The results of this month’s Legislative Council by-election were split evenly between the pro-democracy and pro-establishment camps, with each returning two of the four seats contested.
The results however do represent a loss for the pro-democracy camp, given that the by-election was called following the disqualification of four of pro-democracy legislators. The loss of these two seats is an effective loss, as the pan-democrats will no longer have sufficient seats in the Legislative Council to veto legislation. Indeed, two further seats may be vacated pending upcoming court rulings.
Hong Kong has a lot going for it. Victoria Harbour is world renowned, a natural and man-made haven that has sheltered a variety of merchantmen from stormy weather.
The city of the same name, once perched precariously on the steep slopes of mountains that rise majestically from the South China Sea, now stands a beacon of modernity — and yet, between its towering skyscrapers, streets and alleyways full of business, life continues.
Then there is Kowloon, the sister city across the water, built in the shadow of the Lion Rock. It is a city developed along connections, between roads that once ran from the waterfront fort to the colonial boundary, and others that long ago linked local settlements and clans to the North. Through its heart runs the first boulevard in China, Nathan Road.
The government’s 2018 budget address has generally been positively received. Paul Chan, the Financial Secretary, glows in an almost embarrassment of riches.
Last year the economy grew by 3.7 per cent, whilst inflation fell to 1.7 per cent. Government revenues continue to grow, and a record surplus of HK$138 billion was recorded for the last financial year.
Hong Kong now has HK$1.1 trillion in reserves, and another HK$3.6 trillion in the Exchange Fund. For any city in the world — indeed for most sovereign states — these would be outstanding figures.
As controversy continues to rage over illegal structures and land use, Evan considers the Small House Policy, and the history behind it and the relationship between the villagers of the New Territories and the government. There was always Two Systems in operation. Sadly he sees that it is the urban system of liberal values and rule of law that is under greater challenge today.
編按：非法僭建與佔用土地的爭議繼續升溫之下， Evan 認為這種爭議源於丁屋政策、背後的歷史與新界村民與政府之間的關係——香港一直以來都有兩種制度並行。而丁權正正衝擊自由主義價值觀與法治城市體系，使到今天的香港正處於更大的挑戰之中。
Evan reflects on The Hong Kong Story, a documentary produced just before the 1997 handover. It documents a different city, one not defined by the flag but by its people. It was a city that recognised its diverse ethnic, cultural and national identities, not only among western immigrants but also among its Chinese community. This was the Hong Kong that Evan remembers.
編按： Evan 於本文回顧於 1997 年回歸前拍攝的「香江故事」。該片記錄了一個與現在截然不同的城市，一個不是由旗幟而由其人民定義的城市。這個城市不僅承認其來自西方的移民，也承認了華人社區中的民族多樣性、文化和民族特色。 Evan 認為這才是香港。
編按：這故事是關於 Evan 家中小狗——雖然可能只是軼事，但亦悲哀地反映了香港變遷，是其中一件顯示出這個城市擁有特權的人之間表現出越來越自我中心與不合理態度的事。
This is the story of Evan’s family dog. It is a story that reflects sadly on a way Hong Kong has changed. It may be anecdotal, but it is one of many that demonstrate an increasing ego and unreasonableness among the city’s more privileged people.
編按： Evan 認為，在羅哲斯被拒入境時，根據《基本法》林鄭一定已被知會；如果羅哲斯入境確實是外交問題，構成「外交事務」的要素必須要釐清，並理應告知羅哲斯、英國政府和香港人。
Evan argues that in denying Rogers entry, Carrie Lam must have been informed in accordance with the Basic Law; and if his entry was indeed a foreign affair issue, what constitutes “foreign affairs” needs to be defined. Rogers, the British government and the Hong Kong people should be told.
Evan notes the muted response in Hong Kong to the 19th National Congress. He argues that so-called “socialism with Chinese characteristics” is contingent on a people who have no expectation of shaping their own future — people who subconsciously believe in authority rather than representation. He dares us to ask those questions our countrymen dare not.
There is a common complaint among some of my friends on the Mainland that Hong Kong people are arrogant, that they consider themselves different from their comrades on the Mainland, and that they are letting down their nation. It is a complaint that I am always careful to hear out, but also to address.
I begin by asking whether they think Hong Kong people are, in their arrogance and attitude towards their nation, different from people in China? The answer is always yes. At which point I ask them to define a nation. By this point most people see where my questions are leading, and the complaint is usually dropped. Sometimes, to highlight the folly in what is not only flawed understanding of nationhood but a shameful and positively 19th century attitude towards race, I asked them whether they consider me Hong Kong Chinese? It is not polite courtesy that ends the conversation there, but often embarrassment in their position.