Warwick Hong Kong Public Affairs and Socal Service Society
PASSTIMES Issue 10, 2019-20
C R O S ROADS
Editor’s Note Since the beginning of history, Hong Kong has always been an important crossroad between civilisations. From the influx of the She people during the Neolithic Era and the Yuet people in the Warring States period; to the Chinese refugees of Hau, Tang, Pang, Liu and Man during the Mongol period and the colonisation by the British from the late 19th century, Hong Kong’s role as a meeting point for various political, economic and cultural endeavours has never been doubted.
Glory Chan Editor-in-chief Director of Media at WHKPASS 2019-2020 President Jason Yeung Vice President Jayden Tse Administration Director Michael Lam Events Director Jane Chan Finance Director Matthew Lui Marketing Director Jeanne Hui
Yet let us not forget that tensions and conflicts are not necessarily bad. Just like how the warmth of fires can only be generated through friction, or how the splendour of meteors can only be created through collision, historically, the progress of Hong Kong, too, arose primarily out of the clashes and exchanges of ideas. This is why the theme of our publication this year is ‘crossroads’. By providing an open platform for the expression of various opinions, I hope that we, as individuals and as members of the public, can continue to grow and learn from differing views. Only then can we make the most out of our current circumstances and embark on a better and more promising future. On this note, I would like to thank all the executive leaders and members of WHKPASS for their efforts. I would also like to thank members of my team, Antony Lau, Charlotte Lau, Cyrus Ma, Kingston Fung, Tina Lee, and Walter Lam for their contributions to this endeavour. I hope you will find this magazine as rewarding as I did.
Media Director Glory Chan
Talks Director Percy Chan
Volunteering Director Renee Cheung
The significance of Hong Kong as a crossroad is never more evident now as we step into the new decade of 2020. Not only is the city an intersection between the East and the West, it also embodies the tensions between differing political views, between various ideological beliefs, and perhaps most importantly, between the burdens of the past and our hopes for the future.
Editor-in-chief Director of Media at WHKPASS 2019-2020
4 Our Journey FEATURED
香港歷史 6 OPINIONS – POLITICS
8 10 13 16 19 23 28 31
A City of Protests ‘Liberate Hong Kong’: For who and for what? ‘One Country, Two Systems’ The root of the problem The Lion Rock Spirit of Law Perspectives on Politics Hong Kong, Newspeak and Psychological Subversion Students and Politics 園丁
OPINIONS – SOCIETY
32 The Shackles of Racism
Why Homeschooling is so Undeveloped in Hong Kong
OPINIONS – LIFESTYLE
38 40 42
The bandwagon of Vegetarian and Vegan lifestyle If not black and white, then what? Esquel Group – A Strategy for Sustainability 3
2019 Running Bath
Nottingham Model United Nations Birmingham Public Speaking Competition
Cambridge Inter- University Quiz
2020 Oxford-IC-KCL Model Legislative Council
Esquel Company Visit
Charity Rose Sale
團年飯 Reunion Dinner
Volunteering Trip to Morocco
請問諸君曾經探討過香港這個彈 丸之地是如何從一條落後的小 漁村搖身一變成為如此繁華的 『東方之珠』嗎？正所謂鑑古 知今，想要真正理解當今香港 社會的政治經濟潮流文化等方面 何去何從，我們就必須先回溯 它悠長的歷史，以下就讓我們 重溫一下香港的前世今生吧。
其實所謂『香港』這個地方一直存在，但是世人 開始以『香港』這個概念作為對這個地方的認知 是在其成為英國殖民地之後的事。一八四零年， 第一次鴉片戰爭爆發，在各方面都不如英國的清 朝政府無力抵抗，最終以簽訂包括割讓香港島等 條件的《南京條約》為代價成功議和。由此一事 起香港正式開埠，並在一八六零年清廷因敗於英 法聯軍而簽訂《北京條約》時額外割讓九龍半島 南部，以及在一八九八年簽訂《展拓香港界址專 條》租借給英國九龍半島北部、新界和一群離島 九十九年後，成為了現時為人所知的香港。作為 一個英屬殖民地，香港不同於被封閉的清朝領 地，是一個各國皆可自由進出的自由港，並且順 勢發展成了西方與東南亞各國之間的貿易中轉 站。香港的基礎建設亦隨著人口與城市面積的大 幅增長而一同擴張，奠定了其作為現代亞洲國際 貿易中心的必要基礎。
二戰結束後，雖然日軍終於撤走，但隨著國共內 戰重啟帶來的戰亂及民眾對共產黨的恐懼，大批 難民再次湧入英屬香港。由於這批難民大多為中 國內最富有的群眾，他們帶來了大量資金人力技 術，滿足了香港經濟轉型成製造業的必要條件。 直到八十年代，香港除了因親共左派策動的六七 暴動而曾經經濟蕭條一段時間以外一直都以穩定 的步伐發展，並因為殖民地政府推行的廉價出租 公屋、打貪、九年強逼免費教育和廉價優質醫療 等政策而使得香港成功現代化。由於中共八十年 代推行改革開放釋放大量的勞動力，工廠紛紛北 移，而香港亦從製造業轉型成商業及旅遊業，人 均生產總值曾一度直追英國，各項社會經濟指標 堪比第一世界國家。
步入二十世紀初，由於香港比起中國大部分地方 都發展得更為先進，以及其作為英屬領地和自由 港的地位，每當中國局勢動盪不安，例如一九一 二年清朝滅亡時以及一九三七年第二次中日戰爭 爆發時，人民便紛紛逃亡到這個安全比較有保障 的城市。然而，香港的良性進程亦並非一直暢通 無阻。一九四一年十二月八日日軍進攻香港，而 防守的英國、加拿大、印度及香港義勇軍在懸殊 的劣勢下最終於二十五號投降，開始了三年的日 治時期，史稱『黑色聖誕節』。由於日本皇軍一 般鄙視華人，並在這段時期擁有絕對統治權，關 於皇軍大量殺人及製造亂葬崗等傳言曾經非常盛 行，亦成為了八、九十年代香港鬼故事和都市傳 說的好材料。
然而，如此富饒的生活條件卻仍無法抵消人民對 中共的恐懼。隨著《展拓香港界址專條》的九十 九年租約期限，亦即一九九七年的逼近，香港即 將被歸還於中共，而對此抱著不信任態度的人口 在一九八四年《中英聯合聲明》被簽訂後陸續移 民離開，是為第一波香港移民潮。根據聲明，英 國將於一九九七年七月一日將對港主權歸還中 共，條件為香港成為中國的特別行政區，以一國 兩制的方針下維持五十年除外交國防外的高度自 治。這份聲明成為了回歸後香港的運作模式，既 保留英國留下的法治與自由等制度和系統，亦滿 足了中國奪回主權的意義，在冷戰的氛圍下具有 非比尋常的歷史意義。為了穩定民心，時任中國 領導人鄧小平亦曾以『馬照跑，舞照跳』作為一 國兩制的比喻，承諾即使香港主權回歸中共也不 會干預民生。可惜一九八九年發生六四事件，使 許多香港人擔憂香港民主化將會受到更大的限 制，引發百萬人上街示威以及新一浪的移民潮。 時至今日，香港已然開埠一百七十九年，雖然歷 盡大小風波，亦曾被多個政府易手管治，但其作 為亞洲貿易中心的地位卻依然屹立不倒，背後依 賴的正是其豐厚歷史背景所帶來的獨特優勢。香 港人雖經過百年英式殖民，卻因禍得福得以享受 一定的民主自由以及行之有效的司法制度，吸引 無數跨國企業投資，亦賦予其作為中國與世界接 軌的窗口的獨特地位。而除了經濟政治外，香港 的飲食流行文化等亦因為其歷史因素而成功融合 了各種中西元素，既有廉價方便的各種街邊小 吃，亦有隆重高貴的名牌餐廳，每年慕名而來的 旅客數之不盡。說到底，儘管香港的發展歷程未 必一帆風順，但只要香港人一日堅守他們的核心 價值，保持獅子山下的拼搏精神，這顆『東方之 珠』仍然不會褪色。
OPINION - Politics
A City of Protests
By Mui So Yee
subsequently a job with high salary. Anyone living in Hong Kong can easily discern the extent to which Hongkongers care about money. However, the protests have brought tremendous changes to the city. For one, law and order within society has been severely affected. While mass protests in June were very peaceful, within six months, police have arrested more than 4,000 people, and no more approval has been granted by the police for peaceful demonstrations. At the same time, police brutality has been a core grievance for protesters after the proposed bill was withdrawn. Police have been firing thousands of rounds of tear gas in many residential areas and recently in central business areas as well. As Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated cities in the world, according to an article published by Bloomberg on November 9, up to 88% of the population has been exposed to tear gas and have started to feel the effects of long-term tear gas exposure after police had fired as many as six thousand canisters at protesters. Protesters have also recently started firing petrol bombs, arrows and even catapults against police.
Since June this year, Hong Kong has been on the headlines of international news due to the ongoing protests, triggered initially by a proposed extradition bill. Like many other Hongkongers, I found it very difficult to digest what has been happening and comprehend the drastic changes over these few months.
As such, Hong Kongâ€™s economy has been critically hit. The city has been crippled for a few days in November. People could not work, schools were closed, roads were paralysed. Hong Kong was like a warzone. Businesses have been badly affected and there has been a significant drop in the number of tourists. It appears that protesters would rather sacrifice their future or even their lives for fighting for freedom and democracy, showing more concerns about their rights and justice over making money.
Prior to the protests, the political awareness of most Hongkongers was relatively low. As a city â€œThe protests have brought renowned for its competitiveness, its fast pace of living and its sky-high property prices, the main tremendous changes to the cityâ€? focus of many Hongkongers was on their jobs. For adults, working hours are notoriously long. For This goes hand in hand with the significant increase children, they are often subjected to the pressure of in political awareness among Hongkongers. One attaining a high level of achievement in academics million people participated in the mass protest on and extracurricular activities, with the ultimate June 9 while two million showed up on June 16 goal of getting into a reputable university and regarding the proposed Extradition Bill. The scale of 8
OPINION - Politics
“It seems to me that if there are any imminent threats to the values of freedom and human rights, Hongkongers would step up and fight for them regardless of the cost”
On Sunday November 24, prodemocracy candidates won a landslide victory over the pro-government candidates in the district council elections. Almost three million people turned out to vote in these elections, which were framed as a de facto referendum on the protests. With these more than 70% turnout, higher than any other demonstrations was unprecedentedly large. The sense of political awareness is particularly prevalent among elections in the city’s history, this demonstrates both Hongkongers’ commitment to democracy and that younger members of the society, as surveys carried out by a team coordinated by the Chinese University they are counting on this election to point a way out of this impasse. Hong Kong is still protesting and of Hong Kong in June, July and August, found that we still do not know where it may go. It seems to me among more than 6,000 participants, around half of the protesters are in their 20s. People between 30 and that if there are any imminent threats to the values of freedom and human rights, Hongkongers would step 49 made up another quarter of the protesters. With up and fight for them regardless of the cost. all these drastic changes in our beloved city, a lot of Hongkongers are experiencing an acute sense of helplessness and anxiety.
