Thursday, September 13, 2012

Planning for One System

What would be the best way to bring Hong Kong into “one country, one system” mode to enable a seamless transition by 2047? Might the answer lie in gradually dissolving the ideological as well as the physical boundary that demarcates Hong Kong’s existing lifestyle? Hong Kongers have just won the first round on the ideological front by having successfully forced the Leung administration to drastically pull back the controversial national education policy. But they’d be wrong to let up their solidarity now.

According to InmediaHK, the no less menacing threat to the physical boundary, in the form of “Guangdong Hong Kong Cooperation Outline Agreement”, had already been surreptitiously incorporated as part and parcel of some national education teaching handbook, which was issued in May 2012 by the National Education Services Center and is probably widely in use by now.

The following is an abridged translation of the InmediaHK report:-

“The Guangdong Hong Kong Cooperation Outline Agreement forms a part of mainland China’s overall ‘Twelfth – Fifth Plan’ and was drawn up without the knowledge or participation of Hong Kong residents. It has four salient objectives:-

1.      Planning for massive infrastructure facilities (e.g. building cross border roads and bridges; building nuclear plants in Guangdong to supply electricity to Hong Kong.)
2.      Planning for a better quality life circle (merging of the education system of both places; promoting individual travel by car; moving Hong Kong residents into the mainland etc.)
3.      Promoting cooperative tourism (expanding the individual visit scheme; developing the New Territories North as a mainland tourist destination.)
4.      Planning for the Pearl River Delta Bay Area Development (absorbing Hong Kong into the PRD plan; developing the New Territories North-East, Hung Shui Kiu and Lantau into a suburban economic zone; moving Hong Kong’s services industry into the zone.)

While emphasizing the economic benefits that the Agreement might bring about, the teaching handbook makes no mention whatsoever of the dire consequences it might cause, namely, that it would upset Hong Kong people’s existing way of life, unnecessarily develop the countryside, alter Hong Kong’s existing modus operandi of town planning, squander away Hong Kong people’s tax dollars and, in sum total, trample on the ‘one country, two systems’ promise. Neither does it mention that a social activist group was formed to oppose the Pearl River Delta Bay Area Development Plan earlier this year.

As a tactic to fool students into embracing the ‘Twelfth – Fifth Plan’, a working paper is incorporated in the handbook which seeks to draw their attention to job prospects in the new economic zone and to instill into them the idea of having a chance to contribute to the motherland’s future economic success.

The fact that Hong Kong has been ‘involuntarily planned’ and made to lose its autonomy on planning matters has been twisted around to something to the effect that mainland China is supporting Hong Kong’s development. Who is supporting whom really?”

The recently promulgated New Territories North-East outline development plan, which is believed to be a precursor to the broader Shenzhen-Hong Kong merger plan, has met with overwhelming public disapproval and despite that, the public consultation period has only been extended for a month to the end of September.

It does seem that there is a real risk of Hong Kong losing the physical (or geographical) boundary, which would mean no less than an imposed mainlandization of the city and the inevitable loss of the Hong Kong identity. Hong Kongers have to decide whether they want this to happen or not and to make their opinions heard. This may be an even tougher battle to fight than national education.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Love Poems by Lu You and Tang Yuan

This is a follow-up to the last post regarding the poignant love story of Song poet Lu You (陸游). I’ve given my attempted English rendition to Lu’s poem 釵頭鳳:紅酥手, which he wrote on a wall inside the Shen Garden during his chance encounter with his ex-wife Tang Yuan (唐婉), as well as to Tang’s reply poem 釵頭鳳:世情惡 .

At the Shen Garden (沈園) accidental encounter, Tang Yuan, with her husband’s permission, had some food and wine sent over to her ex-husband Lu You as a courtesy (presumably they were at different spots inside the big mansion). Her gesture got Lu all sentimental, and the lovelorn poet improvised his poem on a wall, which Tang later set her sight on, and she wrote her own reply there.

【釵頭鳳】紅酥手 南宋陸游

My English Rendition (Title: Phoenix Hairpin by Lu You):-

Tasty pork, golden wine, spring came amidst willows draped over walls.
Wicked custom, short-lived joy, leaves a pining heart, and lonely years befall.
Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!

Spring comes and goes, as I waste away; my tears have soaked many a handkerchief.
Peach blossoms fall, by the lonely pond, our vows intact, yet we can’t connect.
Lost! Lost! Lost!  

【釵頭鳳】世情惡 南宋唐婉

My English Rendition (Title: Phoenix Hairpin by Tang Yuan):-

A pitiless world, hard-hearted people, the evening rain beats petals down.
Morning wind dries, not the tears, I want to write, but can only lean on the fence.
Tough! Tough! Tough!

We parted ways, yesteryears gone, the ghost of sickness haunts like a hanging rope.
The horn is chilling, the night is long, shunning questions, I dry my tears and feign joy.
Hide! Hide! Hide!