Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Kindle Version of "Land and the Ruling Class in Hong Kong"

Happy New Year to all readers of my blog! I wish you good health, peace and joy in 2015!

I'm pleased to announce that the publisher of the Second English Edition of "Land and the Ruling Class in Hong Kong" has decided to produce a Kindle Version of the book, which will be made available shortly.

For the Kindly Version status update or purchase order inquiry, kindly contact

If you are interested in checking out my novel "Fated and Fateless", just click on this link.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Book Review: A Tale of Two Cities

This was my first foray into Charles Dickens' works and I went in with much excitement and perhaps too much by way of expectations. The book took me much longer than expected to finish. Throughout the novel (at least in the first three-quarters), I failed to feel empathy with any of the characters. It was only when I neared the end that I became more absorbed with the plot twists. I would be lying if I said I wasn't deeply moved by the story's ending.

Was it the wordiness of the novel that put me off? Maybe not, because I've read and liked other wordy authors. I think I would blame it on the author's slightly going overboard with sarcasm and sentimentalism in case of this particular novel. As well, his characterization could have gone a little deeper with Sydney Carton. Having said that, I still like his ingenuity in patiently building up suspense to climactic heights near the very end. On balance, I am inclined to give this novel three out of five stars.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Book Review: Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World

This book gives me a whole new perspective on 13th and 14th century world history. It also helps me understand a little more about the Yuan Dynasty in Chinese history (e.g. I learned that it was probably the outbreak of the bubonic plague that led the Mongolian rulers to become paranoid and begin to alienate and repress the Chinese population whom they believed to have been the source of the horrible pestilence).

I'm really glad that I found this non-fiction title after having read Urgunge Onon's "The Secret History of the Mongols: The Life and Times of Chinggis Khan". The latter is supposedly an English translation from the original text written in Mongolian in the 13th century about Genghis Khan's life by someone close to him, and contains mostly dialogues and descriptive passages. Using that original document as a basis, Weatherford gives a far more coherent and illuminating account of all the life episodes set in historical context, while shedding light on the enormous proximate impact and far-reaching influence that this formidable leader's actions and, to a greater or lesser extent, those of his successors, had on human history.

The simple flowing style of writing makes this book an easy read. It is interesting as it is educational.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

For U.S. Readers, "Fated and Fateless" $0.99 Kindle Sale!

A countdown sale is on from Kindle Store at $0.99 until December 14, 2014 1:00 pm (PST), after which the price will go up to $2.99, again effective for a limited time (53 hours).

This is a novel that paints a culturally vibrant period in colonial Hong Kong. Did you know that in the early to mid-1900s, Hong Kong's Chinese society was very much influenced by the Portuguese, other than the British?

Tony, a leading character in the novel, is a Eurasian from Macau born of a Chinese mother and a Portuguese father, who is the offspring of a well-known historical Macanese figure.

A major character, John Woo the lawyer, is of mixed Chinese and British descent.

Other interesting characters include Jean the French teacher and Jill Simmons, the Eurasian stockbroker, who comes from mixed British, Portuguese and Chinese origin.

Wendy the working girl and Diana the apparent heiress (the two leading female characters), and Edward the doctor (the other leading male character), are Chinese, as are most other major characters (like Mr. Lee the property tycoon and Ms. Yeung the secretary).

Fate throws them onto one another's path and creates distressing chaos in the lives of Wendy and Diana….

Thursday, December 4, 2014


Link to the Article


"............究竟這班年青人為大家爭取民主 - 生而為人最基本的權利和尊嚴 - 在哪一點上冒犯了大家?以致人們對學生的憎恨可達至違反基本人性的程度?學生們,你們不欠香港人甚麼,你們還在替這班人爭取民主,爭取基本尊嚴?你們錯只是錯在是太美麗太善良的青年。"

"代代傳承,這淺薄歹毒的劣根竟深植在我們的土壤裡——即使如我們這片聲稱受西方文明管治逾百年的土地,即使是一個我們一直引以為傲以為是最富國際視野的亞 洲城市。《藥》中百姓痛恨嘲笑為國為民犧牲的夏瑜,是因為看見不見自己同樣身處險地,看不見長遠救國並且自救的方法是要徹底的政制改革,他們嘲罵夏瑜一如 大家今天對阻街「廢青」的指責,而小說中人們對可治病可解華小栓病危之困那血饅頭的迷思,亦一如今天很多香港人仍然膚淺短視地對「經濟增長」「安定繁榮」 所有的眷戀。"

"..........香港人,你們被中國人那自私自利輕薄無知的根牽著了,牽得根深蒂固,動彈不得。魯迅說他決定棄醫從文,是因為他看見紀錄片裡,一個將要被日本人斬首的中國 人,竟被圍觀的中國人恥笑,在那些嘲弄的眼神裡他看見中國人靈魂深處的悲哀,他發現中國人的心比身體病患更重,更需要醫治。........"

" 一場雨傘運動仿如一個放大鏡,讓我們把身邊的人、身處的環境都照得輪廓分明。無疑,我們在這段日子發現了很多美麗的香港人,只是,我們確要認清一個事實, 這些美麗的人們是我們社會裡碩果僅存的一群,而我們社會的真相是——即使沉重也要面對的是——民智未開,人們對身處險境的認知以及道德感召這回事,一如當 年晚清時在華老栓茶館裡吃著茶咬著花生恥笑革命志士的無知淺薄的人民。"


Tuesday, December 2, 2014

An Elucidating Analysis of the Generation Gap

The Umbrella Movement seems to have brought Hong Kong's older and younger generations to an irreconcilable position in terms of values and world views. This article is one of the best that I've read so far that has shed a light on the dichotomy between the two camps of thoughts. (See my translation of the salient passages further down).