OPINION - Politics
‘Liberate Hong Kong’: From who and for what?
A look into Hong Kong’s struggle for decolonisation In the wake of the 2019 protests, the rallying cries and striking white words of ‘Liberate Hong Kong’ permeate the city. Each call rouses spirits during a tired rally, each graffiti trace marks an episode of mass demonstration. Yet, its emergence as the symbol of protest raises an important question – who and what are protesters liberating Hong Kong from? The question’s existence speaks to Hong Kong’s confused postcolonial identity. By conventional sense, colonisation is a distasteful memory for many African and Asian regions, one that should be brought to a “speedy and unconditional end” as stated by the United Nations Trusteeship Council. This is what liberation typically brings to mind – the ending of colonial oppression, the beginning of territorial independence, or political or cultural autonomy. Specifically for Hong Kong, with a transfer of sovereignty from Britain to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1997. As British flags were lowered and Royal Navy Britannica left the Victoria
Harbour on July 1 1997, Hong Kong formally became a Special Administrative Region (SAR) under the jurisdiction of China. Yet, in these eight months, protesters’ calls for liberation were often accompanied by proud wavering of the British colonial flags. At the same time, these actions attracted criticism from leftists, localists and the prodemocratic side condemning the oppressive elements of colonial rule. Embracing vs Liberation from Colonial Rule
“The question ‘who and what are protesters liberating Hong Kong from?’ speaks to Hong Kong’s confused postcolonial identity” 10
One oftencited reason for embracing the city’s former colonial status is the legacy of British administration.
Many policies that emerged out of the 1970s such as the rule of law, civil service and economic freedom were noted for contributing to Hong Kong’s success. For example, the Britishstyle common law legal system with an independent and impartial judiciary is seen as a ‘gift’ to Hong Kong. The implementation of “positive non-interventionism” in the 1970s is seen as a force for elevating Hong Kong’s status as a global financial hub. Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s civil service system is regarded as highly professional, efficient and relatively clean, especially with the establishment of the ICAC (Independent Commission Against Corruption) in the 1970s, which proposed to eradicate corruption. Although much of these policies were designed to create a local identity, and maintain popular support for colonial rule against Communist
OPINION - Politics pressure in 1949 (due to the influx of Chinese immigrants), and leftist riots in 1967, it nonetheless left positive impressions on the younger generation. These underpin some ‘baby boomers’ or youths’ desire to “freeze” Hong Kong (as described by sociologist Lui Tai-lok), and maintain the old laissez-faire economy that ensured a stable and prosperous environment before the handover. Sun Yat-sen’s remark in 1923 that Britain turned a “barren island” into modern Hong Kong persists as part of the common imagination of British colonial rule. Another aspect that fostered a local identity is the hope of democratisation. In order to ease British and business’ fears of Communist takeover, Deng Xiaoping devised the policy of ‘One Country, Two Systems’ that kept a capitalist economic system for Hong Kong. Under the system, the city would maintain “a high degree of autonomy” for 50 years until 2047. More importantly, inscribed in The Basic Law and
the Sino-British Joint Declaration of December 1984, the treaty that set forward for Hong Kong’s decolonisation, is the goal of realizing universal suffrage. Hope for democracy thereby forms part of what makes Hong Kong distinct – another facet of a unique identity. Liberation in this sense would be maintaining this inscribed state of autonomy and achieving democracy in contrast to Chinese one-party rule. A Chinese View: Liberation from Western Imperialism On the other hand, Chinese officials dubbed the 1997 historical event as Hong Kong’s “return to the motherland”, and regards it as a symbolic end of a period of “shameful history”. As Chen Zuoer (former deputy director of Beijing’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office), remarked, “desinicization is at work, but there is no decolonization.” Contrasting the optimism for British governance, Chinese officials condemn the British colonial legacy for creating a “colony
complex”, which undermined the popularity of Chinese authority for Hong Kong’s citizens. In this sense, the Chinese government does concur with the ‘liberate Hong Kong’ slogan, albeit liberating from British colonial rule and Western imperialism. It prioritizes the speeding up of ‘decolonisation’, through actions such as the introduction of national education in 2003. However, given the existence of Hong Kong’s local identity and norms, China’s moves to centralize its power over Hong Kong’s politics and culture are seen by citizens as an infringement of autonomy. The handover comes to represent the city’s reversion to a political regime that was more authoritarian than the colonial one before. On a cultural level, the meaning of ‘liberate Hong Kong’, which could also be translated to ‘restore’, thus represents for some the mourning of present oppression under the PRC and reminiscing about its colonial past.
OPINION - Politics Democracy: Liberation from Oppressive Colonial Structures That is not to depict a sweeping endorsement of the colonial past by Hong Kong’s population – at no point did the British government set the intention of benefitting Hong Kong’s population. British governance was founded in the 1840s to serve its own commercial interests, and institutions were designed to impose orders from London. Hence, there are considerable flaws in its institutional framework, which lay a precarious foundation for present Hong Kong. It wasn’t until 1985 that directly elected seats were introduced into the Legislative Council; the past colonial administration was able to pass legislation through a legislature of appointed members. Vestiges of such undemocratic structures remain, as only 40 of the 70 seats on LegCo are directly elected. The remaining 30 are elected by functional constituencies, where legislators
and electors are chosen from different professional sectors, such as finance, real estate, tourism, catering and labour. A similar system is used to select Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, where four professional sectors, comprised of a small circle of
1,200 people, nominate and elect Hong Kongers’ right to selfa Chief Executive. Furthermore, determination. Liberation thus the remnants of the executivesuggests independence from both dominant system sees limited checks and “Hong Kong’s identity is balances of police a matter of deliberation force. Hence, the prodemocratic side’s or between the three forces” leftists prioritise this side of decolonisation. This includes calls for dual China and British colonialism. Interestingly, in spite of colonial universal suffrage – the removal nostalgia, the pro-democratic of functional constituencies, and side, localists and even China direct election - ‘one person, one vote’ – of the city’s Chief Executive. to some extent recognises the need to decolonise certain institutions, culture and identity. Here, the anti-extradition bill can Yet that is the extent of common be seen as a catalyst that revealed ground the concept’s meaning. structural problems. In this way, While the PRC sees removing it can be viewed as Hong Kong’s colonial political culture as an struggle to dismantle oppressive important step to consolidating colonial structures, within the power, pro-democratic side framework of ‘One Country, Two recognises the need to politically Systems’. Liberation is advocating reform colonial structures, while for decolonisation and greater localists acknowledge the role autonomy, while still under the of decolonising to create an jurisdiction of China. indigenous national identity. Each Liberation from Colonial Powers side telling its own version of the city’s story. The protests can be – Hong Kong Independence seen as an eruption of the built-up friction between all these forces. An alternative view to the two hegemonies – Returning to the question – who Chinese imperialism and what is our seven million and the British colonial population liberating Hong Kong past – is localism. At from? As Hong Kong’s population its most radical end, is left wondering what it means localists see the 1997 to no longer be colonial subjects handover as fall of Hong after the 1997 handover, what Kong to a new foreign substantiates an answer is a aggressor. Hence, the matter of deliberation between colonial rule continues, the three forces. As eight months just under another of protests have gone on, with an flag. With that is the unprecedented level of solidarity recognition that real autonomy under ‘One Country, Two Systems’ (and violence) from protesters, the polarisation of ‘blue’ and is impossible and that the only ‘yellow’ stances, pressure from the solution would be to dispel Chinese administration and police Chinese intervention and achieve independence of Hong Kong. This suppression, perhaps it be seen as a part of this historical process. movement is underpinned by the growth of indigenous Hong Kong nationalism, which asserts
OPINION - Politics
‘One Country, Two Systems’ The root of the problem
1997 marked the year where Hong Kong adopted the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ arrangement, where the city would supposedly enjoy its pre-existing legal arrangements under a single, unified China. Whilst its implementation seemed rather straightforward, in practice, this has not been the case. Indeed, whilst the handover of Hong Kong from Britain to China was initially met with great optimism, the everfraying relationship between Hong Kong and the mainland runs the risk of fully deteriorating in the face of growing protests within the Special Administrative Region. This can be seen especially with the current 2019 protests, where, once peaceful, these demonstrations have turned
violent. Such violence has paralysed Hong Kong whilst greatly exacerbating dire relations with the mainland. What has caused this rift? Whilst Beijing have been open in blaming such unrest on foreign interference and socio-economic woes, I argue that most of the blame lie with the inherent contradictions within the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ arrangement. These contradictions relate to issues of the levels of autonomy that Hong Kong truly possess and the power of the central government.
Administrative Regions under the centralised authoritarian rule of China as a unitary state’’. Indeed, this autonomy is outlined in Hong Kong’s mini constitution (the Basic Law), which states how Hong Kong would retain its current way of life, promising full universal suffrage and the maintenance of the capitalist system. Whilst this may seem clear on paper, in reality, the arrangement has been riddled with large scale tensions which seek to break open the very bonds which keep the system together.
Theoretically, the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ arrangement can be said to be a “policy innovation to preserve a high degree of autonomy of the Special
Indeed, one can point to the ongoing attempts at the political and economic integration of Hong Kong by Beijing. These attempts, I argue, have been central in 13
OPINION - Politics exacerbating tensions whilst contributing towards the rise of resistance movements within Hong Kong.
