There were no surprises in the just published 6-monthly UK report on Hong Kong which said that the National People’s Congress acted unilaterally on electoral changes in Hong Kong; and as expected, the report attracted fierce and robust reaction from China and the SAR Government, with the latter protesting that foreign governments should not attempt to interfere in its affairs. Of all nations and governments, and as I had implied in my last blog, UK is largely to blame for the present political state of Hong Kong. My mind flashes back to the days of Sino-British negotiation when certain Unofficial Members of the Executive and Legislative Councils – they were all appointed by the government in those days, hence the title Unofficial – pleaded passionately and some even in tears with the UK government to grant full UK passports to Hong Kong people, but without success. Eventually, Donald Tsang organized a scheme to issue up to 50,000 passports, only to find that they were not all taken up or as quickly as it had been expected. Today, UK is offering a much inferior scheme to people who would like to relocate to UK, on some dubious and uncertain conditions, calculated to milk as much as possible whatever resources these Hong Kong people would bring to UK, but without any guarantee of right of abode status. Typical British modus operandi, but there are so many foolish people around, in Hong Kong and in the world.
I have heard that young people in their twenties and thirties many of them with no overseas experience, UK or otherwise, and who have very limited skill sets and speak very little English, and who have little savings or assets, are keen and eager to take up the UK offer and would get themselves on the earliest flight to UK as soon as they can. I wish them luck. Hong Kong would not miss them.
We were in a taxi going towards the Aberdeen Boat Club last week and the taxi driver was pointing to the new flats going up above the Wong Chuk Hang MTR Concourse Podium, remarking how expensive one small flat would fetch, something like HK$30,000 a square foot. He then said nonchalantly that he was certain that they would be snatched up very fast, adding that flat prices had stood firm in the midst of the pandemic and a seemingly economic downturn. He then followed up with this very sagacious remark, “These flats and any new flats would be taken up by Hong Kong people, but maybe not the current crop of Hong Kong people.” He is right. Hong Kong is not for the faint hearted or for people with no faith in the future.
We have seen in the 70s and the 80s people leaving Hong Kong in droves. Ironically, the period coincided with rapid economic growth in Hong Kong and many of those leavers had had regrets, and indeed some had returned. One can understand though may not agree with the sentiments which had motivated them to leave. The future then was less than clear; and it was then fashionable to say that we were living on borrowed time in a borrowed place. Fast forward to present day Hong Kong which had been reunited with China for nearly 24 years and looking at the phenomenal advancements China had achieved in almost every field, one has to be totally oblivious of the world in general and to China in particular not to embrace China wholeheartedly and bet our future on one’s own country.
A few days ago, SCMP chronicled a phone interview with Chi Wang who was the head of the Chinese section of the Library of Congress (USA) for 47 years, and whose book – A Compelling Journey from Peking to Washington : Building a Life in America – is already in its second edition. He is 90 years old and has had good connections with Taiwan, Beijing and Washington. He advised that “Hong Kong people should not make too much of an effort to agitate an already nervous leader in Beijing” and he called Hong Kong his second home. I won’t say that our leaders in Beijing are “nervous” as such – nervous is neither good nor bad in the political sense and can simply imply being sensitive or maintaining high adrenaline level in the blood stream. He also posed the question, “If you and your parents were born in Taiwan, why would you think of yourself as part of China” which I don’t entirely agree. I think he posed the wrong question; or maybe SCMP had quoted him out of context. One has to be grossly naïve or ignorant to believe that Taiwan is a country and not part of China in that context. Putting the question in the context of Hong Kong and under the current political situation, one has to be prepared to go to jail to even think that Hong Kong is not part of China, even though one’s parents and for that matter grandparents were all born in Hong Kong.
Against such background, I hosted a party to congratulate the parents of my godson. The father had just published a sort of autobiography focusing on parenting and parenthood. In fact, he had been approached by a publisher who was interested in what he posted in his blog. The upshot was that in about six months, he had his sort of first memoir published. It was great and as Su and I congratulated him over a few bottles and took his family to a charity concert, we had a great and enjoyable time. Life is to be enjoyed after all.
I hope to talk to you again soon.