Here's the link to the InmediaHK article

Here are the salient passages:-





以上兩大套論述之衝突,就是本人所謂「世界觀」之衝突。當然每項論述均頗為粗疏,難免過分簡化。要深入討論,可逐一研究。然拙文的目的不是要爭論佔 領之對錯,而是展示當今之爭論,不是純粹的口舌之爭,或一般意義上的「政治爭拗」(「政治嘢,各有各講啦!」),而是兩套價值體系的衝突「沉默大多數」 所秉持之信念乃「維持現狀」、「穩定」、「繁榮」;佔領者之旗幟則是「改變」、「自由」、「公義」、「自主」。有人說此乃世代之爭,大概而言也算準確。不 願變者, 不一定就是既得利益者。責罵年輕人、反對佔領者中,也有生活艱難的。不論貧富,那種世界觀就是固定在其心中,牢不可破。此種價值體系,何以建立?所有世界 觀、價值體系,均是知識、所受教育、所接收之訊息,加上個人經歷糅合而成。大家成長經歷不一,很容易煉成相異之世界觀。呂大樂的《四代香港人》大概有類似 論述,雖非嚴謹之作,仍值得一讀。明白了「世界觀」之衝突如何煉成,則不難明白為何佔領發生後,不少父母與子女爭論不休,大家彷彿活在平行時空裡:我看到 警察冤枉記者,你卻看到記者打警察。

「沉默的大多數」不願走出自己心中那安穩的世界(縱使其實那只是殖民地植入的、虛妄的安穩),不願當家作主。現在不是很好嗎,何必自找麻煩?只要有 人照顧餵飼(縱使那是惡徒),大家安安穩穩,那就好了。佔領人士和不少年輕人卻要成長,想要打破框框。成長是很痛苦的,但人必須成長,方能有明天。每當我 等適應了一環境,就不想改變,想留在那裡,直到永遠。但成長就是要跳出那comfort zone,自己前路自己揀,方能走得更遠。現在是年輕人想成長,而以中年人為主的「沉默大多數」卻拒絕成長。]

Brief Translation:-

The two opposing camps of thoughts (or values/world views) are:-

(From the Silent Majority camp):

1) If the students truly want to build a better Hong Kong, they should study hard and then find a government job and bring about changes within the establishment.
2) Having an ideal is a good thing, but one must also be pragmatic and be ready to compromise.
3) Hong Kong has always enjoyed prosperity and stability and is a free and open city; don't destroy the harmony.
4) You students are still young and can easily be misled and used by politicians/demagogues.
5) The Chief Executive's job is not easy - no one is perfect; we have to be more tolerant.
6) Concentrate on your studies and don't go out to stir up trouble; you should care more about your future. 
7) Occupying public space is illegal; an illegal act is wrong, period. Please stop your movement.

If you had a chance to stroll through any of the protest sites, you would most certainly hear these counter-arguments to the above points from any of the youngsters:-

(From the Umbrella Movement camp):

1) It is our cherished wish to make Hong Kong a better place. The only way is to reform the whole political structure. History shows us that the establishment cannot be expected to reform of its own will without being instigated by struggles from the outside.
2) It's true that we do have ideals. Everyone should have ideals. We are not being impractical - we are only striving to change the status quo and build a better home. History tells us that change is possible.
3) Hong Kong did enjoy prosperity and stability when the economy flourished in the 70s and 80s. But in recent years systemic weaknesses have become obvious and the wealth gap has been widening. At the same time the Beijing government intends to mainlandize Hong Kong and suppress our freedoms while the Hong Kong government plays deaf to our democracy demands. We have been forced into a corner where we have no alternative but to resist.
4) We are absolutely clear on what we are doing. If you think that the Pan-Democratic Party politicians are able to influence or use us in any way, you are just being naive. They belong to the past.
5) We know the CE's job is a difficult one. But it's not just about changing the CE - it's about changing the system. Why is it that you can be so tolerant of the government who holds all the power, but you are so harsh towards the protesters who are without power or wealth?
6) A protest or occupying movement is not an attempt to stir up trouble - it is a struggle for social justice and for change. Our own future is certainly important to us, but the future of our home city is even more important. This is what education is all about - we have to be civil humans who care about our community.
7) Civil Disobedience implies that participants are ready to admit their guilt - this does not contradict the spirit of rule of law. Committing an illegal act is not necessarily wrong. If the law impedes a citizen's pursuit of social justice, then he/she does not have to abide by that law. Civil Disobedience apart, is there any democratic movement in history that could have taken place effectively with participants strictly abiding by the law?

In sum, the stance of the "Silent Majority" is about keeping the status quo and letting stability and prosperity rule, while that of the protesters is about pursuit of change, freedom, social justice and autonomy.  All world views and values are formed from education, knowledge, receipt of information, combined with personal life experiences and backgrounds. They thus vary according to a person's growing trajectory.

It seems that the Silent Majority are the ones who refuse to leave their "comfort zone" to seek change and to grow, while the students and protesters are eager to change and grow. Change and growth entails pain, and that's why most people try to avoid it.