Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Wing Wing: Abuser of Power Got Abused

Abuser of Power Got Abused
Translated by NA, J. Wong, Vivian L., Edited by Vivian L., Written by 翼雙飛 (Wing Wing)
Original: http://www.passiontimes.hk/article/09-29-2014/19033

(Photo credit: Passiontimes)

Under British rule, one of the greatest benefits Hong Kong had gained is the culture of working in accordance with rules and regulations. The British understood that men are weak and selfish in nature. Once they are empowered with authorities without restriction by rules, they will corrupt. It is impractical to expect men to exercise restraint and act on conscience and moral conduct without a comprehensive system for regulations. Readers can look no farther than China, a country with practically no working social system to restrict its people. The Chinese corrupt, abuse power and walk in by the back door. Had Hong Kong not been a British colony, our society might just suffer a similar fate.

To ensure police can execute their duties, policemen are authorised with more power than ordinary citizens. For one thing, they have the authority to check the identities of passers-by.  To avoid abuse of power abuse, the discipline and behaviour of policemen both on- and off-duty are monitored by the Law of Hong Kong and the Police General Orders set up by the Hong Kong Police Force. Offenders are liable to disciplinary actions.

As far as the legal regulations on the use of police power and on the execution of police duties are strictly followed, not only could police officers protect themselves amidst turmoil in the political environment, no one could question their authority. 否則,警隊就會把自己置於危牆之下。

According to information circling around the internet, "The Use of Force" stipulated under Chapter 29 of Police General Orders (PGOs)According to information circling around the internet, "The Use of Force" stipulated under Chapter 29 of Police General Orders (PGOs) [Translator's note: Some PGOs are inaccessible to the public, Chapter 29 is one of them] are as follows:

1. Police officers (POs) should exercise self-discipline and restraint when in contact with citizens.  Force should not be used unless there is an absolute need or when there is no any other alternative to complete the task legally.

2. Before using any force, a PO shall make clear to the subject of said force his identity and, whenever the circumstances allow, give a warning, and indicate the kind and level of force to be used.  Within the scope of practicality, it should be made possible for the subject to comply with the order of the police before any force is used.

3. The use of force must not be more than what is necessary for its aim(s); such force must no longer be used after achieving the aim(s); any force used must be reasonable in the circumstances.

Footages on the internet and the news show numerous occasions where police used force against protesters. Viewers will also take note of the types and uses of weapons employed by the police (batons, shields, pepper spray and tear gas), and decide for themselves whether or not such "force" is in accordance with Chapter 29 of the PGO above.

In light of loud outcries from the public condemning police brutality, Executive Councillor Fanny Law went with the flow and pointed her finger at the police. "The way the officers have dealt with the situation is the source of public anger. The police owe an explanation to the Executive Council," Law said in a radio interview, effectively clearing the government of any responsibility.

Speaking on behalf of the police, Assistant Commissioner of Police (Operations) Cheung Tak-keung denied responsibility on the part of the government and the senior officials. Cheung stressed to reporters that under any circumstances, use of force by the police is on direct orders of the commanding officers at the scene. I wonder what those officers say to that. I wonder if they will be able to quote a relevant law for every single order they have ever given to excuse themselves from responsibility.

A famous Chinese proverb goes like this, "When the crafty hares are exterminated, the hunting dogs will be cooked; When the partridges are gone, the fine bows will be put away."  In the bid to hunt down the crafty hares in the protesters, the police are at the disposal of Leung's government as hunting dogs. Now that the crafty hares are still out and about, isn't it a bit soon to dispose of the loyal hunting dogs?

Monday, 29 September 2014

[Undergrad/HKUSU] Letter to All Hongkongers from Undergrad, HKUSU (3)

Letter from Undergrad, HKUSU to All Hongkongers (3)
Translated by Quenthai, Edited by Vivian L., Written by 香港大學學生會學苑 (Undergrad, H.K.U.S.U.)
Original: https://www.facebook.com/undgrad/posts/260204060770639




(Original Chinese text follows the English translation)

Today, we witnessed with our own eyes a dozen Hongkongers locked hands to form a human chain on their own accord, occupying Harcourt Road. The move sparked others to occupy the busy hubs of Admiralty, Central, and Wanchai. Crowd of determined Hongkongers continued to pour in, surrounding the Central Government Offices. The support in the student movement we receive are truly heartwarming. We are proud of these heroes of Hong Kong.

Yet, the SAR government ignores the people's will. Riot police with guns and tear gas were deployed to tackle peaceful protesters, whom must have been akin to terrorists in the government's eye. Officers, you have been misled and manipulated. Please see with your very eyes: we are peaceful protesters, not a threat; we are only here to defend the democracy and freedom of our home.

This is a historic moment for Hong Kong. Hope is upon us. Officers, we are neither your enemies nor are you ours. We are both Hongkongers. We implore you to see how our home has been deteriorating. What we are doing now is to try our best to reverse the damage. We strive to give all Hongkongers a better Hong Kong.

