Warwick Hong Kong Public Affairs and Social Service Society
PASSTIMES Fresher's Life Literature and The History and Development of
Issue 7, 2015
The Crisis of ISIS
Economics Law Sports Entertainment
President’s words Hello there, Thank you for actually opening the book, rather than letting it collect dust. Our fast-paced and efficiency-centred world leaves us hardly any time for the luxury of reading a paragraph or two, let alone a whole book. Thank you for not jumping the gun and actually reading this cliché President’s Words. Formality as it may be, it’s challenging for an unintelligent me, having paragraphs to write and a page to fill, so bear with me, I’ll get garrulous. Thank you for soldiering on till this point, I’m about to give credits to our marvellous Editorial Team and Design Team, whom shed blood, sweat and tears on this publication. It’s never a doddle having a homemade book from scratch. Compound this with a tight timeframe, it appeared to be a tall order, yet they did it with excellence. I here tip my hats to every single one of them. Thank you for being patient enough and reaching here, such a slight gesture of you means a lot to us, as our effort does not go in vain. Such a slight gesture of you also means a lot to yourself, as you escape the hustle and bustle and give your brain a chance. Such a slight gesture of you also means a lot to the almost deserted reading culture, keep it up, it’s a fun yet enlightening journey. Bon voyage! Harold Lai
Letter from Chief Editor Dear Reader, It is my great pleasure to present you the 7th edition of Warwick HKPASS’s annual publication PASSTIMES. WHKPASS has always been pro-active and open-minded in offering rational discussions whilst our PASSTIMES seeks to allow our member to extend beyond conversation: a platform for exchange of views via the power of words. Only by staying open to conflicting views and a well-informed public, will we be able to resolve the looming challenges in Hong Kong. This year, our beloved city Hong Kong has entered an unprecedented age of transition. The affirmed decision made by the Chinese authorities on 31st August, 2014 which then perceived by the public as a pretext to delay the genuine democratic reform has first triggered a series of class-boycott which then escalated to a 75-day pro-democracy movement, with its symbol of a yellow umbrella as a shield against pepper spray and tear gas. In light of the umbrella movement, we spotlight our cover story on the change of the political landscape in Hong Kong since the handover of sovereignty in 1997, exploring the history and the development in Hong Kong. The second piece of cover story will address the increasingly alarming issues around the globe, the fear of terrorism through the lens of globalization, culture and history. Public Affairs Division has undergone a structural reform and resulted in a great success thanks to the concerted effort from our committees and coordinators in conjunction with our extrapolated networks. Our first-time collaboration with Warwick Amnesty, CPASS & Taiwan Society locally and LSE & UCL HKPASS externally has marked a milestone. We will highlight our flagship events held during the past year followed by analyses on some of the most controversial issues in Economics and Legal field. Articles will also range from Literature to Movie Review, we will round off with Sports. Finally, I would like to congratulate our Head of Editorial, Andrea So and Oliver Yuen, and the equally important Design Team, Kelvin Lo, Raymond Tsang, Richelle Wong and everyone for all the hard work contributed throughout the production of this publication. I hope you enjoy reading our articles and find them thought provoking and somewhat inspiring. Yours sincerely, Marc Lai Editor-in-Chief Public Affairs Director at Warwick HKPASS 2014 - 2015
Contents 3 9
Our Journey Freshersâ€™ Life Chinese Literature
11 Cover Story
The history and deveopment of Hong Kong The Crisis of ISIS 17 Economics Hong Kong=International Financial Centre? To leave or not to leave?Is Grexit good? 21Law What does the Rule of Law mean to Hong Kong? 25 Entertainemnt Movie Review: The One I Love 27 Sports: Interview with Brazilian jiu jitsu player Caution! Slippery england 30 Credits 19
Joint PASS Orientation Day PIC: Harold Lai, Marc Lai
APASS Debate League PIC: Marc Lai Warwick HKPASS are proud to co-host APASS(Association of Public Affairs and Social Services) Debate League 2014 with LSESU HKPASS, Oxford PASS, and the Debating Society, HKUSU on 26th July 2014. The competition brings together UK and HK universities in both English and Chinese debate divisions, showcasing some of the finest debating talents they have to offer. There were 2 preliminary rounds followed by the Grand Finals of each division.
Never was there ever such an event, linking the PASS community together, letting the freshers-to-be get a glimpse of what PASS really does. Finally, on 2/9, such an event was held: the inaugural Joint PASS Orientation Day, offering a whole range of activities, from introduction of all PASSes to ice-breaking games, from an exhibition debate to a quiz competition. Thanks to the participation of the PASS community, especially the generous help from Nottingham PASS and Lancaster PASS, the event was a great success and this heralded a fruitful year for WHKPASS and the PASS community!
We are delighted to invite esteemed judges including Ms Audrey Eu Yuet-mee S.C. (Founder of the Civic Party, former Chairlady of the HK BAR Association) and Mr Paul Shieh Wing-tai S.C. (Chairman of the HK BAR Association) to sit on the Grand Finals adjudication panel.
Fresherâ€™s Dinner PIC: George Teo, Celine Chiu Our Overture-Annual Freshers' Dinner x WGAHK scholarship presentation ceremony 2014 has been held successfully in September 2014 in Hong Kong Football Club. We were happy to co-host the event with WGAHK and it was our pleasure to provide an occasion to present the scholarship to the brilliant talents who were about to start their life in the University of Warwick. It was also our honour to have Ms. Sharon Cheung and Mr. Alex Lui as our keynote speakers and the participants did learn a lot from their life experience sharing. The freshers' dinner was also a good opportunity for the participants to know each other and meet some new friends before commencing their Warwick lives. Of course, the committee members were equally happy to meet the freshers and to introduce whkpass to them. We thank the committee members for organising the event, we also thank WGAHK and all the participants, without their effort, the event would not be successful.
Discussion forum 1: Reflections
Cambridge Quiz 2014
PIC: Marc Lai
Having bagged home third for the past two years, compounded with other top three finishes in the past, WHKPASS is no slouch in the Quiz. This year, as an advisor, I told the team it was time to eye the crown.
Witnessing the ripple effect on our birth place-- Hong Kong in the weeks followed by the ruling out of OCT the open nomination for Hong Kong chief executive declared by the Chinese Authorities on 31/8/2014, along with the weeklong class boycott and the commencement of Occupy Central with Love and Peace (OCLP) spurred by the unresponsive reply from the HKSAR government, have led Warwick HKPASS to show its continuing effort to raise the public affairs' awareness at Warwick, during this unprecedented upheaval.
The forum was a culmination of panel discussions and floor questions in which student representatives had debated on some of the controversial issues that were triggered by the protest and more importantly the evolution of the democratic development in Hong Kong.
PIC: Harold Lai
Upon several intense trials, Kevin Lo, Jeffrey Sun and Dennis Yeung were shortlisted as our representatives, each being the expert in their realms. Upon several sleep-deprived days, the trio furthered their arsenal. We then had ourselves our very own encyclopedia, with Kelvin Lo specialising in entertainment and music, Jeffrey in literature, science and politics, and Dennis in current affairs and Lady Gaga. I had such high hopes to the Three Musketeers and we were buoyed by our performance in the final trial. Zero hour approached, we were supposed to net the most points in the preliminary round. Alas, down to a miscalculation, our points were to be deducted and we entered the final by the skin of our teeth. Being the underdog, standing up against the knowledgeable friends from Birmingham, Cambridge and Southhampton, we had to be bold while being cautious, a paradoxically sounding tactic. If we went too aggressive, we might lose points by picking the wrong answer; if we went too conservative, we might never catch the others. Thankfully, our boys performed solidly and barely made any mistakes, they finally emerged victorious, our first victory since 2009!
Discussion forum 2: Beginning the reconciliation PIC: Ka Ming Mak The changing dynamics between China, Hong Kong and Taiwan has been a story to emerge in the past two decades. In our symposium, we allowed participants to give personal perspectives and opinions on topics surrounding politics, economics, culture, identity and the future of the relationship between the 3 regions. We hope that through everyone's contribution to the discussion, that a more well-informed attitude towards each of the issues can be shared. Through the culmination of efforts from Warwick HKPASS, China PASS and Taiwan Society, we had fostered a fruitful compelling discussion.
LSE Forum PIC: Marc Lai, Man Hou Chan, Christopher Li, Sai Sai Chan
Flagship Christmas Conference 2014 PIC: Marc Lai We hosted our flagship conference on the future of Hong Kong politics after the umbrella movement clearance in collaboration with LSESU HKPASS and UCLU PASS, featuring a star-studded panel including Ms Audrey Eu SC (Chairlady, Civic Party), Joshua Wong Chi-fung (Founder, Scholarism), Yvonne Leung Lai-kwok (President, HKU Students' Union), Lau Mong-hung (Former HK deputy to the National People's Congress) and Sharon Cheung Po-wah (Esteemed former RTHK, Cable TV and SCMP host). The event was wellreceived which has attracted over 250 attendance, with local and international press joined us on 20th Dec, 2014 at Rayson Huang Theatre, The University of Hong Kong.