(SCNPC). At the same time, the SCNPC has acted controversially in issues surrounding universal suffrage, where, through the power of “The ever-fraying relationship interpretation, it has between Hong Kong and the seemingly slowed down mainland runs the risk of the progress to fully deteriorating in the face full democracy. This can of growing protests within perhaps be the Special Administrative seen by the attempts Region” in 2014 to establish a system to screen Chief For instance, despite promises Executive candidates before of a “high degree of autonomy’’, citizens are allowed to actions by the Beijing government vote. suggest otherwise. This can be seen clearly with the attempts This erosion of by the Hong Kong government autonomy can be directly to pass legislations which were linked with the growing deemed to encroach into Hong dependence of Hong Kong Kong’s autonomy. Examples on the Chinese economy. include the Extradition Law Whilst Beijing have been swift to amendment in 2019, which was point out the economic benefits seen as a threat to Hong Kong’s Hong Kong gained under the judicial independence, and arrangement, especially through the introduction of Article 23, the policy of the 2003 mainland which sought to outlaw speech, and Hong Kong Closer Economic assemblies, and political activities Partnership Arrangement that were perceived as a threat to (CEPA), Hong Kong has become Chinese national security. increasingly reliant on the Chinese import and export Here, the increasing attempts to market as well as Chinese tourists politically integrate Hong Kong in order to sustain its economy. into the mainland (perhaps as a This, as some commentators have way to protect the ‘One Country, suggested, has essentially led to Two Systems’ arrangement and a reduction of self-autonomy national unity) have helped to which has placed the care of lay bare the large contradictions Hong Kong’s fiscal health and within the entire system itself. sustainability increasingly into the hands of the Chinese government. For instance, whilst Hong Kong This can be seen with Hong theoretically has a large degree Kong’s heavy reliance on food of autonomy given to them by and water from China. For the Basic Law, the power of instance, 80% of Hong Kong’s interpretation of such laws resides water comes from Guangdong with the standing committee province whilst Hong Kong’s beef, 94% of fresh pork, and 92% of of National People’s Congress 14
vegetables comes from China. This dependency can be illustrated by how in 2016, vegetable prices went up by 30% in Hong Kong due to the mainland having an unusually cold winter. Thus, whilst the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ arrangement seemingly promises a clear delineation of responsibility between Hong Kong and the mainland, in practice, the degree of autonomy which Hong Kong has is clearly subject to the will of Beijing. Moves towards political and economic integration/ dependency by the Chinese
OPINION - Politics government have subsequently helped to exacerbate tensions produced by the underlying hypocrisy within the governing framework around the issue of autonomy – ultimately contributing towards the rise in large scale resistance movements. This can be seen with the 2003 protests against the implementation of Article 23, the 2014 Umbrella Movement, and the current 2019 protests, which sought to reverse Chinese policies which were deemed to encroach on Hong Kong’s “independence’’, as outlined by the Basic Law. The latter of which has gone beyond the initial issue of the controversial Extradition Bill with demands such as full universal suffrage, while general oversight into police conduct are also now being sought
China’ as hoped by the Chinese government, the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ arrangement has merely caused increasing divisions between the mainland and Hong Kong, fostering a rise of anti-China sentiment, as well as consolidating a distinctive Hong Kong identity, which has “Rather than facilitating a become seemingly ‘Greater China’, the ‘One incompatible with the values Country, Two Systems’ of China. This arrangement has merely can be seen in a caused increasing divisions study by the Hong Kong University between the mainland and public opinion program in June Hong Kong” 2019, where findings showed by protestors. In conjunction that in the past year, there has with that, smaller scale protests been a 14% increase in people against economic integration saying they were not proud of has also been evident in Hong becoming a national citizen Kong. For instance, there were of China (from 57% to 71%). protests in 2009 and 2010 over There were also increases in the the plan to build a costly express amount of people who identified rail link between Guangzhou as being a Hongkonger in the and Hong Kong. Whilst the plan literal and in a ‘broad sense’. This, ultimately went ahead, it helped to according to Edward Tai, reflects increase awareness of the dangers the impact of the marches against of economic dependence of the the extradition bill on the Hong economy on China. Kong citizens, ethnic identity, and feelings towards the handover of From this, it can be seen that sovereignty. rather than facilitating a ‘Greater
Here, it can be said that the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ arrangement, due to the inherent contradictions within the system, fails to be an effective mediator between the two entities in question. Indeed, this is partly down to the systemic failure to take into account issues concerning culture and identity, and differing perceptions over the concepts of democracy and autonomy. Thus, if the arrangement remains unchanged, the growth of tension between the two sides will continue to escalate, resulting in the continued occurrence of public protests against the Beijing government. In order for such violence and protests to stop, I suggest that rather than just blaming foreign interference and socio-economic woes for the rise in unrest, the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ arrangement needs to be radically reformed to a state where both sides concerns can be fairly mediated whilst ensuring the preservation of values of both sides. However, how the way things are, such a possibility seems to be a far-flung fantasy.
OPINION - Politics
The Lion Rock Spirit of Law On October 6th, the HKSAR government opted for a ‘nuclear option’, imposing the Emergency Regulations Ordinance (ERO) to quell four months of massive anti-establishment protests. This colonial-era law, last used 50 years ago, allows the administration to green-light legislation proposals without passing the legislative council. While Carrie Lam claims that it is exclusively used to one particular case – banning protesters from wearing face masks to ease identification, critics and opposition concerns are sound – the ERO can pass regulations including censorship, arrest, detention and others, on the basis that the executive “may consider desirable in the public interest.” A pandora’s box of potential human rights violations has been opened. More fundamentally, this executive move blatantly undermines the Basic Law. Article 39 provides that the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights will continue to apply in Hong Kong after 1997. Article 73 vests the legislative power of Hong Kong in the Legislative Council. Article 8 says that any laws previously in force that contravene the Basic Law cannot be maintained. These provisions are nullified when the ERO is invoked. Furthermore, usurping the lawmaking function of the Legislative Council and passing it to the executive alone, is highly 16
problematic. When the executive can override institutional safeguards, a detrimental trend of unchecked power could ensue. While the Hong Kong high courts have ruled the mask ban as unconstitutional, such trends of authoritarianism is precisely what protesters, and to a larger extent ordinary citizens, are concerned about when it comes to Rule of Law.
excuses of crime” and support the government and the police force in “defending and strengthening the authority of the law”. When Han Zheng, Beijing’s top official for Hong Kong affairs, met Carrie Lam he remarked “the most important task for Hong Kong right now is to stop the violence and restore order”, noting that it is “the common responsibility of Hong Kong’s executive, legislature and judiciary”. This emphasis on obedience and compliance sums up our HKSAR administration and Chinese government’s conception of Rule of Law. Evidently, it is strictly linked to abidance to authority and maintaining social order in the Chinese view.
Meanwhile, when protesters stormed and vandalized the legislative council on the eve of Hong Kong’s handover anniversary on July 1, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman accused protesters of “trampling on the rule of law” and denounced protesters for placing themselves above the law. With that, Xinhua emphasized the need to “reject
Lately, it seems as if the Rule of Law existed in two parallels. In many ways, this differing conception of Rule of Law demonstrates the ideological division between the ‘yellow’ and ‘blue’ side. Whereas the prodemocratic side emphasizes on ensuring the government powers are kept in check – the proestablishment side emphasises
OPINION - Politics
obedience to the law. Yet this dichotomy is dangerous to maintain.
and decided by the standing committee of the National People’s Congress.”
police stormed the Prince Edward station, and used batons and pepper spray against unarmed and non-resisting citizens and innocent commuters. These are only a few examples of illegitimate use of force, violating the basic principles of using weapons as a last resort. Despite an evident break down in rules and guidelines on the use of force, only one police officer, from a force of 30,000 has been suspended. Meanwhile, 4,400 protesters have been arrested since the protests began.
Completely discarded from the Rule of Law or Rule by Law? As Locke puts it, laws Chinese conception of Rule of “promulgated and known to the Law are Hong Kong’s courts, As such, the mask ban marks People” introduces predictability institutional context, and balance a symbolic beginning of the to the “sudden thoughts” and of power. Despite the concept’s HKSAR’s descent from Rule of “unrestrained” wills of other ambiguity, this has been the Law to Rule by Law. In addition recurrent core of Montesquieu, to the unconstitutional move, our people in lawless anarchy. In other words, the clear expression of law Locke, Aristotle and many administration has repeatedly and its impartial administration philosophers's invoked “Lately, it seems as if obedience helps prevent the arbitrariness legalistic and tyranny of rulers’ whims. This thinking. and ‘law ‘Rule of Law’ existed in mitigates the asymmetry between Hence, as and order’ the ruler and the ruled – precisely two parallels” put by Philip to justify what Hong Kong is threatened by Dykes, police at the moment. As the executive chairman of the Hong Kong repression. Evidently, a regime turns a blind eye to the police Bar Association, “protesters that “use[s] the law to constrain force’s guidelines, the legitimacy of who break the law are not the governed rather than to police actions are purely up to the actually undermining the rule constrain the way it governs” administration’s discretion. Along of law as such, because the rule has emerged – the HKSAR with the absence of law against the of law operates to hold them government has merely recycled accountable for their acts.” Such the colonial “Civil liberties and human operation crucially consists mechanisms of judicial independence and and used law rights are vulnerable before the exercise of power in a enforcement for a defunct rule of law” constraining framework, both its own political of which completely missing in instrumentation. ERO, the persistent unwillingness the establishment’s narrative. In to conduct an independent response to the mask ban ruling, On October 4, a police officer investigation on police force Beijing goes as far as insisting its was caught on video firing his (one of the five demands), many sole authority in constitutional gun at point-blank range into the protesters or even ordinary people matters, stating “the Basic Law of abdomen of a protester moving are rendered powerless. Civil Hong Kong can only be judged towards him. On August 31, riot
OPINION - Politics liberties and human rights are vulnerable before a defunct rule of law, which no longer keeps power in check. Not to mention the economic implications of such unchecked law enforcement. The basis of Hong Kong’s attractive position as an Asian financial hub is the predictability and transparency of how the law operates, enabling businesses and investors to make plans and work around its requirements. Yet, seeing the uneven enforcement of law for police and protesters, without any accountability, undermines these fundamental conditions. The proestablishment side’s accusations of protesters ruining the economy inevitably ignore our government’s actions as a more severe cause, and its detrimental long-term effects.
uncertainty of Hong Kong’s identity. After all, the Rule of Law narrative emerged out of a colonial backdrop of social panic following the 1989 Tiananmen incident. British colonial rule represented a “bulwark against the looming lawlessness represented by the transition of sovereignty to China.” A decade later, in 1997, Chris Patten describes the concept Dating back to Aristotle, the as “the guardian angel of Hong principle that Kong’s “The spirit of ‘Liberate decency and citizens and authorities the engine Hong Kong’ is an are equally of Hong bound by, and opportunity to hold Kong’s are subject success’. Rule of Law to our to the law, is Ironically, collective ideals” fundamental to the ERO legality. For the itself was a government to absolve itself from colonial measure first ratified in its own system of accountability 1922. Faced with a 30,000-person and justice, unbounding itself Seaman’s Union strike, which from law, while accusing others paralyzed Hong Kong’s ports, of “trampling the rule of law” and the British colonial government undermining the social order is introduced a series of draconian unjust and deeply hypocritical. measures that outlawed the Seaman’s Union and closed down Our Core Values its headquarters. It was then again used in 1966 riot against As seen, as a core value, the the increase in the Star Ferry fare, incongruity of the Rule of which saw 1,500 arrests without Law’s meaning between the trial. pro-democratic side (or to a greater extent, the people) By positioning the Rule of Law as and government shows the so, it acts as a tool of ‘manufacture 18
of consent’, providing a source of political legitimacy for the colonial government. Despite itself infringing this principle, the Rule of Law remains a much celebrated British ‘gift’, and a core value for Hong Kong. In many ways, it reflects Hong Kong’s precarious identity: citizens are oppressed by but also benefit from the vestiges of colonialism. Confronting these facts is what put Hongkongers in a political crossroad. The spirit of “Liberate Hong Kong” is an opportunity to hold Rule of Law to our collective ideals and truly internalise it as a unique (neither Chinese nor colonial) concept. Facing Hongkongers is the choice of whether to passively accept political reality by authority or actively assert political agency and reform.