Officers, for the sake of Hong Kong, and for your next generation, please join our strike and stop serving the authoritarian regime. Come and join us, be heroes of the people, don't be accomplices of tyranny.

Our fellow Hongkongers, the world is watching. What happened today will be recorded in history. We are not weak, nor are we apathetic. Students have already sacrificed so much for Hong Kong. We urge every Hongkonger fight this battle with non-cooperation, students, teachers, labour and market strikes, until democracy makes its triumphant return!

29 September 2014


〈香港大學學生會學苑告全港市民書(三)〉

今天,我們親眼目睹十多個香港市民自發拉成人鏈,佔領夏慤道,激起群眾奮起佔領金鐘、中環、灣仔等重要的交通樞紐,反包圍政總,支援學生運動,實在是香港歷史的偉大英雄。

然而,港共政權無視民情,出動防暴隊,手執長槍,亂發催淚彈,把和平示威者視為恐怖分子。警察們,你們都被港共政權利用了,睜大你們的眼睛,我們只是和平示威者,只是在爭取香港的民主自由。

香港的歷史時刻到了,希望來臨。警察們,我們絕不是你們的敵人,你們也不是我們的敵人,但我們都是香港人。你們有眼看見香港正逐漸淪喪崩壞,我們現在所作的,只是想力挽狂瀾,讓全香港人活在一個更好的香港。

警察們,為了香港,為了你們的下一代,請你們立即罷工,拒絕為極權服務,轉而站在香港人的一方,當人民英雄,不做極權走狗!

香港人,今天發生的事全世界也在看著,歷史亦會記下。香港人不是軟弱的,不是麻木的。學生為香港犧牲了,香港人也要全面發動不合作運動,罷課、罷教、罷工、罷市,直到民主凱旋歸來!

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Wing Wing: HKers, Allow Me to Say Thank You!

HKers, Allow Me to Say Thank You!
Translated by Chen-t'ang 鎮棠, Written by 翼雙飛 (Wing Wing)
Original: http://www.vjmedia.com.hk/articles/2014/09/27/86316 


Rocky Yung 攝
Photographer: Rocky Yung@VJMedia
After days of class boycott, Leung Chun-ying still refuses talking to students (Who do he think he is? Even Jiang Zemin met the students).
Honorable students and citizens finally entered the Civic Square, which has been blocked by the government.

Thank you to those who entered the Square bravely. The reason goes without saying: You ment the fold of laziness and ignorance of the last generation, and I respect that solemnly.
Thank you to those who came to support in the midnight. I once had a bad impression for HK protesters being to squeamish and polite. Sing songs, clap hands and go home.
But this time, I have changed my mind. Policemen treated you as if you are cockroaches, spraying pepper spray without warning - but you are still protesting determinedly.
You raised your hands and let media see who are using violence; you used barricades to confront the police; you threw open umbrellas on the footbridge and protect demonstrators from pepper spray.
You let me see there are lot more possibilities for Hongkongers.

Thank you to those civil reporters, including those from online media and zest citizens. You showed the reality, instead of the biased reports from big TV channels and pro-government newspapers.
Thank you to those who cannot go in person, but use their time to share latest updates of the scene. You make people know how to get there, what to bring, and people are willing to buy supplies and pay the truck fare. These are logistics and support, and are important roles.

For those who slept early last (26th) night and did not know this instantly, but keep eyes on the society and op-eds, participate in government consultation and support students, thank you too.
If what happened last (26th) night is the seed, you are the mud. Without you, the civil disobedience could not germinate.

Thank you, Joshua Wong and Willis Ho. You asked protesters entering the Civic Square at your own risks.
You are both arrested, with Joshua being charged on Assault on Police Officers. How outrageous!

I can foresee there will be distorted "news", condemnation, or taunting. Please don't be afraid, you have to remember, they are many people standing by your side.

Masters of Hong Kong, thank you very much.

Monday, 22 September 2014

[Undergrad/HKUSU] China is Nobody's Master: Ming Chan

China is Nobody's Master
Translated by Vivian L., Written by 陳雅明 (Ming Chan)
Original: http://www.vjmedia.com.hk/articles/2014/09/17/85319



Don't despair,
not even over the fact that you don't despair.
Just when everything seems over with, new forces come marching up,
and precisely that means that you are alive.
 Franz Kafka, Diaries of Franz Kafka

On the last day of August 2014, we were all jolted awake from a daze of stress and anxiety. Life was as usual, but a shadow loomed large in the sky. On a closer look, people had turned into hideously large bugs. Distraught with despair, they hid in the shadows waiting for life to trickle away. Such is the despair I had felt on that day, not unlike the imagery in Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis.