The professional trainings, team spirit as long as the enthusiasm of the passionate debaters have shaped Warwick HKPASS Cantonese Debate Team to be one of the fastest growing and a highly competitive debating team across the UK. Having participated in various tournaments, we achieved remarkable achievements including winning the champion and first-runner up in LSE forum 2014 and 2013 respectively, along with debater winning the best speaker awards. We welcome all levels of debaters or who simply wish to boost their public speaking skills or eager to know more about HK public affairs.
Dialogue in the Dark PIC: Addison Wong
Last year in September, we co-hosted the event with BATHPASS to visit the Dialogue Experience Exhibition. It was a 75 minute exhibition where the participants were led by the professionally trained visually impaired tour guides. We experienced the exhibition in a completely dark environment, which gave us the sense of being visually impaired in daily lives. In the tour, we visited five different settings. Each environment has its unique texture: sound, smell and taste, which reminded us the overreliance on our eyes to sense the world. This exhibition definitely gave our participants a unique and unforgettable experience. We learnt to appreciate the courage and ability of the visually impaired to face the daily challenges in real life (e.g. crossing the road, buying goods from stores), and be thankful of how blessed we are to be born normal. This experience was part of the fresher series and you will have the chance to meet and make friends with people from other universities. Do keep an eye on our social service projects and visits this year!
Student Assistant Teaching Experience (SATE) PIC: Phoebe Chan
SATE is a weekly volunteering programme to enhance student experience by providing support to teachers and guidance to students at the Coventry Chinese School. Volunteers will provide assistance to lower level classes and foreigners in particular. Each year, volunteers have the opportunity to participate and help organising some of the activities in the schoolâ€™s annual Chinese New Year Gala to enjoy the joyous festive weekend. This interactive volunteering programme creates a strong bonding among volunteers and children, building friendships within the group. Teachers are friendly and will sometimes give precious advice and sharing. The programme is definitely a great weekend to spend with.
Service Trip 2015 – Bulgaria PIC: Phoebe Chan, Cindy Chan
Charity Night 2015 – Transcendence PIC: Phoebe Chan
Charity Night consists of a series of fundraising event and is WHKPASS’s annual flagship event. The theme of Charity Night 2015 was Transcendence. We aim to pass the message of going beyond your limits in protecting the environment. We raised over £700 for WWF and gained support from many individuals and societies, such as Thai Society, Chinese Society and Oriental Performance Society, for supporting our event. This challenging event provides a huge platform for you to extend your potentials. From organisation and planning skills to performing arts and creativity. Charity Night is a place for you to shine and grow!
Bulgaria service trip was the only trip organised last year during spring break. 15 Volunteers visited the Cedar Foundation for abandoned intellectual disabled youth. We participated in the centre’s daily activities, introduced new games and exchanged experiences with local students and volunteers. We brought Hong Kong’s traditional snack, maltose biscuits with us to the centre. Volunteers and clients enjoyed making them. After a week of observation and service, feedback and reflection were given. We visited local sceneries and tourists spots, exploring the treasures of the city.
Dear all, Before I came to the University of Warwick, I was feeling excited, anxious and possibly a bit frightened from the thought of having to leave home. But these worries all dissipated over the past year, as I had a very enjoyable first year at the university. My first taste of university life began during the Orientation Week that was held one week before the start of term. I highly recommend signing up for this event, as it provides students with helpful support and not to mention, numerous activities and opportunities for you to meet new people! My academic life has been great. Not only was I able to study something I find fascinating, I was also able to put what I studied into actual practice, thanks to the numerous competitions and activities hosted by our faculty and society. Of course, it did take some time for me to adapt to the academic level required by the university. As expected, the level was significantly higher than that of secondary school. Thankfully however, these worries turned out to be not much of a problem in the end as the teaching quality at this university is, I think, very good on the whole. Moreover, whenever I needed any help, I could always find helpful academic support from persons such as my own personal tutor or even my lecturers. Even if it seems to be taking a while for you to adapt, do not fret, because the good news is that first year grades usually do not count towards the final grade of your entire degree for most if not all departments. This means that you will have more time, for instance, to experiment with new methods of learning, as well as more time to adapt to university life in general. There are a lot of things to do outside of academics. When I first came to the university, I was simply overwhelmed by the amount of societies on offer. This proved to be a challenge for my time management skills, as I wanted to be involved in a fair amount of societies without jeopardizing my academic life too much. Nonetheless, do think twice before taking up any responsibilities because there could be plenty of other things or activities you could be doing! Finally living on campus has been highly enjoyable for me, not only because of the short distance to department buildings and lecture halls, but also because it allowed me to meet new people within my flat. Living alone also means learning how to take care of yourself and to be independent, and that is, I think, one of the most important skills I have acquired throughout my time at university. Overall, I had a very enjoyable first year and I hope you will too. Have a great first year at Warwick! Love, Jonathan Tsang
Literature 這一片藍天，實在醜陋。 最近政府為了挽救藍天灰化的情況，舉辦了「修補藍天計劃 」。向市民強制徵收藍色物品。對於這個計劃，我只有兩字評語： 滑稽。他們以為自己是女媧嗎？修補天地，豈是人類可做的事？ 但無奈地，他們的確是這樣認為。每天在投影幕上的人開口閉口 都是科學。「科學可以拯救一切」的鬼話我聽多了。就是科學毀 滅的一切。 有朋友說：「亡羊補牢，為時未晚。」我說：「錯了，已經 很晚。」這個大型強制徵收計劃正正證明了這點。不晚，也不會把 主意打到市民頭上來。這一個徵收，大概會做成一戶人家大概五萬 元的收益。因他們甚麼藍色的東西都收：電器、書本、布料、壁紙、 家具、工具、玩具，甚至連藍莓都包括在內。有著每一克一元的收 購價，市民自然是反應熱烈。我看著那五十多頁的小冊子，嘆了一口 氣。廢話果然是又臭又長呀。
儘管如此，該做的我也得做。「強制」二字代表的是：有膽子私 藏就有膽子坐牢。我可沒這個膽子。 政府人員前來收納藍色物品的日期是二零三五年三月十三日，隔離今天 還有三天。為了這個計劃，我今天特地早早起床收拾藍色物品。跟據小冊子的 清單指引，手機套、襪子、被單、襯衫、皮帶、杯子、鉛筆、藍芝士、電線、指 甲油以至包裹衛生巾的藍色塑料袋都不能放過。花了二天的搜索時間後，我將這些 東西全放進了一個紅白藍膠袋。再三細想然後氣鼓鼓地關燈出門買非藍色的代替品。 街外很多人在圍觀修補天空的工程。一盞二十丈高的礦燈照耀著天上的一片灰黑。 那片灰黑並不如想象中，呈石膏狀。而是一坨如同啫喱的物質在侵食著天空的藍。工程人 員有條不紊地將收集回來的藍色物品黏上天空灰黑的位置。我清楚地看見一根孔雀尾羽和藍頭 髮的洋娃娃在天空隨氣流擺動，就像在以前人們會用的晾衣架上一樣。看著看著，竟覺得眼睛越來 越疲勞。天空上有冰藍寶藍灰藍紫藍綠藍淺藍粉藍泥藍亮藍，就是沒有蔚藍。一大團東西在天空上晃來晃去， 偶然還能看到一點灰黑的漏洞，簡直是不倫不類。對於旁人的讚嘆，我只有嗤之以鼻。他們都覺得，這片天空 與今晚酒吧「不眠之夜」的主題很搭調。我倒是想說，現在這城白晝晚上跟本沒分別，對於我來說，天天都是 不眠之夜。我的老古董思想在這世代已經過時了。年輕人的世界對我來說就如珠穆朗瑪峰一樣高不可攀，雖然 我不太確定這高峰仍然存在。買完東西便盡早回家吧，這片天，我不想、也不忍看。 政府人員的效率驚人的快。這才兩天半，他們便已在我家門口不耐煩地按鈴。我小跑去給他們開門。這些 大爺們，個個都打著「奉工行事」的招牌，你稍一招待不周，一個「防礙政府人員辦公」的罪名可有你好受。 他們檢查了一下袋子裡的東西，秤了秤，丟下二千塊。其中一個人拿著一個滑板模樣的東西在我家掃來掃去， 我不滿地咕噥了一聲。那人拿著「滑板」走過來，看樣子是檢查完畢了……誰料到這該死的東西會在經過我身 邊時嗚響大作！我心底湧上了一陣不安，向後踏了一步。幾名政府人員交換了一個眼神，便不懷好意地向我撲 來… 我是在我的床上醒過來的。試著活動了一下筋骨，沒有異樣。看來那幫傢伙沒對我做太過份的事。我「啪」 一下再次躺在床上，手臂的一陣麻痛卻引起了我注意力：在前臂後段的位置有一個不大不小的針孔。旁邊有一 段字：葉先生，謝謝你的奉獻。我再三仔細地檢查過手臂，都不覺得缺了些甚麼。真的要說的話，就只有動脈 的顏色變了。從藍色變了做紅色。我猜他們應該是把我血液裡的藍抽走了，如何抽走我倒是猜不透。反正對我 沒甚麼影響，我也就不糾結這個問題了。 下了床，穿好衣服。眯著眼睛看著窗外那巨型礦燈和搖晃的人造藍天，我步出了門口。也是時候了解一下 這個新世界了。 在「不眠之夜」待了一會，我猛然想起：我沒有關燈。但這只是一瞬間的念頭。隨著嘻哈音樂開始，我與 藍天一起搖擺晃動。
起 風 的 日 子
鄧 文 嫣
起風的日子 媽媽總會打開家門 扯著嗓子 「起風了，快進來！」 而我 總啪噠啪噠地跑到屋内 從牢牢閉上的窗子窺視 嗅著鬱金香沁人的芬芳 聽著壁爐劈啪劈啪的燃燒 感受著貫穿每一個毛孔的舒逸 欣賞著窗外 大自然的皮影戲 和全然無恙的一片狼藉 起風的日子 旅伴總撐起帳篷 扯著嗓子 「起風了，快進來！」 而我 總砰砰磅磅地鑽到帳包裡 從腳旁的縫隙窺探 嗅著熱可可的蒸氣 聽著油燈窸窸窣窣的安撫 感受著偶爾滑過皮膚的冷風 欣賞著帳外 大自然的交響樂 和毫無感情的一片淒聲
起風的日子 我全然不在意 總以為 媽媽總會打開家門 旅伴總會撐起帳篷 而我 總優哉游哉地倒下 從每個髮根直逼每條血管 嗅著麻痺每個細胞的寒氣 聽著氣流繞著樹枝的聲聲嘲笑 感受著一波波的 暈眩不惑無措輕鬆恍惚驚恐 愉悅絕望極樂噬骨剁心斷腸 把力氣一絲一毫的推到眼皮 欣賞著眼前 大自然和藹的輕笑 和沁出點點血珠的 佈滿烏青的 模糊不清的 自己的殘破軀幹 然後 我看見了梅花
THE HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT OF HONG KONG
cross Hong Kong, China and the rest of the world, the socio-political environment that the Hong Kong people face, is one that has seized television screens and news headlines consistently throughout 2014 and 2015. The events in Hong Kong have been a result of an exponentially growing situation unresolved from history, an identity crisis stemming from Hong Kong’s colonial days. To understand the uniqueness and significance of Hong Kong’s society, politics and economics now, we must appreciate the past and the changes gone by. The land that we recognise as Hong Kong today was absorbed into imperial China during the Qin dynasty over 2000 years ago. For most of the territory’s history at that time, it had been a fishing area, salt production centre, port and naval base. Despite being on the geographical and political periphery of imperial China, Lautau Island had been the location of the enthronement of Song Dynasty’s last Emperor Huaizong during the dynastic wars, but by and large the territory was mostly removed from the affairs of imperial China. By the Yuan dynasty, the first population boom ensued, with migrants forming the Punti people of Hong Kong. The next notable boom consisted mostly of Hakka people migrating from inland China, whose descendants mostly
©Greg Girard and Ian Lambot
