Sunday, 8 March 2020

Hong Kong Tomorrow

Many people are asking when will Hong Kong get better. To answer, we must clarify what Hong Kong and better mean. This clarification is fundamental and necessary, not pedantic or rhetorical. Without any notion of Hong Kong, and better, the question is meaningless.

If Hong Kong means the 1100 square kilometres of landmass, then it will remain largely the same, assuming no climatic or geological catastrophes.

If you see Hong Kong as an entity defined by performance indexes and its currency, then you’ve got a huge black cloud, though not without its silver lining.

A relatively achieved ‘objective’ of the Cockroach terrorists is Larm Chow — to go down with everyone in a forced embrace, a kind of social suicide bombing — coincidentally the apparent global ‘reset’ strategy of the American Empire. As a result of Larm Chow, and the untimely arrival of the corona virus which promptly got masked in politics, GDP will slip. Small businesses and low income earners are severely affected. Unfortunately, the government’s only economic skill is the 18th century do-nothing Laissez Faire based on Francois Quesnay’s French translation of the Daoist Wu Wei concept, narrowly interpreted and promoted by The Economist magazine, which hasn’t changed much itself since 1843. The working class will therefore be victimised with active non-interference. The rich will be little affected, as usual. Those in control of market forces will make even more money from Larm Chow.

The Hong Kong Dollar, tethered to the precarious US currency, is beyond our control. When the big shock comes, I see no reason why Beijing should defend the SAR’s independent currency beyond its intrinsic value. What is its intrinsic value? Now, that’s an important question few people bother to ask.

The silver lining to a major economic downturn is that it may help Hong Kong to return down to earth. It will be rough landing, but promises to reconnect us with reality. At the moment, far too many things are thoughtlessly taken for granted.

There’s a plethora of other indexes, designed by outsiders who don’t have our circumstances and welfare in mind, yet taken to heart by many people. These vanity distractions should be disregarded if Hong Kong is serious about reform and recovery (recovery would be well-nigh impossible without reform, I think). On the Freedom Index, we would do well to slide down a dozen or more notches. Being one of the freest places on earth year after year has not prevented cockroach terrorists ransacking the place for freedom. Perhaps freedom is like blood pressure; having a higher reading than everyone else indicates dangerous imbalance — something to worry, not brag about. Hong Kong’s Gini index, if indeed a meaningful reflection of wealth disparity, should also drop, though I suspect it’ll get worse for now. 

Meanwhile, sadly, crime rates will rise.

If Hong Kong is seen as a Special Administrative Region of China, then its role in the larger community is a critical issue which has been dodged and neglected for far too long. This must change if we are to regain strength and a sense of purpose. Taken out of national context, there is no substantial ‘Hong Kong interests’ to speak of. Without China in mind, Queen Victoria would not have bothered with Hong Kong in 1842 even if offered. It’s time that we give this reality — an uplifting one if we open our eyes and mind — sober recognition. Presently, Hong Kong is supposedly China’s most ‘international’ city. Yet it’s in fact the most self-centred, static, dazed, and parochial of all. World situation is more volatile and complex than ever. Hong Kong must understand its role, duties, and obligations in the big picture in order to continue enjoying a special status which has been mistaken as entitlement by many. Petulance is no longer affordable.

If you’re a humanist, the wellbeing and happiness of Hong Kong citizens must come first. However, that would lead to abstract interpretations because we hardly know what happiness is. Contentment is highly personal, not necessarily related to external factors, especially when the stomach is full. But the livelihoods of many have taken a brutal hit by cockroaches and viruses, making it more difficult to smile. To alleviate, those who can afford it should take more taxis, dine out more often at local eateries etc. to resuscitate consumption. Being cautious against the threat of an epidemic is prudent. But hallucinating viral shadows everywhere does more harm than good to the community, and one’s mental health.

If Hong Kong were a busload of sleepy passengers, the driver has steered off the highway at the command of a few suicidal fanatics. These democracy cultists are now chanting in unison, urging the driver to run off the cliff: Freedom! Larm Chow! Democracy! Larm Chow! So far, the driver’s only known response has been: I hear you. Listening as always. Worrying isn’t it? There’s a desperate need to reinstall common sense and functional governance. If Hong Kong remains perpetually unsure where to draw the line of reason, reality will scratch it out for us, and it won’t be pleasant.

Hong Kong’s inventory of fortune has been significantly depleted, and time is running out if we want to preserve some of its historical prerogatives in the national framework. There will inevitably be short-term pain ahead, and many daunting tasks to tackle on the road to recovery. The sooner we sober up and revive the legendary spirit under the Lion Rock to face these challenges, the more clear-headed we are about what Hong Kong is, the sooner will we see a better tomorrow. There’s no room left for wishful thinking.



