Rear Window | David vs Goliath

Severo Portela

The repeated biblical story of how the underdog David came to beat the mighty Goliath is a good metaphor for improbable victories as well as a good measure of common decency: average good people cheer David, whilst the average bad person roots for Goliath. Pardon the symbolic reference and the over-simplification but the idea is raised to consider the strong possibility that a fully independent Court of First Instance may just fine defendants Sulu Sou and Scott Chiang with a modest monetary penalty rather than a prison sentence as demanded by the Public Prosecutor. Both pro-democracy activists are standing trial for a charge of qualified disobedience and are now in limbo awaiting the verdict scheduled for the May 29. Allegedly, Sulu Sou is the object of four similar cases.

This David versus Goliath is just a metaphor, an allegory, a tool to underline the civil and political circumstances of a directly-elected legislator who came to be stripped of his rights to defend himself.  In a murky procedure in a special session of the Legislative Assembly, a vote was called for the suspension of Sulu Sou’s mandate. This was on grounds of being charged with qualified disobedience by police officers and the Public Prosecutions Office.

Despite the high exposure the case against Sou and Chiang drew since the AL took the road that led to an illegal impeachment for their exercise of freedom of peaceful assembly – albeit deemed otherwise by the security apparatus – reports of both days of the trial make for fascinating reading. One has to wonder in awe over some of the facts duly testified by prosecution witnesses which, in our opinion, would make the case for Sulu: first of all, the scant size of the crowd of demonstrators at 10 to 20, and how those numbers are dwarfed by journalists and police. Secondly, a traffic jam was prevented, and well, by those very authorities. Thirdly, an absurdity we take as dangerously ideological, by the narrative of the situation leading to this case awaiting a verdict, it looks like the police were the community organizers of the march, the rules of which were displayed only on a need-to-know basis. It was not a legal exercise in the right to demonstrate peacefully and be protected by the police authorities. The truth is, the same upside-down rationale looks like paving the way to an electoral regulatory framework which is tough on the freedom of expression and movement and in which we lose sight of…the elections, indeed.

For the record we should recall that the unqualified episode on Nam Van Lake’s Legislative Assembly floor begun under suspicion of being a fishy trick to harass the maverick legislator Sulu Sou. Since day one it has proven to be the real thing, and has developed into a violation of the very house rules whose disregard for which could be used later as a license to abuse the rule of law. Since then we have seen a string of regulatory events of legislative revisionism submerging the MSAR, be it judiciary law, electoral law, assembly and association, freedom of expression, or privacy of communications. It looks like a tidal-wave from which some recent watchers have cried wolf. The fact is, that ´wave´ has a rationale, is logical, has coherence and harmony…and was launched and prepared using violations like the suspension of Sulu Sou and further subtle episodes of erosion of what is known as the second system. You wake up and there is a secondary system.

And some final notes, there is an urgency with which MSAR must move towards an environmentally sound model based upon a sustainable digital economy and an upgraded gaming sector which should emerge from the re-auction of casino concessions. And some trivia from the videogame Tony Lam produced named Fight the Horror: demons and ghosts wandering over Macau.

Categories Opinion