make up the majority in more rural parts of New Territories today. With the dawn of China’s modern history, Hong Kong was launched into the spotlight of the world. Hong Kong soon became Britain’s de facto and later de jure foothold into China, as a port for trading tea and opium. As the Opium Wars concluded, Hong Kong had become a British colony, after 2 cessions and a 99 year lease. Under sovereignty of the Empire, Hong Kong changed in an unprecedented way, which has intrinsically shaped Hong Kong to form the backbone of its social and cultural outlook today. The arrival of Britain brought with it, Christian missionaries, who brought both Christianity, and helped found some of Hong Kong’s most prestigious secondary schools and universities. The presence of Christianity grew to form a cornerstone of Hong Kong’s multicultural society, where some 12% of the population identify as Christian. The colonial administrators achieved significantly, building much of the cultural, commercial, and industrial infrastructure that Hong Kong has today. The Hong Kong and China Gas Company, and Hongkong Electric Company are corporations that still exist today, providing much of Hong Kong’s energy needs. Rickshaws quickly transitioned into a sprawling network of buses, ferries and trams, which still
make up Hong Kong’s transport network now. Most critically, the administrators were able to establish a long lasting Britishinspired education system. Western philosophy, education content, and attitude became a pillar which held Hong Kong up through times of great social and political upheaval in mainland China. It should be noted that even the father of China, Dr. Sun Yat-sen was educated in Hong Kong. Whilst studying medicine, he managed to develop his Republican views and political base from Hong Kong. British Hong Kong provided the environment for individuals, Like Dr. Sun to become great leaders and lead a revolution to build a better China. As Hong Kong progressively adopted British cultural values and systems, China’s situation looked much different. The Qing Dynasty fell in 1912, and China had become a republic. In reality, many provinces from the west in Tibet to the east coast have declared independence soon after. The republican government was beset by attempts to restore the old dynasty, a short-lived new dynastic formation, warlord infighting, Japanese imperialism, Soviet expansionism, amongst many other issues. Through years of civil war, and the Second World War, the Communist Party had emerged victorious; whose vision of China was staunchly different to the attitudes in British Hong Kong. Whilst China struggled with her problems, the population of Hong Kong continued to grow due to mainland immigrants escaping the wars. In 40 years from 1901 to 1941, the
Cover Story population had increased to 1.6 million from 283 thousand. Although the Second World War soon halved the population due to food scarcity and emigration, the population had quickly rebounded after the war as mainland China had turned communist. Another increase followed when the Great Leap Forward had failed immeasurably, leading to great famine and starvation. Through this time, Hong Kong had been a safe haven against political and economic oppression, where there was relative freedom of speech to voice political opinions and a booming free market capitalist economy. From the 50s to 60s, Hong Kong began as a manufacturing centre of cheap, low quality products to a centre of high quality excellence. Furthermore, the construction industry had faced new guideline reforms unseen since before World War II. Society and culture faced groundbreaking challenges; family values and Chinese traditions were set aside, as people spent more time in factories and construction sites than at home. By the 70s, the British Hong Kong government had increased subsidised education from 6 years to 9 years, a symbol of Hong Kong’s p ro g re s s i v e a c h i e v e m e n t s ; i n f a c t , t h e government’s conservative stand against equal gender pay and benefits was also confronted by the people. Hong Kong had been recognised as an economic success story, with a high life expectancy, literacy rate and per-capita income. In fact, efforts to fight corruption with independent bodies, such as the ICAC since the 70s, have consistently placed Hong Kong in the top 20 countries for lowest levels of corruption in the world. Slowly and surely, mainland China had begun to overcome its communist economic principles, and embraced a generally capitalist economy leading to unparalleled wealth creation and economic growth. By the 1980s, both Britain and China sought to reach a resolution on Hong Kong, since the 99 year lease was drawing to a close and was posing as a significant issue from the point of view of investors and mortgage lenders. After lengthy negotiations, an agreement, the Sino-British Joint Declaration was signed. This, in short recognised Hong Kong’s economic and political differences with Mainland China, where Hong Kong needed significant autonomy to continue as it has done. This “one country, two systems” principle was to be stipulated in the Hong Kong Basic Law. This appeared positive news at the time, but by the ratification of Hong Kong Basic Law in 1990, the political divide existent then, was to continue to divide Hong Kong in an ever
partisan manner, to this day. Pro-Beijing (ProEstablishment) political groups hailed Basic Law as the most democratic legal system to ever exist in China, whilst Pan-Democrat groups criticised Basic Law as not democratic enough. The two camps differ in their approach to democracy. Pan-democrat groups consider fast political reform, where democracy guarantees protection of Hong Kong’s freedom, lifestyle and living standard. The Pro-Beijing camp support slower political reform than that favoured by the Pan-Democrats, for either reasons of conviction or pragmatism to maintain social stability, economic prosperity or prevent foreign interferences in local affairs. During the drafting of Hong Kong Basic Law, the territory’s last Governor, Patten was pushing for political reforms, which aimed to be more democratic. This resulted in significant electoral gains, made by Pan-Democrat groups in the Legislative Council, who were and still are political opponents of China’s Communist Party authoritarian regime. However, China viewed it as a plot, and facilitated the formation of a loyal Provisional Legislative Council to unilaterally take over the incumbent Legislative Council at Handover. At the time, this was considered unacceptable by the Pan-democrats. By the Handover, the next executive official, the Chief Executive set to replace Governor Patten, was still not elected by universal suffrage, but by a 400 member electoral college consisting of functional constituencies, the Election Committee. The Pro-Beijing Camp considered it to be a democratic step forward, whereas the Pan-democrat Camp viewed the electoral college to be insufficiently representative of Hong Kong’s people. Since the Handover, the Pro-Beijing Camp and the Pan-Democrat Camp have clashed over the present Legislative Council’s electoral system, the proposed Article 23 security legislation, the proposed National Education curriculum, as well as the proposed Chief Executive election reform. Pan-democrat groups view this as an increasing number and magnitude of attempts by China to infringe upon the freedom of Hong Kong. Pro-Beijing groups view these proposals as legitimate demands made by legislators representing a large number of Hong Kong residents. Beyond politics, social and cultural perceptions have changed, with increasingly vocal groups at the forefront voicing their views. The perceived conflict between Pan-Democrats and the Chinese government have been paralleled by a significant socio-cultural conflict between Hong Kong citizens and Mainland China citizens. Hong Kong locals perceive Mainlander tourists
regularly entering to parallel trade, driving up prices in Hong Kong. Furthermore, there is a fear of ‘anchor babies’ competing with Hong Kong’s already in-sufficient resources and services. Additionally, the apparent arrogance and vulgar behaviour of the rising nouveau riche class from mainland China who visit Hong Kong, have diminished the Hong Kong public’s positive impression and attitudes towards mainlanders. This has led to an increasing number people in Hong Kong who feel that the two territories share little in common, politically or culturally. The latest events of the Umbrella Movement, and Tiananmen Square Vigil in Hong Kong demonstrates that a great significant number of people rightly feel anger towards China’s political establishment and/or bear antimainlander sentiments. On the other hand, from Hong Kong’s most recent election results, we see that the Pro-Beijing camp still garner significant and legitimate support amongst the general populous. At present, Hong Kong is in danger of increasingly partisan politics, which plays to populist, sensationalist tunes. History will recall the dangers of rhetoric that seeks to divide societies, by emphasising differences over common ground and by degrading the dignity of other individuals and peoples. However, there is a generally positive picture when we look at Hong Kong; with an independent judiciary, a good education system, a liberal free-market economy that has provided the vast majority a good living standard, I believe it is still possible to look optimistically for Hong Kong to reach an ideal solution for the majority. The keystone to a future for everyone will lie in the willingness of the major parties to sit around a table to talk about the future and appraise the past. Only through discussion and cooperation can we find a solution.
