwan Yew died today, leaving behind a Singapore that is now the most costly city to live in governed by the most well-paid set of mandated politicians in the world.

[First appeared in Eminence, newsletter of the HKBU English Language and Literature Society, 2015.]

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Lian-HeeLian-Hee Wee is Associate Professor at the Department of English Language and Literature. [Click here to read all entries by or about Lian-Hee.]

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