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愛本身才是家庭基礎,不是你愛的是誰 Love itself, not who you love, is the basis of family

湯漢樞機以及天主教會以不容忍的態度與偏見,宣揚他們對同性戀關係和婚姻的理解,方禮倫認為,他們代表本性的腐敗。他敦促香港天主教社群,應更加高尚、更人性化地宣揚愛的訊息,這才是信仰的真義。譯文由 Alan Chiu 提供,英文原文在譯文之下。

By promoting an understanding of homosexual relationships and marriage based on intolerance and bigotry, Evan argues that it is Cardinal John Tong Hon and the Catholic Church who represent a corruption of nature. He urges the Catholic community in Hong Kong to find relevance in their faith through a more noble, and humane, message of love. The Chinese translation is provided by Alan Chiu.

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上個周末,是一年一度的同志遊行,全球也有不同的慶祝活動。而香港的天主教會(再次)提醒我們,他們的信仰是多麼傲慢、無知與不容異己。

首先,湯漢樞機公開呼籲選民,在區選投票時,要留意候選人有關同志議題的立場。區議員是無立法權力,呼籲的真正政治意義,其實是向將會很快參選的立法會議員施壓。其後為了安撫外間情緒,輔理主教楊鳴章又將同性戀與吸毒比較。

他們是真誠地提出意見;天主教社群的大部份人都支持兩位主教的說話。從中,我們可看出現實的教會,扭曲「愛」的訊息。

發表這些意見的時機自然受傳媒注意——教會亦早已預計到。因為這些「恐同」與政治訊息怎樣看也不尋常。對同性戀的立場以及同性婚姻問題所產生的問題,教會經已政治動員教徒,最明顯的莫過於湯漢樞機 9 月 21 日發出的牧函。

湯漢以《人類生態與家庭:「鞏固婚姻﹔不應重新界定婚姻!」》為題,公開警告教徒以及社會大眾,,同性戀婚姻假如立法,即是承認同性關係和賦予同志跟異性戀相似的權利,這不單是不道德更是違背自然定律,而這種關係將會嚴重挑戰社會價值觀。

藉著天主教的「人類生態」概念,湯漢引用教宗方濟各所說:「人類生態也意味着另一深層的現實∶人類生命和道德律之間的關係。這關係銘刻在我們的本性之内,並且對建立更具尊嚴的環境來說是必要的。」以及「人也有一個他必須尊重和不能任意操控的本性」,否定同性戀的地位。

我們要記著,這種「本性」並非從理性或是科學角度出發,亦非從觀察與証據所得,而是盲從聖經經文——這種經文的詮釋亦時常被人用作奴役、種族屠殺和強姦的藉口。

同性關係經已在超過 450 種不同動物品種中記錄到,而根據 2012 年耶魯科學雜誌的一篇文章,現存於世的所有物種,當中有超過 10% 都有出現同性戀,是自然不過的關係。而且,我們也有確鑿的証據証明為何同性戀有演化的可能性,以及為何這種關係對生存更有利。該文章指出,加州大學的生物學研究發現,許多品種中的同性配對,「實際上減少離婚的可能性;允許種族成員有更高靈活性的伴侶關係,亦能減低異性間的壓力,從而加強社會的聯繫,減少競爭。」總之,同性戀關係會加強社會中存在的所有關係。沒有人天生「恐同」,自小,我們的本性是去愛人。

同性戀既非本性的腐敗,也不是不自然的。人類以信仰之名而「恐同」,才是本質上的腐敗。

湯漢的牧函又譴責美國最高法院 Obergefell v Hodges 一案同性婚姻立法的裁決。他說,婚姻關乎一男一女之間的結合,是「原始而客觀的真理」,又問:「法院是根據什麼獲授權去重新定義婚姻?」

這種「真理」從來都未有過,歷史亦告訴我們,婚姻在不同時代、文化也有不同的理解。今時今日,很多人都不再視婚姻為家庭的契約,而這卻曾是很多歐洲基督徒的歷史標誌。

婚姻作為一個概念與一種社會制度,早於基督教誕生之前經已存在。在很多基督教的歷史中,婚姻並非信仰的規管範圍,而是由國家所規定的法律合同。因此,美國法院的判決與「重新定義」婚姻相差甚遠,法官僅僅修改法律定義,以更好地體現社會價值,賦予適當權力給人民。真正的問題應該是,教會有什麼權利去定義婚姻?

信徒可能會聲稱這是來自神聖的權威。先不論別人支配我們選擇與誰一起的權利是否正確,但你相信權威,不等於能強加於不信的人身上。我自身的權威從自己的能力而來,並由批判性思考所塑造成而。「信仰」對非信徒來說半點意義也沒有。

現代知識型的社會著重進步與體諒。假如天主教會在這種社會中有地位的話(我相信是有的),它必須是個支持性的機構,促進愛、寬容和謙卑等的美德。教會說得很正確,這樣溫文的美德,因為社會經常被競爭和個人主義滋生的貪婪與自私所主宰,而於世上黯然失色。

但湯漢的牧函,無論內容和發表時機,突顯天主教會以謙卑包裝偏見和傲慢、以仁義宣揚不容異己、以愛的名義發酵仇恨。

現在是時候,香港市民和天主教社群向湯漢樞機與輔理主教楊鳴章發出明確的訊息,他們對於同性戀的理解是錯誤的。信仰沒有賦予他們權力去定義世俗機構的「婚姻」。請告訴教會,自然有自我的本質,並非每每都是他們樂於見到的——這是只他們為自己的偏見辯解。請擁抱我們本能的感受,不做偏見、不容異見和仇恨的奴隸。我們必須發出明確的訊息,愛是美麗的、是值得慶賀的;愛不是關於我們的性取向,而是伴侶之間的愛,這才是建立家庭的基石。

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Last weekend, as people around the world celebrated Gay Pride, a once a year event, the Hong Kong Catholic Church saw fit to (again) remind us of the arrogance, ignorance and intolerance of their faith.

First we had Cardinal John Tong Hon openly call for voters to take into account a candidates position on gay rights in the upcoming district council elections. Whilst district councillors may not have the power to legislate, this call is politically significant in the message it sends to legislators who will themselves shortly be up for election.

Seeking to ease the controversy, auxiliary Bishop Michael Yeung Ming-cheung then weighed in by comparing homosexuality to drug abuse. It is revealing that both these comments were made in good faith and, in the later case, as a conciliatory gesture. By-and-large the Catholic community have stood by these statements. In the Church’s distorted sense of reality, this is a message of “love”.

Whilst the timing of these statements meant they would – as was surely expected – catch media attention, the homophobic and political message is by no means unusual. The position of the Church on homosexuality, and the view that same-sex marriage was an issue around which the faithful were being politically mobilised, was evident in Cardinal Tong Hon’s pastoral letter of the 21st September.

Entitled Human Ecology and the Family, Cardinal Tong Hon’s letter was an open warning to both the faithful and the community at large that legalising same-sex marriage, in effect recognising and according loving homosexual relationships the same familial right as heterosexual ones, was both immoral and unnatural, and that such relationships posed a serious challenge to the values upon which our society is built.

Referencing the Catholic concept of human ecology, Tong Hon quoted Pope Francis in saying “the relationship between human life and the moral law, which is inscribed in our nature and is necessary for the creation of a more dignified environment,” and that “man too has a nature that he must respect and that he cannot manipulate at will.”

Let us remember that this is not nature as understood by either reason or science, or on observation and evidence; but on blind faith in scripture that has, at times and among others, been interpreted to condones slavery, genocide and rape.