s i s I f o s i
s i r C e Th T
hree years ago, a civil war had spread like wildfire through Syria’s dictatorship, with regime supporters pitted against freedom fighters. At one point, there had been hope that the tides had turned and democracy would prevail. Since then, Wahhabi militant group ISIS have seized territory across Syria and Iraq, doing what Al-Qaeda had failed to do. As of 2015, ISIS run a de-facto state fighting a regional war and organising terrorist attack both domestically and externally. The response of governments and society across the world, will have a profound impact on the way that we live our lives. At the dawn of the 20th century, a world dominated by the European empires had converged into ‘The War to end all Wars’, or at least that was how the renowned author and social commentator, H.G. Wells had envisioned World War One. Little did he know that the 20th century that had come to pass became one of the bloodiest eras of human history. No less than 160 million civilians and soldiers died from war and conflict during this epoch. This was beyond even his most imaginative, War of the Worlds novel that captured the world (pun intended). Like a horror series, the plot unfolded, bringing death after deaths, war after wars and division after divisions. World War One was soon followed by World War Two; World War Two was then succeeded by the proxy theatres of the Cold War, which still haunts the world today. This onslaught of terror brings us on the world’s latest security threat, ISIS. The Syrian and Iraqi Civil War features the world’s most notorious terrorists, the so-called Islamic State, also known as ISIS. As present, they cast a great shadow over the world; it stands as the composite legacy of the wars of the bygone age. Sometimes, the big picture concerning Syria and Iraq appears to attribute blame onto the distant past, however the present and very real issues of the Civil War lie quite solidly within living history.
en Ch h p e t S n and e u Y r Olive
During the fireworks marking the new year of 2015 across the Western world, the civilians of Syria and Iraq were greeted with a rather different nature of explosives. To ponder and reflect on how some regions have embraced human rights for over half a century, whilst some face intolerant, extremist and militant ideologies fuelling civil wars on their downstep, is truly distasteful and shocking. Meanwhile, the British public who generally are much removed from real-life Armageddons, were graced by Charlie Brooker returning to the front scenes of news reporting this year. Brooker promptly began by informing us of his ‘Top 40 Countdown of things to worry about’. Unsurprisingly, this list featured ISIS near the top, at fifth place. Ironically, this was behind acts of God and human stupidity. Mainstream religious leaders have rightly insisted that ISIS has nothing to do with the Almighty. Social commentators would describe the supporters as mindless, brainwashed and deluded. Oxymoronically to some, the leaders of ISIS have proven to be intelligent and resourceful. In real terms, they have outmaneuvered both Syria’s and Iraq’s military across the region, and command a large following by imposing a radical interpretation of religious scriptures. Worldwide, IS supporters and like-minded Wahhabi-inspired cults have increased significantly in number. This has profound social and political implications on the lives of everybody around the globe. ISIS’s objectives, present activities, and future, form one of the most critical issue facing the international community. Imminently, the Middle East faces its gravest security threat. Beyond the horizon, the impact of and the responses to ISIS from neighbouring states (distant or close) in terms of foreign policy, social attitudes, and lawmakers’ decisions, will be shaped and fuelled in a way that could see the seeds of mistrust sown permanently with fatal consequences. To briefly detail the present crisis and its recent history, the precursor of ISIS was founded in 1999, under the name of the Organisation of Monotheism and Jihad, a militant Wahhabi group involved in the Iraqi insurgency. By 2004, they had pledged allegiance to Al
Cover Story Qaeda, known then as Al Qaeda in Iraq, AQI. Their published aims were no less than: expelling the US forces from Iraq, creating an ‘Islamic’ caliphate, spreading conflict into neighbouring secular states, and fighting Israel. Throughout this time, attacks on civilians (especially minorities), Iraqi Government institutions, foreign diplomats, and soldiers ensured in the same fashion. Compared to its mother organization, Al Qaeda; Middle east expert Professor Haykel of Princeton University believed that “for Al Qaeda, violence is a means to an ends; for ISIS, it is an end in itself ”. This view appeared to become increasingly apparent, with the media progressively shedding light upon the numerous indiscriminate terrorist attacks in Iraq since the 2003 Insurgency. Nonetheless, before 2011, this organisation was not significantly different to other group of a similar ideological drive; most had existed and acted in the same way. To achieve their ‘goals’, money and resources were obtained effectively, by kidnapping wealthy Iraqis for ransom, counterfeiting foreign currencies, stealing cars and more importantly fuel trucks for the black market. The AQI was initially met with great success; which when coupled with a tirade of suicide bombing attacks, had posed a huge problem for both the Iraqis and US authorities.
In 2006, AQI merged with other like-minded organisations, becoming the Islamic State of Iraq, and claiming sovereignty over six of Iraq’s governorates. However, their increased presence across the country was very quickly responded to with an American troop surge in 2007. The organisations began losing territory and military bases in Diyala, Anbar and the Baghdad area. Moveover, when its own Sunni Iraqi ‘subjects’ were fighting back against their rule, alongside failing to deal with American military offenses, ISI had even declared a state of “extraordinary crisis” at that point. By 2010, the US reported that only 8 of ISI’s 42 top leaders were at large, some 80% of this clique had been either killed or captured. At this point, it would have been unthinkable to consider the future of this organisation to be one of the world’s greatest terrorist threat, as the situation indicates in 2015. As the decline continued, the ISI sought change. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was appointed the new leader on the 16th May 2010, replenishing the leadership and direction. Groundwork was then laid for future growth by the new leaders, many of whom had formed strong ties whilst placed under US military custody. The exact event that marked the rise of the ISI is unclear. What is clear, is that in 2011, Iraq quickly faced the effects of the Arab Spring and Arab Winter, and the final withdrawal of US troops from the country. Soon after the American withdrawal, the number of car bombings in Iraq by ISI increased. ISI began returning to their former military bastions to coordinate offensives to break free their imprisoned
<The map that ISIS has promised to create in less than 5 years>
comrades, and carried out indiscriminate acts on the public. Whilst the ISI was involved with the Iraqi Insurgency, a civil war broke out in the neighbouring Syrian Alawite regime, whom ISI also wanted gone. In 2012, experienced ISI contingents were sent to carry out and run a sister organisation of guerilla warfare against Syria’s Assad. This offshoot was named Jabhat al-Nusra, also known as Al-Qaeda in the Levant. They both became a formidable fighting force across the region by taking and holding strategic territory. On the 8th of April 2013, citing the historic and financial relationship between Jabhat al-Nusra and the ISI, ISI leader Al-Baghdadi declared a merger to form the “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant”, ISIL. Al-Baghdadi had become the head of one of the world’s most notorious terrorist, extortion, and criminal organisation. ISIL achieved what their mother organisation Al-Qaeda could not; they invaded, controlled and governed actual territory.
to a ‘Prophet Muhammad cartoon contest’ held in Texas. Until the claim is verified, the scope of IS in carrying out terrorist attacks outside its core territory is unknown. However if the claim was true, then the IS has become a direct threat against countries outside the present ground war, which is a huge turning point in favour of the IS. Either way, the IS has been continuing to attempt to spread fear by increasing the publicity of its callous actions and intentions against its opponents, distant or close. A proportionate response to this critical development must be seriously considered on an international level in order to combat this transnational threat. Ideally, geopolitical rivalries should be put on hold, as the world faces a huge threat to peace and prosperity. Intolerance and hatred are being justified by a group whose principles stand vastly incompatible with the values held by the international community, turning a blind eye to the human rights accorded by the UN since the last world war that made a stand against fascism and far-right extremism.