OPINION - Politics
Perspectives on Politics
The outburst of the antiextradition bill protests in Hong Kong has brought international attention towards this small yet significant international trade center, yet it is impossible for non-locals to see the full picture, to understand the protesters and how their beliefs are shaped merely through the numerous headlines and sound bites provided by the media. One of the biggest misconceptions to people outside Hong Kong is that the protests are led and participated by only teenagers, that this is a fight of the youth, but this is far from the truth. Certainly, almost all teenagers of Hong Kong either support the protests or are already protesting, but so are a few different generations. As
the protests bring out different interesting social phenomena worthy as case study material, this article will explore how the different growing environments of the five currently existing generations of Hongkongers shape the strongly contrasting materialistic and post-materialistic values that predominate their standpoint in this historical social movement. Those who live in Hong Kong presently can be roughly separated into five generations, the first being the oldest generation who flew from mainland China and sought refuge in Hong Kong. This generation is mostly 70 to 90 years old right now and are mostly abstaining from either
side of the protests as they lack the energy and motivation to take part. What characterises this generation is their pragmatism in daily life and a general apathy to politics, as they had lived most of their lives in constant fear, without guarantee of basic survival needs. Even after they arrived in Hong Kong, they lived in poverty and to them politics is a field of elitism, unrelated to them unless it occasionally affects their daily life, and the progressive values that found the protests are unknown to them previously, thus insignificant and unimportant. Furthermore, even if they are somehow capable of understanding and demonstrating support towards these values, they would have passed away by the time any actual
OPINION - Politics the government as losers who do not work hard enough. This can be seen by how they address protesters with the condescending term ‘useless teenagers’.
change could have possibly be achieved given the background of the protests. Hence this generation can be viewed as the first and most basic materialistic generation of Hong Kong citizens that lacks motivation to support the protests. However, do keep in mind that when compared to the second generation, they actually have a higher tendency to agree with the protesters, with the example of an old lady nicknamed “Grandma Wong” who is very famous amongst protestors. This is because they are more open to change and new ideas than the second generation, a characteristic developed from the hardships of their early lives, and also because they have nothing to lose from participating. The next generation are the children of the first generation, and are mostly referred as ‘boomers’. Similar to the first generation, boomers also belong to the ‘materialistic side’, as they are born during the time period when Hong Kong was not as economically developed as today, where stability and 20
Additionally, due to their lack of material fulfilment in their childhood, they value their current material achievement and stability over progressive values that they have rarely been in touch with for most of their lives. And since the protests would hurt their vested interests, they became the biggest opposition to the protests. They see the action of protesting itself as a disruption of social norms that would threaten the status quo, and the goals of protests as unknown change that could take away their privileges. This can be seen by observing the most common arguments made against the protests, which mainly involves criticism of the disruption of stability, economic development and so on. Furthermore, they often claim that the protestors were only protesting because they were funded by foreign countries, which shows that they fundamentally do not believe in the fact that the younger generations would choose post-materialistic values over materialistic enjoyment, as they would not do so themselves. This is in fact the crux of the division
materialistic fulfilment were still not guaranteed. However, what separates them from their parents is that even though they might also have endured a period of poverty, they were extremely privileged to be living in the 20s, the height of career pathing, during the golden age of development in Hong Kong. With the refugees from China also came tons of capital and entrepreneurs who pushed Hong Kong towards a thriving secondary industry and as long as they put effort in work, regardless of the job category, social mobility was always assured. A lot of them are now at the top level in all of the important and influential sectors of Hong Kong such as finance and politics, “One of the biggest experiencing the fruits of misconcpetions is that economic development. Most of these boomers the protests are led and believe that their current participated only by successes were the results of their personal teenagers” achievements and their between the two sides, with personal achievements only, thus the older generation preferring exhibiting a conservative, proestablishment attitude, viewing the stability over everything due to teenagers who are discontent with their position, and the younger
OPINION - Politics generation who neither have nor value material life and would rather live with freedom.
and incentive to defend the core values of Hong Kong. However, this generation is less likely to take part directly in street protests, especially those that became more violent due to police intervention, as they do not want to risk losing their jobs by being arrested. Instead, they participate through alternative indirect methods like
From the third generation of Hongkongers onwards begins the ‘post-materialistic generation’. This generation includes those who are at the end of their 30s and early 50s and they are most likely the middle “This is the crux of the class of Hong Kong. Born about division between the 20 years after two sides, with the older the boomers, they have had a generation preferring relatively stable stability and the younger and wealthy childhood, generation who would rather enjoyed live with freedom” compulsory but free education, and have had lesser social mobility donating capital and supplies, providing transportation to help but still enough to have a stable, protestors entrapped by the police well-off income. As Hong Kong escape, using their professional transited into the tertiary sector, knowledge to advice and guide the third generation became the protests, and help spread the pillars of Hong Kong’s day awareness to foreigners. to day operation and they are mostly found in professional The fourth generation is industries like banking, civil the generation referred servants, musicians, doctors, to as the millennials in lawyers and teachers. Most of the west and are usually the third generation have been in their mid 20s to mid exposed to progressive values and incidents like the Tiananmen 30s. This generation is mostly children of the Square Massacre in 1989, boomers but are different therefore raising their awareness to them in many ways. to democracy, freedom and rule First of all, they most of law. Although they might not likely have a secured and be as invested into these concepts economically well-off as future generations, they still childhood with education have a respect for them, since to at least a high school the integral constitutionality or undergraduate degree. and professionalism brought With the popularisation of by the UK was crucial to their the internet they are fully success. That said, when the aware of all the human extradition bill was introduced rights abuses committed and its implications brought to in mainland China and are full attention of the city, the third generation has both the capability repelled by the Chinese to fully understand its impacts government. This is
different to the boomers, who are easily content about occupying the upper class and are ignorant of China’s erosion of Hong Kong’s core values. With the progression of Hong Kong’s economic development and the third generation occuping professional roles, the millennials have experienced serious credential inflation, economic inflation, industrial homogeneity, and have had no social mobility whatsoever. Their educational level may not bring them high paying jobs but are certainly sufficient enough for them to understand and treasure progressive values. Yet they could never be as prosperous as their previous generations and their income is far from enough to cover the cost of living, especially housing in Hong Kong. This means that they have no choice but to be post-materialistic as they could not enjoy a materialistic life with all the education and have nothing to lose anyways.
OPINION - Politics The fourth generation has always been passionate about social movements in Hong Kong like the Umbrella Movement in 2014 and the Fishball Revolution in 2016, and when the extradition bill came they naturally defied, committing to the protests both physically and mentally. A lot of them have lost their savings, their jobs, their health and well-being, but this is not stopping them from participating because they have no other options. They are not rich enough to emigrate and will be direct victims of the Chinese government’s oppression due to their long history of opposing it. The final generation is typically conflicting invested interests like known as the Gen Z, which are any other generations, Gen Zs generally the students who are are naturally the most passionate old enough to understand what is protestors. This can be seen by going on and decide to participate. how one third of those who have They also belong to the postbeen arrested during the protests materialistic generation, as they are those aged 20 or below. That grew up in an environment that said, their ways of protesting was extremely stable, too stable are also the most innovative. in fact, in every possible way. Learning from the failures of the Witnessing all the social problems Umbrella Movement, and with in Hong Kong and aware of all the help of technology to set up the human rights issues in China, online communication platforms, they are educated enough to be they introduced the ‘water styled’ politically enlightened. Most of revolution that saw greater success Gen Z values the limited freedom in comparison to previous social left in Hong Kong and fears movements. the authoritative Chinese “Without financial government. As burdens and conflicting the youngest generation who is invested interests, Gen not old enough to Zs are naturally the most work, they naturally do not have the passionate protestors” financial ability to emigrate. This generation will To conclude, the essence of the definitely face the repercussions if protests can be viewed from the protests failed, and thus they the perspective of how one’s have no choice but to resist, even generation affects their political if it means a temporary physical standpoints. The old typically destruction of their home city. value their materialistic life to Without financial burdens and the point it has become their 22
sole life goal, thus the long-term freedom and autonomy of Hong Kong, which they will not live long enough to benefit from, is meaningless to them. In their eyes, the efforts of the youth in obtaining freedom and autonomy only serve as obstacles to their cozy, stable life and it is unlikely that either side would change their views towards the protests easily.
OPINION - Politics
Hong Kong, Newspeak & Psychological Subversion 2015. A relatively uneventful year for Hong Kong. Nevertheless, the resignation of Ronny Tong (湯 家驊) from the Civic Party (公 民黨) managed to arouse much attention. “Tearful Ronny Tong quits as legislator,” reported the SCMP ( 南華早報) on 22 June 2015. The lawmaker, when founding the Civic Party, had hoped “to inspire the party… to win over moderate Hongkongers too in order to strengthen the democratic movement”. Following this break from his former party, Tong founded the Path of Democracy (民主思路) in pursuit of his political principles.
納更多政治傾向較為中立的港 人，以壯大民主運動。 The word ‘中立’ was translated to English as ‘moderate’. This translation is bad to say the least, since it leads to misunderstanding. For the original Chinese word ‘ 中立’ has two different meanings – one is to imply ‘moderation’ or ‘the middle way’, the other is ‘neutrality’. Or perhaps the translation was correct. In that case Tong was responsible for causing this misunderstanding. It is unnecessary to use the word ‘中 立’ to convey the first meaning. For instance, Tong could say ‘中間
路線’ instead, which has a literal meaning of ‘in the middle way’. He certainly has the ability to do so, himself being a renowned lawyer – a profession notorious for their selection of words. Instead, Tong used the word ‘中立’ in multiple instances in his resignation letter to convey the meaning of the ‘middle way’. So what made a great literacy like Ronny Tong blunder in perhaps his most important letter of his life? But let us first consider the nature of the misuse of wordings. In essence, this is a form of Newspeak, as a reference to Orwell’s 1984. Being the official language of a fictional dystopian nation named Oceania, Newspeak was specifically engineered to remove the possibility of rebellious thoughts among its people. One of its techniques is ‘doublethink’, which makes a person simultaneously accept contradictory concepts. For example, the word ‘free’ in Newspeak does not imply ‘free will’. Instead it would mean ‘the absence and lack of something’, which is contradictory to its original meaning. Back to Tong’s case, his blurring of two distinct and opposing concepts of the word ‘中立’ has far-reaching consequences. For one would now
The SCMP quote above was a translation of Tong’s ‘致各公 民黨兄弟姊妹書’, which was essentially his resignation letter. The original passage in Chinese is as follows: 自零九年底，我開始察覺公民 黨所走的路線，與當日創黨的 理念日漸偏離。我一直期待透 過我的不斷努力，可以啟發黨 的視野，由單是面向民主派最 堅實的支持者，轉而致力於吸 23
OPINION - Politics
use the word ‘中立’ to suggest that he did not take a political stance while claiming to be a moderate at the same time, which in itself is a politial stance. With the current turmoil in Hong Kong, we are beginning to grasp the full extent of the horror of such a misconception. The unconscious personal bias due to ‘doublethink’ means that people are increasingly unable to convey what they actually think. A current phenomenon is for someone to claim themselves as ‘中立’ (moderate) while ‘opposing violence of all sorts’. This is actually self-deception, as the word ‘moderate’ is confused with ‘neutrality’. Apart from this, their sentence contains one more misconception caused by Newspeak. That is, the confusion of ‘violence’ (暴力) from ‘force’ (武力). This is in a slightly different manner, and although it does not necessarily lead to bias, it is extremely likely to. Violence, according to the Oxford Dictionary, is “the unlawful exercise of physical force or intimidation by the exhibition of such force”. Hence the word 24
belongs to the government. Ergo, most of the police’s exertion of force, when according to law, cannot be described as ‘violence’, at least in a normative sense. Perhaps this may be debatable in a positive sense, such as that the law may grant the police too much power. However, this does affect the police’s legal status. The police’s exertion of force can be categorised into two different types – the use of ‘force’, and ‘abuse of power.’ Contrary to this, when the protestors use ‘force’, it in itself is illegitimate in a normative sense – the fact that it is unlawful and that they do not belong to the government means that ‘force’ by the protestors is equivalent to ‘violence’. Therefore, in this context, we are describing three categories of ‘forces’ – ‘force’ from the police, ‘abuse of power’ from the police, and, ‘violence’ from the protestors.
implies illegitimacy. To briefly illustrate this, we could take a look at the Social Contract Theory. The theory considers that man, with a purpose to improve their own well-being, had at some point decided to come together and form governments to provide security, and gave the government legitimacy to exert force. Try to imagine the word ‘force’ being It is important to distinguish these replaced by ‘violence’ instead. categories of ‘forces’ because this This would sound odd, because saves us from entering a false the sentence would become self-contradictory. “The unconcious How could any party exert legitimate force personal bias due to illegitimately? One has to utilise ‘doublethink’ to ‘doublethink’ means that be able to say something people are increasingly like that.
unable to convey what they actually think”
Back to the original stance, ‘I oppose violence of all sorts’. A common meaning of this sentence, in the current context, is that they acknowledge how there is both violence from the protestors and abuse of power from the police – and that they oppose both of them. However, the ‘abuse of power’ from the police does not translate perfectly into ‘violence from the police’. For the police
dilemma. ‘Force’ from protestors can only be described as ‘violence’ because the protestors are not a legitimate unit. This may lead to one thinking that forces from all parties can only be phrased as either ‘violence’ or ‘force’, judged by whether the unit is legitimate or not. As this line of thought is applied to the police, problems arise. If we did not establish a
OPINION - Politics distinction between the three conflict, would try to act tactfully categories of forces mentioned and reply ‘I oppose violence of all above, we would observe that the sorts,’ and thus plunge into selfpolice is a legitimate unit, and deception and confusion. And we thus reach the conclusion that now see how attempts to manifest all police actions are legitimate. one’s ‘neutrality’ pave the way to As a consequence, police actions mishandling ‘force’ and ‘violence' would only be described as ‘force’ – for the person could just state ‘I instead of ‘violence’, and when oppose both equally.’ one claims to ‘oppose violence of all sorts,’ “Thinking well was the one is, in reality, opposing only violence next thing to acting well” – Thomas Mann from protestors, again without consciously being aware of it. This is a grave issue, for as Thomas Mann proclaimed, “thinking well Hence the common stance for was the next thing to acting well.” ‘neutrality’ in contemporary If language is being mishandled, Hong Kong collapses in the face this would lead to confusion and a of two inherit contradictions, subversion of fundamental social namely, mixing ‘neutrality’ with values. Social norms and values the ‘middle way’, and ‘force’ may vary according to the virtues with ‘violence’. This could all be or vices of times, yet little are avoided, however, if the position those changes related to a misuse was clarified. For instance, if I of language. The use of language, say instead, ‘I am a moderate, the amount of words or meanings and I oppose both violence from a language could protestors and abuse of power convey has always from the police’, it would not lead been increasing. to any logical fallacies within Rousseau’s the sentence. Hence, while the anthropology proposition can be challenged in his Second on the outside by arguments, it does not fall apart within, and one Discourse would be saying exactly what they elaborated that man’s first have in mind. It could as well be “language” was said that the second confusion of his “cry of nature”, ‘force’ and ‘violence’ stems from which is to cry the first one. It is simply too easy out when faced to make the whole point explicit. with urgency or Yet it might seem to some that danger. Language what is mentioned in a sentence has always been first bears a greater weight. In evolving as this case, if someone claims to man’s thoughts be a moderate and ‘oppose both spread and violence from the protestors and began to build abuse of power from the police’, closer personal another person might challenge, ‘so you oppose the protestors more relations. The fact that language is than the police?’ And the first person, in order to avoid potential becoming less
able to convey meaning is against human nature.Ergo, the failing, or societal mishandling of a language could only be the result of an deliberate process. Our readers could now have a glimpse at the answer to the question put forth earlier on in this discourse, ‘What made a great literacy like Ronny Tong blunder in perhaps his most important letter of his life?’ His confusion between ‘neutrality’ and ‘moderation’, as we have deduced, is a form of Newspeak and ‘doublethink’, which leads to illogical use of language. And if the failing of language could only be the result of a deliberate process, what kind of process is that? That is, psychological subversion warfare. Psychological subversion warfare is originally a strategy deployed by the Soviet Union, and the term was first introduced to the
OPINION - Politics Western World by a Soviet defect, Yuri Bezmenov. Rooted from Sun Tzu’s ‘philosophy of winning a war without fighting’ (不戰 而屈人之兵者，善之善者也), psychological subversion aims to, in Bezmenov’s own words, “change the perception of reality of every American to such an extent that despite of the abundance of information no one is able to come to sensible conclusions.” Despite Bezmenov’s reference to America, the case is extremely relevant in contemporary Hong Kong as well. The whole process consists of four stages: Stage 1: Demoralisation (15-20 years) Purposed to ‘re-educate’ an entire generation of people. The aim is to break down traditionally established social bodies and norms, including events such as population resettlement, ridiculing religion,
in an allencompassing state and emergence of ‘sleepers’ – the new generation after demoralisation. Stage 3: Crisis (6 months) There would be “violent change in power, structure and economy”. The society descends into either ‘civil war’ or foreign invasion. Stage 4: Normalisation The society is completely subverted and comes out from the ashes of the crisis under a new ideology and political structure.
An important thing about psychological subversion is that it is an overt and continual process. There is nothing behind the scenes. All of its symptoms are to be seen by everyone. “An important thing about Another takeaway is the peculiar similarity psychological subversion of those symptoms with what has been is that it is an overt and happening in Hong continual process” Kong. unconstructive education, lobbyists and pressure groups etc. There is also generalisation through propaganda which leads to mistrust. as Bezmenov stated, “exposure to true information does not matter anymore. A person who was demoralised is unable to assess true information. The fact tells nothing to him.” Stage 2: Destabilisation (2-5 years) Essentially radicalising the process of demoralisation, aiming to destabilise all accepted institutions and organisations. This results 26
Is Newspeak a form of psychological subversion? Apparently so, as it spreads confusion – the goal of demoralisation. Be aware that Ronny Tong’s ‘neutrality’ stance was brought about only after the Occupying Central movement. Hong Kong had previously been politically apathetic. Tong’s stance became prominent because it took advantage of the occupying central movement, where everyone seemed to have been involved. Combined with the aforementioned aftermaths of Tong’s stance, the answer to
the question seems obvious. Furthermore, Christianity is now treated as farcical by nonbelievers, with the rise of phrases such as ‘Yeh-Lun’ (耶L). Clearly, religion has been ridiculed, even among believers. Old family-run businesses are substituted by chain stores. The media, both left and right, makes their position explicit through their articles, disregarding their claims of neutrality. Lobbying from developers meant that housing and rent problems remain unsolved. Are all these just coincidences, or do they imply more? Is it not disconcerting how Hong Kong descended into its current position so suddenly? Is it not surprising that Hong Kong is having a political crisis on the 22nd anniversary of its return to China, about the same time as when the demoralisation and destabilisation process is complete in psychological subversion? What is Truth? 20th century political theorist Hannah Arendt highlighted how “factual truths are never compellingly true. The historian knows how vulnerable is the whole texture of facts in which we spend our daily life; it is always in danger of being perforated by single lies or torn to shreds by the organized lying of groups, nations, or classes, or denied and distorted, often carefully covered up by reams of falsehoods or simply allowed to fall into oblivion.” This
OPINION - Politics concept is similar to psychological subversion.
is no longer considered credible. The outcome, as everyone can see, is the ‘blue’ and ‘yellow’ camps denouncing each “Defactualisation is other’s news source as becoming increasingly ‘biased’. All of which are psychological subversion. normalised” “Defactualisation”, according to Arendt, or ‘post-truth’, is becoming increasingly normalised, thus causing confusions. From when have we started considering that it is normal to merge ‘neutrality’ and ‘moderation’ as synonymous concepts, like Ronny Tong did? It is only that we have been affront to this idea for such a long time that this “lying becomes counterproductive. This point is reached when the audience to which the lies are addressed is forced to disregard altogether the distinguishing line between truth and falsehood in order to be able to survive.” Again, posttruth is a deliberate process, and that it contributes to creating a ‘demoralised’ person. One of the agents of ‘post-truth’ is the media. Once more we can see how truth is corroded. A few years ago, there were at least several ‘neutral’ or ‘unbiased’ sources of media. Now every medium is at least perceived as being biased to one side or another. There is ‘CCTVB’, ‘red-SCMP’ and ‘yellowNowTV’, to name a few. Hence, it is hard to believe that a news source is addressing an issue in its entirety, and from an uncensored perspective. The tragedy begins when a certain news source is deemed to be prejudiced. And when the crowd begins to follow this narrative, they themselves become confused and demoralised, thus the news source
– just like how some of our current generation look back in awe at the British colonial rule. These are questions which we have to begin to think about in order to avoid another collapse of the Weimar Republic. Fortunately, we are not the worst case. Germany fared much worse in 1945. Yet they endured, and flourished as a democracy.
As things stand, 2019 appears to be the watershed of Hong Kong politics and there is no going back. The likely results are either the pro-Chinese side “As things stand, 2019 coming on top and increasing appears to be the watershed Chinese control of Hong Kong politics” over Hong Kong, or major concessions from Beijing and How do we deal with perhaps even universal suffrage. psychological subversion and If psychological subversion propaganda in particular? How continues, things might escalate do we avoid sophistries such as as we enter the ‘normalisation’ Tong’s fusion of opposing notions? stage. If democracy and universal How do we avoid demoralisation suffrage dawn on Hong Kong, and confusion of the population? very optimistically speaking, there All of these require an answer. It will still problems our society is adventageous that we ponder so would face. Let us just imagine the that in the case we have full access situation: Hong Kong becomes a to our political freedom, we do democracy with about 30% of its not make the same mistakes again. population being a ‘deep blueribbon’. The media is no longer trusted. A leadership figure in both the pro-establishment and democratic camps is lacking. Meanwhile, the economic consequences of the series of protests would begin to reveal themselves, and perhaps have a disastrous effect on the bubble housing prices. The market will not recover its confidence in Hong Kong quickly. Constitutional problems arise as to how the political and election systems should be set. It is not difficult to imagine that after another 10 to 15 years, a new generation would grow up thinking that democracy is a great mistake and long for the former system where there is stability and a strong government
OPINION - Politics
Students and Politics Amongst the divisive headlines concerning Hong Kong’s escalating protests, the recurring theme of student activism has been highly contested. Studentled strikes have been prevalent across domestic universities and secondary schools, with a significant number of students also participating in organised protests held in the streets. Their actions have been faced with strong criticisms. On social media, the opposition have characterized such students as “unemployed
hooligans”, and “rioters who are only paid to appear on the streets”, whilst their attendance in protests are seen as a result of “rash and gloryseeking decisions”. Yet, those championing for the students have argued that their views deserve to be represented, and particularly so in a society which systematically disallows their opinions due to mandatory ages for voting and a lack of platforms for them to express themselves. In face of these controversies, the question of how students should engage in politics has never been more relevant. Should student voices be heard, and their movements be credited? What roles do educational bodies have in education, and to what extent should they include the discussion of politics in the curriculum?
Historically, political student movements have been significant in instigating political change across nations. One prime example which sets this tradition is the French Revolution, in which students formed the intellectual basis of the movement to replace the dictatorial form of government with a democratic one. One may also recall the series of student-led social movements in 1968 against oppressive dictatorial regimes in Eastern Europe, in which students in states such as Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, and Poland conducted demonstrations against their autocratic leaders, thus accelerating the collapse of the Soviet Union. Looking closer into recent history, student activism has not only increased, but has gradually shifted to become more critical of norms and practices of previous generations. Following the Parkland Shootings, student victims of Marjory Stoneman Douglas initiated a campaign
OPINION - Politics which advocated for stricter gun control, whilst youth climate change activists, such as Greta Thunberg, have taken it upon themselves to challenge the current indifference among countries towards the imminent climate crisis. Student activism, if anything, has been an important contributor to political change in the past centuries and continues to be a driving force of change.
They are also in school environments where peer pressure is strong, which may unconsciously influence the individual’s beliefs and resulting decisions. Thus, their decisions might not be educated and independently made, but ones influenced by biases to figures of authority, and might be exploited to fulfill the political agendas of others.
Three main concerns have been raised from the opposition regarding student activism, which are their lack of experience, However, those who goal-oriented methodologies choose to put forward and susceptibility to bias. Firstly, these claims must as students have been raised in recognise that these greenhouses and are protected flaws are not exclusive to environments within schools, students, but also adults they lack the exposure and life as well. Adults are not necessarily experiences necessary to relate exposed to all walks of life, and to the conflicting needs of may hold uncompromising beliefs different interest groups. This on social norms and morality may result in uncompromising themselves. Students are not and over-idealistic goals that fail entirely raised in greenhouse to take into consideration the environments either – in compromising nature of political activities such as volunteering processes. Secondly, studentand extra-curriculars, they are driven movements tend to be exposed to people with different goal oriented and short-term, upbringings, and can learn to in which they may use radical understand their conflicting means that are seen as justifiable interests. Whilst compromises are to support their cause. This may important in politics, politicians also culminate in a neglect for are the ones responsible for the larger picture, in which the aims “Should student voices be they strive for are heard, and their movements incremental and instantaneous be credited? What roles do rather than long educational bodies have in -term reforms. Last but not education?” least, students in their formative years might not making concessions in order have time to become adequately to pass policies, not the people. informed or develop critical Just because a certain demand thinking skills. Thus, they are is less compromising does not immensely susceptible to believing detract from the legitimacy of the in the opinions of authority, such demand, and it would be hugely as their parents and teachers. unfair to claim that one should
not be allowed to voice their views simply because they are less likely to accept a compromise. It is also unfair to claim that students are necessarily short-sighted – movements such as the Chile 2006 student educational protest included both short-term and long-term demands. The Hong Kong protests in particular also demanded long-term reforms such as the establishment of a fair and representative voting system, and a reform within the current police force. Furthermore, adults are just as susceptible to cognitive biases, particularly the confirmation bias, which creates the tendency for individuals to actively seek out evidence that supports their view rather than to consider all sources holistically. Levels of education, information and critical thinking abilities also differ greatly among adults, some of which have less than that of an average school child – does that mean we strip them of their right to voice their own opinions? And even then, adults do not necessarily act in ways beneficial to the common 29
OPINION - Politics further into the future. Due to the likely to be influential and biased. impact being disproportionate, At least in schools students are they deserve a larger voice so that more likely to receive constructive policy decisions could account support and opposition from for their interests. Another reason both peers and teachers, creating is that the system is structurally an academic basis for their unfavourable to student opinion. evaluation. Thus, schools should With barriers such as the legal take on a more active role in voting age, stereotypes which promoting political literacy Even then, the right to be heard should be considered prevent their ideas from being amongst its students. independently from an taken seriously in individual’s ability to make legal channels, and “More positive efforts decisions. The power of the state lack of bargaining should be made to comes from the rights sacrificed power with the by its people, and thus is only policy-making accommodate students legitimate when it fulfills its process, there is a within political discourse” reciprocal obligation to each of lack of incentive its citizens by using its power for for politicians and their welfare. When the state puts governments to specifically cater itself in a position to assert that to the interests of students. The Whilst the voices of students may certain demands are definitely government’s unresponsiveness seem easy to discredit due to their less legitimate than others, it will to the peaceful protests in the young age and defiant methods alienate the needs of a certain early months of unrest has shown of protests, one must refrain from demographic, thus failing its students that peaceful avenues rushing to conclusions. Students obligation to these individuals. don’t work – escalation is needed face barriers that prevent their Thus, in any case, the state is a for their demands to be heard. opinions from being sufficiently vessel that channels the will of the recognised through legal channels people, rather than one who uses The other question that requires of expression. Rather than resort its own will to determine public attention is the role of education to suppressing the voices of policy. Otherwise, a state that does in politics. It is intuitive students and forcing them to not act on its people’s will, and has that education should equip radicalise, more positive efforts no mechanisms of accountability individuals with knowledge should be made to accommodate to make it do so, is not legitimate, and skills to either develop students within political discourse. making it no different from large their understanding of different This could be done by promoting scale oppression. subjects, or prepare them for political literacy at younger ages, future societal contribution. In and gradually lowering the voting Given such, there are reasons that case, it is questionable why age to coincide with schools’ why student activism could be political literacy is not taught from political literacy education. justified. As generally younger an earlier age. If adults were not Schools should promote a taught the importance of more critical environment that certain political functions, encourages the exchange of “Even then, the right or have not previously opinion, rather than to limit them. to be heard should evaluated policy directives, Many politicians and people of it is unlikely that they influence have claimed that the be considered would be able to exhibit future lies within the hands of independently from an critical thinking skills. Even today’s youth. It’s prime time that if there were arguments the political system is changed to individual’s ability to that teachers could reflect that. make decisions” potentially be biased, and skew students’ views, it citizens, students are likely to be is still comparatively better than impacted by policy decisions for putting them in a society where longer as they are likely to live actors and information sources are good, especially when promoting self-interests. Thus, using age as a proxy to determine whether it is appropriate, or desirable for one to engage in politics is arbitrary at best, and may even be unfounded in certain cases.
OPINION - Politics
園丁 香港女生，水瓶座，笑點比較高，又容易受生活 細節感動。沒辦法留短髮，卻要常束馬尾。喜歡 充滿遊歷的人生，不喜歡刻板的生活；喜歡廣交 朋友，不喜歡小圈子；喜歡直率坦白的人，不喜 歡過於複雜的人；喜歡健康養生，不喜歡聲色犬 馬。 近日與一位長輩聊天，談起數十年前流行武俠小 說，於是令他憶起一樁兒時趣事來。長輩記起他 小時候與幾位朋友一起到九龍城的民生書院附近 遊玩，期間發現門內的花園有一棵番鬼荔枝樹。 淘氣的幾位小男生當然認為機不可失，於是便攀 到樹上，採摘樹上的果子來。不消幾分鐘，每位 小男生已採摘到幾顆番鬼荔枝。此時，園丁走了 出來，幾位小男生拔腿就跑，可其中一位卻被逮 個正著。園丁不知怎的讓這位小子服下一顆「毒 藥」，然後跟他說：「你服的毒藥只有我有解 藥，如要得解藥，你必須現在趕快找回你的朋 友，然後回來道歉認錯！」那小子深信不疑，立 即往外跑去尋回他的朋友，並央求他們回來認 錯。
子找回自己的同伴回來承認偷取了學校園內的果 子，此為偷竊的錯；再者，丟下朋友逃離現場， 要朋友一個承擔，此為背信棄義的錯。 現時的香港，可以說從未遭遇過如此的社會局 勢，尖銳的矛盾面不斷掀起一場又一場的風波。 一些派別常以偷換概念，已經達到失去理智與邏 輯的地步，反觀以往我們可以較容易將很多事情 「是其是，非其非」。然而，社會事件的多樣性 與複雜性，一如「羅生門」天天公演。不論哪個 派別，多少人在埋下良知，為求自己信奉那個派 系多點支持的聲音而捏造事實？此外，背信棄義 的是，大家同是香港人，理應同舟共濟，卻因為 政見不一而致使很多家庭、友誼受到破損？值得 嗎？ 何時，才會出現一位真心為香 港深耕細作的園丁，然 後讓很多的香港人要認 錯，重回社會安 定的正軌？
大概，有人認為那服了「毒藥」的小子太愚蠢， 長輩笑說：「回想起來，小時候的我們怎會相信 這樣的謊言，哈哈哈！」我說：「其實那位園丁 很有心思！」不是嗎？首先，他要那「服毒」小 31
OPINION - Society
The Shackles of
Racism By Glory Chan
For decades, the reputation of a global city has preceeded Hong Kong. The fact that Hong Kong attracts visitors and businesses around the world, as well as being a host of a variety of international cuisines certainly bolster this image. However, behind this cosmopolitan façade lies a city plagued by intolerance and racism. On one hand, there is a general sense of mindless adulation towards white people, and on the other, an atmosphere of discrimination towards people with darker skin tones. At the top of the conventional racial hierarchy in Hong Kong is a pedestal reserved
exclusively for westerners with a pale complexion. While this sense of white privilege is by no means obvious, it is far worse – internalised and incorporated into the social fabric of the city’s collective consciousness.
every single white individual become an umbrella term to describe conventionally favourable personality traits? When did the notion of ‘hot’ or ‘good-looking’ equate to whiteness? When did the number of white friends one had become an indicator of social achievement? However, my experience of white privilege in Hong Kong is unfortunately just one of many. Martin Jacques, a British journalist, detailed about how he, “as a white…[was] treated with respect and deference,” while his
Growing up, I received “Being white in Hong Kong is compliments like winning an is award for on how I had a ‘personality hard work you never did” of a white girl’ – Sarah Moran (鬼妹仔). Upon noticing Indian-Malaysian wife was “the my confused expression, they object of an in-your-face racism” explained that this meant I was in Hong Kong. Journalist Sarah open-minded, forthright and Moran also drew on her own outgoing. I have had people experience and highlighted how jealous of my “being white in Hong Kong is opportunity to like winning an award for hard study in the UK, work you never did”. Moran, purely because despite “having zero relevant of the idea that qualifications or experience,” “there must be so managed to find jobs “simply many hot guys by being white-looking”. These over there”. I have testimonies, alongside numerous had people ask others submitted in forums me whether I like Quora and Reddit, serve to managed to get myself some white illustrate the prevalence of white privilege in Hong Kong. friends or a white boyfriend, as if being surrounded In contrast, ethnic minorities by light-skinned with darker skin tones are often westerners is targets of racial discrimination. an admirable One simply has to step out onto accomplishment. the streets to notice the everyday racism that is deeply ingrained in Since when, Hong Kong’s society. It is common did the unique to hear ethnic slurs used on a personalities of daily basis. Filipino women are
OPINION - Society generally referred to as ‘Bun Mui’ Yet discrimination towards ethnic salaries are also 41% lower than (賓妹), black people as ‘Hak Gwei’ minorities with dark skin in Hong other races of the same job (黑鬼), Indians as ‘Ah Cha’ (阿差), Kong extends far beyond everyday level. Another survey from the Pakistanis as ‘Ah Sing’ (阿星), and racism. It is systemic – deeply Coalition for Racial Equality mainland Chinese sometimes as ingrained into the economic affirms this, exposing how the ‘locusts’. It is median monthly earning for new also common “Discrimination towards ethnic immigrants and ethnic minorities to see people minorities with dark skin is (HK$6,000 and HK$3,800 going out of respectively) is significantly less systemic, deeply ingrained their way to than the median monthly income avoid ethnic into the economic and political of the Hong Kong population minorities (HK$10,000). structures of the city” with dark skin, such In particular, Hong Kong’s and political structures of the as refusing to sit next to them domestic workers possess city. One of the manifestations on public transport, refusing inadequate legal rights and are of systemic racism is evident in to serve them as customers, or frequently subjected to racist the employment sectors. In 2017, refusing to engage with them in discourse and treatment, further an ethnic Asian was denied a conversations. cementing the stereotype that job as a native English tutor on they are ‘second-class citizens’. In the grounds that she was not Personally, I was bombarded her book, Arista Devi describes Caucasian. Another commenter by racist ideas in Hong Kong her experience in Hong Kong as on the issue wrote, “I’ve worked ever since I could remember. at one centre where I was told not a domestic worker, explaining As an outdoor-living kid, I was how “shop staff treat Hong Kong to wear an ethnic blouse cus they always told to put on sunscreen people and perhaps [Westerners] don’t want parents be like ‘why because “you don’t want to look very nicely… [but] they look is an ‘Indian’ teaching English?’” as dark as a Filipino”. When I down on [domestic workers] According to research done started learning Mandarin in and say – you have no money.” by the Society for Community primary school and practised by Grace Shiella A Estrada, another Organisation: Hong Kong constantly speaking the language, (SoCO), 32% of ethnic minorities domestic worker in Hong Kong, I was told to avoid using the were denied language in public because “you “The daming situation faced employment or don’t want to be mistaken as a interviews purely person from mainland China”. In by individuals such as on racial grounds, secondary school when Youtube and a further 27% Erwiana Sulistyaningsih and started becoming mainstream, were rejected people recommended watching Baby Jane Teodoro Allas is, when employers British and American channels unfortunately, just one of as opposed to channels from realised that they South-East Asian countries like were not Chinese many” Singapore and Malaysia in order or Westerners. pointed out that her job is to acquire a ‘proper’ and ‘more “really harder than if you were respectable’ accent. Even recently, Even when one manages in prison”. Numerous other cases when I went back to Hong Kong to navigate the formidable surrounding the maltreatment during the holidays, people’s face racial obstacles surrounding lit up when I told them about employment, there is the problem and abuse of domestic workers adds to this harrowing picture. some of my British friends, but of discrimination with regards The damning situation faced immediately drooped when to salaries. A survey done by by individuals such as Erwiana they saw in pictures that they the Hong Kong Human Rights Sulistyaningsih and Baby Jane were British Asians instead of Commission revealed that not Caucasians. Teodoro Allas is, unfortunately, only did ethnic minorities have just one of many. longer working hours, their 33
OPINION - Society
In terms of securing of two, complained that enrolling when it comes to issues such as accommodation, the situation her children in local kindergartens securing employment. is equally bleak. In Yuen Long, was “a complete nightmare”, as where almost half of the African “the vibe we got was that they did As Hong Kong filmmaker Tammy population in Hong Kong live, not want them there”. The Zubin Cheung succinctly puts it, “we local residents have launched Foundation, a social policy think have this hierarchy: white people various protests and have accused tank in Hong Kong explained that on top, then Chinese, then them of being “more likely to “the presence of ethnic minority people with brown skin like those be criminals”. In a similar vein, students in a kindergarten is a from Southeast Asian countries Simran Singh Sethi, an and Indians, then “It is time that we cast off Indian residing in Hong Africans”. However, Kong, was denied a flat burying our heads in the shackles of racism and viewing because the the sand and denying recognise, collectively, that landlord “refuses renting the deeply entrenched to Indians”. But these in Hong Kong an individual is far more than racism instances of racism are far is counterproductive their skin colour” from being isolated cases. and cowardly. It is Results from the World time that we cast Values Survey indicates that seven deterrent to Chinese parents who off the shackles of racism and out of 10 Hong Kong locals do don’t want their children in the recognise, collectively, that an not wish to live next to someone same school or class as ethnic individual is far more than their skin colour. of a different race, and SoCO minority children”, which meant demonstrated that 30% of ethnic that ethnic minorities “are turned minorities experienced problems away from kindergartens on the with rent due to their ethnicity. basis of their race”. This only widens the education gap between Hong Kong’s education system, locals and ethnic minorities in too, is failing the city’s ethnic Hong Kong, which undoubtedly minorities. Aruna Rana, a mother entails long-term ramifications 34
OPINION - Society
Why Homeschooling in Hong Kong is so Undeveloped For a myriad of reasons, Hong Kong’s education system is being criticized from all angles. A lot of parents consider that the system, with an examinationdriven curriculum, leads to an overwhelming workload. Whether these accusations are accurate or not, the result is that students are either pressured to work till late at night from a very young age, or, as they are in senior secondary school, have to attend extra-curricular tutorial sessions to catch up on their preparation for the menacing DSE public exam. Looking at this, some parents consider giving their children an alternative. Right now, a substantial number of students are studying abroad or in international schools.
So, it should be surprising that for the homeschooled students. homeschooling in Hong Kong State-provided data sets showed is such a small community. higher than average academic Homeschooling is currently a achievement test scores for the rising trend in the Western world. home educated. Whilst in the UK Right now 2 million students 48,000 pupils were homeschooling are homeschooled in the US. It between 2016-17, the figure also turns out that “Homeschooling in Hong homeschooled kids tend to do better Kong might be seeds academically than sowed in bad fields” school kids. In the peer-reviewed Journal of School Choice published is growing exponentially. By at the end of 2017, 14 peercomparison Hong Kong’s reviewed quantitative studies education bureau revealed that for inclusion for the topic of in 2014 there were only 25 cases academic achievement was of families ‘likely to be able to conducted. In 11 of the 14 peerprovide children with all-round reviewed studies on academic education’, and thus legally achievement, there was a definite homeschooling. The number has positive effect on achievement risen recently, according to the SCMP. In 2018 it ranged between 150200. Still, this was a tiny figure compared to the 56,000 DSE exam attendants in 2019, or to some 17,500 international school pupils. One reason homeschooling is so underdeveloped in Hong Kong might be due to the lack of support. In one sense, homeschooling in Hong Kong might be seeds sowed in bad 35
OPINION - Society fields. To begin with the Hong Kong government is unsupportive of homeschooling. In a answering section to the Hong Kong lawmakers in 2014, the Education Bureau made it explicitly clear that they do not encourage home education. Ng Hak-kim,
from other countries. Hong Kong’s peculiar housing situation relates to homeschooling as well. Parents might be worried that the comparted apartments in Hong Kong would bore their children, compared to schools where students can enjoy playfields and interactive sports such as football and basketball. “The Hong Kong These are block stones Government seldom to homeschooling promotes or advertises which are particular to Hong Kong. These the possibilities of are difficult to resolve as well, without a large homeschooling” enough homeschooling then Secretary of Education, community or support from the wrote that Hong Kong’s system government. Finally, some may “provides children with a broader point to the workaholic culture in and more structured formal Hong Kong, which might dissuade curriculum as well as rich learning parents from homeschooling experiences,” and that “it is not their kids. However, the current necessary to set up a task force women labour participation rate on homeschooling.” Hence the is 50.8% in Hong Kong, which is Hong Kong government seldom way lower than the UK’s 70.8%. promotes or advertises the Although this does not neglect possibilities of homeschooling. the possibility of a relationship There is also the fear of the social between labour participation conditions that a homeschooled and homeschool rate, it does kid might face. As stated above, suggest that the effects of labour Hong Kong’s homeschooling participation might not be as great community is extremely small. as imagined. This brings fear to parents that Bureau. The task of the parents their children might not be able to Another possible reason as to is mainly to report the progress socialise as well as their peers who the strangely small number of of their sons and daughters, attend normal schooling because homeschooling pupils is the lack and to report about the learning homeschooling means that their of awareness on homeschooling. material their children are children are to be exposed to Until this moment lots of receiving. This is not well-known, a much smaller social circle. Hong Kong parents still however, precisely because the However, this concern should be hold the misconception that Education Bureau is unwilling to able to be alleviated across time homeschooling is illegal. The encourage homeschooling. As a as the homeschool community reality is actually gradually increases. quite the opposite, “Hong Kong’s peculiar and homeschooling, housing situation relates Other attributes, which are unique although not to Hong Kong, may be that Hong encouraged by the to homeschooling as well” Kong people seldom interact government, is not with their neighbourhood. This too difficult to apply for. Usually, consequence, a lot of parents fear means that Hong Kong kids are homeschooling parents are only that they may have to face a lot of less likely to socialise with their inspected about once or twice per bureaucratic procedures if they neighbours, unlike children year by people from the Education teach their children at home. This 36
OPINION - Society
may dissuade some parents from teaching their children on their own. There might as well be cultural factors that play behind the scene. Chinese culture might lead some parents to consider that teachers are naturally better than them to teach their students, or that teachers from schools are more capable at guiding their kids morally. Socially there might also be prejudices against homeschooled kids as people might assume that they are unable to socialise with their peers. In terms of the parentâ€™s ability, the parents should be aware that in
the age of the internet, a lot of learning material and platforms are already available online, such as the renowned Khan Academy. This should at least alleviate some of the parentâ€™s concerns. In fact, homeschooling might act as a better alternative to students with underprivileged backgrounds who are willing to learn, as otherwise they might be stuck in lower tier schools. As for the prejudices against homeschoolers, this unfortunately takes time for the society to correct their attitudes. Such might as well be the major obstacle that parents would have to face.