Homosexual relationships have been documented in over 450 different animal species, and according to a 2012 article in Yale Scientific, is present in more than 10% of all prevailing species. Not only are these relationships natural, there is corroborating evidence to show why they likely evolved and why such relationships are beneficial for survival. As the article lays out, research conducted by biologists at the University of California have found evidence to suggest that same-sex pairing in many species “actually alleviates the likelihood of divorce and curtails the pressure on the opposite sex by allowing members to exhibit more flexibility to form partnerships, which in turn strengthens social bonds and reduces competition.” In short, homosexual relations strengthen all relationships that existing within a society. No one is born homophobic. From childhood, what we by nature relate to is love.

Homosexuality is neither a corruption of nature nor is it unnatural. What is a corruption of nature, and a trait found only in our species and only after the advent of religious faith, is homophobia.

Cardinal Tong Hon’s letter also castigates the US Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v Hodges to legalise same-sex marriage. He speaks of “a primordial and objective truth, namely that marriage involves a union between a man and a woman.” He then asks, “What, then, gives the Court the right to redefine marriage in the first place?”

Not only is there no such “truth”, but history also shows us that marriage has been understood differently through the ages and between cultures. Today, for many, it is no longer the contract between families that it once signified for much of the history of Christian Europe.

As both a concept and as a social institution, marriage predates Christianity. For much of Christian history, marriage was viewed as being outside the remit of faith. It was a legal contract defined by the state. As such, far from “redefining” marriage, the courts are merely refining their a legal definition to better reflect social values and the people from whom their authority is derived. The real question should be on what right does the Church claim to define marriage?

The believer may claim divine authority. But a believed authority can not be imposed on those who do not believe, let alone recognise it’s right to dictate who we choose to live. My own sense of authority is derived from my own faculties, and shaped by critical reasoning. “Faith” means nothing to the faithless.

If there is a role for the Catholic Church in a modern, knowledge driven society that values progress and understanding – and I do believe there is – it must be as a supportive institution that fosters love, tolerance and humility. The Church is right in saying that such virtues – the gentle virtues – are too often overshadowed by a world dominated by competition and a sense of individualism that breeds greed and selfishness.

As Cardinal Tong Hon’s message illustrates, in both content and in its timing, the Catholic Church in practice dresses bigotry and arrogance in humility, preaches intolerance in righteousness, and ferments hatred in the name of love.

It is time Hong Kong people and the Catholic community send a clear message to the likes of Cardinal Tong Hon and Bishop Yeung that they are wrong in their understanding of homosexuality, and that their faith does not give them the right to define the secular institution that is marriage. Tell the Church to acknowledge nature for what it is, and not for what they want it to be – a justification for their own prejudice; to embrace what we feel instinctively, and not be slaves to bigotry, intolerance and hate. We should send a clear message that love is beautiful and should be celebrated, and that it is not our sex but the love between partners that is the bedrock on which a family is built.

For the sake of their Church, and in the best spirit of their more progressive predecessors who helped shape our society, they would do better to be a reflection of the modern, inclusive and progressive society that Hong Kong is at its best.

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「鬼佬一定好飲得」 Being “Gweilo” and the Expectation to Drink

在這文章裡,方禮倫想我們反思將西人標籤,會對香港成為真正的國際化社會,會帶來甚麼影響。

「香港身份計劃 (HKIDP) 」由方禮倫創辦,是私人資助項目,旨在記錄、歸檔和探討各種關於香港身份的活動。譯文由 Sally 提供,英文原文在譯文之下。

In this extract from a longer essay, Evan asks us to consider the way our own “Western” stereotype shapes Hong Kong’s international community. 

Evan Fowler is the founder of the Hong Kong Identity Project (HKIDP), a privately funded initiative to document, archive and explore the Hong Kong identity. The Chinese translation is provided by Sally.

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「你喜歡香港嗎?」

最近,我去了一個小型的社交聚會,在場的都是些年輕的專業人士,他們互相認識,具備相若的優越背景,譬如是從小就在外國人圈子中長大,如今仍自豪在香港紮根的本地人。有人向一個剛從倫敦來港,看起來接近 30 歲的人問了以上那條問題。我本來並不太著意他們的對話。想不到,他卻沉入了思索,沒有立刻作答,這反而驅使了我的好奇心。

「我挺喜歡這裡,」他最後答道。這只是小小的「甜頭」,此後的才是重要的評價。

「香港是一個不錯的城市。我喜歡她。」然後,他再頓了一頓,加了句,「但它絕不能媲美倫敦。」

聽到這句話的人反應不一。有人嘲笑他的無禮。也有人四處張望,大概在想這場對話怎麽這麽快就已經完結。無可否認,有些人被這年輕人的誠實冒犯了。另一些曾參與討論的人,現在卻目光遊移,明顯不想再繼續這話題。

我一直認爲,一旦面對相反的立場時,就本能地退縮到自己的「舒適區」,是教育的失敗。現在連這幫自認已得到最好教育的人群也這樣,實在令我失望。教育不就是教我們以開放及勇敢的態度懷疑自己的立場,並瞭解及迎接反對聲音的挑戰嗎!不是說真理越辯越明嗎?

「你最不喜歡香港的甚麼地方呢?」我再問道。

他的回應令我吃驚:「我實在無法忍受這裡的喝酒文化。」

這時,你幾乎可以聽到有些人深深地吸了一大口氣的聲音。有把聲音說出了大家的疑問:「你從倫敦來,而你覺得這裡的喝酒文化令你很過份?」

「每個人都覺得我一定會喝愛喝。」他答道。

然後,他說無論在工作或社會圈子裡,其他人都理所當然地覺得他一定很會喝酒、交際,並沉迷於某些「娱樂癖好」,只因為他是一個銀行家——他所描述的不過是其他人對其職業的偏見。更貼切的說是,我城這種「期望」源於強大的社會、種族和職業偏見,程度據他所說遠超於倫敦,這也依他所言是「對鬼佬的期望」。

在香港長大的我對這種偏見實在太熟悉了。被標籤為鬼仔鬼妺的我跟妹妹,無論在本地人或外國人圈子,總被認定我們作爲西方人必定符合某些典型,而這些典型純粹是種偏見,跟我本性戓行為全無關係。這其實種族歧視,原因是「你這個鬼佬不是中國人」。

這種歧視即使在我的家庭裡亦存在。幾年前在一個家族聚餐中,我表姐的丈夫嘗試跟我妹妺打開話閘子:「你總共有幾個男朋友?」我的妹妹雖對他的弦外之音有點惱火,但仍禮貌地答他只有一位,那就是正坐在一旁的未婚夫。「來吧,你每個週末肯定有很多男朋友!」他接着說。然後,他轉過來問我晚上是否要去蘭桂坊。我吿訴他我並不喜歡去那裡。他頓了頓,然後用一種可惡的聲音說,「别耍了,我知道你的把戲。」看來,他是非要我承認自己符合他心裡的典型,即家中另外那些鬼佬的形象。

我不喜歡啤酒或咖啡,也從無意欲或曾試過非法毒品。我從不宿醉或夜蒲。我有忠誠穩定的伴侶,不喜歡跟那些經常尋花惹草的人一處。我不喜歡看足球,不特意買名牌,看待用名牌的人跟其他人也沒有分別。雖然我不喜對其他人品頭論足,但無奈身在香港卻常被用有色眼鏡看待。

我曾見過家人跟朋友因為這些偏見而勉強自己去迎合這種偏見。居身於一個相對小但其實多元的國際化社會圈子裡,他們不被本土社群容納,社會對他們持有偏見並以爲他們的特性一致。符合這些特性的人其實只屬少數,但很多人卻只有接受或不被他人認同兩個選擇。

有些人說,我的批評不太公道。他們會說,因爲這些西方人士的典型其實很多都挺正面,而我們不是也因此拿了不少好處嘛。但是,這種觀點完全錯了。如果我得到較佳的待遇,那應該是因為我的為人,而不是我所被認定的那種人,建立在一個錯誤的觀念上的還總是個謬論。

如果我的吸引力不是在於我是誰,而是我應該符合的典型,恐怕那些被「我」吸引的人很快就會失望不已。這種錯誤的認知到最後對任何一方都不會帶來好處。不僅如此,這種典型的延續將使人不敢誠實面對自己,更嚴重的可能故意隱瞞本性來籍此達到短期好處。

雖然我也有這種「符合典型」的壓力,但我很自豪地保留了自我和個性。我確實感受到壓力,但程度不及許多同齡人。這些壓力雖非香港獨有,但基於我們的殖民歷史和回歸後中國大力宣揚民族思想的背景下,感受特別深刻。消除這種歧見對我們建立一個真正多元和國際化的城市是有莫大裨益的。

所以,我對這年輕的朋友說的並不感到驚訝。讓我吃驚的是他有勇氣將之道出來。或者他作爲一個歐亞裔人士跟我一樣,覺得把人標籤化以及逼人認同會帶來更深層次的傷害:即除了在不知不覺中被剝奪身份外,更把我們血緣中的中國人元素也一併剔除,縱使這也是我們家族文化之一。

「倫敦是我的家,因為我作為一個倫敦人,在那裏被理解被接受。」他說。

作為一個香港的歐亞裔人士,我期盼有一天我也能這樣談論我的家。

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At a small social gathering of young professionals, a man in his late twenties who had recently relocated from London was asked whether he liked Hong Kong. The people gathered all knew each other and came from similar, and privileged, backgrounds; local people who were raised among an expatriate crowd to be at once international and yet also proudly rooted in Hong Kong. At the time the question was asked I was, let’s just say, not fully engaged by the level of conversation. However, having half heard the question, I found myself drawn with increasing interest by the unusually long pause the question elicited.

“I like it here”, he eventually answered. Then came a sweetener, before an unusual and important qualification.

“Hong Kong is a great city. I do like it,” then, and again after a noticeable pause, “but it isn’t really comparable with London.”

The reaction from those people present varied. One man just scoffed at his impertinence. Others looked away, considering any real conversation over. That some people had taken this young man’s honesty as offensive was unmistakable. Others, who had been among the most eager to engage now let their eyes wander, as if recognising a lost cause.

I have always considered it a great shame that so many people, when confronted with an opposing or contrary position, will instinctively withdraw into their comfort zone. If education is to teach us anything, and the assembled crowd could certainly boast of having received the finest on offer, it is to question our own positions, and to understand a test not as a challenge to oppose but to welcome. It is on scrutiny that the strength of a position ought to be based.

“What is it about Hong Kong that you least like?”, I asked.

His reply surprised me. “I really can’t stand the drinking culture.”

You could almost hear jaws drop. Someone asked what was undoubtedly on everyone’s mind: “You’re from London, and you think the drinking culture here is bad?”

“It’s the expectation”, he replied.

He went on to described a level of expectation he felt both at work and within social circles in Hong Kong to drink, socialise and to indulge in other “recreational habits”. Whilst he was a banker, what he described did not just play to the stereotype of his chosen profession. Far more pertinent to understanding our city was that the expectation derived from the strong social, racial and professional stereotypes that he claimed exists here to far a greater degree than in London. It was, he described, the “expectations of being a gweilo”.

Growing up in this city I know only too well this expectation. Labelled a Western “gwei jai” by both the local Chinese and international community, the presumption has always been that I and my siblings must fit this city’s own stereotype of what it means to be a “Westerner”. It is an identification that has nothing to do with my nature or actions, but how others perceived what I must be. It is a peculiar type of racism driven not by what society perceives you as being, but by what you are not. The gweilo is not Chinese.

This prejudice exists even within my own family. A few years ago at a family dinner I was sat beside my cousin and her husband when he attempted to strike up a conversation with my sister. “How many boyfriends do you have?” he asked.  A little upset at the implication, my sister replied she had only one, her fiancé who was also present at the table. “Come on, you must have lots of boyfriends every weekend,” he pestered. He then turned to me to ask if I would be going to Lan Kwai Fong that evening. When I told him that I do not enjoy going to Lan Kwai Fong, and that it was not really my scene, I was greeted with a pause and that knowing smirk that seemed to say “I know your game.” That I do not play such games nor wish to was beyond his expectation of the “gweilo” side of his own family.

I do not like beer nor coffee, and have never felt the urge to try let alone use illegal drugs. I have never enjoyed binge drinking nor late nights out. I am faithful to my partner and find it extremely awkward being around flirtatious people. I do not enjoy watching football, nor do I consciously buy brand-name goods nor have any particular respect for people who do. And whilst I never judge those who find enjoyment in such pursuits, living in Hong Kong I find myself constantly presumed and judged as though I do.

I have witnessed friends and family feel obliged to act against their nature to fit this stereotype. Unaccepted by Hong Kong’s local Chinese community, they feel forced to frame a social identity within a relatively small “international” community that is, though far more varied diverse than often understood, perceived by both society and those of influence in our city as being homogenous. Dominated by the voices of a minority who do fit the stereotype, the choice can often seem to be between accepting, at least to a degree, the stereotype and social exclusion from not being placed.

There have been and will continue to be those who will say that I am being unfairly critical. They will point to the many “positive” perception that this Western stereotype carries, and that those so identified have more to gain from the association. But such arguments totally miss the point. If I am to receive preferential treatment it should be because of who I am as a person, not because of what I am perceived to be. The fallacy of such “advantages” is that they are built on a misconception.

If my attraction is based not on who I am but for the stereotype I am perceived to fit, the attraction will not survive reality. It will not engage me for who I am, and will not offer any meaningful reward for either party. Not only this, but the continuation of such stereotyping will encourage people to be dishonest about themselves, to play to this stereotype when they perceive a short term advantage.

Given this pressure to conform, I am very glad to be both autistic and an introvert. I do see the expectation, but I do not feel it in the same way and to the same degree as many of my peers. It is not that these pressures are unique to Hong Kong, but they are acute given both our colonial history and our more recent return to a nation eager to stoke the fires of racial stereotyping. If we are to build a truly diverse and international city, addressing this level of stereotyping would only be beneficial.

So what my young friend said did not come as a surprise. What surprised me was that he would have the courage to say it. Perhaps by being Eurasian he shared my sense that this Western stereotype and the pressure to conform represented a deeper hurt: that we were unconsciously not only being denied the right to define ourselves and be respected for who we are, but implicit was also a rejection of our Chinese identity and the deep affiliation we have for what is also our familial culture.

“London is home because I am, and am understood, as a Londoner,” he said. “I can be myself, and people will accept me for who I am.”

As a Hong Kong Eurasian, I look forward to the day when I too can make such a statement about my home.

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那不僅是郵筒,它也代表了我們的歷史價值 More than a Post Box: that which blinds us to the value of our own history

方禮倫寫道,香港的郵筒不僅標誌著我們過去的殖民歷史,更是我們香港身份的一部分。任何「去殖化」的行為不應被強加於香港人身上,而須由他們自己來決定和執行。譯文由 Sally 提供,英文原文在譯文之下。

Evan writes that Hong Kong’s postboxes are more than markers of our colonial past, but of our Hong Kong identity; and that any process of decolonisation can not be imposed, and must be defined and enacted by the people themselves. The Chinese translation is provided by Sally.