In February 2014, disputes with Al-Qaeda over ISIL’s own excessively extreme strategy, brutality and ideology, resulted in Al-Qaeda ceasing relations.The Al-Qaeda patronage was not an issue henceforth, since the ISIL had became the bogeyman for the Syrian, Iraqi and Western establishments. Not fluctuating by too much since, ISIL was active and in control of territory reaching from the backyards of Baghdad and Damascus, to the Nineveh plains by Kurdistan, to the swathes of Sunni-Iraq. The success enabled ISIL to renamed itself the ‘Islamic State’, IS, a worldwide Caliphate governed under Caliph Ibrahim (a.k.a. al-Baghdadi). As ‘Caliphate’, he claimed religious, political and military authority over all Muslims worldwide. This was responded with support and opposition by various Muslim and non-Muslim communities across the world. Like-minded extremist groups across the world began declaring allegiance to the IS, resulting in the IS claiming territory in full and in part of Libya, Egypt, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Afghanistan and Pakistan. In practice, outside of Iraq and Syria, the IS controls only enclaves in the states just listed. However their threat and ambition exacerbates the concerns greatly. At present, although the IS is without a doubt a heinous organisation massacring dissenters, ethnic and religious minorities, and abusing human rights horrifically, IS appears to still hold up against both foreign and domestic threats. Domestically, the IS has been known to managed the economy and infrastructure in an effective manner that has ensured some local support. Roads repairs, electricity, water and gas supplies are adequate, accordingly to inside sources, and food production have been maintained. This apparent internal stability maintains a strong and untouchable safe haven for IS to project their external ambitions, whether to run their online campaigns or coordinate direct attacks. The IS at present draws a significant number of foreign nationals into their fold. The threat of such nationals returning to their countries to carry out terrorist attacks or promote extremism is credible, and very real. Commentators believe that the IS has acted increasingly confidently. On the 5th May 2015, the IS claimed responsibility for the first time of an American-soil terrorist gunman attack, in response
<Japanese hostages and ISIS member> There are some who view the present conflict as a battle to right historic grievances caused by the European and Ottoman empires, where there is a multipolar agenda. What is clear, is that ISIS intends to support these grievances using a warped interpretation of certain Islamic scriptures. In the West, it can be said that there is a certain sense of removal and distancing of responsibility amongst its citizens towards grievances of former colonial populations. Amongst the younger generations, there is a great number who for good reason see negligible responsibility for the faults of the previous generations. Often a generally outward sign of indifference and detachment on the governmental front, this apathetic disposition is also useful for avoiding responsibility for a country’s faults, which may incur unwanted reparation talks. No doubt, this indignance has been felt and shown on both sides, forming some aspect of the conflict.
Anger towards Western foreign policy has increased, due to the increased death toll of civilians in the Middle East area, who are often tactlessly named as “collateral damage” in government jargon. Meanwhile, the responses of lone and organised insurgents targeting civilian populations in the West have also fuelled anger and fear. The issue in Western society is not a baked civil war, but a brewing partisan social divide. A can of worms is opened when these issues are approached, where with regular radicals entering either side of the debate, terrible accusations, generalisations and stereotyping are made. In countries such as the UK, the government are keen to ensure that acts of violence against civilians in the UK do not continue to occur. The introduction of new anti-terror legislation provides the police with more power, which can be used to combat terrorism. Some fear that the government and policing authorities may abuse their power, by infringing on human rights, surveilling people’s private lives excessively, and restricting certain aspects of religious freedom. In light of issues regarding institutional racism, and abuse of Terrorism Acts in many Western policing authorities, many question the sensibility of increasing police power. Many in the West view tolerance as a cornerstone of Western democracy, however it is held by many, including incumbent UK Prime Minister David Cameron, who believes that society should “be more intolerant to intolerance”. The historical matter of the “paradox of tolerance” raises questions not only on society’s attitudes, but consequently on the legal framework that protects the freedom of speech and expression. To what extent is one free to express themselves, without falling foul of the law that sought to ensure that anyone may speak freely? In the UK, there are a significant number of Muslims who are sympathetic towards an anti-Western foreign policy sentiment. The extent to which such views could be considered as complying to and condoning terrorism is hard to determine. Holding generally extreme views is legal, but supporting terrorism is not. It is not a simple matter for even leading experts, lawyers or lawmakers to make an abrupt decision on. The issue is that, coming to a solution too quickly may not take into an account of certain groups in society. Coming to a solution to fit all or most people too slowly does not solve present day problems quickly enough. Anger and disappointment amongst far-right nationalists and extremist Wahabis fuel each other’s movements. Nationalist sympathisers are drawn in by their anger towards the perceived threat of terrorists and extremist ideology, where they think that the government is doing insufficiently. Wahabi-extremist sympathisers are drawn in by their outrage towards the perceived threat of people attacking their religious beliefs and that the government is complicit. The lack of visible progress that
Cover Story commands society-wide support will fuel anger between both extremist fronts. Moreover the journalism of tabloid newspapers bringing sensationalist headlines to incense the reader does not contribute towards any hope of reconciliation and negotiation. On the note of negotiation, it is a tremendously difficult issue, even when debated by leading experts. Negotiation may well be the least damaging and quickest way to reach a generally amiable agreement. Negotiation and agreement between the government and society with terrorists is also discouraged by some, who fear that more people may see violence as a means to an end. Physical and direct conflict are even seen by some as the only solution that eliminates the threats to the state, despite the glaring fact that a long conflict may cause more deaths, exacerbating the problem, and possibly incite more acts of terrorism. In fact, for practical purposes, military solutions from any government’s perspective is highly complicated, where leading players often have oxymoronic agendas. Due to historic rivalry, “the problem in the Middle East is that it’s perfectly possible for my enemy’s enemy to be my enemy”, which is an external issue surrounding this conflict that the BBC summed up succinctly recently. The easy thing to say is that societies and governments across the world need to have frank and reasonable talks internally and externally to come to a mutually agreed plan of action. However, being frank and reasonable is both subjective and hard to quantify, as it is based on personal viewpoints of good and evil, right and wrong, due to culture, upbringing and personal experiences. What is clear is that in the Western world where society has a say on who forms the government, it will be unlikely for a divided society to form a united front against the present threat. Negotiations and reasoned debates on this issue will unfortunately be difficult. The first step is for all sides to cut out the name-calling and fear-mongering before starting talks. Governments, established moderate lawmakers and parties must restore trust amongst the section of society who think that the government are failing them, and thusly turn to extremism. It is without a doubt that the conflict in Syria and Iraq raises questions the way the world approaches international issues more than ever before. The faults of recent and distant history will be explored, and they could very possibly threaten the very fabric of societies across the world if the worse comes to worst.
Hong Kong =
International Financial Centre? Catherine Chan
rom a young age, we have already learned that Hong Kong is renowned for its role as a leading international financial centre and shopping paradise. However, this world’s freest economy seems to limit itself to particular industries and lack diversity in development opportunities. Hong Kong does not lack talents. Indeed, Hong Kong could have been the place manufacturing Google Glass; the leader in developing contactless payment; or a culture hub for its unique mixture of both western and Chinese cultures. However, Hong Kong did not realise these possibilities. The government did not give enough support to make these things happen. The economy has relied too much on the rising Mainland economy and enjoyed the economic benefits of a “close” relationship between Hong Kong and mainland. From the past SARS period, to now, and even to the foreseeable future, Hong Kong has long to take up the role of a “bridge” between China and the western countries.
In the Hong Kong 2030 report, the government expressed their economic prospects as utilising opportunities the growth of Mainland offered. The government mentioned that the economic link with the Mainland is still Hong Kong’s greatest advantage in sustaining growth in the long run and should continue to find ways for mutual benefit. However, the word “sustainable growth” strikes me as odd. How can relying another economy, whose growth is still under argument of sustainably, be sustainable in the long run? Hong Kong will get less and less benefits from the ties with Mainland in the long run. By being the "bridge" Hong Kong will have to continue to focus more on financial and service industries, which means less effort on new emerging ones. Developing new industries was listed on the aims of government’s Hong Kong 2030 report. However, the economy seems to stay at the stage of being too overwhelmed by the success of “the four pillars” and the ease of access to Mainland. According to a recent research paper done by the secretary of the Legislative Council, the Government stated that the Mainland would continue to play a dominant role in the Hong Kong economy, both as a source and a destination of external direct investment in the future. However, should and could Hong Kong really play this role in the long run?
