The 2016-17 Budget
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Concluding Remarks

173.    Mr President, I set up a Facebook account on the eve of the last Budget Speech, hoping that its contents could be presented to the wider community through a channel that was popular among young people in order to help broaden and rejuvenate my communication with the public.  Social media enables me from another perspective to observe people's daily lives and to hear their voices, including messages that cannot be accessed through traditional media and views that have not been captured by the mainstream.  In the past year, I have gained a much deeper appreciation for the current state of play.

174.    I believe that many of you would share my feeling that tension and turbulence are mounting in Hong Kong.  Many of us feel suffocated by and, indeed, helpless with the tiresome confrontations day in and day out.  This highly charged atmosphere has continued to deteriorate since the unlawful occupy movement a year and a half ago, even after the defeat of the constitutional reform package.  Confrontations have not eased, and worse still, our society has become even more polarised.  Political disputes are spreading both inside and outside the Council Chambers, setting off a spiral of intensifying struggle between rival factions.  Calm and rational discussions no longer have a place in this Council.  There is not even room for dialogue in our society.

175.    As a member of the Hong Kong community, I am deeply troubled by the current situation.  What we are facing today is the result of a raft of intricately-related factors.  We need to look squarely at these factors in resolving the differences and, more importantly, we need to have the determination to resolve these conflicts.  If we should allow the situation to get worse, what lies in store for Hong Kong will be even greater chaos, and our future generations will grow up in the midst of hatred and malice.

176.    A statesman once said, "Our problems are man-made, therefore they can be solved by man."  For the problems of Hong Kong, they cannot be solved by anyone else except ourselves.  As long as everyone is willing to set aside short-term political considerations in favour of the long-term overall interests of Hong Kong, we shall have a chance to return to rationality.  It is a long journey.  We must be patient and persevere in helping our community to heal, one step at a time.

177.    The road trodden by the people of Hong Kong has been thorny and winding.  Our journey has been fraught with wars, poverty, epidemics, economic recessions and financial crises.  In spite of all these scourges and storms, we have always been able to find a way out; and the experience gained over the years has enabled our economy to progress, our system to become more refined, and our society more diverse.

178.    Looking back on the road that we have travelled, I believe we have both the ability and the wisdom to cope with the problems that we are facing today.  I also believe that one day we can break the deadlock.  When the storms are over, we shall cherish all the more the harmonious and cohesive society that we have restored.

179.    Last year, throughout their World Cup qualifying campaign, the Hong Kong team and their fans had never for a second lost hope in the face of strong competition.  I remember clearly the evening match against Qatar.  Although falling behind by three goals, our team and their fans remained united, and persisted to mount a comeback scoring two goals in the final five minutes.  We lost the match, but the never-say-die spirit that they exhibited won the hearts of our city.  To Hong Kong, this very match has taken on a significance beyond victory and defeat.  It has led me to believe that, with our love for Hong Kong, we are able to overcome any challenge ahead of us, no matter how difficult it is.

180.    Thank you, Mr President.


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