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本週由兩個故事開始。 2015 年 10 月 5 日(週一),國際新聞網站上傳送著古城巴爾米拉 (Palmyra) ,即現今的敘利亞的寺廟遺址被破壞的畫面。進行這些罪行的伊斯蘭國 (ISIS) 信徒,盲目地只容他們所選擇的意識形態存在,而無視其他人類的共同的歷史。

我第一次接觸到這些圖片時,是從一個朋友的智能電話裏看到。那朋友問:「為什麼我身體的一部分感覺如此強烈,有想哭的衝動?」

我答:「我也是。」

我們兩人都不曾造訪敘利亞,或對當地文化有任何關係。我們也知道被破壞的只是一片廢墟——那是來自一群不復存在的民族和文明,為他們經已放棄的信仰而遺留下的建築結構而已。儘管如此,這種破壞仍是很切身的且不容忽視。

就在同一天,地球的這邊廂,本地新聞報導了香港郵政決定將全港剩餘的 59 個殖民時代舊郵筒的徽號遮蓋。被指有問題的徽號是英國皇室的冠冕,它結合了英國和中國兩地的特點,而且是香港獨有。

他們說,移除徽號是爲了避免混淆,而該行動是香港郵政一個更全面的「去殖化」計劃之一。值得一提的是,香港郵政早已更名,那些具歷史意義的郵筒之前已被決定將以原有形式保存。這以前從沒有被視為一個問題。

作為一篇新聞故事,這件事第一眼看來似乎並重要。沒有發生爆炸,也沒有世界遺產遺址被破壞。然而,這個消息卻引來了本地輿論的強大迴響。

在我的家族和社交圈子裏,我沒聽到有哪一個人支持郵局的決定。雖然沒人爲此掉淚,但聽到這消息的人很多都有種茫然若失的感覺。保留這些歷史徽號沒有也不會影響服務,也不可能有人會因此無法辨別郵箱。做出這決定的動機顯然不是爲了避免混淆。

幾年前參觀鯉魚門時,有一位老居民向我展示了這樣的一個郵筒。記得她把自己的手放在郵筒上面,彷彿在撫摸著一位老朋友。她說: 「它在這裡的日子比我還長,我們一起看到香港的變化,並一起垂老。」讀到本週這段新聞時,我仿佛又聽到了老太太的臨別時的那句話:「在我離開後,這個郵箱還會長存在這兒,標記著我和香港的故事。」

把那些爲數不多的郵筒上的標誌更換掉,程度當然比不上巴爾米拉的破壞。香港郵政不是伊斯蘭國,那些做決定的人也不是原教旨主義者。但這兩個動作同樣是盲目的,都是因意識形態的驅動,而冷待我們的歷史和身份。伊斯蘭國的短視,使他們的視線無法超越自己認同的伊斯蘭歷史框架;因爲被操縱的民族故事,使香港這些人不願也不敢面對歷史的事實。

貝爾神廟 (Temple of Bel) 的破壞對我們的實際影響也許不是建築實體上,而是它標誌了我們共同認識的歷史被毀掉。這或許不是我們自身經歷過的故事,但卻代表了我們身處歷史洪流的一部分。女王塞諾維婭 (Queen Zenobia) 可能早就死了,古代的絲綢之路城市可能早已失去光彩,但它們的意義卻仍活在我們的記憶中。嘗試消除這種記憶,蓄意破壞舊有的自由意志,強加新的意識形態,才是根本錯誤的地方。

巴爾米拉的寺廟,跟殖民地時代的郵箱一樣,在我們眼中是美麗的,因為他們代表的是真實。所以破壞他們這種行爲極端醜惡,是赤裸裸的、本能的、深刻的、殘酷的根本錯誤。

伊斯蘭國的真正的恐怖不在於他們的行動,而在他們否認歷史的動機。可悲的是,這些也是他們自己的權利。歷史的留痕,對他們來説不是種喜悅而是一種威脅,這種拒絕歷史、拒絕真相的態度是如斯可怕。

巴爾米拉的破壞和香港郵政去殖民地標誌兩件事在規模上或者不能比擬,但他們所代表的罪行是如出一轍。兩者都是不以事實為據,而被當權者的意識形態驅使,強行作出的罪行。這些行爲既非愛國也非虔誠,而是盲目和狹窄的。

大家都知道,那些舊郵筒的徽號不代表英國郵局,也不代表英國皇室,即使它們曾經確實如此。他們就像港式奶茶一樣,是一種殖民遺產,代表當時的一種狀況,和香港本地的身份特色。那在鯉魚門的老太太說得對:那將被遮蓋的,被指責為代表殖民地的徽號,其實標誌了我們的生活和香港的故事。

辛辣的指責令這種強行的「去殖化」,特別令人難以下嚥。難道我們真的可以說外國勢力不再左右任命、又或是控制我城的管治?外國人不再霸佔有影響力與責任的位置?不管他們的好意,在文化、道德以至語言學上,你敢說他們沒有影響決定嗎?殖民主義是建基於一個地方的人無法有效地管理居住地的假設之上,並在某程度保証貿易和投資的條件;有一個「正確」的方法向大眾交代、一套「正確」的理解方法。對於許多人來說,這些思維仍然在我城扮演重要角色。

最終,其實只有經歷過殖民時期的人才可定義什麼是殖民主義。只有這些人能決定(不論過去或是現在)仍然是種負累的事物,以及應如何解決這問題。在香港的任何「去殖化」行為,只能由香港人自己來定義和實行。

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This week began with two stories. On Monday, 5th October 2015 international news reverberated to the story of the destruction of temple ruins at the site of the ancient city of Palmyra, in present day Syria. This crime against our common history was carried out in the name of Islamic State, and justified only in the eyes of those who are blind to anything existing outside their chosen ideology.

I first became aware of the news when I was shown images on a friend’s phone. “Why does a part of me feel such a strong urge to cry?”, he said. “I feel it too,” I replied.

Neither of us had visited Syria or relate personally either to the place nor the culture. We were also aware that was destroyed were ruins – abandoned structures devoted to abandoned beliefs of a people and civilisation that no longer exists. And yet, we felt that their destruction represented something both personal and of great importance.

On the same day local news was dominated by the story that Hong Kong Post would be covering up the colonial era insignias on the remaining 59 historic post-boxes in the city. The offending cyphers feature the British royal crowns set to a design incorporating a mix of both British and local Chinese symbolism, and are unique to Hong Kong.

We were told they had to go to “avoid confusion”, and that the action was part of a wider plan to gradually “de-colonise” the postal service. It is worth noting that the Hong Kong postal service has already been substantially rebranded, and that the preservation of a few historic working postboxes in their original form was not before seen as an issue.

As a news story this may at first consideration seem of little importance. There were no explosions, and no world heritage sites had been destroyed. And yet the news generated a strong and vocal reaction.

Among my familial and social circles I have not heard one person support the Post Office’s decision. And whilst no tears were shed, their is an unmistakable sense of loss. The retention of these historic cyphers has not and will not affect service, nor is it likely that anyone will fail to correctly identify a working postbox. There is no confusion on what motivated this decision.

A few years ago whilst visiting Lei Yu Mun I was shown one of the offending postboxes by an elderly local resident. I remember her running her hand over it, as if caressing an old friend. “It’s been here longer than me,” she said. “We’ve seen Hong Kong change and have grown old together.” Reading the news this week I again heard the old lady’s parting words:

“This postbox will be here, as it is, long after I’ve gone; a marker of my life’s story. And a marker of the Hong Kong story.”