Apparently, homeschooling in Hong Kong is lagging behind because of a few major obstacles, including the lack of support especially from the Education Bureau, which as well leads to lack of awareness, and cultural reasons. Yet parents should take the courage to try an alternative system for their kids, especially when they have serious discontentments towards the current system.
OPINION - Lifestyle
The bandwagon of the Vegetarian and Vegan lifestyle By Charlotte Lau
A few years ago, the terms ‘vegetarianism’ and ‘veganism’ were not part of the everyday culinary dictionary of Hong Kong people, however, with increasing recognition thanks to partly social media influencers, vegetarianism and veganism are experiencing an upward mobility in the local food economy. This gradual rise is optimistic for the vegetarian and vegan community as Hong Kong residents in 2015 were reported to have consumed the highest amount of meat and seafood in the world, at 140 kg per capita. But China’s vegan market was expected to rise by more than 17% from 2015-2020, showing proof that the trend has been pedalling away on a high cadence internationally. Championing a meat-free diet but also inclusiveness, Meat Free Hong Kong made its way into the social scene by hosting meet-ups every week at one of the city’s 200 vegetarian restaurants. I say that they are all-welcoming because omnivores are also invited to tag along. Main organizer Stevie Go described the society
strategises itself as a “vegan food group” instead of “a vegan group”, and indeed it is working. Given its membership, more than 4000 joined since its establishment in 2009. Making their own feat in the vegetarian and vegan scene are also entrepreneurs Peggy Chan and David Yeung. Peggy opened her own restaurant, Grassroots Pantry, in Sai Ying Pun in 2011 with one simple core philosophy – “to create food that heals with the highest culinary standards and using the freshest, most nutrient-dense of sustainable, plantbased ingredients.” With precision and passion, it has also expanded into a workshop for plantbased experimentation, allowing Peggy to pivot in the city’s restaurant industry as a game-changer. Most lauded dishes on the menu are her beetroot gnocchi, spiralised-vegetable Thai noodles and watermelon radish ravioli enveloping butternut squash. The same goes to her counterpart David Chan, who has founded Green Monday, a social venture that tackles issues such as animal welfare and environmental issues through pioneering new means to deliver green options to everyday life. If this isn’t impressive enough, he has also opened the world’s first plant-based eatery and retail chain, which has become one of Hong Kong’s regular go-to groceries, Green Common. By helping American vegetarian and vegan brands break into the Asian market, he has also contributed to Hong Kong’s emerging embrace of the vegetarian-vegan lifestyle, distributing alternatives such as the fauxpork option Omnipork which is now used by a number of hotels. Leading ones like Hotel ICON, Grand Hyatt Hong Kong and Intercontinental Grand Stanford
OPINION - Lifestyle
Hong Kong have also incorporated the ‘bleeding’ vegan Impossible Burger into their menus, followed by Pizza Express Hong Kong, which became the first in the world to formulate a vegan egg pizza in 2018.
almost identical to a typical meaty cuisine! Must tries are the sweet and sour ‘pork’, tofu dumplings and char siu pastry.
Approaching the topic of food, Hong Kong culture has never been averse to its reputation as a food paradise, it can therefore easily respond to the rise of vegetarianism and veganism by the opening of more restaurants. Here are a few options:
Shop 1, 1/F, Nan Fung Place, 173 Des Voeux Road Central, Central, Hong Kong ($)
Isoya Japanese Vegetarian Restaurant
9/F 83 Wan Chai, 83 Wan Chai Rd, Wan Chai, Hong Kong ($$-$$$) All dishes, including the sushi platter, are not only made from plant-based ingredients, but they are also presented exquisitely with an artist’s touch.
92 Wellington St, Central, Hong Kong ($) From Lebanese flatbread wraps (with the liberty to choose from 30 different kinds of topping) and fresh salad boxes to plant-based burgers and warming soups, this popular café is situated in cosy Soho and makes healthy food affordable for every person.
Kung Tak Lam
10/F 280號世貿中心, Gloucester Rd, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong ($$-$$$) Serving Shanghainese dishes that are completely made of vegetarian and vegan ingredients, they taste
Kind Kitchen by Green Common
A conceptual restaurant launched by the popular health store Green Common, they serve vegan dishes using their signature ingredient – Omnipork, a vegetable pork replacement. Another item popular on their menu is Hong Kong’s classic milk tea made with oat milk.
G/F, Centrestage, 108 Hollywood Rd, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong ($$$) Being quite a new addition to Hong Kong’s plantdining scene, Nectar makes its mark by its exquisite seasonal tasting menus, creating an exquisite finedining experience for those who want to enjoy vegetarianism and veganism in all their luxury. Impressive gets are their vegan cheese course, tomato tuna and purslane fettuccine. Changes are happening. If Hong Kong is offering chances for us to adopt a healthier diet and reduce the carbon footprint, why shouldn’t we make use of them? Going plant-based has numerous benefits and it will definitely make an impact on our lives and the environment.
OPINION - Lifestyle
If not black and white, then what?
A reminder of how fashion should be uplifting in today’s political situation If the idea that humans are capable of effecting change is ever doubted, one can look to the Hong Kong protesters. They have made it onto TIME’s 2019 list of Most Influential People On The Internet. Within roughly six months, the color of what we wear seemingly determines our allegiances. What started off as a choice based on personal preferences quickly turned into a decision grounded in political consciousness. In fact, the extent of its significance in our collective consciousness led to a discussion of what hue my family and I should dress ourselves in as we land in the Hong Kong International Airport. “Yellow? Or green, something more neutral?” is stultified by a “but yellow is reminiscent of the Umbrella Movement in 2014!” As Hong Kong languishes in violence and discord, there did not seem like there could be a reminder of how our city used to champion our communal love for one another. Fashion has always been linked with politics, being a vehicle in its own right to deliver a statement that demands attention. From Hillary Clinton’s adoption of white clothing to pay tribute to the Women’s Suffrage Movement, to Maria Grazia Chuiri’s “We should all be feminists” slogan T-shirt at Dior, it is clear that fashion embodies passion and ambition. But if black and white are two colors that seem to be too suggestive, what can we wear?
OPINION - Lifestyle
Red is a colour significantly associated with political ideology. Representing leftist ideals, socialism or communism ever since the French Revolution in 1789, the tint was never shy from dominating a narrative.
Yellow is commonly known to signify liberalism, certainly referred to democracy by Hong Kong people when it was the color of the umbrellas raised during the 2014 movement. The People Power Revolution in the Phillippines in 1986 was also known as the Yellow Revolution due to the extensive use of yellow ribbons in protests.
Blue is the most popular colour according to public opinion polls conducted in the US and Europe. It was also said that blue was the favourite colour of Prophet Mohammed in the Islamic religion. Commonly associated with harmony, the flags of the United Nations and the European Union are painted blue to symbolise peaceful relations between nations.
Pink is a colour adopted by those who support women’s causes; representing affection and inner peace, we see it most notably from the ribbons for breast cancer awareness to the Pussyhats of the Women’s Marches in 2017.
Green is often linked with environmentalism and is usually seen as a celebration of nature. With that stems its association with the idea of renewal, fertility and peace. In early modern Europe, green was symbolic of the wealth generated by merchants, bankers and the gentry, thus Mona Lisa’s costume and benches in the British House of Commons are green.
Purple has always been associated with regality and monarchism. In fact, it does not represent any contemporary ideology prominently, so it is adopted by to embody rather a mixture of different ideologies, as exemplified by Europe which uses the hue for movements or parties that are not specifically right or left.
The list goes on, but what used to be an insignificant part of our daily routine should now be challenged and regarded as mindful. On a more positive note, to date, we celebrate the LGBTQ community by wearing all colours of the rainbow, and maybe we should focus more on that – the colour of our apparel should embrace inclusivity, happiness and unity, not violence and extreme ideologies.
A Strategy for Sustainability Esquel Group is a global textile and apparel manufacturer with a vertically integrated supply chain that straddles from cotton to retailing. In 1978, our founder Mr. Y. L. Yang planted the seed for a new kind of company – one that would redefine the way in which apparel companies operate. 42 years later, we continue to push the boundaries. Long an advocate for climate action and social inclusion, Esquel aspires to make a difference in the textile and apparel industry and contribute to the well-being of a wider community. To us, caring about sustainability is not about compliance nor for promotional purposes. Instead, it reflects our corporate vision and commitment. Our sustainability strategy focuses mainly on the four pillars of Planet, People, Product and Community.
The reduction of environmental impact has always been our utmost priority. We are minimizing environmental impact along our vertical supply chain by taking every possible step. From cultivating cotton using sustainable techniques, using renewable energy sources and increasing material utilization in production, to launching self-developed carpool app and organizing green trade events in festive seasons, we believe every single effort counts.
Our people are our greatest asset. We promote employees’ well-being by providing best-in-class working conditions to them. We help employees to excel to their full potential through continuous training and development opportunities. We groom people from within by offering a future in skill and career advancement.
Substantial efforts are devoted into research & development for continuous improvement in product performance and production process. We drive innovative product solutions and are holding more than 1,200 patents as of 2018. Meanwhile we are striving to be a green player along the entire supply chain by minimizing our impact on the environment from seed to shirt.
We aim to thrive with the communities we operate in. Through the Esquel-Y. L. Yang Education Foundation founded in 2003, we are committed to devote in education, and facilitating and enhancing learning for children and teenagers. More than 8,000 students have been provided with free vision screening tests since 2012 and more than 1,300 students have been sponsored by the Hongzhi Students Program since 2011. Grounded by our core values and strengthened by our independence, our team of 55,000 multinational workforces across the globe work with leading brands such as Nike, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger and Hugo Boss, manufacturing over 100 million pieces of garments annually. With an innovative mindset and sustainability principles weaved in our culture, we are set to continue Making a Difference. More information about sustainability at Esquel: Sustainability Update 2018
Transforming Lives in the Textile and Apparel Industry – Esquel Group Advances the SDGs
MANAGEMENT TRAINEE PROGRAM
About the program: