Insight | Post-election card from a concerned resident

Paulo Barbosa

Dear Mr. Chairman,

I would like to commend you for the massive work undertaken by the commission that you wisely head, in order to ensure the fairness of the legislative election. However, I take the liberty of making some proposals in order to magnify the efficiency of the electoral affairs department.

Your Excellency raised the issue of the pre-campaign interviews, which really was a nuisance. We don’t want our innocent electors to get influenced and the candidates must not take advantage of their financial resources to stain a permeable media landscape. Perhaps there is the need to be harsher to those who fail to grasp the reach of your sagaciousness. Besides the Official Gazette and similar publications, why not order the suspension of local newspapers, in tandem with a radio and TV blackout? At first sight, this may seem like hindering the freedom of speech protected by our irreproachable Basic Law. That is a wrong judgment, because in fact the measure would protect the concerned citizens’ basic rights. And people watch too much TV anyway, hence putting a stop to that is only healthy.

Given that the display of numbers close to polling stations may affect the voters’ will, you reasonably decided that those numbers should be covered. But that alone won’t do. Buses, on the day of elections, should have letters instead of numbers and the polling stations should not be numbered. In sport games, player’s shirts without numbers would avoid any malicious influence.

Last but not the least, my most forward-thinking proposal reflects the need to consider the abolition of the electoral campaign. This is a sensitive measure, given that the Macau residents by now have become used to the habit of elections and electoral campaigns. And, your Excellency, you know as well as I do how it is hard to break a habit. To exemplify, I prefer not to think what would happen if, tomorrow, our Chief Executive declares that there are no more cash handouts…

Anyway, this is not such a drastic measure, although I suppose it needs to go through some public consultation stages before it would be implemented around mid-century. And what is the reasoning behind this suggestion, your eminency rightfully asks. Well, the way I see it is simple: Campaigns are simply not honest. Therefore, the regulation you sagaciously implemented in our MSAR during the pre-campaign should be extended to the campaign period. Any message or information designed to encourage voters – in an explicit or implicit way – to vote or not vote for a particular candidate should be prohibited.

I’m an apologist of Max Groucho’s saying: “I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member.” That is the honest way for any man or woman to conduct themselves. It takes a lot of chutzpah for someone to ask for a vote in… himself. And so I say: Let’s shut down this vaudevillian act and go back to the good old mandarinic ways. Like it always has been around here, let the wise sifu pick the right persons to govern the fabulous city of Macau.

As your Excellency gathered by now, ideas are something I’m not short of, so I hereby propose myself to be a member of one of the think tanks which scientifically advise you and others at the top level, provided it is appropriately remunerated, because I have a family to feed, including a dog and a parrot (you know the story).

Notwithstanding, I leave one last piece of free advice: If the above-mentioned arrangement doesn’t work, I would offer my services to help with setting up a patriotic front as a way to vet possible candidates. Henceforward, the only acceptable candidates would need to belong to this benevolent front, which would bring winds of development to our floating-casino/SAR – instead of typhoon winds, so to speak.

Yours truly,

A concerned resident

Categories Opinion