Replacing an emblem on a handful of historic postboxes is as an action not comparable with the destruction at Palmyra. Hong Kong Post is not ISIS, and those who initiated the decision are not fundamentalists. But behind both actions is a blind, ideologically driven callousness to the truth of who we are. The myopia of Islamic State to see beyond the framework of their own version of Islamic history is mirrored by a centrally imposed national narrative blind to the realities of a history they do not wish to acknowledge.

The destruction of the Temple of Bel affects us less for what it represented as architecture, but for its significance as a marker of our shared understanding of history. It is a story I may not have personally shared, but it bore witness to a history of which I am a part. Queen Zenobia may be long dead and the ancient cities of the Silk Road may have long ago lost their lustre, but their significance lives on in our conscious memory. It is the attempt to eradicate this memory, to impose a new ideologically driven reality by the deliberate destruction or discretion of the old, that makes these acts so fundamentally wrong.

The temples of Palmyra, like the colonial era postbox, were beautiful in our eyes because they were true. Thus their discretion is an act of extreme ugliness – and act that feels, instinctively and deeply, not only brutal but fundamentally wrong.

Thus the real horror of ISIS lies not with their actions, however deplorable these may be in their own right, but in their motivation. It is the denial of history, and the desire not to know that is feels so instinctively wrong to us; when evidence does not enlighten but is instead understood as a threat.

The destruction in Palmyra and the removal of colonial era insignia on Hong Kong postboxes may not be comparable in scale, but the offence they represent is identical nature. Both are physical imposition of a predetermined and ideologically driven narrative, driven not by the realities of what a people remember, but by what an ideology demands. These actions are neither patriotic nor pious. They are blind and intolerant.

It is public knowledge that the offending postbox cyphers are not symbols of either a British post office nor specifically of the British crown, even if at one time they may have been. Like milk tea, they are a colonial legacy, shaped by a local context, that have become central to the Hong Kong identity. The elderly woman in Lei Yu Mun was right: what is being covered, and what has given offence as colonial, is in fact a marker of our own lives and of Hong Kong’s story.

There is an added poignancy to this argument for forced decolonisation that makes it especially hard to swallow. Can it truly be said that a foreign power no longer appoints our governors, nor controls the administration of our city? Are positions of influence and responsibility no longer occupied by a class of foreign people who are, regardless of their good intentions, culturally, morally and linguistically apart from those on whom their decisions have sway? Colonialism was founded on a presumption that a local people are unable to effectively administer themselves to a degree that would guarantee the conditions requisite for trade and investment; that there was a “right” approach that need to be exported, and a “right” way of understanding. For many, these dynamics are still very much at play.

It is ultimately only the colonised who can define what is colonial. Only the people themselves can decide what was and still is an imposition, and how this should be addressed. Any process of decolonisation in Hong Kong can only be defined and enacted by the people themselves.

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對法治不同的理解 造就我們才是香港人 Our Understanding of the Rule of Law defines us as Hong Kong People

編按:

在本週的專欄, Evan 認為張曉明最近張曉明的「特首超然於行政、立法、司法三個機關之上」的言論,是挑戰我們建立「香港人身份」的框架。

「香港身份計劃 (HKIDP) 」由方禮倫創辦,是私人資助項目,旨在記錄、歸檔和探討各種關於香港身份的活動。譯文由 Alan Chiu 提供,英文原文在譯文之下。

In his weekly column on identity, Evan argues that hidden in Zhang Xiaoming’s recent comments on the separation of powers between the executive and judiciary is a challenge to the framework on which our identity as Hong Kong people is built.

Evan Fowler is the founder of the Hong Kong Identity Project (HKIDP), a privately funded initiative to document, archive and explore the Hong Kong identity. The Chinese translation is provided by Alan Chiu.

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有鑑於香港中聯辦主任張曉明最近的言論,這或許是個適當的時間,思考一下司法獨立的角色以及更廣義上對法治的理解,如何影響我們作為香港人的感受。

不過,首先讓我們重溫上週六《基本法》頒布 25 周年研討會上,張曉明說過什麼。

根據報道,張曉明在提及政府各行政、立法機關與司法之間的分權如是說:「香港不是實行三權分立的政治體制,回歸前不是,回歸後也不是。」他又指,三權分立通常只適用於主權國家(而香港很遺憾不是)。他接著說:「行政長官具有超然於行政、立法、司法三個機關之上特殊法律地位。」

包括行政議員葉劉淑儀及律政司司長袁國強等的親中喉舌所支持的行政長官梁振英,在張曉明發表言論後不久,就很快為此辯護。但無論政治取向,我身邊的每一位,都感覺張的言論明顯違反了《基本法》所保證的「高度自治」。

《基本法》第 2 條規定全國人民代表大會授權香港依法「實行高度自治,享有行政管理權、立法權、獨立的司法權和終審權。 」,第 19 條則規定香港「享有獨立的司法權」;而第 85 條規定,香港的法院「獨立進行審判,不受任何干涉」。

當有人的角度顯然不是與《基本法》所寫的一樣去理解與同意下,事件經已不像袁國強所說「既應該從香港角度來看,也應該從中央角度來看(《基本法》)」這樣簡單。此外,令人極度失望的是有些人為了避免說出真相,經已準備充足,包括引用鄧小平於《基本法》起草、後來促使中英聯合聯明的中英談判之初所表明的立場。

根據我所了解,這些談判的悲劇在於,這是後後殖民時代的唯一協議。而這一協議並無得到直接受主權改變影響生活的人民的同意。此外,自回歸以來,北京不願且公然反對承認並尊重香港人的意願;香港人卻被要求認同一個如此不尊重又不代表他們的國家。

自 2007 年以來,我差不多經已與近 10 萬人談及他們是如何視香港為家。我還沒有遇到任何一個人一方面認同自己是香港人這一個人身份,卻沒考慮過這城市的法治制度。而這可從不同方面看出來。

當人們談到香港是一個安全的城市,他們都是從對警察和法律有信心出發。當中所強調的,不單是權力的行使方法令香港變得安全,而是這種權力被合理地行使,這種關係亦塑造一個整體守法的社會。人們尊重法律,並非懼怕法律。

試想想大陸現時理解「法治」所循的立場。我們可以說法律是被尊重且是個核心制度代表著中國與中國的人民嗎?如斯制度與對法治的理解代表著香港的倒退——不僅是民生與居住方面,將我們的經濟競爭優勢拱手相讓,而更重要的是破壞我們對權威的性質和動力的理解之基礎;同時,作為個人,我們的立場、如何去看這種倒退?

這種理解的意義,可從意外地多的香港人特別指出法治對他們是很重要看出來。它是在於個人的,並非法律或政治上的抽象概念。它建基於我們的觀念和自身如何與周圍的世界連接起來。我們感受到這種理解,對於我們的生活經驗是不可或缺的。我們的安全感和個人權利,都源自「法律面前,人人平等」的理解。這構成了我們對於權威、自身以及其他人的看法,並很大程度上假設「人人平等」是管理我城的原則——一切都是司法獨立所保證的。

圍繞香港人理解自身與家園的核心制度,不論其性質和框架,均是張曉明的致辭所挑戰的。這跟制度框架西化以及偏向西方的想法無關。重要的是,香港人如何理解這個制度。世界經已不能承受這種「西化」與「中式」法制的標籤,而我們也至少有一代,生活並浸淫於這觀念之中。我們也沒有孤立的歷史證明這種截然不同的角度是正確的。權力與合法性不是來自於歷史,而是從「人」而來的。

就算我們相信北京、接受《基本法》被如此解讀。但對於那些生活以及自我意識需要改變的人,這又是否正確呢?假如香港人真的對《基本法》犯下根本性的誤解與誤讀,我們無法閱讀當中的意義,那麼北京在期待著什麼,在她的眼中,《基本法》的價值又在哪?

