Rear Window | Smear tactics

Severo Portela

Why we are not surprised a jot that the hyper-regulated campaign for the September 17th Legislative Elections could not limit itself to the realm of low politics and just had to switch to profanity and dirty politics. Perhaps we could borrow an explanation from the science of thermodynamics…perhaps!

Lawmakers Song Peng Kei and Pereira Coutinho were taking part in a recorded TDM debate, when, suddenly, and forgive us the dramatic note, the head of List 8 descended into a gutter attack on the veteran New Hope leader. Mrs Song went at Coutinho’s jugular accusing him of being unable or unfit to keep his family affairs in order. There’s no need for the above-mentioned science of thermodynamics to guess the legislator was referring to the fact that Pereira Coutinho’s two sons were jailed in December on suspicion of trafficking cannabis in the MSAR.

Even if Song Peng Kei had merely brandished her colleague’s unfortunate family circumstances, it would have been rather unacceptable. But she went further to diminish Coutinho: “if one cannot handle family affairs, then how can one lead so many people in the whole of society?”

That is to say, she went one step beyond, to the utterly unacceptable antics of guilt by association. Granted, Song Peng Kei did not associate Coutinho with any god forbidden felony… but she went further with a crooked syllogism to demonstrate that Coutinho is unfit to hold position. At this stage, usually, one is obliged to refer to the hanging Pandora’s Box.

First, what will the Electoral Affairs Commission do about Song Peng Kei’s decision to resort to the out-of-bounds personal issues in her smear campaign? Second, what will CAEAL do if this episode develops into a copy-cat wave of debasement of candidates?

One just has to wonder how many situations could be addressed through Song Peng Kei’s antics!

Seasoned legislator Pereira Coutinho took it upon himself to readily handle the episode by labelling Song’s performance as reminiscent of the Cultural Revolution “where three generations have to be held accountable for (a crime)?” This is a peculiar tool for high political purposes, not for the stock of low politics involved here… late Lu Ping called the last Hong Kong colonial governor Chris Patten a “sinner for a thousand years”. The rest is history.

Coutinho knows all too well how to sail through the fishy waters of local politics. Step by step, that is to say vote by vote, the number one on the New Hope ticket fights for a doable agenda and the non-doable agenda. The former refers to social services and welfare, and the latter the trade union law and related legislation. More than this… Coutinho keenly feels the zeitgeist of the replacement for non-welcome democratic development with the non-developing political system.

How was Coutinho to overcome the unwritten taboo on democracy in general and at the same time be at ease with himself as a candidate to the Legislative Assembly? That is simply by saying that the legislative body is supposed to pass laws and examine the work of the executive branch.

Probably facing the same dilemma, Civic Watch’s Agnes Lam when questioned by MDT candidly replied: we have to have one seat.

P.S. One final note about the ordeal the New Macau Association is living in the virtual world. NMA has been assaulted online by rumors, allegations, false stories, and fake news. Interim departed pro-democracy powerhouse Jason Chao was wise and prophetic when he warned about “big data”. Watch out for legislation to be put into place because of the Hato disaster!

Categories Macau Opinion