By: Keith Morrison
Author and educationist
We are all for security in Macau. However, I could not hold back a rare belly laugh when I read a newspaper report on alleged remarks made by Macau’s Secretary for Security, Wong Sio Chak, about the danger posed to Macau’s security by a Hong Kong politician, Casper Wong Chun Iong, and therefore his denial of entry to Macau, before the handover celebration in December 2017. If the report is accurate, the Secretary for Security said that this was because Macau ‘cannot go through chaos’ and that care must be taken with its border controls to ensure that Macau does not become ‘a chaotic city in the future’. The full might and panoply of the law were summoned in support of the denial of entry.
Macau gave free entry to over 30 million visitors in 2017, potentially chaotic with so many people in a tiny city, but, horror of horrors, one potential visitor was denied entry for fear of causing ‘chaos’ in Macau. Gosh, to think that one visitor alone can do all that yet 30 million do not! What magnificent power; what fantastic, astonishing potential; what flattery. And what a disproportionate over-reaction.
It’s the best joke for ages; brilliant humour. Enter Wong Sio Chak immediately for the Amused Moose Comedy Award at the UK’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival; he will have the judges rolling in the aisles in hysterics. To cap it all, he reportedly compared Macau to the USA, which ‘banned an entire country’, i.e. more people than Macau. So what? What a punch line; glorious comedy.
To think: one person could cause ‘chaos’ to an entire city simply by entering it. What an insult to Macau’s residents to become so effortlessly chaotic. What does it say about Macau’s ‘internal security and stability’ if it is so easily ruptured? Is ‘chaos’ so easily achieved? What a stunning own goal.
To say that Macau law permits denial of entry is irrelevant. Just because the law allows it, so what? It is not whether such a law exists; the problem is its application. For those who have not yet committed any crime in Macau, denial of entry seems to sit uncomfortably with the presumption of innocence on which laws are founded. This is suspicion gone dangerously off the rails. Has intent to cause ‘chaos’ or to be ‘a threat to internal security and stability’ actually been proven in such cases?
However, the sub-text of this is serious: the Secretary for Security has to demonstrate that he is not soft in the eyes of the Macau government or Big Brother over the border. Maybe he has to play copycat to Hong Kong’s refusal of entry to a British human rights activist in October 2017.
Casper Wong was not the first Hong Konger to be denied entry to Macau in 2017: prodemocracy Civic Party district councillor Andy Yu Tak-po was denied entry in September 2017; four journalists in August 2017; lawmaker Kenneth Leung Kaicheong and Democratic Party’s Andrew Wan Siu-kin in April 2017; and Legislative Council member Ray Chan Chichuen in January 2017.
Democratic lawmaker Helena Wong Pik-wan was denied entry in August 2017 for being ‘a threat to internal security and stability’. She, too, said that ‘this is a joke’. Then came the delicious sting in the tail: she added that ‘it severely damages the image of Macau’. Toytown Macau becomes a laughing stock.
So, here we have it; it’s the D-word: democracy.
Quick, we can’t have talk of democracy in Macau. Perish the thought. Good gracious, what sedition. Even prison is too kind for such reprobates. Heaven forfend that we should even discuss D, or even think about it inwardly whilst mouthing the national anthem.
Poor Wong Sio Chak; he has to be seen to be the circus strongman upholding the ‘stability’ euphemism, so beloved in this part of the world, and in whose name people who raise questions are locked up.
Without an intrusive, irritant grain of sand, the oyster cannot produce a pearl. Macau should welcome those with diverse views; after all, it has been calling for diversity for years now. Ah, that was just about diversifying the economy. And as for a single, littleknown or even well-known visitor being ‘a threat to internal security and stability’, is there really a threat? What threat is that, exactly? What is it quiddity? How big must a threat be to deny someone entry; is a teensyweensy, pocket-sized threat OK or does an iron fist come down even on that?
If only Macau’s leaders would waken from docility and the practice of silliness. It’s unlikely; Big Brother is watching.
Arriving at Macau, the visitor sees billboards with ‘Macau welcomes you’. Hmmm. It doesn’t ring true.