換轉以張曉明的角度來看香港,我們肯定從根本上改變了香港、我城對我們的意義,以及我們如何了解自己。當我城的法律權威來自並從屬於一個距離二千多公里、封閉政治的城市,我們如何在這裡成長、如何影響我們的身份?我們能以固有的方式去理解香港嗎?而我們又會是誰?

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Given the recent comments by Zhang Xiaoming, the head of the central government’s liaison office in Hong Kong, it might be a good time to consider the role an independent judiciary –  and more generally an understanding of the rule of law – has on our sense of being Hong Kong people.

Let us first consider what was said last Saturday at an event to mark the 25th anniversary of the Basic Law.

Referring to the separation of powers between the executive and administrative branches of government and the judiciary, Zhang was reported as saying “Hong Kong is not a political system that exercises the separation of powers; not before the handover, not after the handover,” and that such a separation of powers could apply only to a sovereign state. He went on to say that the chief executive “possesses a special legal position that transcends the executive, the legislature and the judiciary.”

Chief Executive Leung Chunying, supported by the usual crowd of pro-government mouthpieces including Executive Councillor Regina Ip and Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen, were soon out defending a statement that seemed to everyone I know, regardless of political persuasion, a clear violation of what was guaranteed by the Basic Law.

Article 2 of the Basic Law states that the National Assembly cedes Hong Kong the authority to “exercise a high degree of autonomy and enjoy executive, legislative and independent judicial power, including that of final adjudication”; article 19 that Hong Kong “shall be vested with independent judicial power”; and article 85 that local courts “shall exercise judicial power independently, free from any interference”.

It is not simply a case of needing to understand that Basic Law “from each other’s perspective”, as Yuen put it, when one perspective is quite clearly not what was understood nor agreed upon as written. It has also been extremely disappointing to see how far some people are prepared to go to to avoid having to speak truth to power, including quoting Deng Xiaoping’s position at the start of the Sino-British negotiations that would result in the Joint Declaration, on which the Basic Law was drafted. A starting position should not be taken as representative of an end position.

The tragedy of these negotiations is that it they are to my knowledge the only post-colonial agreement that did not involve the people whose lives would be directly affected by the change of sovereignty. Compounding this has been not only reluctance but outright opposition from Beijing to acknowledging and respecting the wishes of Hong Kong people since the territories return to our motherland. Hong Kong people are being demanded to identify with a nation that neither respects nor represents them.

Since 2007 I have spoken with close to ten thousand people about how they identify with Hong Kong as home. I have yet to meet anyone who in their identification with this city, and this is a personal identification, does not consider the rule of law as integral to their understanding of being a Hong Kong person. This is expressed in many ways.

When people speak of Hong Kong being a safe city, it is said from the position of confidence in the police and legal process. The point is not that the exercise of authority has made Hong Kong safe, but that this authority is understood to be exercised fairly, and that this relationship with power has shaped a community that is, on the whole, law-abiding. People respect the law. They do not fear it.

Consider now the position on the Mainland. Can it be said that the law is respected in the same way as to be considered a core institution representative of China and the Chinese people?  Such a system and understanding of the law would represent a serious regression for Hong Kong should they be adopted. It would not only set this city back, and represent a loss of our “competitive edge” as a place to live and do business. It would, more importantly, undermine the foundation on which we understand the nature and dynamics of authority and power, and of our personal position and relations with officialdom.

The significance of this understanding is reflected in how surprisingly many people in Hong Kong will point specifically to the rule of law as being important to them. This understanding is not for a legal or political abstraction, but is instead personal. It is an understanding that is fundamental to how we constructs our sense of self and we engage with and connect with the world around us. It is an understanding on which we feel, becoming integral to our experience of life. It defines in us a sense of security and of individual rights grounded on an understanding of equality before the law. The way we relate to authority, and how we define ourselves and relate to each other, owes much to our presumption that ours is a society governed by the principle of equality before the law guaranteed by an independent judiciary.

What Zhang Xiaoming challenges in his statement is both the nature and the framework of the “core institutions” around which Hong Kong people understand themselves and their home. It is irrelevant whether these represent a “western” framework or understanding. What matters is it is what Hong Kong people understand. We have for at least a generation lived in and been shaped by a world that can no longer sustain such marked divisions as to label a practical understanding of the law as “Chinese” or “Western”. There are no isolated histories to justify such distinct perspectives. Power and legitimacy come not from history but from the people from whom they are derived.

Even if we were to believe Beijing, and accept that the Basic Law should be read in a particular way, does this make it right on those whose lives and very sense of self will be changed? If Hong Kong people have so fundamentally misunderstood, and have so misread what has been put to writing, the Basic Law has little value other than to those with know Beijing’s mind.

In adopting Zhang’s perspective of Hong Kong we must fundamentally alter not only what Hong Kong is but what it means to us, and how we understand ourselves. How would growing up in a city where the law derives its authority from and is subservient to the closed politics of a city two thousand kilometres away affect who we are? Would we relate to Hong Kong in the same way, and who would we be?

(原刊於立場新聞)

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我是香港人與銘記二戰 On Belonging in Hong Kong and Remembering the War

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編按:方禮倫在這篇分為兩部份的短文中,敘述了一段深刻對話,這對話叫他深思香港不斷變化的「國際主義」和對二次大戰的紀念。他希望讀者能夠從歐洲國家的經驗中有所得著,並把我們的仇恨止於一場過去的戰爭,而非一個民族或國家之上。譯文由 Stephanie Lo 提供,英文原文在下。

In his short two part essay, Evan recounts a conversation that made him reflect on the changing “internationalism” of Hong Kong and remembrance of the Second World War. He asks us to learn from the European experience, and confine our hate to a past action and not to a people or state. The Chinese translation is provided by Stephanie Lo, and the original text is beneath the translation. )

第一部份:你從哪來?

「你是美國人嗎?」我聽見一把聲音問道。那是一位戴著粗框眼鏡的中年男士,身處一群購物客當中,面露單純笑容。

「你從哪來?」他續問。

「香港。」我答。

他的笑容倏地凝住,考量著我的答話。這種反應對我來說,近年已成意料中事,但以往並非如此。

記憶所及,每當被問到我從哪裏來,我總是如此回答。這既是事實,也是從小在這個城巿長大的我不曾懷疑的事實。

僅只一次,在我的孩提時代,我曾為自己的身份存疑。當時舉家出遊美國,途中一位男士對我們一家為何不帶日本人口音而大惑不解。我未及開口,父親已答:「我們是英國人,現居香港。」這答案叫我渾身不自在。後來父親解釋,當你身處異地,有時說上一個無傷大雅的謊話,會替你省下與人長篇大論的麻煩。

香港或許還是一個國際城巿,但「國際」的定義看來已起變化。雖然現存似乎沒有香港異族婚姻數字的可靠資料作參考,但這種婚姻關係在香港已愈見平常,也愈來愈多為數不少的非華裔人士選擇以香港為家。

一股獨特的香港身份認同感,在這城也愈趨旺盛。這種身份認同,建基於上世紀七十年代尾及八十年代很多普通香港人的集體經歷,多於以這城巿的國際或歷史根源為基礎。在我的年代,這種身份認同透過許冠傑的流行曲和周星馳的無厘頭喜劇及經典金句,表露無遺。而後者的魅力絲毫未減,對香港人來說,他的舊作比起現時充滿中國特色的國內電影,更容易引起共鳴。這不單是一種徹頭徹尾的香港身份,還代表著一份對廣東文化的認同感。

