“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.

Continue Reading

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。

Continue Reading

Book review: Free Will by Sam Harris

The late Christopher Hitchens was once asked whether he believed in free will. His reply was classic Hitchens. “Well I have to say yes.”

Sam Harris, a friend of Hitchens, would no doubt have laughed approvingly. Whilst Harris may lack his friend’s witt and encyclodepic knowledge, he does have a focus and a sombriety that does add substance to the argument. His style is simple, engaging and unashamedly popular. What he lacks in detail and supporting argument he makes up with a tight focus on what is relevant to what he is proposing.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

Coming back homeless 回來也無家可歸

編按:方禮倫曾患嚴重抑鬱,掙扎兩年,差點死去,他在本文述說人與人之間的信任和破裂,也談及他在香港感到日漸失去自己的家園。他問前任特首梁振英,北京指「雨傘運動」受到外國勢力擺佈,但有拿出證據嗎?為什麼「一國兩制」竟滋生出本土派和愛國派的極端分子,抱著種族主義和仇外心理,好勇鬥狠?這些心態本不屬於他視之為家的香港。英文原文在中文譯文之下。

After a two year struggle with severe depression that very nearly ended his life, Evan writes of the break down in relationships and trust, and the sense of losing his home, Hong Kong. He asks the city’s former Chief Executive, CY Leung, where is the promised evidence of foreign interference that Beijing blames for the Umbrella Revolution? And why has “One Country” politics fostered a patriotic and localist extreme that is racist, xenophobic and aggressive, and thoroughly alien to the Hong Kong that was his home? English original text is below the Chinese translated text.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

No more posts.