Irresponsible inaction

This edition was getting ready to be sent to print when media worldwide reported a new environmental study that clearly shows the risks of rising sea levels as a consequence of climate change.

From the Publisher’s Desk | Macau Business November 2019

Curiously enough, Macau Business already had an article on the apparent inaction of the Macau SAR on the matter. Some coincidences are prophetic.

It’s very simple, actually. Climate change has been a major concern across our mistreated planet, except for some terrible leaders that insist on undermining the future of generations to come.

As reported by Macau News Agency (MNA), a new climate change report indicates that the Pearl River Delta region, including Macau, Hong Kong and several major Chinese cities inside it, are especially vulnerable to flooding, according to new rising sea projections for the period until 2050.

You may say that we all could predict that, just by reading the daily news. Governments as well, we hope. And that is why, as we notice in this edition, that in March 2015, the government created an interdepartmental working group on climate change. Fast forward 4,5 years and little to nothing has happened.

“The group is an internal government work meeting and no other information is available,” was the answer from the government to Macau Business. The same as saying, “It is none of your business.” Unlike Hong Kong, Macau does not provide a set of recommendations or include any climate change information on the Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau (SMG) website.

The bureau also decided to be silent to our journalist’s request for more information.
The usual; Macau’s response to action, information, competence is silence. Shameless, irresponsible silence.

We just hope it will not become a criminal one as well.

Wishful thinking

The Public Prosecutor-General, Ip Son Sang, said that the current penalties included in the Macau SAR legal framework for crimes committed by public administration employees, are “light” and should be increased.

I couldn’t agree more, but I believe Mr Ip is tilting at windmills. For many years, several voices in Macau’s society defended civil servants’ accountability, especially the ones in higher positions. And, at one stage, we thought that that might happen, only to realize that Secretary Sonia Chan was just playing with words or, she rapidly realized that her promise would never happen in Macau.

Speaking at the 2019/2020 judicial year opening ceremony, Ip Son Sang said that since the handover of Macau to China, society has required a higher degree of integrity among civil servants.

“Corruption crimes undermine the values, ethics, impartiality, and justice of a whole society, undermining its stability and the rule of law, so preventing and combating corruption is a fundamental requirement for the development of modern society,” the Public Prosecutor-General noted.

Of course he is right. But one thing is, what the society thinks, and the other is, what the government decides to do, especially when the Government is barely accountable. Definitely not in the polls, so, we’re afraid it’s another nice speech to be kept in the records. Job done, at least. Next!

So long Mike

Mike Armstrong was more than the English of Coloane: reclusive, grammar and syntax polisher, proof reader and editor of this house for many years.

Mike was one of those people we could not help but enjoy immediately.  Truthful – and for this very reason sometimes obstinate -, polite, cordial and sensible and so often scathing because political, idealistic even at that stage of life when we know that little influence can have on this gigantic fair of vanities and interests.

Mike was a friend. He was my friend. And that alone shows that he should also be godly and wasteful in some of the friendships he accepted.

Needless to say, knowing that he would leave soon I would force him out of his cave more often to our usual meetings on the back terrace of Macau Golf & Country Club, overlooking the Helen Gardens on Hac Sa Beach where he lived.

This is how it is and we have to accept it. But it hurts, damn it. You were such a valid person. I’ll miss you my friend.