猶豫片刻,那男士續問:「你究竟來自哪裏?你不是中國人啊。」

「我係中國人,我呀媽係中國人。」我用廣東話回答。

那男人又再沉默下來,然後問:「那你父親呢?他並非中國人,他是美國人嗎?」

在有關香港身份愈見荒謬的討論上 ﹣荒謬在於身份的定義在於她是什麼,而非由別人裁定她應當怎樣 ﹣我們身份中的國際和多元文化層面被忽略了。伴我成長的那個城巿,會視非華裔人士為香港人,不同的社群也能於本地立足。作為殖民地,當時的香港並無國家身份。若香港是一個僑民之城,那所有僑民都應該有權成為香港人。

我父親是一名生於倫敦的混血兒,但他大部份的人生都在香港度過。他顯然不是中國人,然而他就是這條問題所意味的那種英國人嗎?雖然我並非身處異地跟一位外國人對話,但父親的忠告這時卻大派用場。「他是英國人。」這次我用英語回答。

這位陌生人看來很高興,他的身體語言和聲線都變了,讓人完完全全感受得到。他的喜悅,並非因為他成功開始了一段勉強對話,而是因為他終於能夠把我定位了。在他的想法中他是本地人,而我則是外國人;我或許是他的座上客,但這裏是他的主場。香港非我家,因為不可能,我只是個異鄉人而已。

*     *     *

第二部份:記住仇恨

這段對話開始峰迴路轉。「美國曾攻打日本,你憎恨日本人嗎?」

這回到我無言。我本想一走了之,但覺這實在無禮。我必須要給他一個答案。

「我知道這段歷史,但我並不憎恨日本人。我不會仇恨一個民族,我只會對戰爭以及引起戰爭的權勢之爭反感。而這段歷史已年代久遠。」我欲轉身離去時,這位新相識的說話卻觸怒了我。

「你知道當時的日軍怎樣對待中國人嗎?你曉得當時在上海發生過什麼事情?還有南京呢?」他問。「如果你知道當時香港的遭遇,你就會憎恨日本人。」

我的外祖母對於日軍佔領期間的遭遇,從來隻字不提。僅只一次,在我的孩提時代,我曾問過她這段歷史。聽罷我的問題,她不語,卻潸然下淚,我立時曉得以後都不要再跟她說這話題。從其他家人口中,我得知期間的艱苦情況,以及日圓軍票和糧食短缺的問題;我側聞鄰居失踪、遇上日軍要鞠躬行禮和街頭捱打的事情;我聽過日軍對待華人的非人行為,我也得悉日軍蹂躪中國婦女的歷史。

我憤怒,既因為他推定我看來不像中國人,故我不會亦不可能知道這些歷史;也因為他漠視我的家人曾在二次大戰中受苦的事實。「我知道發生過什麼事情,我的外祖母經歷過日軍佔領的時期,別說我什麼也不懂。」我控制自己盡量以平靜的語氣反駁。「你的家人有經歷過日軍佔據的日子嗎?」我問。

這位男士沒答話,他只是繼續觀望,好像我所說的都不是事實。

我續道:「我了解我祖母和外祖母的痛苦經歷,但我並不憎恨日本人,一如我的家人。我有一位表親嫁了日本人,他是個好男人。」

這終於引來回應。「香港人與中國人都憎恨日本。」這位男士答道,還說出了他的心底話。「我們並不仇恨德國人。」他說,因為「納粹德軍從沒做過對中國不利的事情。」至此我終於明白,這傷痛和這段歷史,是關乎他的民族和他的國家。這段痛苦經歷他不期望我會記得,我只需認同他有權利為這段歷史觸動便夠了。

這時候,我禮貌地告辭。我很少中途停止跟別人的對話,還要在周末下午的旺角街頭,無論時間和地點都是錯配。有幾位途人已在旁徘徊,明顯在偷聽。這時其中一位男士更瞥了我一眼,像鼓勵我繼續說下去。不過,禮貌最終支配著我叫我離去。然而,這段對話卻讓我找到很多值得反思的地方。

我反思了這一場遠在我父母還未出生的戰事,所帶來的寶貴教訓。令人最難過的是,今時今日我們對於這寶貴教訓,不及對政治時事那樣用心領略。對那位和我交談的男士來說,在他心目中的香港,某些愛國之士 ﹣任何社會都有的少數愛國狂熱階層 ﹣會對日本人的邪惡懷恨在心的同時,納粹德軍的可怕卻被視若無睹。

我的家族曾經親歷日軍和德軍的可怖行為,我也對這樣的家庭背景作出了反思。我的外祖母經歷過日軍佔領香港的日子,而我的祖母在德軍佔據比利時期間身處布魯塞爾,兩人都吃過苦頭。不過,我家族其中一方,選擇用和好及協調的方式來緩和這些記憶。歐洲戰區的休戰令大家渴求和平,更希望在一個共同泛國家社區中建立穩定未來,而並非只由個人的基礎原則及國家榮譽來主宰。

德國面對戰爭歷史的方法,與日本有別。不過,在如何理解道歉的文化層面及有關回憶和懊悔的語義層面上,德國也與日本各異。日軍佔領期間經歷暴行的中國及韓國家庭,他們的傷痛我們理應認同。然而這非國傷,而是一種個人和人性層面的傷痛。日本也不斷承認,她曾經是這種傷痛的罪魁禍首。

現至今日,亞洲大部份地區對二次大戰的紀念,只淪為一種政治活動,透過它來控制國家羞恥感和仇恨感以達到政治目的。自毁的行徑最近為中國留下可算深刻的烙印,她好應銘記,透過培養民族仇恨及國家受害者心態孕育出來的政治環境和民族意識,才是叫人犯下如此可怕暴行的源頭。

Part 1: Where are you from?

“Are you American?”, asked the voice. A middled age man with thick rimmed glasses appeared from among the crowd of shoppers. He smiled innocently.

“Where are you from?”, he asked.

“Hong Kong”, I replied.

His smile froze as the stranger computed my response. It is a reaction I have in recent years come to expect. It was not always so.

When asked where I am from I have, as far back as I can remember, answered as such. It is not only the truth, but a truth I had as a child growing up in the city never felt the need to question.

Only once in my childhood do I remember my answer warranting pause, when on a family visit to the United States a man questioned why we didn’t sound Japanese. On that occasion my father stepped in. “We’re British. We live in Hong Kong”, he said. It was a reply that sat uncomfortably with me. Then my father explained that sometimes, when in foreign countries, it’s easier to tell a white lie than to be drawn into a long conversation you don’t want to have.

Hong Kong may still be an international city, and yet what it means to be international seems to have changed. Whilst there does not seem to be reliable data on the number of mixed marriages, it does seem to be more common as such relationships have become more acceptable to both communities, and there continues to be a sizeable number of people of non-Chinese descent choosing to call Hong Kong home.

There has also been a growing sense of a uniquely Hong Kong identity, founded less on the international or historic roots of this city as on the common experience of many ordinary local people in the late 1970s and 1980s. It is an identity that for my generation was most vividly illustrated in the music of Sam Hui and the peculiar comedy and word play of Stephen Chow, whose appeal continues to resonate far more with the community than the more China-orientated offerings of their counterparts today. It is an identity that is not only distinctly Hong Kong but also Cantonese.

After a pause, the man asked “Where are you really from? You are not Chinese.”

“I am Chinese. My mother is Chinese”, I said, now in Cantonese.

