“…I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election if I win.” (Donald Trump, October 20, 2016)

Many people say this was Donald Trump mocking his critics after he repeatedly claimed the election is rigged against him.

Then again, maybe he’s not trying to mock anyone. Was he simply speaking his mind, that he should win, he will win and he’s invincible?

That could also mean a few other things. He’s afraid to lose? He doesn’t want to lose? He will be in denial if or when he loses? He doesn’t want to carry the loser tag with him for the rest of his life?

By now, most people realize Trump is more an attention-grabber than a politician (not that they’re mutually exclusive). They say his real aim, at least in the beginning, was to promote his own brand and business empire, and be his own best publicist. But now that he has gone this far, he has to keep going, and along the way he actually starts to think he will pull the thing off. And if he’s really running, he can’t lose, right?

Everyone loves to win. Winning brings power, prestige, money and goodies. Winners dominate history; losers become a footnote, at best. As the late owner and coach of the Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders of the NFL Al Davis put it, “Just win, baby.” He spun it by emphasizing his “Commitment to Excellence.” That means winning at all cost, and by any means necessary.

Losing is out of the question – it’s simply not tolerated.

But no one can guarantee they win. Unless they’re in control of everything. And I mean everything.

The Communist Party in China is as close to that as anyone else. It controls the government, the legislature, the courts, the media, you name it. Never mind the separation of powers among the executive, legislative and judicial branches, never mind the Fourth Estate. Instead of monitoring one another, all four serve one master – the party. Next time you read about a government “policy,” a “vote” in the National People’s Congress, a “verdict” in a courtroom or a “story” in the media, you know they’re pretty much the same thing.

In Hong Kong, you have all this talk about the importance of an “executive-led government.” The government makes the decisions, and the legislature, the courts and everyone else are supposed to support or complement it. They say this is efficient and improves governance. For me that’s just power and control.

In the recent oath-taking controversy in Hong Kong on whether a number of localists who Beijing doesn’t like should have a second chance to be sworn in as legislators, you have all these pro-Beijing talking heads saying separation of powers doesn’t really exist in Hong Kong, that the government is not overstepping its powers by asking the court to decide whether the localists should be kicked out of the legislature. Of course they’re toeing Beijing’s line. Or maybe they’re speaking the inconvenient truth. There’s no separation of powers in China, so why should it exist in Hong Kong? And so much the better if it doesn’t. Let’s blame all these “foreign democratic” ideas for our problems.

Ay, there’s the rub. If the case is heard in a Chinese court, the government will have its way for sure. And even though many people say the Chinese government is tightening its grip on Hong Kong, every now and then a court here would make a decision that goes against the government. No sure win here.

Here’s a line made famous in Hong Kong by a PSA against domestic violence. “Win an argument, lose the family. Is it worth it?”

Good luck trying to tell Messrs Trump and Davis and the Communist Party to start learning how to lose.

First Editor: Olivia Yang
Second Editor: J. Michael Cole