“Hello Mr To” — The pleasures of simple greetings

I was now at the head of the queue. I was at a government office, waiting patiently in line to be served. On the tannoy a voice called out a number, and I made my way over to the booth.

Behind the glass sat a middle aged man. His face was well groomed, cleanly shaven and his hair combed to a side parting. He wore dark brown plastic glasses, inexpensive but well cared for. Though the office environment was a controlled temperate, outside it was autumn. He wore a dark grey hooded jumper over an off-white shirt. Indeed, there was much about the man that was autumn: in his age and the slight stoop of his body; in what he wore and the way he wore it; and in the way he moved sheets of paper between a copier and his small desk.

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法律、倫理與天堂文件 Law, Ethics and The Paradise Papers

Whilst the releasing this week of the Paradise Papers has lead to much debate on the legal and ethical issues concerning the operation of offshore financial entities, Evan notes little is written or said about the wider context of the relationship between ethics, law, taxation, sovereignty and the social contract. This, he argues, is what many people find so disconcerting: that the industry exposes an internal contradiction within the foundation of what we have come to accept as a modern and just society.

編按: 本週流出的「天堂文件」引發了諸多爭論,當中主要圍繞離岸金融實體運作的法律和倫理問題。 Evan 指出,關於倫理、法律、稅收、主權和社會契約之間更廣泛的關係,並未有太多的討論。他認為,這些關係是許多人覺得如此令人不安:這個行業暴露出的矛盾,卻是遠超我們所接受的現代公正社會基礎之外。

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我朋友是五毛黨? — 為什麼香港政治容不下中庸之道? My Friend the 50 cent-er? — Why is There No Place for Moderation in HK Politics?

編按:方禮倫認為今天的香港容不下溫和與克制,這是他的切身之談,也是他一位被污衊為五毛黨的朋友的切膚之痛。他說社會要有對話,必須讓溫和的人有機會發言。但這不太可能,因為我們國家的政治現在是各走極端,而不是為了打開新的局面。在現實生活中,中共就是我們允許聽到的唯一聲音,不會跟我們對話。

Evan argues that Hong Kong today is no place for the moderate, sharing with us his own experiences and that of a friend who has unfairly been called a 50-center. He says that for there to be a discourse, moderates must again find their voice. However, this is unlikely as the push to the extremes is a reflection not of new, but our national politics — in reality the CCP is the only voice that we are allowed to hear, and it does not do dialogue.

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為何英國維權人士會在林鄭發表施政報告一日被拒入境? Why bar British Human Rights Activist on the day of Carrie Lam’s First Policy Address?

編按:方禮倫在本文指,禁止羅哲斯入境的邏輯存在內部矛盾,而且這一決定只令北京對維護香港核心價值觀漫不經心的謠言更火上加油。

Evan writes that there is an internal contradiction to the logic of barring Benedict Rogers from Hong Kong, and that the decision itself only adds fuel to the fire of rumours that Beijing is not serious about preserving Hong Kong’s core values.

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The Eurasian Face

“Where are you from?”

As a Eurasian I am often asked this question. I do not believe it is because I am for any reason particularly noteworthy in either my looks, habits or actions. I’ve tended to be one for blending in to a crowd. I do not stand tall, model-like, proclaiming my desirability with a toothy smile and tight jeans. So it pains me to admit it’s unlikely to be a chat up line.

And the question where I am from is often followed by a guess.

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The Two Worlds of Times Square

At Times Square in Causeway Bay there are two long flights of escalators. The first carries people from street level up in to the atrium. The second carries shoppers further up and on to the first of several shopping levels.

I got to know Times Square and the surrounding neighbourhood twenty years ago when, as a secondary school student, I made some extra pocket money running errands for a company whose offices were in Tower 1. Each day that summer I would take the escalators.

The first flight of escalators brought me to the office lifts. It was a Times Square that I slowly discovered – a place of drab cubicles, laminated desks and hissing photocopiers; and a place of work. The second escalator brought me to the Times Square I knew. It was a more familiar and welcoming place. My mother would buy tennis shoes for the family here, and a few storeys up was the games arcade where I would meet friends. I never particularly liked the mall, but it was still an environment I recognised, and a place I could understand within the context of living in Hong Kong.

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Britain may regain some dignity by speaking up for Hong Kong 英國為港發聲或仍能挽回一些尊嚴

編按:方禮倫在本文指,當年英國政府很可能不期望「中英聯合聲明」得到兌現,但仍執意與中國簽署聲明。 他認為,儘管看似無能為力,但英國有法律和道德上的義務維護聲明。為港發聲不僅可使英國在北京獲得更大的尊重,也表現出英國人的價值觀。

Evan writes that it was likely the British government knowingly signed the Joint Declaration with no expectation of the treaty being honoured. He argues that whilst Britain may seem powerless, it has a legal and moral obligation to call out a wrong. Doing so would not only likely earn Britain greater respect in Beijing, but also represent the values of the British people.

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