This is an era of hope and of despair. So much is about to happen, a historic revolution is upon usyet nothing is going to happen, or so it seems. We had hoped that one day, we would wake up to a different Hong Kong where we could enjoy real freedom; we had hoped that one day, we would gather in the Civic Square [Translator's note: The area in front of the Central Government Offices was dubbed civic square by student activists after the national education protest in 2012. The government calls it the Forecourt of East Wing.] to celebrate the triumph of democracy; we had hoped that we Hongkongers could decide our own fate. Yet the world does not go without a fair share of absurdityin a world dictated by an oppressive regime, no less. Any effort to resist oppression would be rendered minute and inconsequential. The clear-headed knows what needs to be done but having their hands tightly tied, they swallow their pride. The indifferent continues life in blissful ignorance, albeit only deceptively, existing rather than living. In a world such as this, how may Hongkongers imagine a future for themselves?

It would seem the chronicles of Hong Kong is nearing its end. Will Hong Kong's narrative, which started as a small village in 1842, end in 2047 when China's promise of one country, two systems ceases?  From a small fishing village to an international metropolis, Hong Kong has been proven an extraordinary example of a modern society. Will our generation see Hong Kong stoops to an ordinary city of the People's Republic? Will the Pearl of the Orient turn to dust in our hands? After WWII, the surge of immigrants who took refuge in Hong Kong's safety and stability had given the city an abundant supply of new blood. Born and raised in Hong Kong, they were the first generation of Hong Kong natives who planted their roots here and called the city their only homea home that they strived to change for the better. Since the 1970s, the younger generation of Hongkongers had ditched the refugee mentality of their parents' generation. They began thinking about Hong Kong's future: they participated in social movement and demanded political reforms under colonial rule while Hong Kong as a civil society began to take shape. From 1980 onwards, democracy became a common cause for Hongkongers both young and old.

However, as talks of Hong Kong's future ensued between Britain and China, 1980s was also a time when many in the pro-democracy camp misled Hong Kong into the path of democratic return of sovereignty where the fate of Hong Kong was believed to be in lockstep with that of Chinano democracy for Hong Kong without a democratic China. Blinded by the unification of Greater China ideology, they mistrusted Beijing and hailed the one country, two systems policy as the utopian ideal for a self-ruling Hong Kong, only to have 30 years wasted on a fruitless journey. When Beijing blew the introduction of direct elections in the 1988 Legislative Council election, leaders of the democratic movement should have known democratisation did not sit well with the Chinese government. When the tragedy struck at Tiananmen Square in 1989, they, of all people, should have realised such a brutal regime that had the blood of innocent students' on its hands was not to be trusted. In dire circumstances, one may find it plausible to trust a woman of the street. Yet in absolutely no circumstances should one put his trust in the Chinese communists. After all this time, some who used to promote the democratic return ideology now accused Beijing of ditching democratisation promise. It is but a futile effort. A look at the Chinese communist party history would tell anyone that the jockey for power among party leaders almost always comes in the expense of ordinary people. Those who were naive enough to advocate a democratic return were but obliging pawns in China's connivance.

If the democratic return advocates have a change of heart now, they are either incredibly stupid or incredibly good at self-deception. In fact, it is not 'stupid' that can describe their bewildering action. They are simply contented with limited democratisation within the current systems where they now benefit. Their passion for a democratic Hong Kong was quenched by the paltry concession they have gained over the years of fighting for democracy they no longer believe in. Now that China has irrevocably ruled out a true democracy, Hongkongers must wipe away our despair with utmost clarity: democratic return is no longer an option; we must declare its utter failure and reject the notion altogether. The majority of the young proponents of democratic return idea back then have become veterans of the pan-democratic camp now. Although we have little hope of these old-timers having the ambitions they once had, we wish they could do as Confucius had taught, In his old age, ... he should abstain from acquisitiveness. Precious time has been wasted on the democratic return bull-crap. If politicians cave in to acquisitiveness and allow the phoney universal suffrage proposal to be passed for whatever interests in exchange, history will remember them as the culprits who ruined Hong Kong's democratic process. When the election plan tailored to Beijing's taste get vetoed, Hongkongers would be happy to see them pack up all their democratic return nonsense and make way for newcomers. Their times have passed. So long and good riddance!

Right now, we need to fend off all passive pessimism and blind optimism. We need to assess the current situation and review our history. Nobel laureate Albert Camus said in his Nobel prize in Literature 1957 Banquet Speech, Each generation doubtless feels called upon to reform the world. Mine knows that it will not reform it, but its task is perhaps even greater. It consists in preventing the world from destroying itself.

We need not follow the footsteps of our previous generation on our road to a democratic Hong Kong. Rather, it is our tasks to seek a new way and shoulder new responsibilities. No one knows whether the history of Hong Kong will end in the year 2047, but the duty to prevent our beloved city from destruction lies in our generation. Democracy is more than the pursuit of universal values, or an extra line of protection. The quest for democracy matters to the lives and future of generations of Hongkongers to come.