很多人都问香港什么时候会复原。香港市民有这关切很合情理,但很多关心人也没有想过何谓 ‘香港’,和心目中的 ‘复原’ 是什么。我问这些基本问题并非咬文嚼字,也不是故意刁难。希望香港明天更好,但对 ‘香港’ 和 ‘好’ 没有足够认识的话,整个问题基本上没有意义,当然没有答案。

假如 ‘香港’ 是这一千一百多平方公里的土地的话,那么除非发生巨大地壳变动,否则随时五亿年不变,不用担心。

假如你认为 ‘香港’ 是被一堆人为指数定义的经济体,那么前景暂时不大乐观,不过危中有机,长远看不一定是坏事。

‘曱甴之乱’ 中,暴徒唯一达到的目标可能是 ‘揽炒’。揽炒说白了是一种恐怖主义手段,是社会的 ‘自杀炸弹’,也那么 ‘凑巧’ 是美国意图翻桌推牌从头再来的国际战略。自杀炸弹比较难防,再加上一进港境便被戴上政治面罩的瘟疫,GDP下跌已不可逆转。揽炒的主要受害人是持久力有限的中小企和中低收入打工仔。而香港社保网络有限,政府长久以来信奉一知半解,严重过时的 ‘积极不干预’ 政策;公务员除了出粮,誓死如如不动不作为。

说到由殖民地主人学回来的 ‘积极不干预’ Laissez Faire 管治哲学,相信很多人都不知道这管治智慧起源十八世纪法国人 Francois Quesnay 翻译了老子的 ‘无为而治’。 ‘无为’ 概念被法王欣赏,曾经实施,到1843年被刚成立的英国杂志 ‘经济学人’ 大力推广。欧洲经济学家见智从之,值得嘉许,但可能由于文化壁垒,理解不同,道家的无为观被扭曲为 ‘无作为’ 的庸官的护身符。而 ‘经济学人’ 本身,百多年来亦变化不大,与现实积极脱节。但被积极不理会的香港草根将会是个严峻的社会问题。大亨们一如既往受影响不大,控制了 ‘市场力量’ 的甚至会多发一笔揽炒财,心中欢喜。

至于港币,由于与美元挂钩,身不由己。美元的衰落没有 ‘假如’,只不过时间问题。当大限来临之日,港币被揽炒,只有阿爷有能力干预。但这次阿爷应该无为而治,让它回复合理水平。港币汇率的 ‘合理’ 水平是什么呢?哈!这重大问题,相信很多香港高人也没有闲情思考过。现在是时候了。


至于另外一大堆虚荣指数,香港下决心改革复原的话,必需学习专注自己应做的事,不再理会人家点评。而我相信香港不改革,复原难望。就以 ‘自由指数’ 为例吧。年复一年,香港高踞头几名,是世上最 ‘自由’ 的地方,十分自豪,却招致暴徒焚城,争取 ‘自由’,讽刺莫大于此。可能 ‘自由’ 和血压一样,并非越高越好。指数太高表示体制失衡,是红灯警号,要紧急改正,而不是沾沾自喜。不过假如基尼系数真的能够反映贫富悬殊的话,则需要政府出手,设法令它回落。再不干预,任由攀升,必然会有灾难。

假如你心明大义,知道 ‘香港’ 最基本的定义是中国一个特区的话,也许会同意这大局角色已被忽略多年,而现在是时候积极面对,否则翻身无望。没有国家大局,根本没有香港自我幻想的地位。没有中国大棋局的考量,1842年的时候你送香港给维多利亚女皇她也不会要哦!今天来说,香港名义上是国家最 ‘国际化’ 的城市,却最保守,最怕变,最呆滞,最偏狭。很多人安逸太久,以为今天的优待是天赋权利。但世局正处千年巨变,风起云涌,再没有空档容纳一个傻乎乎扮无知以显娇贵的港闹啦!我们希望保留一点点现有 ‘特色’ 的话,急需清醒,认真思考,重新做人,努力扮演我们的历史角色。

人文主义信徒可能会说经济不打紧,反正钱我有的是,一个社会最重要是人民的幸福快乐感。不过用 ‘快乐感’ 定义 ‘香港’ 会过于抽象,永远没有答案。我们都不知道 ‘快乐’ 为何物,只知道这心境有赖个人性格和修养,与外在环境不一定有关。但一般来说,被曱甴和病毒所害的人,面对生活压力加大,笑容自然减少。有能力的人,能够尽量多些坐的士,到街口小店帮衬,尽一己之力替地区经济吊盐水,也是功德。防疫当然重要,但反应过度,失去判断,杯弓蛇影,对社会和个人的精神健康也没有好处。

假如 ‘香港’ 是一架巴士,车上的乘客由于吃得太饱,很多都在睡觉。这时候司机听从几个有自杀倾向,精神出轨的乘客指使,偏离了目标,离开了大路。狂热分子很兴奋,齐声念咒,如同着魔: ‘民主!自由!揽炒!地球!’ 压迫着司机驶向悬崖。而一路以来,司机大佬的唯一反应是: ‘听到声音,收到诉求!’ 其他人只顾打盹流口水的话,前景令人担心。香港急需恢复起码理性和最低限度的有效管治。继续事无大小左顾右盼,思前想后,坚决无为的话,悬崖就在眼前。

无论 ‘香港’ 的定义是什么,富不过三代的魔咒早已着陆。要扭转局面,时间无多。拨乱反正的过程中还有很多阵痛和难关。香港市民只有醒觉,认清真相,重拾 ‘狮子山精神’ 面对挑战,才有机会见到一个更美好安宁的明天。

English Version: Hong Kong Tomorrow