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Liberal democracy not a panacea for all of HK's woes

I hope readers will not be misled into thinking that the people of Hong Kong enjoyed greater freedom prior to the 1997 handover than they do now (Too soon for HK people to fully embrace 'one country, two systems', by Mr Teo Kueh Liang; July 16).

Britain ruled Hong Kong for 155 years, but during that time, the city did not have a representative government or universal suffrage that some quarters are pushing for right now.

Its way of life has largely remained intact since 1997, with people enjoying great autonomy and freedom relative to their mainland counterparts.

Why did it awaken to the need for universal suffrage only now, when it had 155 years to do so?

It is perhaps the reversal of fortune that is most disconcerting to some.

Colonial Hong Kong enjoyed great economic prosperity relative to a backward China.

Now, China has innovated and grown, but Hong Kong's economy has remained largely the same, with emphasis on property, finance and retail services.

Low economic growth, limited job prospects and unaffordable housing have hit the post-handover generation the most, and it is this group that is mesmerised by the "rosy" colonial era.

Low economic growth, limited job prospects and unaffordable housing have hit the post-handover generation the most, and it is this group that is mesmerised by the "rosy" colonial era.

Liberal democracy will not be a panacea for all its ills.

Hong Kong should not exacerbate its woes by dissociating itself from the larger markets up north.

Ideology, advanced by a minority of pan-democrats, does not address the livelihood concerns of ordinary people.

Aligning Hong Kong within the ambit of "one country, two systems" is what will ensure its relevance.

Lee Teck Chuan

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 30, 2017, with the headline 'Liberal democracy not a panacea for all of HK's woes'. Print Edition | Subscribe