There was another pause. “Where is your father from? He is not Chinese. Is he American?”

In the increasingly absurd debate over Hong Kong’s identity – absurd in that identity is what it is, not what others decree it ought to be – it is the international, multicultural aspect of our identity that is being ignored. The city I grew up in was able to accommodate non-Chinese people as Hong Kong people; that there were multiple local communities was accepted. As a colony, Hong Kong had no national identity. If Hong Kong was a city of immigrants, all immigrants had equal claim to be local.

My father was born in London, of mixed parentage, but has lived most of his life in Hong Kong. He is not Chinese, but is he British in the way that this question implied?

Though I was not speaking with a foreigner in a foreign land I remembered my father’s advice. “He’s British”, I said, this time in English.

The stranger seemed chuffed, not at having struck up a reluctant conversation but, and this was unmistakable in the way his body language changed and from the tone of his voice, because in his mind he had finally placed me. In his mind he was the local, and I the foreigner; I may be his guest, but this was his home. Hong Kong was not my home because it could not be. And it was from this position that I would be entertained.

Part 2: Remembering to hate.

The conversation now took an unexpected turn. “Americans fought the Japanese. Do you hate the Japanese?”

It was my turn to pause. I wanted to walk away, but felt it would be rude. I had to give him an answer.

“I know. But I do not hate the Japanese. I do not hate a people, only the actions, and the politics that breed it. But that was a long time ago.” I was about to turn away when my new acquaintance hit a nerve.

“Do you know what they did to the Chinese? Do you know about Shanghai? And Nanjing?”, he asked. “You would hate them if you knew what happened in Hong Kong.”

My grandmother never spoke about her time during the Japanese occupation. Once, when I was still a child, I had asked. She said nothing, but began to cry. I soon learnt never to broach the topic to her again. I heard from other members of the family about the hardship, about the military yen and the food shortages; of the neighbours who disappeared and the bowing of heads and the beatings on the streets. I heard how the Japanese treated the Chinese as subhuman. I also heard about the rape.

I was angry, as much for the presumption that as I didn’t look Chinese I did not, and could not, know. I was angry because my family had themselves suffered. “I know what happened. My grandmother lived through the Japanese occupation. “Don’t tell me I don’t know what happened”, I retorted, as calmly as I could manage. “Did your family live through the occupation?”, I asked.

The man did not answer. Instead, he continued to look on as if what I said could not be so.

“And yet,” I continued, “whilst I accept my grandmother’s pain, I do not hate the Japanese. Neither do my family. My cousin is married to a Japanese man. He is a good man.”

This now provoked a response. “Hong Kong, the Chinese, hate Japan,” the man said. Then came a most revealing remark. “We do not hate the Germans”, the man said, as “the Nazis never did anything against China.” It was then that I knew that to him this pain, this history, was that of what he believed was his people and of his nation. It was a pain he did not wish me to remember, but to merely acknowledge was his privilege to feel.

It was now that I politely excused myself and walked away. I rarely resign from a conversation but standing in Mong Kok on a weekend afternoon was neither the time nor place. A few people had already stopped to loiter close by, clearly listening to our conversation. One man had by this time even shot me a look, as if to encourage me to continue. But politeness dictated otherwise. And yet, I found much to reflect upon from the conversation.

Looking inwards, I found myself reflecting on the legacy of a war fought before even the birth of my parents. It revealed most poignantly how this legacy is today felt less by our hearts and minds as by our politics. That in this man’s Hong Kong, whilst the evils of the Japanese are patriotically remembered and loathed by some – that rabid minority that constitute the patriotic classes of all societies – the horrors of the nazis are neither felt nor acknowledged.

I could reflect also on coming from a family that directly experienced both horrors. Where as my maternal grandmother lived through the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong, my paternal grandmother was in Brussels when the Germans occupied Belgium. Both suffered. And yet, for one side of my family these memories are tempered by reconciliation and a desire for cooperation. With armistice in Europe came a desire for peace, and a wish not to dictate future stability from the bedrock of individual and national greatness but for it to be built within a common trans-national community.

Germany has faced its past in a way Japan has not. But Germans are not Japanese in neither how an apology is understood culturally and in the semantics of their language of memory and remorse. We should all acknowledge the pain of those Chinese and Koreans families who directly suffered from the brutality of Japanese occupation. But this is not a national pain; it is a personal, human pain. It is also a pain that Japan has repeated acknowledge.

In too much of Asia today remembrance of the Second World War is a political exercise. It is the management of a sense of national shaming and hate for political outcomes. China, as a country scarred more recently and arguably more deeply by self-hurt, would do well to remember that it was the fostering of such hatred and a sense of national victimhood that bred both the kind of politics and sense of nation that allowed people to perpetrate such horrors.

(原刊於立場新聞

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Hong Kong Protests: Last Night at Neverland

This time everything was in order. Procedure had been followed. A court injunction had been posted, informing those who had illegally occupied Admiralty for 75 days that they were in violation of a court order and that they were required to clear the area. A day earlier the police had made it clear that bailiffs would be arriving tomorrow morning, when the injunction would come in to affect. The barricades were coming down and the roads cleared for traffic.

Details of the operation were made public. At 9am bailiffs would issue their warning; at 10am they would begin to clear the roads; at 10.30am the police would take over the operation; from 11am the area would be on lock down, and no one would be allowed either in or out.

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Wind Mills Caught in a Storm

Occupy has politicised Hong Kong people. For a movement espousing the democratic ideal and fighting for democratic reform this is not a bad thing. Neither is it for the people of a city who may question the protesters’ tactics but not their political leaning. It’s sometimes easy to forget that the anti-occupy Alliance proclaims to stand for democracy as well as peace.

Hong Kong politics has become more polarised. However, this is not because of occupy alone. The protests may have created a situation, but it is the reaction and the politics behind it that has widened the divide. This political division, and the protagonist and antagonist that tread the political stage, each appealing ever more loudly to the audience, have brought the politics of division to the street.

In the fight for public opinion one of the core values of Hong Kong was an early victim: honesty.

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Viable End Game Circumvented in Hong Kong

(中文譯文在下,由 Sally Kwok 提供。Originally published in Asia Sentinel, 19 October 2014

The message came through early last Monday morning. A source close to the Occupy Central leadership had written that the pan-democrats, the student leaders and Occupy Central had jointly agreed to issue a statement calling off the protests should the government agree to negotiations. It was a decision that demonstrated immense goodwill and trust in the government.

After all the government had only recently called off the negotiations it had offered on October 3rd when the occupation was less than a week old. The reason cited, that comments made by student leaders for more protestors to join, seemed flimsy and their reaction disproportionate. Similar comments were after all being made on a daily basis, as one would expect from a public protest.

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To The People On The Street

(編按:此為修訂版本,中文譯文於英文原文之下,由 Sally 提供)

In the past week you have created hope where once there was resignation. In action and in spirit you have been a reflection of much that is good in the Hong Kong people. The world has watched in admiration. I have never felt more proud of the people I feel privileged to call my own.

In the face of cold authority robbed by diktat of its humanity you have shone as a beacon of warmth. You have faced up to the ugliness in our community – the bigots and racists and those who fly the flags of ignorant intolerance.

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The Basic Law is Not a Gift Beijing Can Withdraw

At a conference last Saturday I noted a common assumption among all the Mainland scholars who had come to speak, which was that Hong Kong has been granted a very special gift in the form of the Basic Law and in being allowed to be a Special Administrative Region. From this position it is not surprising that many scholars find irritation in the way the majority of Hong Kong people have reacted to the NPCSC framework.

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