In 1982, China announced it will take back the sovereignty of Hong Kong in 1997. At the time, Hongkongers overwhelmingly opposed to the handover. But then Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping cooked up an alternative reality where the people of Hong Kong desired unification with China. China also objected Britain's idea of Hong Kong as a three-legged stool and the proposal to include the people of Hong Kong in deciding its future, demeaning Hongkongers at every turn. 1984, the year of the signing of the unequal treaty Sino-British Joint Declaration, is arguably the most disgracing year in the history of Hong Kong. 2014, 30 years after the joint declaration, Beijing is attempting to demean Hongkongers one more time by forcing a phony universal suffrage proposal upon us. For 30 years, Hongkongers have suffered enough absurdity and humiliation from Beijing. From this day on, Hongkongers shall stand to defend themselves. Even we may not get back the democracy and freedom we so well deserve, we must rise and fend for our dignity. We must reject this Beijing scheme to control our future. Any legislator who gives the green light to Beijing's proposal is an enemy of Hong Kong. They will be condemned for years to come.

Some in the pro-establishment camp argued that Beijing's decision is final and irreversible, and for the sake of the whole society, we should accept the proposal. These people have been far too comfortable being flunkies of Beijing for too long. Beijing is a god to them. Beijing's decision is the truth above all else.

The same goes for the advocates of democratic return and the occupy Central leaders. All of their assertions have been made on the premise that Beijing's authority is not to be challenged. No wonder democratic movement has long been plagued with persistent irresolution and aimless manoeuvring, which would only result in, at last, the whole campaign going to ruin.

Compared to Beijing's denial of a free election, we are more disappointed with the occupy Central movement headed by Benny Tai and Co.  We are not disappointed with Beijing's ruling because we never held expectation. But with the occupiers, we are fraught with disappointment because we have had high hopes for the occupy movement.

Only days after China decided to curb free elections in Hong Kong's next leadership election, Benny Tai has backed down from his enthusiasm in the civil disobedience movement. Conceding failure before even trying to fight, Tai declared in an interview that the occupy movement would be unable to alter political reality.

The demise of the occupy movement may have dashed our hopes and exacerbate the grim outlook ahead of us, but it accentuated that any future rebellion adopting the occupiers' kind of peacefulness will be in vain. It also showed us how the democratic return proponents, Occupy Central trio all fall to their knees before Beijing  just as the pro-Beijing flunkies do  like a slave worships his master. It is ludicrous how one can claim to be pro-democracy on one hand and practises slavery on the other. It is like having a person who has no personal integrity nor the ability to determine what's best for himself and others clamouring for democracy. It's just wrong. China seems overbearing and formidable, not because it is a nation of stature, but because many have fallen to their knees.

Now, the democratic movement in Hong Kong lacks focus as the occupy campaign withers away and successors have yet to gather momentum.  Right now, Hong Kong needs a new direction. The democratic return ideology ought to make way for the Hong Kong democratic independence movement. It is a concoction of Hongkongers' longing for democracy and the demand for independence. During their fight for democracy through the years, the democratic return advocates rarely had a vision for an independent Hong Kong. They had pushed for decolonisation but never independence. Instead, they had relied on a totalitarian regime that is China to realise its promise to give Hong Kong democracy. This is downright absurdity. It is an absurdity called one country, two systems. The Hong Kong democratic independence movement declares that China is no master of Hong Kong. Hong Kong deserves the right to determine its own fate. In the face of absurdity, we choose not flight nor surrender. Camus believed that continuing to resist absurdity for as long as one shall live is the only way to freedom.

There was once a story that goes like this:
A primary one student asks his grandfather, The teacher handed us each a red scarf to wear today. She said the red scarves were made of blood. She told us to cherish it. But why does it only cost 50 cents to buy one in the store? His grandfather answers, Your teacher said so because the Party had said so. You say such things to survive. But no matter, in a month, you and your parents will move to Hong Kong and then you will be free.

1949 marked the point when Hong Kong and China went separate ways. During the Cold War, it was for freedom that countless Germans from East Germany risked their lives to climb over the Berlin Wall into West Berlin. It has been for freedom that Chinese from north of the border have crossed Shenzhen River into Hong Kong. Here, we refuse lies and speak the truth. Here, we can live with dignity. Now, our city has come to a pivotal moment. We cannot let our home go to pot. If we fail now, we fail the futurethe future that belongs to the children of our time.

At the end of Kafka's Metamorphosis, Gregor, the protagonist who has transformed into a large bug, dies. Despite his condition and the great despair it brings him, Gregor has struggled to live as he finds solace in his family. But eventually, his family grows so disgusted of him that they abandon him. His sister ends up resenting her brother and calls him a monster. Gregor has died of abandonment. Hong Kong may be more like Gregor than any one of us.



Ming Chan
Assistant Editor-in-chief, Undergrad, HKUSU

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Wing Wing: "Flunkies of British" and "Noble Chinese Citizens"

"Flunkies of British" and "Noble Chinese Citizens"
Translated by Chen-t'ang 鎮棠, Edited by Vivian L., Written by 翼雙飛 (Wing Wing)
Original: http://www.passiontimes.hk/article/09-18-2014/18844 

(Photo: PassionTimes)

A few days ago, I saw a piece of news on CableTV: There is a shortage of regular ambulances in China, so there are many "illegal ambulances" sending patients to the hospital. These ambulances are owned by private operators, and passengers have to call them and PAY for their service. By saying "sending", I mean, these ambulances are merely metal boxes on four wheels with hardly any life-saving equipment. It also reported a deadly incident where the gas pipe of an "illegal ambulance" was broken, leaking carbon monoxide and killing all four passengers on board.

