Friday, 5 June 2020

The 2nd Worst Scenario of a Sino-US Split




Momentary disruptions caused by a forced divorce with the US may be a catalyst for China to restore its historical position. 

What is China’s historical position? Let’s examine some features which defined and sustained the ancient civilisation for most of past millennia.

First and foremost is defence capability.

China had never been a hegemonic empire, but it had long learnt that unarmed prosperity is an open invitation to invade; it had experienced this multiple times throughout its dynastic vicissitudes, most traumatically during the 19th century. Today’s Middle East is a sobering reminder that barbaric pillage has never stopped, just repackaged.

As a matter of priority, the People’s Republic has reestablished adequate defence against aggression. Presently, even America’s grotesquely oversized military, built at the expense of its education and health care systems, is no longer a credible threat. Lumbering USS carriers are fit only for a show, or mass burial of poor soldiers at sea, if they crossed China’s home-turf redline. Further afield, their destructive power remains predominant; but that is by now a familiar international menace which China alone can’t change.

The second is an effective political structure. 

In ancient times, the Middle Kingdom’s advantage against nomadic adventurers was relative organisation. Nowadays, the Communist Party’s edge over imperial antagonists is relative rationality and long-term vision. Beijing has a coherent vision of the country in twenty, fifty, even a hundred years. Foresight of this magnitude is in fact necessary for any nation in our complex wold, especially when it comes to preserving planet Earth — our only home. Unfortunately, populist democracies can only see four years ahead max, less campaign time.

Some may argue that a Deep State with wider horizon is pulling the strings in major American policies, and that partisan politics is only a charade. But increasingly, the actors on stage are deviating from script. The director and producer, if they indeed exist, can only swear and jump backstage till the next act, or the curtain comes down.

Thirdly, ancient China was characterised by innovation, productivity, and a huge, vibrant, domestic market.

Since the Roman Empire, the traditional West had always wanted to trade with China, which treated international trade with reluctance, even suspicion and resistance at times. Periodically, China would close off its boarders completely without a press conference announcement. The Great Wall was not for tourism. The giant black swan of the industrial revolution changed all that, for a while.

When New China was established in 1949, the nation was battered and decrepit. Average life expectancy was 35, literacy had become rare, and national GDP stagnated below that of early Qing Dynasty in mid-seventeenth century. The country needed to rest in intensive care. But in 1950, barely months after establishment of the People’s Republic, an alliance of sixteen Western nations, led by you know who, wasn’t going to let that happen. The People’s Liberation Army, armed with antiquated rifles, wearing green canvas liberation shoes which had recently replaced straw sandals, eventually pushed them back to the 38th Parallel in the Korean Peninsular. Many many died, in return for a few decades of lockdown recuperation.

Ancient empires wanted to trade with China for simple and pragmatic reasons: goods and market. They desired some of the goodies China produced, and wanted to sell their goodies to the giant vibrant market there. Whether they romanticised or demonised the Chinese was irrelevant. 

Today, a similar commercial reality has again been created, with a globalised China. China is now the top trading partner of 124 countries. It would take a lot more than Trump’s wishful thinking and histrionic tweets to change that fact.

EVEN if Trump’s impossible decoupling plan materialised, China will soon adapt. Presently, export makes up 17.4% of the country’s GDP. Nineteen percent of that goes to America. If export to the USA dropped to zero, the impact would be about 3.3%. Meanwhile, the Belt and Road economy and domestic demand, which have been growing impressively, will make up in no time.

Furthermore, 1.4 billion Chinese have been enjoying quantum leaps in living standards for a few decades now. A growth hiatus, even a period of manageable decline, would be beneficial to the country’s mental and physical health.

China is clearly well behind America in one area: international propaganda. But with patience and perseverance, it may still be able to push the liars back to their parallel universe with boring facts and logic. Current asymmetry in this battlefield cannot be worse than that in the Korean Peninsular seventy years ago.

And so what if China lost the propaganda war resoundingly, and the Western masses started to loathe everything Chinese? 

Australia, always a perfect example to illustrate befuddlement, is decades ahead of Trump and Pompeo in China loathing. Has it stopped buying everything made in China? Has it sailed a little gunboat over to lob cannon balls on us? In the end, it’s just meaningless spittle from a nation needing to recover from a historical inferiority complex, desperate for attention.

Out of Trump’s countless pouty threats, complete Sino-US decoupling in hi-tech areas is the most credible, and it’s happening. But that would likely be a development spur for China. 

For decades now, China has been barred from anything NASA, including academic conferences. It’s also the only country not allowed anywhere near the International Space Station. Thanks to this stimulus, China now has the only quantum satellite up there, and visited the dark side of the moon. It’s also busy preparing to launch a space station.

China should feel ready for a Sino-US split, if that is what America really wants. From a longterm perspective, it may be a fortuitous turning point for the country. 

However, this is only the second-worst scenario. The worst scenario is self-obliteration of suicidal Homo sapiens. In that event, Planet Earth will gradually recover its crystalline ocean and starry nights, but with nothing worth talking about from humanity’s point of view. 


