Problems with Nationalism

I never believe in nationalism. Ethnically, I can be defined as Chinese. My maternal and paternal grandparents came from Guangdong (it was called Canton at that time) (廣東) to Hong Kong in 1930s. My parents were born in Hong Kong and so was I. Except for a few remote relatives I met when I was a child, I don’t have any relatives in China. So, naturally, how can people like me feel strongly that China is my motherland?

One of the moments that I felt about being a “Chinese” was during the Tiananmen crackdown in 1989. It was really a vivid memory for me when I watched the news on TV and joined other Hong Kong people to march on the streets when I was 12 years old. I must say that a 12-year-old can understand quite a lot of what’s happening although we were not as vocal as young people nowadays when we were that young, thanks to the apolitical environment in education during the colonial era.

Another moment that I really felt about being a “Chinese” was taking lessons in Chinese history in Form 1 to Form 3. I scored quite well in that subject and world history although pretty bad in other other subjects. Also, I was crazy playing the computer game of “The Three Kingdoms” with some classmates and could remember most of the names of the characters.

Other than those moments, I have to admit that I only feel myself being a Hong Konger, speaking Cantonese most of the time and speaking English with Hong Kong accent and writing English with all the typical grammatical mistakes like other Hong Kongers.

For those who were born in 1980s or later, I don’t see why they need to be told to feel that they are “Chinese” while they can’t emphasize their identity as Hong Kongers?

Although I have been working on China’s human rights issues for the past decade, I still very much feel that I’m a Hong Konger instead of a Chinese.

However, I never agree with some of the radical localists’ positions and comments to demonize all the mainland Chinese people. It should be the authoritarian regime in China which we should target at, but not the people. The people in mainland China have been heavily controlled by the regime for so long. It’s no longer the China we know from learning ancient Chinese history. The China we see today is Communist China.

All in all, nationalism always makes people crazy about fighting one another by labelling one another as “traitors” or “insulting a nation”. It’s 21st century. We live in a world connected with internet and it’s much easier for us to travel to other places. Can we get rid of this kind of stupid nationalism? If all the conflicts about nationalism and localism are just about personal interests, it’s just a big shame.


Official Warning Not to “Politicize” everything?

What’s more weird than an official warning people not to “politicize” issues?  Being a politician in power can tell people not to “politicize everything” and just accept whatever the government does?

It’s not even an issue about democracy or authoritarianism. Even an authorian regime would not need to deny that everything involves the government and its governance is inevitably about politics and the issues the government deals with are thus inevitably political issues. 

Zhang Dejiang, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress – China’s third-ranked Communist Party leader, said Hong Kong should not “politicize everything” and should instead focus on integrating Hong Kong’s economy with China’s, Hong Kong delegates to the National People’s Congress told media.

It might seem familiar to people in Hong Kong to hold such mindset as it was a common belief among Hongkongers even during the British colonial era. Pragmatism is almost like a synonym for Hong Kong spirits for decades. Economy prevails everything else, certainly more than politics. So, should we simply embrace this mindset as “a golden rule” when we deal with issues in Hong Kong and China nowadays?

Stupidity can still be ridiculed and can least provide some amusement for casual chats. Self-sufficiency is simply terrible.

What if I’m “abducted” and “forced” to say “I’m safe”?

As I have been following the news about Hong Kong citizen and bookseller Lee Bo, who is also a British passport holder, what I can see worry myself and many other fellow Hongkongers the most is whether the freedoms of expression and publication which we take for granted are vanishing.

As I have been working on human rights issues about China, mainly about harassment of human rights defenders and human rights lawyers, for the past decade, it is understandable that my family and friends always ask if I’m worried about my own safety and warn me not to go to Mainland China.

Am I worried? I’m still not too worried about my own safety but it’s worrying to see how we Hongkongers are only worried about whether our safety will be affected when we see news like Lee Bo and harassment of human rights defenders in China.

Imagine, if one day, we can no longer talk about any freely. Imagine, if one day, we can no longer express our anger towards how government officials fail their policies. Imagine, if one day, we can no longer question what we believe to be wrong. Imagine, if one day, anybody close to us is suddenly taken away just because he or she says something or writes something criticizing the government. Imagine, if one day, if your father, your mother, your brother, your sister, your cousin, your son, your daughter, your friend or your colleague is “abducted” and “forced” to say “I’m safe”. How would you feel?

Do we want to prepare what we should say and what we should say if any of the above happens one day? Or, do we want to prevent any of the above happens?

I have never thought about ‘what if I’m “abducted” and “forced” to say “I’m safe”, as I believe it won’t happen if we can stand firm to our values. If we treasure our freedoms, I don’t think we need to worry about any of the above.

I am a Hongkonger and I believe in my fellow Hongkongers.

Heunggongyan, Hongkonger – an introduction to this blog

I have thought about opening this blog for some time and have decided to make up my mind to do it at the beginning of 2016.

As a heunggongyan (Hongkonger), I have asked myself if I should just write my own thoughts about what’s happening in my hometown Hong Kong and other issues around the world in my mother tongue – Cantonese. However, I have decided to write in English, my second language. It’s not because how much I miss the British colonial period when I was born in Hong Kong. Instead, I do feel the need to write in a language which I can communicate with most people in the world which happens to be English in our time.

I consider this blog as a platform for communications, and therefore I would like to learn from others about the issues I would like to discuss instead of presenting myself as any kind of expert.

I’m sure I will learn a lot in this journey of writing.