“The four pillars” are undoubtedly important, with 60.3% of the GDP in 2007 contributed by the four industries. However, Hong Kong’s over-reliance on this affects the future of high valued technology industries. The limited expansion in those industries is stopping young talents from entering the market and forms a virtuous cycle of more people entering the four pillars industries as there is larger room for development. As pointed out in the “Digital 21 Strategy” hosted in 2014, young talents are discouraged from pursuing higher education in IT programmes and joining the industry. Therefore, the government need to play a crucial role in reshaping the image and prospects of these industries. As China is getting more international in its endeavours and trying to "free" RMB to be traded in other economies such as the UK and Korea, Hong Kong's roles is progressively getting smaller and smaller. Hong Kong however does not dare to make changes. Its policies are still focused on how to make the four pillars even stronger and how to cooperate with the Mainland more. They care more about the current economic situation while putting growth in the long run in jeopardy.
The government did propose a new bureau, namely the Innovation and Technology Bureau. However, will this new bureau be helpful in encouraging new innovation and technology? The government needs to provide more incentives to the private sector for them to take the risk of developing innovation. In 2008, Hong Kong was rewarded the GreenFleet Awards for its designs and technology of an electronic car, â€œMy Carâ€?. Hong Kong, with its small geographic layout, was the perfect place for testing. However, the development of My Cars stopped as there was little support from the government and private sector. US however, saw the potential of My Cars and have been developing it since 2010. Hong Kong, after years, had just bought electronic cars from Mainland last year, giving up the acclaimed and awarded My Car, a product originated in Hong Kong. It was not the first time Hong Kong missed technologyinnovation opportunities. Google Glasses had similar problems in the support received after invention, leaving further research and production in areas other than Hong Kong.
Monopoly market structure is also one of the contributing reasons in the slow development in technology. Hong Kong is one of the earliest places in the world to have contactless payment. The use of octopus card spread largely to many areas. However, Hong Kong did not lead the world in the contactless payment industry. The development of octopus cards slowed down while other countries actively develop it and use it widely. HK with the privilege of being an ex-British colony and now handed over to be ruled by the Chinese government, has been influenced by the two cultures. Hong Kong could have been a unique cultural icon with the well mix of western and Chinese elements. However, with the demolishment of historic colonial buildings and landmarks such as the Queenâ€™s Pier, the lack of total support of a close-knit cultural ecology, and political concerns, Hong Kong hardly has any constructive policies or ability in building itself a culture centre.
With only a new bureau, it is hard to solve the myriad of aforementioned problems. The private sectors, cross departments need more time and incentive to encourage innovation and production. There is a need to provide incentives to private sectors through cross departments cooperation, in order to encourage innovation and bring new invention into production. Hong Kong has a great prospects in green technology and Fin Tech. Only if Hong Kong can make good use of this potential.
To Leave or Not To Leave. Is Grexit Good?
n 5 July, a majority in Greece voted a ‘No’ on the bailout referendum, rejecting the conditions proposed jointly by the European Commission (EC), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Central Bank (ECB) on 25 June for the Greek government-debt crisis. This resulted in the awkward situation of Greece staying in the Eurozone but unwilling to undergo structural reform to match with the Eurozone standard. To solve this crisis, Nobel-prize winning economist Paul Krugman suggests ‘Grexit’, encouraging Greece’s withdrawal from the Eurozone monetary union. Is this a prudent and credible solution to this substantial and devastating crisis? Should Greece leave the Eurozone or is there any better solution to the Greek Recession? The supporting argument for Grexit as stated by Krugman is based on the Mundell-Fleming model. When Greece exits the Eurozone, it abandons Euro as its official currency and simultaneously launches a new national currency, the drachma. This causes a devaluation of currency, which may help Greece boost its exports and pay down its debts with cheaper currency. As a result, Greece can benefit from leaving the Eurozone and the Greek economy can recover from the severe recession. Such view is evidenced
by the miraculous recovery of Iceland driven by the devaluation of Icelandic krona after it filed for bankruptcy in 2008. However, this argument is based on assumptions of an oversimplified situation of the Eurozone and neglects some short-term and long-term drawbacks of Grexit. To Greece, its exit from the Eurozone would indirectly block its access to the global capital markets and cause the collapse of its banking system for an indeterminate period of time. The consequences of Grexit to the Eurozone and the global economy could also be severe and detrimental. In the short run, Grexit deteriorates the financial stability of the Eurozone. By analyzing economic data of the Eurozone in the past few months, such as the Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), consumption and investment confidence, as well as observing the response from the financial market, such as coupon rate and performance of the stock market, it seems like the Greek government-debt crisis has been contained within Greece and have not yet spread around the Eurozone; thus its impact to the whole Eurozone and the global economy may arguably be rather limited. Nevertheless, under the current situation of the Eurozone, Grexit would lower regional consumption and investment confidence to a certain extent, affecting the normal operations of the banking sector. On the other
hand, the coupon rate of other Eurozone countries with poor financial profile would increase significantly following the exit of Greece from the Eurozone. These countries would be forced to tighten and implement more of their current austerity measures in order to attain the financial expectations of the Eurozone. Therefore, Grexit would more or less weaken the economy of the Eurozone; though the impact would be smaller than that during the Great Recession in 2008, its adverse influence on the financial stability of the Eurozone should not be underestimated. Furthermore, Grexit would increase the probability of the collapse of the Eurozone as it provides a bad precedent to other Eurozone countries suffering from sovereign debt crisis. Greece leaving the Eurozone indicates that membership in the Eurozone is no longer perceived as irrevocable. As Greece is not the only highly indebted country in the Eurozone, other countries with similar financial profile such as Portugal, Spain, Italy, Cyprus, and Ireland might be tempted to exit or demand additional debt relief. Conversely, these countries might also see the interest rates rise on their bonds, making debt service more difficult.
its further depreciation of the euro relative to the dollar, which would cheapen Eurozone exports while making imports more expensive for Eurozone members, reducing the exports of non-euro countries. With substantial negative impacts, Grexit does not seem to be the ideal solution to the crisis. The best solution to the current situation requires a compromise: the ECB has to offer a feasible bailout deal to the Bank of Greece provided that Greece would agree to some of the creditors’ demand. This can avoid the collapse of Greek banking system and keep Greece in the Eurozone. Greece’s debt crisis would then not be contagious and spread to other highly indebted countries in the Eurozone. However, Greece needs to capitulate reasonably to the bailout terms in order to get the external assistance to help them to solve the catastrophic crisis. The current Syriza government led by Alexis Tsipras may have to abandon its radical left-wing ideology to compromise with the creditors so as to keep Greece in the Eurozone and to save the country from this severe Greek Recession.
Besides the aforementioned regional impact, Grexit also has side effects affecting the global economy. Grexit brings significant financial losses for Eurozone countries and the IMF, who owned the majority of Greece’s roughly $300 billion national debt. Grexit, as a solution to the Greek Recession, would have adverse impact on the IMF and the credibility of its austerity strategy. Moreover, Grexit elic-
What does the Rule of Law mean to Hong Kong?
peaking of the Rule of Law, what is the first thing that pops into your mind? Adherence to laws? Democracy? The first thing that came across my mind was judicial independence. Without judicial independence, the Rule of Law simply cannot be upheld. It is the core value of Hong Kong, which differs us from the rest of the country. However, there are concerns over the independence of Hong Kong judiciary is currently at risk under the ‘One Country, Two Systems’. These concerns are first raised after the case of Ng Ka Ling, in which the Hong Kong Government ignored the judgment of the Court of Final Appeal and sought to seek an interpretation of the Basic Law by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress. Many people argue that judicial independence is undermined because the government disregarded the decision of the Court and tried to undo the verdict rather than heeding it. Another issue that raised concerns was the then-Vice President of the People’s Republic of China (currently the President) Xi Jinping delivered a speech in Hong Kong in 2008, suggesting the executive, legislative and judicial power should cooperate. However, the separation of powers allows each of the branches to keep the others in check to avoid the government from overpowering the others. An independent judiciary that is free from any political interference can ensure the government is not acting ultra vires. The separation of powers is an important element in safeguarding the Rule of Law. The recent publication of the White Paper by the State Council in June 2014 again raised concern about the doom of judicial independence, in which it called judges as administrators and stated that they should be patriotic. It eventually lead to the march of lawyers and judges to protest against the White Paper. They feared that the paper would jeopardise judicial independence because they believed that judges were not administrators who were tasked with political purpose. Although the Paper does not have any direct effect to impose duty on Judges, it might lead to an unfortunate but very possible implication that the Rule of Law in Hong Kong is somehow undermined. Legal certainty is 21
internationally recognised as a central requirement for the Rule of Law. Businesses need certainty to invest. If the legal system is manipulated to achieve certain political requirement, its certainty cannot be maintained. Chief Justice Geoffrey Ma stated in a speech that mere doubts that the rule of law is damaged might affect international investments. During or even after the Umbrella Movement, the government has expressed the view that the Rule of Law is damaged due to the collective violation of law on the part of the protesters. However, the Chief Justice expressed a different view. He thinks that just because there are people violating the law, it does not mean the Rule of law has been damaged. Former Chairman of the Hong Kong Bar Association Paul Shieh Wing Tai SC expressed in his speech at the Ceremonial Opening of the Legal Year 2015, that the Rule of Law also requires respect for an independent judiciary, respect for the rights and liberty of individuals, etc. He noticed the Government has been constantly using the phrase ‘doing so according to law’. While it is true that it sounds very respectful to the Rule of Law, it is only one aspect of it. The Rule of Law is more than blind adherence to the law, the over-emphasis
of the ‘obey the law’ aspect is often the sign of a ‘Rule by Law’ regime, which the law is used as a tool to constrain the governed rather than as a means to constrain the way it governs. That is when the Rule of Law is truly damaged. Under a ‘Rule by Law’ regime, the judiciary will cooperate with the executive to ensure laws are interpreted in a way preferred by the government. Therefore, when government officials express or display sentiments like ‘I rule you according to law’, it’s because they have faith that the judiciary would adjudicate the law on their side. Luckily, that is not the case. Mr Shieh is confident that Hong Kong’s judiciary is independent and will continue to render judgment by legal reasoning and not on political grounds. While we should be glad that the independence of our judiciary is properly maintained, there is something else that we should be worried about. The public often applies a double standard on the judiciary. Judges are praised as heroes of democracy when they rule against the government. On the contrary, when they rule against democracy supporters, people will allude that the Rule of Law is demised and judges are cooperating with the government to oppress democracy. This double standard implies that some people have mistaken that to support democracy, the court must rule against the government. Some of them might even demean the Rule of Law in the name of democracy. However, judicial independence means courts should render decisions without any political affiliation, and judges are only interpreting and applying the law. No one is always on the right side of an argument. There is such a thing as the freedom of expression to criticise a judgment you deem unjust, but any reasonable criticism in this field should be based on legal reasons rather than political ones.
political question in dispute is one of law, the court should decide the matter on legal ground. The Court might have avoided a political matter on political purpose. It is true that there are many unclear areas in Hong Kong law under ‘One Country, Two Systems’. Paul Shieh admitted that there are matters that the Hong Kong Judiciary cannot deal with, which must be dealt by the National People’s Congress. It means Hong Kong judiciary can never be completely free from any interference under the current system. But he once again reassured us that he believes Hong Kong judiciary is still highly independent. Nevertheless, quoting from his speech, ‘Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty’, not only Judges have an important role in the upkeep of judicial independence, we all do.
Nevertheless, there is often a grey area when deciding what amounts to political influence. In the application for a judicial review against the government’s public consultation on political reform filed by student activist Yvonne Leung, the High Court rejected the application. One of the grounds of the rejection is that the court should not intervene with political matter, which should be left for the Legislature to decide. However, the Counsel representing Yvonne Leung suggested that if the
OUR BEST of
COVENTRY Student.com was created to help international students find their perfect home abroad. That’s why you’ll find in depth photo galleries and guides for not just the best student properties, but also for the areas they’re in. It’s important to us that every student has an amazing journey so we’ve picked some great places to visit from our Coventry area guide to help you have an amazing year. When it’s time to find another place to live (booking for 2016/2017 starts in November), simply visit Student. com and we’ll help you find your perfect student home, in just the right area for you. THE TIN MUSIC AND ARTS Be at the cutting edge of the live music scene at The Coal Vaults, or expand your mind and body at Tai Chi, Yoga and Kuchipudi classes at the artistic hub in the Canal Basin. thetinmusicandarts.org.uk
THE COVENTRY MUSIC MUSEUM Impress your friends with your knowledge of Coventry’s music scene. From 2-Tone and Bhangra to local bands like The Enemy, you’ll be an expert after your visit. www.covmm.co.uk COVENTRY MARKET Shop amongst locals at this authentic market for an alternative to bland supermarkets. Prices are great, and the smell of fresh produce that fills the air is even better. TURMERIC GOLD Combine a trip to India with a trip back in time at the best Indian restaurant in Coventry, serving healthy, authentic food in a 700-year-old cottage on Medieval Spon Street. turmericgold.co.uk FARGO VILLAGE Find something different in Coventry’s creative hub, where independent makers and artists sell their
unique wares from studios and stalls. The street food is delicious too. www.fargovillage.co.uk COOMBE COUNTRY PARK Even in a bustling city you’ve got traditional English countryside on your doorstep. Stroll through the Capability Brown-designed gardens. Listen out for birds in the woods. www.coventry.gov.uk/coombe
We hope you have a fantastic first term at Warwick, exploring Coventry and the UK. If you want to keep up with info, tips and news on the best places to live and making the most of your student journey, Like us on Facebook: facebook.com/ studentcom When it’s time to find the perfect home for your studies abroad visit Student.com
THE ONE I LOVE W
hat is so great about this piece of indie gem is that it employs the elements of science fiction and suspense in its construction of a simple story about an ordinary couple in a foundering relationship. To the filmmakers’ credit, the odd ominous angles give a strange, eerie feeling which fittingly juxtaposes with the commonplaces of Ethan and Sophie's boring marriage, and successfully create an interesting, unique voice and tone for the movie. Unsettling and perhaps more so revealing of the human psyche, this treatment gives a powerful portrait of a couple chasing the ghost of the initial high in their relationship, the fun and magical intensity of a first encounter. Or maybe an initial spark, which is what makes the movie so relatable as a gently-tilted study of the perennial and universal aspects of longterm relationships. The movie picks up the pace as the story morphs into a quagmire of narrative uncertainty. As Rober Ebert writes, the set-up, reminiscent of some of Hitchcock's films, works like a well-oiled stopwatch, and once the situation starts, it cannot be stopped. 25
©Duplass Brothers Productions
The fantastical plot is made believable by the subtle but delightful performance of Elizabeth Moss (Sophie). Whilst the central points are conventional where the concern is still about whether fading romantic flames can be rekindled, the oddly ominous score serves to tell us what to expect and is playfully suggestive of the scaring ability, or inability, to see in our partner what we saw in the him/her years earlier. When this becomes a physical possibility in the movie, the audience is left with an
open-ended question where there is no resolution, but the Pandora’s box is now open. The movie could well be a version of “Who’s afraid of Virginia Woolf?” except that the couples in this case are intruded by and ultimately come face to face with a version of themselves. Watch the movie, and be prepared for an-hour-and-a-half of a hell of a ride best experienced as a series of unexpected and blindsiding twists.
Entertainment A Movie that I Walked into Blind and Felt So Glad that I Did
A Review By
4.5/5 ÂŠDuplass Brothers Productions
Justin Tay: A true BJJ Fighter "There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them”
razilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is a martial art, a combat sport that focuses on grappling and especially ground fighting. Its concept is to enable a smaller, physically weaker person to successfully defend against a bigger, stronger assailant by using proper techniques, leverage, and most notably, “taking the fight to the ground”, then applying joint-locks and chokeholds to defeat the opponent. The roots of BJJ were in the early 1900s when one of the greatest fighters in Judo history, Mr Mitsuyo Maeda, opened an academy of Jiu-Jitsu in Brazil. Carlos Gracie being one of his students learned the techniques and opened his own academy in 1925. Passing to his descendants, new strategies and techniques were developed and this is how BJJ was established. BJJ became world-famous in the mid-1990s when a BJJ expert Royce Gracie won 3 titles in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Unlike Judo or Muay Thai, BJJ focuses on the fight on the ground. Instead of typical punches and kicks, one can use joint locks and chokeholds to submit an opponent with the application of proper technique instead of strength. Not only is it a martial art which focuses on ground fighting, but it’s one of the toughest martial arts to master. It has one of the highest drop-out rates in any martial art with an intense learning curve. The belt level in BJJ is incredibly strict. It takes at least 7-8 years to earn a black belt. In many other martial arts such as Tae Kwon Do, you can receive a black belt in the same time frame that a BJJ practitioner would receive a blue belt. Wanted to learn Muay Thai at first, Justin Tay accidentally started learning BJJ instead. Stopping by and watching BJJ sessions every time after his Muay Thai lessons, Justin met one of the BJJ instructors, now the UFC Fighter ‘Brodinho’ who encouraged him to try learning BJJ and not to waste 27
his physical gifts. Since then, he was in the BJJ class and never turned back to Muay Thai classes. At first, BJJ seemed weird to Justin because it looked like two people in a kimono having a kiddy fight on the ground but then the fact that technique is able to conquer a stronger opponent alone impressed him and made him stayed. As an example, after 6 months of BJJ learning, Justin was destroyed in a sparring by a 50-year-old man who is much smaller than him. After finishing the National Service in Singapore, Justin joined his BJJ team in Hong Kong (Jab MMA/ Atos JiuJitsu). His coach Professor Rodrigo Caporal asked him to participate in an inter-club competition where all BJJ teams in HK will compete in. However, the match was in 5 days’ time. He was so desperate to test himself so he accepted this challenge without hesitation. Justin ended up getting a silver medal after 5 tough matches!! This has then become his most memorable experience in his 2.5 years BJJ career. The silver medal is his pride since no sane person would take up a fight on such short notice (especially their first one). Without being carried away by his success, Justin headed back to the gym to correct his mistakes and reflect on the holes in his games. This April, Justin took part in the South East Asian Grappling Challenge held in Singapore and he was in both the Gi and no-Gi categories. Although he earned a silver medal on the first day in no-Gi, he was knocked out in the quarter-finals on the second day in Gi. He was conflicted as he had spent a lot of time to prepare for this tournament but the results did not display efforts he put in. Looking back, he realized he made a number of mistakes throughout his preparation and he knows now how to prevent himself from making those mistakes again.
Podium finishing at the 2014 Copa de HK
The toughest challenge in Justin’s BJJ Career was back when he was a white belt, especially the period of time when he first started off. He spent most of my time just gathering information. Learning what to do and how to do it and why you’re doing it, trying to ingest the information and make the movements seem logical to him. It was hard to put things together and it was very frustrating, as he kept trying things but it never seemed to work. All his training partners who were more experienced always told him that everybody goes through this stage. Every person with a colour belt in BJJ was first the nail before they became the hammer. Now, since Justin has to compete in competitions, he has to be strict on his diet and conditioning. He knows if he wants to improve he needs to fuel his body in the right way in order for it to cope with the trainings and competitions. Keeping his body in top condition is essential for him to compete and practice. When being asked about his diets, Justin said that he was once a “fat boy”. Apart from regular exercise, the key to real fat loss is his eating habits. It’s important for everyone to have the right balance of vegetables, protein, carbohydrates and fats during a meal. Justin tries to fill 80% of his meals with vegetables, and food with great protein source such as chicken breasts. Carbohydrates would replace fats for his meal after workouts. He usually eats fruits such as apples, and he stresses that he does not consume rice. “If you always put limit on everything you do, physical or anything else. It will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them” This is a famous quote by Bruce Lee, which is also what Justin lives by. Justin’s attitude is the reason for his good performance, BJJ is what he chose to master, he will improve himself constantly and never give up. However, this attitude is somehow putting a lot of pressure on him.
Justin's first ever BJJ competition in 2014
Being the President of the Warwick BJJ Society, it is hard for Justin to balance between training and studies. Luckily, Warwick University is an ideal place for him to stay away from distractions unlike being in urban universities. Most importantly, Warwick could provide him with excellent facilities to aid his trainings and keep him injury-free, therefore, he is getting the best of both worlds. Justin is pleased by the development in Singapore. In Singapore, the number of BJJ gyms and BJJ tournaments were doubled within a few years. Yet, Justin hopes that BJJ could get more attention in Hong Kong, a lot more could be done to make BJJ more professional and appealing. At the moment, Justin would not consider going professional, BJJ is an entertainment rather than a career for him despite the fact that he is very optimistic about the future of professional BJJ. At the end of the interview, Justin would like to use this opportunity to thank Professor Rodrigo Caporal and his team Jab MMA/ Atos Jiu-Jitsu HK. It is an honour for him to train with the best BJJ team in Asia. He also wants to thank Warwick BJJ and Team Renegade for the training in the UK. And of course his awesome family and friends for all the encouragement and kind words. Everybody’s kind words and encouragement mean a lot to him and that gives him strength to continue his amazing journey of BJJ.
Sports Caution! ©Sky
hroughout the years, England has produced lots of elite football players, and was treated as one of the leading countries in football. Talking about the best performance of England, the 1966 World Cup would undoubtedly be the top of the list. However, in recent years, it is always the same for the national team: they were knocked out of International competitions at early stages and were put all over the news. Who is it to blame for these disappointing results? The manager, or the overrated players? Firstly, let us explore why the players’ quality seem to have fallen in England. Since its introduction in 1992, the English Premier League has always been regarded as the most competitive and attractive league in the world. Many local football stars such as Michael Owen, David Beckham, Steven Gerrard, Wayne Rooney, were born from the Premier League. Hence, the league provided a strong base of local players in the 1990s for the England national team. However, as the popularity and the competition within the League increased, clubs; -- especially big clubs -- started to grow impatient and looked for talents aboard rather than raising their own home-grown players in order to increase their competitiveness immediately. Local potential youngsters were given far too little time on the pitch which was a necessity for their development at that time. Looking at the big clubs in the league, you can easily spot that key players are often foreign players rather than local players. You might reckon Rooney is a star in Manchester United, but in the recent seasons he was merely treated as a strong supporting player rather than the player to build the squad around with. We often saw him playing out of his best position, making way for stars from aboard such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Robin Van Persie. However, there must be a reason why big clubs such as Chelsea do not use local youth players as much as other European Clubs. The success of the Germany Football team in the 2014 World Cup was considered the paid-off of a great youth system. After the 2000 Euros knockout, Germany poured all its resources into nurturing players starting at the grassroots level. The Bundesliga made it mandatory for all top football clubs to run a youth academy. For clubs to have a license, they need to hire full-time coaches, build training grounds and establish medical department etc. The higher rating on the academy they get, the more funding they receive. According to the Bundesliga Report, Germany spent $681 million on youth football development throughout the past decade. As a result, the average age of the league has dropped significantly - more than 20% of all players came from the youth academies of the club they are playing for. As a result of the huge investment on youth development, Germany lifted the trophy last year in Brazil. The top scorer of the tournament and the only scorer in the final, Thomas Muller and Mario Gotze are both products of the youth system. Another reason why players could not unleash their potential is the
Kelvin Lo & Elsa Wong pressure of media and the popularity of agents. Once a player had a run of good performance, the media will start comparing him to another top player, boasting that he will be the next legend. This could give the player huge amount of pressure and that possibly affects their performance. Remember when Theo Walcott was elected as the youngest player to enter the World Cup squad in 2006? He was predicted to be one of the best in the world who could potentially lead England in the future. (His performance is decent now, but never quite lived up to the expectations.) He received even more attention than Lionel Messi at that time who played his first world cup in the same year and has now become the best player in the world. What about the effect of agent to a player? Considering the case for Sterling, his agent said that he rejected a contract from Liverpool and was trying to sort out a deal in order to join bigger clubs such as Chelsea, Arsenal or even Real Madrid this summer. For sure he played well for Liverpool and showed promising signs to become a leading player for England, but does he really has the quality to play for Real Madrid? In Madrid, he will hardly have a chance to earn playing minutes from the Madrid attacking Trio, Bale, Benzema and C.Ronaldo. He would also not have the opportunity to be a key player in Chelsea and Arsenal, knowing that they have world-class players such as Hazard, Sanchez and Ozil. These potential deals do not seem to benefit Sterling’s growth at all. This is just one of the many examples where agents try to sort out deals for potential youngsters for the sake of money, rather than to find clubs which can provide the best platform to development and showcase of talents. Playing style could also be one of the reasons why England had performed badly in big competitions in recent years. England was once proud of their playing style: physical, strong, and fast. However, this playing style is now outdated. In its current trend, football is mostly about passing and skills. From the famous tikitaka by Spain and the recent World Cup Champion Germany, they treat passing, movement and skills as crucial areas in their playing style. Rene Meulensteen, former Manchester United Coach, once said, “England players hold the ball up far too much, they should be passing the ball and move to an open area to receive the ball rather than dribbling all the time.” This surely reinforces why English football is not working on bigger stage. These reasons prevented England from reaching its maximum potential and performing outstandingly in competitions. Luckily, the FA of England had introduced several policies to rectify such situation such as setting a limit of numbers of minimum local players in a team and reforming the youth system in the country. Hopefully with the hard work of the FA and a bit of luck, England will improve their results in competitions and give their fans a reason to shout for.
Sponsored By Dr. Simon SHEN, WHKPASS Advisor
Warwick Hong Kong Office
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Disclaimer: The majority of content published on PASSTIMES is created by individual authors, and do not represent the views of the Warwick Hong Kong Public Affairs & Social Services Society (WHKPASS) or its commitee members. Neither WHKPASS nor its committee members are liable to any opinion expressed by contributors.
Publication of Warwick Hong Kong Public Affairs and Social Service Society (July 2015)