James Tam  2020.05.28

中文版: 《中美博弈的第二最差結局》


中美博弈的第二最差結局



中美博弈猶如兩個高手比武,驚心動魄。雙方擁躉一時鼓掌,一時驚叫。有切身關係的旁觀者,好比下了賭注的觀眾,心情被拳來拳往牽動。看見自己的拳師打中對方一拳,立即拍腿歡呼;中了人家一招,則高聲怪叫,好像世界末日。這些情緒是人之常情,也可以營造賽事氣氛,但對賽果影響不大,倒不如專心欣賞,有需要時在旁加油打氣,最重要是保持信心, 團結一致。

信心哪來呢?

信心可以不需理由:喜歡就是喜歡,拳手是親人的話,會特別緊張,甚至脫離現實,一心希望他十個回合里拳拳到肉打對家,自己不損半條頭髮。

但信心也可以來自基本因素。

我比較淡定的原因,是我對國家的信心來自基本分析。中國不犯傾覆性錯誤,不被下注在對手身上的漢奸公知們過分騷擾的話,勝算在握。不過最終勝利並不等於過程中不中拳,甚至倒地一兩次,流出鼻血。對手說到底也是衛冕冠軍,破船亦有三斤釘。

基本因素中,首要是軍事力量,否則越富有越死得快,死得慘。

中國人過去幾十年默默耕耘,低頭練劍,已經大致有了成果。今天美國就算進一步關掉醫院和學校,把全國資源投放在軍工綜合體上,也沒有實際能力在中國本土作威作福。遠渡而來的航母,可以是個流動墳場。而我們根本沒有興趣與它在遠洋碰撞,所以硬碰的風險較低。

其次是政治體制的巨大優勢。

中國領導層可以長遠佈局,視乎情勢與變數作出調整,五十年不夠的話,看足一百年。中國可以扮傻二十年,韜光養晦二十年,待時機成熟才公然建設獨立自主的發展道路。美國最聰明能幹的政治家,也只能看四年。縱使幕後勢力較有遠見,但幕後終歸是幕後,當舞台上的演員不依劇本爆肚亂來的時候,導演班主只能在後台乾急暴跳等落幕。

第三個基本因素是工業生產力與國內市場。

中國的工業底氣,很多專家已經分析透切,無需贅述。但工業力量與內需市場,其實是恢復我國歷史地位的基石。

自羅馬帝國以來,西方各國都希望與華通商。而中國雖然好客,卻老是欲就還推,動不動還會鬧脾氣封關;起初修長城的目的,並非吸引遊客。直到十九世紀工業革命這巨大漆黑的天鵝出現,才把中國閉關自守這老習慣改變過來。不過到了新中國初期,在奄奄一息的文明古國,人均壽命只有三十多,文盲率百分之九十以上,GDP不如清初。為了休養生息,中國又一口氣閉關幾十年,試問還有誰能做到?

兩千年來,全球的大帝國和小部落,有些把神秘傲慢的東方大國神化,有些把中國描繪成妖怪魔龍,卻都千方百計要跟我們通商。為何有這現象呢?

因為他們都需要中國生產的好東西,也渴望打進中國龐大的消費市場推銷他們的好東西。而中國一向相對自給自足,外來的特別事物有則過癮,無則算數。

今天中國已經大致恢復了過往的創意和生產力,國內市場也回復到歷史上的比例。中國目前是124個國家的最大貿易夥伴。中長期來說,大家爭相與中國通商的境況不會逆轉,只會越來越興旺。特朗普想帶動全球抵制中國,是毫無常識的痴想,與重新發動鴉片貿易差不很遠。

就算這沒有可能發生的怪事真的發生了,對封關經驗豐富的中華民族來說,也不值得大驚小怪,不消三五年便會習慣得很舒服。要知道,今天出口佔國家 GDP 17.4%,而美國佔我們出口總額19% 。換句話說,美國出口降到零,也不過影響我們3.3% 。而美國出口可能降到零嗎?還有,另一邊廂,我們的內需和一帶一路國家的購買力正在不斷增強。

更重要的是,中國人民的生活經過幾十年的不斷提升,來個頓號可以醒腦消滯,延年益壽,不無好處。這段時期內,國人模仿了不少美國東西,有益的可以保留,有毒的應該清洗。

不過在國際傳媒戰場,美國確實比我們強大太多,無可相比,令有些人擔憂難過。

今天的傳統西方在傳媒影響之下,越來越多人對中國有負面看法。這是客觀事實,必需接受。然而接受並不代表躺下挨罵。盡力反攻還是必須的,也沒有理由過分悲觀。在今天的世界,事實雖然不一定勝過詭辯,但可以令詭辯在明眼人面前現形。還記得我們曾經手執經典老步槍,腳踏綠色解放鞋,在朝鮮半島擊退當時比我們先進十倍的十六國聯軍嗎?

就算我們在傳媒戰場輸得一敗塗地,那又如何?

舉個例:講到歧視中國,澳洲比特朗普和蓬佩奧要先進幾十年,但對我們沒有絲毫影響。他們因此不買中國貨?不可能吧。一怒之下開艘小戰艦,乘風破浪過來扔炮彈?太滑稽吧。

假如中國徹底輸掉了傳媒戰,大不了就是臉上沾了幾滴無關重要的人的臭口水。過不了幾天,他們隨時嬉皮笑臉,主動打招呼:嘻嘻,一場誤會,口水乾了吧?你泱泱大國不許小氣,君子不准念舊惡哦!呃,要不要來點鐵礦石?新鮮挖的,給你個優惠?’ 