Many Chinese often say, "We China have stood up!", and criticise HKers: "You don't see yourselves as Chinese, but often mention Britain and so on... Haha! You are all flunkies of British people!" True indeed? We "flunkies" enjoyed one of the best ambulance service in the world under British rule. We do not need to bribe ambulancemen before using an ambulance. Patients would not have their oxygen pipes removed and be kicked out of the hospital if they could not afford the fees. We do not need to pay "red packets" to doctors and nurses before having doctors' and nurses' care.

True, before 1997, the British were somewhat privileged, but they also satisfied the basic needs of grassroots. Hawker centre, Dai-pai-dongs (cooked-food stalls), and shopping centres in housing estates used to sell food and daily necessities at affordable prices. Those public facilities were also places where grassroots gathered. Public housing estates built in the colonial era had sufficient spaces, adequate ventilation and good daylight-capturing, making homes comfy. Since the 1970s, six years of free education had started in HK, and was expanded to nine years in 1980s. No matter how poor you are, as long as you excel in school, there are all sorts of public funds, subsides and scholarships to help you along. Eventually you can be successful.

Even the rights of poorest people among the "flunkies of British people" were respected. With the living environment and basic needs were well cared for, people could move upward and be socially mobile. But what about these "Noble Chinese Citizens"? They have to bribe their way to an ambulance when their lives are in jeopardy; rich people cannot get hold of safe infant formula in China for their young; those who protect their homes will be ran over by bulldozers because they are "obstacles to development".

Whatever names they have for us, be it "flunkies", "dogs", or "bastards" -- a fact is still a fact: who would rather be a "Noble Chinese Citizen" if they can choose on their own?

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Wing Wing: Not Emulating Virtues nor Introspecting Oneself

Not Emulating Virtues nor Introspecting Oneself
Translated by Chen-t'ang 鎮棠, Edited by Karen L., Written by 翼雙飛 (Wing Wing)
Original: http://www.passiontimes.hk/article/09-12-2014/18788 


(Photo Source: Steve Harris via flickr)

Steven, a Shanghainese, went to Sydney, Australia to start his café this year earlier, and recently posted a hiring ad for barista on newspaper. Nilson, a Australian citizen who has lived in Sydney for 9 years, went to apply. Steven said he would not hire Nilson given the fact that Nilson is black.

Followed by media's spread, Australians started to boycott this café. There were some other friendly bosses who invited Nilson to work for them. It is learnt that the Fair Work Ombudsman's investigation is underway right now. And Steven's business was suspended a week later that incident.

I once wrote about this incident (translator's note: attached is the translated version for English readers). This article received a comment below that catches my attention:

"Weird enough. It seems like there's no Chinese be discriminated ever. Why is it a problem when Steven doesn't want to hire someone black? He is a boss. Surely he has to think for his business. As long as he doesn't disclose his opinion, it's fine. Overseas Chinese are often being discriminated, yet who pays attention?" (Translator's note: The source text is in Simplified Chinese)

Confucius once said this: "seeing a man of virtue, I try hard to become his equal; seeing a man without virtue, I examine myself to have not the same evil in me." In other words, we should improve ourselves and learn from good role models, rather being tainted in terms of bad habits and attitudes.

However this reader applied Confucius's words upside down as "seeing a man without virtue, I try to become his equal; seeing a man with virtue, I examine not".

For the first half of the altered version, proof is as such: the phenomenon that "overseas Chinese are often being discriminated" is certainly not a delighted issue, whereas he stands, in the point that "People do bad things. It's reasonable enough for me to act the same". Exactly the opposite of Confucius's moral philosophy as I mentioned earlier.

He then added, "what's wrong of Steven for not willing to hire black people? It's a must for a boss to value one's own business." As I mentioned there were café owners inviting Nilson to work there, I can't help but wonder if there's one and only one café in Australia and solely Steven alone as a boss in the whole nation to that reader's world view. Seeing no discrimination from others to Nilson, this reader rather made up an alibi for that Steven to justify what he have done, but not reflect upon his own attitude towards the issue. Above, it fills also the blank of proof of the second half.

Where does this reader come from? I mean, if one learns from the culture of his/her own country.

Imagine if the logic in argument exists as a normality in his nation, that land must have been hell. Elaboration will be that the more the nationals get exposed to other nation's unhealthy behaviours and attitudes, the higher the chance they will imitate them, while the good ones to them, fairly or even exceptionally, won't inspire a slight introspection, let alone to be treated as moral study object. Eventually, followed the plot, it's inevitable for the story to lead a complete dark page filled with despicable means. By that time, kindness and righteousness, what we regard as good qualities one should possess, can never be found from a single person.

Atsuna: Parents Pamper Children to Become Big Spenders

Parents Pamper Children to Become Big Spenders 
Translated by Nathaniel Suen, Written by 假啞港女 (Atsuna)
Original: http://www.passiontimes.hk/article/06-01-2014/15774 


(The Headliner, 15 December 2010)

Children in Hong Kong are reported to have spent over a thousand dollars on cosmetics upon successive trips to Taiwan and Korea per month, endorsed by parents’ expensive pocket money allowance.

He who distributed iPhones to schoolmates for the sake of being honoured in name is a teenager from Tai Po; she who visited Taiwan and Korea seven times in nine months just to see her favourite pop star is a secondary schooler from Kwun Tong; she who spends a thousand dollars on make-ups monthly is another secondary school student from Kwai Fong … The phenomenal emergence of young spenders worries social workers for adolescents’ poor ability to manage themselves financially, for which indulgent parents should be accounted.



"Daddy has promised me a pocket money of ten thousand dollars if I am admitted to the Diocesan Boys’ School. I can get an iPad for myself that way," a kindergartener told me.


In a society where toddlers are busier on their tutorials than adults working for their jobs, this is no news to me. Even so, as I noticed he endured the arduous study for the sake of getting an Apple producer despite his fatigue, I realised it was just one amongst all those "free-spending fledglings" revealing himself, whose life is extravagant but empty.

It has been reported earlier that a primary six schoolgirl in Hong Kong committed suicide pressurised by academic expectations. While some may impute the cause of this tragedy to Hong Kong kids' poor resilience, I would say that they are no difference to us, Hong Kong adults – the kids and we all work our fingers to the bone to earn living. Leisure time to play games on an iPhone is their equivalent of our salary. We, on the other hand, might have inherited exploitative genes from our bosses to assign tasks unceasingly to our children.

Overindulgence by parents is not the culprit of the phenomenal "Hong Kong kids" problem because this alone is inadequate to cause the predicament. The average weekly working hours of Hong Kong employees far exceeds 40 hours, which is the recommendation by the International Labour Organisation – Hong Kong kids' is no milder case. They do not need self-care and self-respect since they fully understand the act of making endeavours studying and can trade themselves attendance and respect.

Japanese writer Uchida Tatsuru had provided an insight to why teenagers in his country have poor academic attainment in his work Karyū shikō (The Orientation to Go Downstream). He wrote:
A contemporary society shaped by economic mechanism has predominant consequences in the development of children. They started their process of identity construction in the context of convenient stores, which means "consumer" is the first identity constructed. This results in a kind of "consumption behaviour" in learning, which intertwines cost with return. This consumerist perceptual pattern in learning has weakened the children's moral values and led to the idea that education is useless, as its values are hard to be seen. (Uchida, 2007)

If Uchida's logic applies, we shall see Hong Kong kids being as endeavouring as their parents, who possessed the "below-the-Lion-Rock" mentality, because "labour" should have been the first identity constructed. However in reality, the return for children’s labour is dollar bills in lieu of compliments and encouragement as it used to be. It is the very way we raise our children has contributed to their lack of innocence, lack of patience and understanding, and their opportunist temperament.

In fact, the concept of childhood in developmental psychology had not emerged until 400 years ago. During the Medieval Period, seven-year-old was set to be the end of childhood because children at that age were able to master communication and their language. Yet, as the technology of block printing came to Europe in the 15th Century, a new definition of childhood had been introduced – "children" referred to those who did not read whereas "adults" referred to those who were able to read. In that sense, adulthood was "earned" through hard work because one would not be qualified as an adult until he or she had been literate. This is why Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote in Emile, or On Education that "reading is the scourge of childhood, for books teach us to talk about things we know nothing about". The modern definition of adulthood was conceived upon the creation of mass-printing books. Reading opens the door to abstract knowledge for people meanwhile classifying those who do not read from those who do.

When none of the adults in Hong Kong behaves like one, please spare university students for not acting like a grown-up. In spite of our ability to read, we are nothing short of a bunch of "educated illiterates" who scarcely read or think. A mature adult should have a good sense of citizenship apart from an intelligent ability to understand profound concepts. Nonetheless, there seems to be no sign of intelligent life who does not proclaim that "I hate politics" in Facebook status in Hong Kong.

Furthermore, the distinction between an adult and a child lies upon an adult can access to PG-18 information which includes the likes of sex and death topics. These topics which children were barred from accessing were unsealed as televisions and the Internet were popularised. Dirty words, a taboo children should shun, has paradoxically become one adults should shun when primary school teacher Alpais Lam Wai-sze was criticised for swearing in public. We read cheap magazines stuffed with sexual implications but we refuse to confront sexual topics in front of our children. Children learn not only from formal education but also from the reflections of our behaviour. As a result, they mock at sissy classmates in the same way how we discriminate homosexuals.

Confucius condemned those who "get older in age with lack of virtues" as "parasites"; I would denounce Hong Kong adults or kids who "get older in age and be not maturate" as "Hong Kong lads". They read and read a lot, but they do not think and seldom use their brain. They have diversified talents and all-rounded skills, they even know the meaning of complicated words like "dextrorotatory" and "Halappino"; nevertheless, they abstain from fighting for universal suffrage simply because "politics is boring".

The rise of "Hong Kong kids" and "Hong Kong lads" is a prevalent phenomenon. Both kinds act like the know-it-all smartass we met in our sixth grade class. It is undoubtable that they know a lot – in the sense of skills and information – not knowledge, let alone wisdom. There no longer exists a distinction between adults and children in Hong Kong because we think and act equally naïve. In which, the race of "Hong Kong kids" is becoming extinct while the race of “Hong Kong lads” is thriving.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Law: Impossible for China to Have a Democratic Regime

Impossible for China to Have a Democratic Regime
Translated by Chen-t'ang 鎮棠, Edited by Karen L., Written by 羅沛霖 (Law Pui-lam)
Original: http://www.passiontimes.hk/article/09-10-2014/18765 

(Photo: Naixi Village in Beijing, which sounds the same in Cantonese as "Cunnilingus Village")
(Photo source: www.bjnxc.cn )


For decades, the "democratic-reunificationists" in Hong Kong have been chanting slogan in a futile manner, and never did it delve into the democratic development in China. The society of China simply cannot foster a democratic regime, of which this judgement is based on an investigation into a village election in China.

In 1999, the very first round of election among villages was held in the Guangdong province. By "one person, one vote", the committee was elected to take responsibility of managing the social and economic affairs for the village. Besides the right to vote, villagers can be elected as well. It was clearly stated that even if villagers are not nominated by the Villagers Nomination Committee as candidates, they will not be excluded the right to participate in the election, whereas the Branch Party Secretary and other posts were assigned directly by the Communist Party as usual. As for the village of my study object, it was a "trial spot", where the village election was carried one year before 1999.

In that village, all kinds of matters (e.g. selling lands, building factories, introducing FDI, building roads, executing policies from the central authorities) were controlled by the Party members originally, especially the Branch Party Secretary, who had hence brought a great deal of fortune within his family. Some villagers told me his "visible assets" (properties and flats) by the time were worth approximately 500 million RMB (1998, ~60 million USD). 

It was learnt that the secretary wanted to grasp the social and economic resources, so he decided to take part in that election. Yet many villagers, if not all, regarded this election as a hopeful one to elect a committee chairman against the secretary and for the reallocation of resources.

There's no reasons for me even back then not understanding what the function of election to CCP: a means to pacify the conflicts in the rural society brought by Reform and Opening Up. Yet I did see it as a precious chance to let the mainland society get onto the path towards democracy, however, it remains an unreasonable dream after all.

In the beginning there were villagers studying the regulation of election, attempting to figure out the methods to ensure nomination of their preferable candidates and ways of canvassing, even the preparation avoiding interference during the election processes. All of these made me feel that the crux of a democratic election is well-known in a village where such election never exist. I thought it was brought by the power of a free market, and I believed in the logic "economic reform will bring about changes in society, culture and politics" on China. But when I tried to understand more in their views, what I found happened to be another story and logic.

"When election takes place, we must vote for the members of our own clan (family members within some generations) regardless of their capabilities. Eventually, he is from our clan! He will surely help if anything happens to our family." This is what a young villager told me -- well, in fact, all villagers believed in such logic. It never comes to the villagers to elect someone with competency, because this one with ability, in their minds, will only make benefit within one's own clan and no advantages will be there for other villagers - just like the Branch Party Secretary and his clan.

Clans were there in villages rather than societies!

I later found out that "clan" relationship has been the deepest interpersonal relationship in mainland China. Since the CCP has taken over it, they changed the game rule of resource allocation: focus shifted from economic resources to political ones. The riches were lambasted with their properties and land confiscated. Politically they became the rags. This is not a sole change of personal status, but involved the entire family, or some referred it as clan. Let me put it this way, landlords and rich peasants or the elites in the past can only marry those with the same "political status". Clan, as it always do. It's just a matter of forms.

The game rule of CCP is merely reshuffling the social status of clans. A series of anti-feudalism political campaigns (from Land Reform to People's Commune to Cultural Revolution) were just suppressing the tradition, but not successful in faltering the traditional clansmen-ship. On the contrary, the rule of CCP is just a continuation of such "deep interpersonal relationship" which has last for thousands of years.

The election that year clearly showed the role of such traditional clansmen-ship. The secretary and another candidate made full use of their families to canvass. It is simple enough - if they can get the nod from the elders in the clan, they can get support from almost all of that clan. The secretary used his money and authority to benefit a few big clan, which enables himself of making much more supporters than the other candidates. That's why he won, not surprisingly, and became the chief of the Village Committee. Besides his political authorities, he kept on controlling the economic and social development of the village.

The secretary had gained himself with quite some numbers of "haters" before the election, but eventually these people still voted for him! I interviewed a few who once criticised him being greasy in terms of money and authority. But many of those had the same reason  the "satiated tiger, hungry wolf" theory.

The logic of clansmen culture made them feel that no matter who becomes the chairman of the committee, he will only look after his own clan without paying attention to the livelihood of the rest as a whole. This haven't even entered the core thought of them. Deep inside they possessed a thinking that for the other candidates who have not been controlling the resources will be like "hungry wolves" if elected, becoming more corrupted than those "satiated tigers". And to vote for a "hungry wolf" without any relationship with one's own clan, one will be more likely to suffer.

This "tiger-or-wolf" logic concludes the village-level politics in China.

More than 70 years earlier, such situation was already analysed by a famous Chinese anthropologist Fei Xiaotong. He pointed out that in the West, a person can have different identities at the same time  a scout member, a Methodist follower, a member of a party, a father in a family and etc. But in Chinese villages, people have one and only one identity  a part of the clan. In decades, the framework of rural interpersonal network has remained dominant.

A few years ago, I went back to that village again and saw how the following elections proceed – it's pretty much the same.

Rural politics can be seen as the epitome of the politics of China. In Chinese society, you'll not find possible to "detach" the identity of a part of a certain clan. When it comes to Buddhist temples, schools, colleges, relationship and seniority, "clan" is always included, let alone the CCP or PLA. There is no more existence of "friendships" in mainland China. They're replaced by calling each other "xiongdi" (brothers), or else they are not in the same clan. In other words, if two are real friends, then the "friendship" must be turned into "clansmen-ship", like that they're from the same family.

Wang Mingming, another anthropologist in China, belongs to Fei Xiaotong's clan. Although he was found plagiarism for tens of thousands of words in his publication, Fei's clan saved him by every means from being fired by the university. In the Chinese academia, such "clan-like" interpersonal relationship is just about guanxi, but not rights and wrongs, not to mention academic credibility.

The deplorable nature exists in Chinese academia, and no doubt there is even a higher degree of it in the party inside. How can it not make sense for commoners to understand Xi's anti-corruption acts as starting a turf war with "tiger-or-wolf" logic? It has already been told, by nature, that never has such moves been relevant to some sort of social justice. 

With the despotic one-and-only presence of "clan-like" relationship, mainland China can only be far from the civil-minded society where people dare to distinguish rights and wrongs regardless of getting into deadly accusations. Democratic regime for China stays, if no significant changes, impossible. 

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Wing Wing: To Indulge Not in Fantasy

To Indulge Not in Fantasy
Translated by Karen L., Written by 翼雙飛 (Wing Wing)
Original: http://www.passiontimes.hk/article/09-02-2014/18642 



This morning, I saw people changing their icons into yellow ribbon images, AGAIN. It turned out to be Civil Human Rights Front's yellow ribbon event, appealing citizens of Hong Kong to express their demand of real democracy.

Doesn’t this move provide you the sense of déjà vu?

If we have to count, there possibly are not less ribbon events we've seen. Yellow ones, blue ones, black ones, and so forth. It's not rare for people to put on ribbon when it comes to expressing or fighting for something. But it’s only restricted to this, changing the colours at most.

I could understand how good it might feel. Under such delusion of sense of fulfillment, these ribbon fanatics have thought themselves being effortful. Here, let me remind you an inconvenient truth, if you're one of them unfortunately or regarding this just fine, that there has not been a single right successfully fought for by ribbons alone.

The honorific Mahatma Gandhi, who is frequently on the so-called activists' lips, is famous of his earnest hunger strikes and the launch of the Non-cooperation movement. Even that Indians were severely beaten; it didn't obstruct their determination continuing the Salt March. This, is the courage one has for struggles.

What if, Gandhi organised some sort of yellow ribbon events instead putting on ribbons on every Indian, to express their demand of real democracy? What if they kept paying salt tax and being obedient under Britain's regime? What if they lived normally listening to every word Britain had said? As such, would there be real democracy today?  

British would say "Okay. Well, I see… And purely as a reminder, it's already the time for taxes."

Have "casting magic through beautiful ribbon dance", "singing from the heart converts stubborn minds" or "a drop of tears brings miracle" ever been placed the centre of your political opinion towards Hong Kong's situation nowadays?

For the yes people, diagnosis of such condition is ascribed that too much you've been exposed to fantasy animes. As time goes by, to you, surrealism has become more real than reality itself. Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne, Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch and Sailor Moon all come to life, so are their plots.


(Source: deidara-akatsuki.moeblog)


Apart from pinning on the Standing Committee's unreasonable framework on Hong Kong's universal suffrage, there are plenty of creative legal alternative suggestions given online. One of them even advised people to open bank accounts collectively, however, the picture must not be romantic enough to compete with the marvelous blend of numerous symbolic ribbons, united-theme songs and soul touching tears in a peaceful assembly.

This is exactly what the case will be. Yet remember, we're all simply mortal creatures. Going opposite of down-to-earth suits the ones with super power, not us. The miracles are eventually miracles, and they also don't come along with "feel-good" measure.

To fight for something else next time, please adopt REAL actions. It has to be that influential to which the regime can no longer turn a blind eye or a deaf ear to. Again, the ironfisted government will not get rusty if we compromise.

Now, welcome back to the real world.