提到美國科技制裁,有些人會悲從中來,全身發抖。

唉,想想看,一般科技比太空和軍事科技難搞嗎?這兩方面我們已被隔離幾十年啦!美國太空總署連學術會議也不讓中國人參加,一向如是。我們也是唯一不許靠近國際太空站的國家。然而沒有這制裁,中國哪來今天的航天成就?哪來量子衛星,探月背面,和其他幾項獨領風騷,甚至獨一無二的航天技術?而這一切都是由零開始,短短幾十年間的成就。現在沒有 5G 的美國要科技制裁我們,我們有沒有理由嚇昏過去呢?

分析之下,我覺得中國在這場被逼上擂台的賽事中,贏面不錯。當然,任何情況下都不能輕敵,而什麼競賽都有觀眾持相反看法。我只希望美粉們能夠言行一致,來點骨氣,把賭注押在美國,投資美國資產,更不要做中國生意。這賽事是持久戰,應該要打好一陣子。散場後我請吃飯。

為什麼以上是第二最差結局呢?因為低估了敵人的愚蠢,與輕敵同樣致命。中美博弈最差的結局是人類終結,之後地球慢慢復原,變得藍天碧海,萬獸歡騰。我希望美國人還沒有那麼蠢;有的話,也沒有什麼好分析的了。


譚炳昌 2020.5.26

English Version: The 2nd Worst Scenario of a Sino-US Split


Sunday, 3 May 2020

賺美匯購美債永續不息?



特朗普兩年前發動中美貿易戰,認為中國一直透過與美國的貿易順差賺取美國人的錢,而又不願意在大量購買美國商品,令美國人吃了大虧,必須向中國揮動關稅大棒,迫令中國簽訂不平等貿易條約,讓美國重新偉大。另一方面,很多中國人覺得辛勤勞動,把大批商品以低廉的價格供應美國人消費,賺取的美元換回海量的美債白條,美國人不勞獲享受成果而繼續稱霸,肯定是中國人吃了大虧才是。

塞翁失馬、焉知非福,要說清當中的利弊得失並不容易,或者可從公司企業的損益表(Income Statement)與資產負債表(Balance Sheet)的概念尋找啟示。

Sunday, 26 April 2020

One Planet Two Morals



There are two main streams of moral traditions — one idealistic and absolute, the other relatively pragmatic and flexible. Each is a product of history and cultural perspective.

Absolutely, from God to Man

About six thousand years ago, God switched on the light, made things, and authorised humans to reign over them. Man was supposedly in charge of the world, which wasn’t exactly the entire universe — something we still don’t know much about, but pretend we do. Subsequently, God gave religious peoples the foundation of their moral codes. Nothing too complicated, but thou shalt not kill or steal is universally sensible, and works well if followed honestly.

Gradually, science nudges God off His throne. Humans take over, and steadily expand their God-given birthrights to reign over fish and birds. They march to conquer strange lands, funny heathens, the oceans, and nature in general, singing war songs.

Nonetheless, God’s exit has left an empty spot in their psyche, a vacancy which physics and chemistry can’t fill. After centuries of spiritual dependence, the urge to believe in something doesn’t go away easy. Moral excuses are needed to justify actions, many of which detrimental to themselves and others.

In cartoons, funny characters saw doggedly at the branch they’re perching on. In real life, Homo sapiens exploit their one and only living environment for short-term gains, and call it human achievement. Meanwhile, political ideologies have replaced religion, rationalising the killing and destruction of heathens. In man’s hand, morals have become more arbitrary, manipulative, and impractical.

And impractical ideals inevitably lead to hypocrisy and fanaticism. 

Supporters of specious doctrines seldom “act as they preach” because, well, what they preach is not always practicable. But stepping back to rethink is sacrilegious. Moral principles are tautologically and absolutely good, uncompromisable. An ideal is a perfect end-point to strive for. Revising something perfect is yielding to the dark side, not incremental refinement. Unfortunately, to loyally defend untenable beliefs and infeasible ideas is the first step to fanaticism.

非常道德观


当今世上有两种主流道德观,各有各的历史成因和文化背景。第一种比较绝对和理想化,第二种比较实际,注重探索。


源于上帝,绝对理想

据圣经所述,大概六千年前,上帝说要有光,便即时有光。可惜四周没有反光体,依旧渺冥无明。上帝于是创造万物,最后附加男女组合阿当与夏娃,让他们在伊甸园快乐逍遥,为所欲为,但不准吃苹果,原因不明。无奈这对祖先天生好奇,偏偏把禁果吃掉。上帝怒责之余,却仍然让他们凌驾世界,但要从此知羞,穿衣蔽体。不许在公共场所裸体,可能是最原始的道德要求。后来为了部落秩序,上帝颁布无杀人,无偷盗等戒条,进一步规范道德。十戒内容颇合情理,大众无话可说,反正不服者杀无赦。

转眼几千年,人类长了知识,略懂科学,开始摆脱造物主的精神枷锁,自把自为日久,逐渐野心膨胀,把天赋特权无限扩张,除了统治鱼虾野兽,铲高山镇海洋,臣服异族,更扬言要征服大自然,甚至宇宙,以显人类力量,把不知天高地厚这话发挥得淋漓尽致。

Wednesday, 15 April 2020

China Will Never Rule the World


Around 400 BCE, Thucydides analysed the history of Greek inter-city strife, and concluded that war is nearly inevitable between a rising power and the incumbent. This so-called Thucydides trap is not only difficult to say, but also anachronistic and misleading when it comes to the avoidable rivalry between China and America today. 

In scale and complexity, the competition between Sparta and Athens at Thucydides’ time, with a combined total population of a few hundred thousand at most, was tribal warfare. Using it to project the global dynamics between China and the US in the 21st century is no more relevant than modelling World War III after the Great Mafia War in Sicily. 

More significantly, China’s foreign policy has been different from — even opposite to — Western imperial traditions for at least a couple of millennia.

中国永远不会统治世界




修昔底德陷阱这个饶舌名词,近年常被引用来推算中美博弈,我认为并不合适。

两千四百多年前,生活在今天希腊一带的修昔底德先生悉心研究当地的斗争史后,发现了一个春秋常规:每当新旧霸权交替之际,都难免大战一场。且不论修昔先生的观察是否独具心得,从规模和复杂性来看,用当年希腊城邦的经验来估计今天错综复杂的中美关系,有如采用黑帮火拼记录来预测第三次世界大战,十分牵强。

修昔底德年代的斯巴达和雅典城邦,男女老幼加起来才一共几十万人,全民穿上凉鞋厮杀,也顶多算得上是有规模的部落战事。再者,西方的争霸传统与中国大秦以后的外交方针有基本分别,甚至完全相反。

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.

香港明天




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。

Thursday, 9 January 2020

Manufacturing Demons


Demonisation of adversaries and dissidents, a favourite device of the Anglo Empire, has been developed and overused to absurd levels by the American Empire. The world needs to better understand how it works.

Remember Slobodan Milosevic of former Yugoslavia? Hardly anyone does. According to the IPC — Imperial Press Corp, aka Mainstream Media — and “Human Rights” NGOs, he was the “Butcher of Balkans”, the most talented monster after Fuehrer Hitler, an ardent ethnic cleanser and, of course, a rapist whenever he took breaks from murdering innocent women and children — Muslims, as usual. He was imprisoned in 2001, when the breaking up of Yugoslavia had been set in motion, and the potential emergence of a sizeable and independent-thinking European nation aborted. 

制妖编魔记



妖魔化对手是大英帝国的拿手把戏。美国称霸之后,更把这传统伎俩极限发挥,值得世人花点时间关注,认真了解。

相信记得前南斯拉夫领导米洛舍维奇的人不多了。在西方政治家,传媒集团和各式各样的“人权组织”的大量报告中,米洛舍维奇被形容为“巴尔干屠夫”,是自希特勒先生以来最有天分的顶级“魔头”。他专长种族清洗,屠杀无辜妇孺,集体乱葬。受害者照惯例都是西方人最关爱的回教人士。

米先生在2001年被收监审讯。当时南斯拉夫已经注定要四分五裂,一个很有潜力但不大听话的欧洲大国切底被打胎切碎,任何人都没有能力挽救了。2007年,当时的国际法庭主席亲自宣布米先生的“反人类战争罪行”证据确凿。2010年,美国的“生命杂志”把米洛舍维奇列为全球最糟的独裁者之一,实至名归。

意想不到的事情来了。米洛舍维奇在2006年于荷兰监狱离奇死去之后11年,海牙法庭竟然静悄悄宣布米先生无辜。大魔头种族清洗这事情只不过误会一场,嘻嘻,大家当没有发生过便好了【链接】

Thursday, 12 September 2019

Neo-Racism




Racism is antagonism and prejudice based on race, usually precipitated by ignorance, hate, superiority complex, and insecurity.

Racists are typically denigratory and condescending to targeted groups, and blind to verifiable facts. They embrace and perpetuate demonising anecdotes, no matter how preposterous, to reinforce bigotry. Hollow accusations are enough to justify suspicion, despise, and hostility. Wars, even genocides, had been committed based on racially directed hatred.

Years of political correctness have driven traditional racism into the closet. Modern xenophobes no longer manifest prejudice through racial stereotypes; but the attitude and mentality have not changed, only evolved into neo-racism, or “clash of civilisations”.

Today’s China-bashers are neo-racists who may eat dim sum with an open-mind with Chinese friends who endorse their biased views. But a Chinese who supports China and the way the country operates, regardless of sound rationale, is to be suspected and derided, even caricatured. In other words, a person of Chinese ethnicity is okay, as long as he’s not really Chinese.

新包裝種族歧視


「種族歧視」一詞,泛指針對 「人種」 而產生的偏見和敵意。較常見的成因包括無知,原始仇恨,優越幻覺和缺乏安全感。

心存偏見的人,單憑不太科學的「種族界線」,便足以鄙視,甚至攻擊對方。他們對一切妖魔化對方的故事,無論如何荒誕,都會照單全收,以鞏固心中成見。歷史上不少戰爭,甚至種族清洗,也由此引發。

經過近年的「政治正確」洗禮,人種歧視表面已經息微。「人種」不再成為攻擊藉口,但仇視「非我族群」的心態未有絲毫改變,只不過換了包裝,或改名 「文明衝突」 而已。

當今盲目反華的人,其實是昨天的種族歧視的延續。

全新包裝的歧視分子,可能懂得拿筷子吃拉麵加豆瓣醬,甚至本身是黃皮膚黑眼睛的華人。他們自以為打破了種族界限,自命開明,卻築起了同樣狹隘,更加執著的意識形態藩籬。被認同的人,不論膚色,都可以是同類。但任何支持中國的華人,就算有理據有邏輯,也屬異端。換句話說,他們接受華裔,擁抱漢奸,但無故敵視真正的中國人,與傳統種族歧視並無分別。

Sunday, 25 August 2019

香家的曱甴


“香家的曱甴”    譚炳昌  25.08.2019

某天,香家兄弟姐妹團聚於長兄家中飯局,正準備用膳之際,嫡孫香耿,時年十五,走進飯廳中央,在古董波斯地毯上鋪了報紙,蹲下來要拉屎。香耿皮膚黝黑,品性刁鑽靈巧,乳名「曱甴」,蟑螂的粵語也。五叔見狀大吃一驚,連忙喝止:「曱甴!發神經乎?幾歲啦?屙屎到廁所去!」

曱甴在家中一向為所欲為,不慣被責難,一時間未及反應,最疼他的二叔突然拍桌怒斥:「老五!吃喝拉撒睡是基本需要,你也想壓制,還有人權可言嗎?年輕人有自己一套,現在並非清朝,身為長輩要識時務,不可作威作福,騷擾後輩辦公!」  曱甴見有二叔出頭,便不理五叔,閉目運勁,專心出恭。

老五見老二來勢洶洶,突然感覺自己某程度上理虧,急需辯解:「二哥,我明白年輕人有新作風,需要另類空間。但凡事總有分寸,在飯廳當眾大便,古今中外也不能接受,試問與人權有何相干?侄兒交友不慎,被街口那流氓老梅擺弄而已。」 曱甴有輕微便秘,蹲在那裡拉不出屎來,開始煩躁,便抬頭罵道:「You guys shut up!看不到人家在屙屎嗎?嘈之巴閉!」 二叔連忙傻笑,閉嘴致歉。

三姑六嬸怕兄弟叔侄間語言衝突,有傷和氣,便連忙勸說:「曱甴乖乖,我們正在開飯,便便有細菌哦,你在這裡拉屎不衛生,也很臭臭哦,哈哈!不如你起來,去廁所舒舒服服,屙個痛快,姑姑用花露水幫你搽屁股,好嗎?」 曱甴把眼珠一反,露出底白,並不回答。

五叔不耐煩了,見大哥低頭不語,便說道:「大哥,你管不管孩子啦?」 大哥見五弟氣憤,便勸說兒子道:「曱甴乖,聽五叔話到廁所去,明天爸爸買新手機給你。」 誰料曱甴甚有原則,富貴不能淫,誰稀罕新手機?他蔑視地吭了一聲 「挑!」,繼續低頭運氣,順便閱讀鋪在腳下的蘋果日報娛樂版。

大哥被兒子當兄弟姐妹面前「挑」了一聲,心理難受,哭了起來。眾兄弟無語。最後還是五叔開口提醒道:「大哥,這是爸爸最喜歡的波斯地毯,萬一曱甴拉出來的東西水份多,顏色深,誰來負責?」 大哥被一言驚醒。兒子在家中唯一稍有顧忌,也最痛恨的,便是爺爺。於是拿起電話,急撥正在內地出差,狩獵紙老虎的爺爺。

爺爺聽後輕嘆一聲,然後說道:「你們別把我的地毯弄壞,或者把房子燒掉,否則通通不放過。曱甴拉屎的事,你是爸爸,用腳趾頭想想應該怎辦吧!家法藤條掛在我睡房門後,隨便借用。至於街口老梅那「冚家鏟」我會跟他算賬。」 說罷掛上電話。

- 故事完 -               

Sunday, 18 August 2019

HK Deserves Riots, and Separation of Powers

Hong Kong’s riots remind me of my late father’s somewhat unorthodox adage: “If a son beats his father, the father deserves it.”

Under normal circumstances, a father-beating son is either the product of atrocious upbringing, or the father is being unthinkably heinous. None of my father’s seven children ever assaulted him, not even verbally. He was trying to make us think about the cause and consequence of things.

These days, the young of Hong Kong is beating up their old man — the society which has brought them up. Does the “father” deserve it? I’d say yes. That’s why in this Reflect on Hong Kong series, my discussions are more focused on the last generation’s role in Monster Parents, The More Chaotic the Better, and “Angry Youths and MADs”.

I am not trying to justify the fatuous brutality and suicidal destructions of the young thugs. But unless we understand why they are the way they are, and face up to it, the problem will never go away.

Monday, 5 August 2019

Angry Youths and Cheering MADs



The Hong Kong riots should be viewed differently at the national and local levels. At the national level, I’m sure there’s a strategic plan which takes into consideration geopolitical factors beyond my prattling scope. The bottomline is a hundred percent secured; there’s no suspense.

At local level, I have previously explained why Hong Kong should be left to boil in chaos a little longer (link, in Chinese only) for the time being. Meanwhile, as we sit back to witness homegrown barbarism in horror, why not take a look at who they are, and what has made them.

More people now understand that Hong Kong’s problems come fundamentally from three failed areas — Education, Judiciary, and the Mass Media. Recovering these “occupied territories” will take resolve and patience. Hong Kong Government has no problem with patience, but is not very good at making up its mind.

The problems with education, however, are urgent. Unless they are fixed, there’ll be a continuous supply of angry mobsters.

反思香港 - 憤青與廢中坑




香港的亂局需從兩個層面考量:首要是國際大局,這方面相信國家已經有戰略方向,不用我們吃瓜群眾操心了。底線是百分百沒問題的,毫無懸念,不用緊張。

其次是香港如何自己收拾殘局,開始長期的艱苦復原。這方面要做的事情很多,方向亦很模糊。暫時唯有讓它亂下去的原因,以前討論過了(鏈接 「越亂越好」)。大家都在等看大結局的同時,何不花點時間,看看這些暴徒是什麼人,來自哪裡,好待風暴過後處置。

漸漸多人開始明白,香港的基本問題來自「教育,傳媒,司法」 三大領域的失陷。收復這些失地要下決心,給耐性。對港府來說,耐性是長期老習慣,決心是大膽新嘗試。不過光復教育「淪陷區」急不容緩,否則 「憤青」源源不絕;這點要瞭解,才有希望杜絕。

香港暫時“越亂越好”


有關香港的暴亂,我在吃瓜群組中多次提出 「越亂越好」,並非賭氣之言,而是覺得這亂局不能避免,而壞中求變的方法之一,是讓它亂。

「一國兩制」 是上世紀八零年代鄧小平設計的概念。由始至今,轉眼三十多年。這期間國家發展驚人,很多方面甚至是歷史創舉。大家習慣了奇跡不絕,很容易忘記了八零年代的中國是什麼的樣子。當時剛改革開放,家裡有電話的人也不多;中央無論經驗與信心,都不足以接管香港。鄧小平的 「一國兩制,五十年不變」,現在事後聰明,當然有不足之處,卻不失為天才之策,精彩完成了歷史任務。在執行方面,除了缺乏經驗,過往幾十年國家要辦的一等大事也實在太多太多,疏忽了替香港「去殖民化」這件嚴重的 「二等大事」。

回頭看,完全放手讓港人高度自治也過於理想。香港政務官是英殖時期的本地執行人,老闆說什麼,全力以赴。老闆不開腔,自己關門看報學英文。回歸後,英國老闆走了,北京又不補上,政務官猶如找不到皇上的太監,不知急什麼好?唯有婆聲乸氣地亂搞。美英勢力比較清楚香港,見狀乘虛而入,經 「司法,教育,傳媒」 三大渠道把香港重新殖民。這回沒有了管治顧慮,目標單純明確,一心分化操縱,手段比英治時期更陰險極端。

Monday, 15 July 2019

Dissecting Monster Parents


The anti-China self-hate-racists in Hong Kong have reached a new level of absurdity and violence, ransacking police stations and the parliament (LEGCO). Pundits have offered many explanations for their pathological behaviour. The vague consensus seems to be that Hong Kong has failed miserably in three sectors: the media, judiciary, and education. I pointed out exactly these subverted areas in my satirical Cultural Revolution Posters seven years ago. If these losing “war zones” were obvious to me then as a casual observer, one would think the government must have had noticed as well. It’s puzzling why it has done nothing, and continues to do nothing except offering apologies to everyone. Perhaps in an institutional form, the government is also a “monster parent”?

Monsters breed monsters, naturally. Hong Kong’s monster parents — be them individuals or institutions — cannot deny responsibility for having raised a generation of junior demons.

剖析怪獸家長


在香港滋生了一群 「自我種族歧視」 怪物,長期盲目反中,胡亂搞事,最近更荒誕暴力,到處欺凌搗亂,連警察總部和立法會也肆意破壞。專家們就此作出了不少分析,輿論慢慢指向了香港的三大淪陷區:教育,傳媒,司法。其實我多年前已經用 「文革大字報」 的諷刺格式提出警告。奇怪的是,連我這站在群眾後排啃瓜的人也看到的問題,政府卻懵然不知,年復一年毫無作為。可能政府本身也是頭「怪獸家長」吧。

怪獸生怪獸,傳宗接代,十分自然。香港的怪獸「家長」,不論個人,學校,或政府,也難辭其咎。

Friday, 8 March 2019

長期韜光 只會養“悔”




不少老朋友認為中國這幾年太高調,招致狼群發難。「國家有作為固然好,但自己高興便算,何必自詡厲害,惹惱匈奴呢?」 這觀點雖然可以理解,我卻有不同看法,姑且嘗試分析。

這些友人大都是年屆退休的「穩定人士」。上了年紀的中國人,一般比綿羊更溫馴,萬事寧可退讓,以和為貴。這本來是美德,可惜現實從來不會姑息委曲求和的人。我們險些被滅族只不過近世紀的事,應該記憶猶新。更重要的是,我們並非為變而變。為了國家安全,民族復興,我們必須訂立長遠目標,設計發展藍圖,組織戰略步驟,培育接班人才。這一切都會影響到國家的外觀形象和應有姿態。

Friday, 1 February 2019

Trudeau the Second


Photo from REUTERS/Chris Wattie

Most Canadians don’t realise that their country enjoys an exceptionally positive international image. Comparing with other members of the Anglophone Five Eyes clique which once regarded itself representative of western civilisation, Canada is generally trusted and liked by the rest of the world. Though a core member of the “Western bloc”, Canada at least tries — or tried — to be relatively fair and independent minded most of the time.

Canada’s reputation is not by accident. It’s the result of a reasonably consistent tradition crafted by a generation of liberal and sensible (liberal and sensible weren’t contradictory terms back then) politicians, iconised by the charismatic Trudeau the First who befriended Castro while the CIA was making dozens of assassination attempts on the “defiant” revolutionary. By bravely refusing to join Bush II’s “coalition of willing” to plunder and destroy Iraq, Jean Cretien quietly continued liberalism with Canadian characteristics. Statesmen like them helped Canada to straddle a delicate divide for decades, while maintaining a respectable degree of sovereignty. That’s no small feat considering who its neighbour is.

Building trust and respect takes decades. Destroying them takes no time. Trudeau II is working hard at that.

杜魯多二世








Photo from REUTERS/Chris Wattie

加拿大的國際聲譽一向不錯。在一度自以為是西方文明代表的英語幫「五眼聯盟」中,世人較多信任和喜歡加拿大,覺得這冰天雪地的「西方」成員國相對難得地公平看事和獨立思考。

加拿大的聲譽並非偶然,也不是一朝一夕的成果,而是上一代「自由卻不胡鬧」的政治家努力耕耘的結果。當年風采不凡的杜魯多一世與古巴的卡斯特羅為友,不顧中情局多次嘗試暗殺卡斯特羅的努力,令美國極為不滿。自由黨獨立特行的傳統延續到克雷蒂安(Jean Cretien)。他當總理時頂受了巨大壓力,拒絕參加布什二世組織的「伊拉克搶掠團」,維持了加拿大頗高的自治風格,很不容易。

爭取國際社會的信任和尊重需要很長時間的表現。而破壞公信只需旦夕。

Friday, 25 January 2019

讀南懷瑾“新舊教育的變與惑”有感



挨打挨足了百多年的中國,最終竟然死裡逃生,帶著嚴重內傷走上了復興之路,步履越來越穩定有勁。這近乎奇跡的復活,除了有賴革命注入了激情和活力,也很大程度上多得延續了幾千年的文化根源。隨著國力復蘇,國人逐漸回復自信,開始積聚能量,一旦時機成熟,自然會在不同領域發揮作用。在這歷史性的文化復興過程中,南懷瑾老師以個人力量默默耕耘,努力「為往聖繼絕學,為萬世開太平」,作出了不少實質貢獻。

雖然南老師說自己沒有弟子,但實至粉來,今天南粉滿天下,在互聯網大環境的配合下,實際上桃李滿門。我是南老師無數忠實讀者之一,最近讀了劉雨虹老師重新編訂的 「新舊教育的變與惑」,感受良多。南老師對國際環境的預言,在幾十年後的今天看來,大部分都已實現。如此料事如神,莫非真有神通?

Monday, 14 January 2019

Deaf, Dumb, Blind, and Irrelevant




Being too dull to recognise and connect with reality is forgivable, even pitiable. But self-imposed blindness is more difficult to understand.

In Hong Kong, a dwindling bunch of armchair activists, not necessarily classical dummies according to credentials, appear mulishly blind to facts and reality. Doggedly they chant “freedom and democracy”, imagine totalitarian regimes in the wrong places, and fantasise themselves revolutionaries without a cause. If not so tiresome, they could be rather amusing.

Hong Kong’s actively inconsequential “rebels” don’t seem to realise that the world has moved on well beyond their political infatuations. A global awakening is happening beyond their closed lids. The hackneyed pretexts of freedom, democracy and human rights have lost potency to all but the densest. Even genuine liberal democracies are becoming painfully aware of the failings of populism and short-term governance, and are soul-searching for solutions. But in spite of their relative proximity to the real world, revolutionaries with Hong Kong characteristics seem hopelessly addicted to the Democracy Empire’s dated spell. Short of a conspiracy theory suggesting material motivations, or a medical diagnosis of persecutory delusion, their frothing zeal can only be compared to religious fanaticism.

失聰失明的無釐頭革命家




天生愚蠢,缺乏認知能力,無法分辨是非的人,不知不覺與現實脫了節的話,其實值得同情。但自願性失聰失明的人,又應該如何對待呢?

在香港這怪地方,有一撮日漸變得無關重要的業餘「民主革命家」。單看學歷之類,他們不全是傳統傻瓜,但行為上堅決與現實脫臼,令人費解。他們的「革命」綱領比較簡單,不外乎幾句老口號:「自由萬歲!民主萬歲!」 口號喊多了會上身,部分「民革家」 漸漸相信了自己是正義與真理的化身,整天橫衝直撞氣沖沖,找暴政搞抗爭做英雄,卻往往找錯地方。假如這撮人不是那麼討厭,其實不失娛樂價值。

更吊詭的是,當「民革家」滿嘴白沫呼民主之際,世界卻背著他們的方向演變。「民主自由,人權道義」 等搞事和侵略藉口,大致已被世人看穿,市場面臨崩潰。就算少數真心民主,篤信自由的國家,也開始領略到民粹主義的禍害,正在反思,謀求破解治理死結。但香港「民革家」們可能太集中精神擾國擾民,沒有留意世情,仍然緊抱幾句20世紀口號搏出位。假如陰謀論屬實,他們真的是外夷豢養之物,受命搞事,又或者精神有病,這行徑倒好解釋。否則便只有與宗教狂熱作比較了。

Friday, 9 November 2018

Immortal Master Kong


不死的孔子






可能由於性格關係吧,中華文化三大支柱儒釋道之中,我對老莊一讀鐘情。這裡有個小插曲:我首次認識道家,竟然是在加拿大偶然讀了Alan Watts 的老番版本 The Way of Tao。當時不知道先父原來是香港道德會善慶洞的會長。他從不對我們說道,真有道家個性!

漸入老年後,覺得佛學的生命觀和科學性更高更妙,卻自問只有資格靜靜旁聽,心裡拜服,不敢自認「學佛」,更莫論修証了。


至於儒家,我一向懷有負面偏見。假如年輕時身處五四運動或文革的歷史洪流,我肯定也會高呼「打倒孔家店」!這不怪誰,中國給煙商海盜踢屁股踢了整個世紀,什麼方法都試過,什麼道理都說盡,還不是一塌糊塗,翻身無期?夠啦!幾千年的老化石,難以改造,無法消化,是中華民族的毒瘤,前進的絆腳石!不打倒怎成?


Sunday, 7 October 2018

Trump's China Card



Trump’s gone nuts again, accusing China of meddling with the internal affairs of the USA. Pence — the guy who secretly aspires to become president next year — gave a speech at the Hudson Institute last week, basically declaring a cold war on China, unprovoked. 

Few sane persons could seriously believe that. But many Americans do. Being free spirits by self-declaration, they’re not very serious about serious matters such as international relations. Plus many have been secretly missing that little cunning sneaky yellowish Fu Manchu, and are happy to see him resurrected by the imagination of their national leaders. Not having to pretend civil feels like freedom to some.

It’s a waste of time putting forth common sense arguments such as “hey, the USA has been openly interfering, actively subverting actually, other countries’ elections and political process on a daily basis!” or “hey, if the American system is so pitifully vulnerable, why is it being sold by brute force to everyone else on planet earth?” or “Uh, can I see some evidence, please?” 

No! America is America. It’s exceptional: exceptionally violent, exceptionally arrogant, exceptionally bullying, exceptional in everything, with few exceptions.

So, is this declaration of cold-war against China just another senseless move by Trump the Great-again? 

Not really. Trump is not as stupid as he looks.

Let me guess his strategy, which is becoming obvious. Yes, what I’m about to say is entirely guess work without evidence. Everyone’s doing that. All journalists do that in their daily news. Presidents of rich and powerful democracies depend on fantasy for evidence. Why can’t I? Plus my speculation track record is not too bad so far. 

Trump’s declaration of war against China mainly serves three purposes. 

川普對中國宣戰的背後



川普發病,大家已經見怪不怪。最近無緣無故對華挑釁升級,派副總統在華盛頓的 Hudson Institute 對華宣讀冷戰書,又誣蔑中國干擾中期選舉雲雲。

副總統 「噴屎」 這番胡言亂語,稍微有腦筋有常識的人聽了都可能噴飯。但一般的美國人崇尚的是自由,不是什麼常識思考等過時東西,不少人心底里也挺懷念小時候電視那個黃面灰牙,下流賤格,皮笑肉不笑,滿肚子奸計的中國佬 Fu Manchu,見到他在總統口中復活,心內暖暖的有分久違的優越感和親切感。

反駁川普政權的論點多的很,如 「美國無時無刻不在明的暗的干擾全世界的選舉和政治運作哦!只准州官放火?」 「美國制度原來如此脆弱,不堪一擊,那麼為何要不惜動武把這糟制度強於他人呢?」 又或 「嗯,來點證據如何?」

但據理力爭對凡事例外的美國人來說太複雜,都是浪費唇舌。

那麼川普對華攻擊越演越烈,是否招牌神經失常呢?非也。他這一著我看很有章法,一點不笨。

容許我猜度一下川普總統的陰謀吧。猜度當然沒有什麼真憑實據和分析圖表,但全世界的自由傳媒都憑空捏造事實,大總統和國會議員亦復如是,為何我不可以互猜亂說呢?何況我以往的胡猜甚為準確,記錄不錯,應該繼續用功。

那便放膽猜吧。我認為川普對華攻擊,起碼有三個目標: