Generation 40s – 四十世代

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亞歷山大港

Hong Kong Economic Journal
C04 | 品味旅遊 | 劍河長篙 | By Alan.C
2012-03-17

位於當今北非埃及的亞歷山大港,原由亞歷山大大帝建於公元前331年,四個世紀以後的羅馬帝國歷史學家Quintus Curtius Rufus於他的《亞歷山大史》中提及亞歷山大訪問埃及供奉古神明Ammon (The Hidden God)之神殿時,祭司尊稱亞歷山大為神話中朱比特之子( son of Jupiter,拉丁語),亦即古希臘的宇宙之神宙斯(Zeus)之子。亞歷山大隨即下令以此新近征服的南方土地為新都,鼓勵帝國不同種族人民都遷移過去。

公元前323 年亞歷山大過世,當時亞歷山大港經已成為當世最為多元文化的城市社會。後於Ptolemy將軍的統治下,人民被劃分成不同的民族體(politeumata),除了埃及人外,社會地位最為舉足輕重非希臘人莫屬,其主要原因莫過於希臘人最有知識,懂得運用文字,而文字則屬智慧和權力的象徵。雖然埃及人一樣懂得應用文字,但當時應用之範疇只限於宗教思想的傳播和政府機構行政事務的記載,而希臘人卻早已將文字應用於哲學思想的交流和商業交易的記錄,因而需要一套精密完善的文字系統。明顯受到亞歷山大帶來的希臘文化影響,亞歷山大港遂漸成一文牘盛行、文風鼎盛的地方,乃至實用商業上的許可證、交易單據、估價單、申報書、等等,均全形諸文字。

馬其頓的菲利蒲(Philip of Macedon)聘請亞里士多德作他兒子亞歷山大的太傅,在循循善誘和魅力熏陶下,年少的亞歷山大早已成為一個博覽群書的人,馳騁沙場從來手不釋卷。一次他到上亞細亞(Upper Asia)勘察戰地,因讀完攜帶的書而下令士兵從希臘運來書本,依他個人喜好分別為歷史、地理、哲學藏書,最後還有劇本和詩集。此習慣亞歷山大於征戰中從亞世亞帶到北非,由個人到城市,均大量蒐藏不同書籍。亞歷山大在位時常有提及恩師亞里士多德的教誨,就是蒐集書籍是學者研究不可或缺之重要一環,而學者則是帝國的基礎。Ptolemaic 繼承亞歷山大尚文精神,於亞歷山大港建立容納人類全體知識的神聖圖書館,目的是要作為已知世界的記憶庫。據說,亞里士多德一生所累積的藏書還有其著作亦輾轉流落到Ptolemy II的手中,再被收藏於亞歷山大港圖書館裏。

還有一條有趣的帝國法令,規定所有來自地中海靠港的船隻必須交出所運載的來自全帝國不同行省不同語言的書籍,當局再命抄寫員完整抄寫所有內容,然後將原作奉還,抄本則加入到圖書館的新書榜上。

Alan.C

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階級矛盾蓋過政治矛盾?

2012-03-29
明報
社評‧筆陣 > 筆陣

蔡子強

【明報專訊】還記得1991年,那是香港史上第一次立法局直選,當時傳統愛國陣營派出程介南、陳婉嫻等人出來參選。面對這些強勁對手,在八九年六四事件的陰霾下,民主派的候選人當時只拿出三道板斧,就把他們殺過人仰馬翻、片甲不留,那就是:他們是否共產黨黨員、是否支持鎮壓六四、是否支持黃雀行動。那時民眾只要聽到這幾個問題,看到這些候選人顧左右而言他的曖昧態度,選票便往其對手那裏投。至於其他民生議題,以至階級矛盾,七嘴八舌的討論不錯是有,但對選民的投票決定,卻沒有多大決定性。

20年來的選舉生態是否已經改變?

1991年這次立法局直選的重要性,不單在於它是歷史性首次,還在於它為往後10多年的選舉議題定下基調,那就是政治議題重要過經濟議題,政治疑慮蓋過階級矛盾,成了選舉中最大的爭拗點。

往後10多年,雖然選舉議題屢有變焦,由六四,轉到臨立會,再轉到23條、親皇/保皇等論爭,但都始終沒有偏離這個基調。

今次特首選舉一大發人深省的現象,就是雖然梁振英先後受到地下共產黨黨員、六四事件立場的前後不一、以「狼」來形容其心狠手辣、黑金政治,以至後來,主張縮短商台續牌及以防暴隊對付遊行群眾等多項政治指控,但對其民望造成的打擊,始終有限,讓很多參與選戰多年的政圈中人,大跌眼鏡。

民情是否已經出現變化﹖政治尤其是選舉的生態是否已經改變?遊戲規則是否已經重訂?立法會選舉中的六四黃金比例,版圖會否重劃?這都是值得關心的議題。

尤其是,這並不是孤立的例子,並不是沒有先兆,4個月前的區議會選舉,雖然泛民全力催谷替補機制等政治議題,但最後卻遭外傭居港權的民粹主義議題反噬,反過來殺個人仰馬翻。

階級鬥爭的選戰對決劇本

大家都知道,過去兩年,梁振英是從民生和階級議題逐步建立起其政治聲勢的。當曾蔭權仍是舉棋不定時,梁已不惜有違行會集體負責制,力主最低工資;當曾蔭權仍是後知後覺,說樓價仍沒有超越九七,而堅拒復建居屋時,梁開始逐步主攻房屋問題。到了選戰真的開打,貧窮、社會兩極化、青年人缺乏社會流動機會、樓價過高(以至提出「港人港地」這頗具爭議的建議)、打擊雙非孕婦等議題,以至「change」(求變),始終是其主打頂目。在發表參選宣言時,梁也是通過穿膠花紮腳媽媽的故事,力圖為自己建立一個由基層打拼,奮發向上的形象。

相反,唐英年的富二代出身,以及紈铒子弟、不知民間疾苦的形象,可謂深入民心。他熱愛紅酒的嗜好,一宗又一宗的桃色緋聞,更成了這個形象的最佳註腳。但唐營卻一直好整以暇,到了選戰處於下風時,也是通過發動任志剛、李國寶、王冬勝、盛智文金融工商界重量級人物開腔挺唐的「炮仗行動」,又或者在提名時以「四大地產商」來作「show hand」,以為這樣便可以讓選委歸邊,沒有認真想到在今天香港這樣反商情緒瀰漫,過分標榜權貴的支持,隨時會適得其反,激發輿論鋤強扶弱的心態。到了僭建地庫事件曝光,更被煽情的標籤為「酒池肉林」、「地下皇宮」,更讓仇富情緒進一步發酵。

就這樣,一個隱隱然以階級鬥爭作為主幹的選戰對決劇本,就此寫成。

最大的政治反諷

對於曾蔭權的最大政治反諷,就是梁振英乃曾蔭權的「頂心杉」,添馬艦內無人不知,但最弔詭的是,最後梁振英後來居上,卻是曾蔭權一手一腳所造成。除了在政治上,他讓中聯辦坐大之外(見周二本欄的分析),在經濟上,他太過自以為是,沒有好好處理貧富兩極化、樓價茘升的民怨,讓階級矛盾爆發,都為梁締造了異軍突起的條件。

至於對於民主派以至80後、90後社運的最大反諷,則是他們一直攻擊政府「官商勾結」,又以反「地產霸權」、反「金融霸權」等作為運動的綱領,讓這樣的意識形態深入民心,民怨沸騰。但正如3月23日《星島日報》的政情專欄「大棋盤」所指出,最後收割民意的,卻不是他們自己,而是梁振英。反而較能夠與泛民合作,保障泛民生存空間的唐英年,卻就他們所創造的這些意識形態所打倒。

政治的弔詭,莫過於此。

在這樣反商、仇富的國際大環境,在階級鬥爭怒火慢慢掩蓋政治上疑慮的本地氣候之下,選舉的生態及版圖會否重劃,固然值得關心,但特區政府領導精英的管治策略會否作出重大調整,更加值得留意。尤其是當新上台的梁振英,是低票、低民望、低凝聚力的所謂「三低特首」。

普京模式

近日時有評論提起所謂俄羅斯的「普京模式」。

所謂普京模式,就是指在蘇聯解體,俄羅斯邁向資本主義的進程中,冒出一大群寡頭財閥,他們通過與總統葉利欽官商勾結,篡奪國家資源,而牟取暴利,變得富可敵國,但卻害苦了黎民百姓,讓他們在貧窮線上苦苦掙扎,社會高度兩極化。於是大家恨透貪腐的葉利欽、俄國政府及那些財閥,階級鬥爭的火焰又重燃。

結果強人普京上台,他通過大幅改善民生,在一片仇富情緒中打擊財閥,以及向車臣開戰來鼓動民族主義和愛國情緒,這些一系列的民粹主義做法,來贏取民望。但同一時間,他卻在國內實行鐵腕統治,粗暴對待那些批評他的傳媒和異見人士,用各種藉口和辣招整治他們。

結果,也是階級矛盾蓋過政治矛盾,人民在得享民生上的甜頭,又眼看普京打擊財閥讓他們出了一口烏氣,於是對其政治上的鐵腕和高壓,也視而不見。普京民望維持高企。

我們都試過所謂「火遮眼」,只不過,今次卻是階級對立所引發的怒火。而讓人擔憂的是,這又會否被權術家所利用呢?

(後特首選舉政治生態系列之二)

蔡子強

中文大學政治與行政學系高級導師


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側面看名犬大賽

Hong Kong Economic Journal
C04 | 品味旅遊 | 回眸英倫 | By 毛羨寧
2012-03-17

我小時候害怕狗,每次到好朋友家去,總要在門外等五分鐘,聽到朋友外婆用上海腔向家裏的馬爾濟斯小狗嚷道:「入籠!」再確定了狗吠聲愈來愈遠,才敢推門內進。回頭看到白色毛鬈鬈的小狗愁眉苦臉地被關在籠子裏,又忍不住隔着閘逗牠玩。後來朋友轉到別的中學念書,碰面後才知道小狗已經活不下來,大家便抱着頭一起傷心,自己的事反而顯得不重要、不想提。

許多人也是愛寵物更勝於愛自己家人。像2007年外號「刻薄女王」的美國地產界女大亨利安娜(Leona Helmsley),在遺囑上特註明兩個孫不會分到一毛錢–「什麼理由當事人心知肚明」,而另外兩位得到500萬美元的孫子則要每年到父親墓碑前最少拜祭一次,否則也得不到錢。她卻毫不吝嗇為小狗設置1200萬美元的信託基金,並指定她弟弟負責照顧小狗的起居生活,原因是牠幫助了利安娜醫治喪夫之痛,更在她晚年心臟日漸衰弱時陪她走完人生最後一段路。這種對狗的癡愛,每年3月都會在英國克魯夫茨名犬大賽(Crufts)看到。

付出的心血

為期四天的克魯夫茨大賽在伯明翰國家展覽中心舉行,每天晚上由電視台More4直播比賽花絮,讓我能在家觀看狗展背後一瞥,不用怕過分熱情的狗向我撲過來。狗比賽對不養狗的人有何干呢?我着迷看世界各地成千上萬的狗迷和馴狗師,帶着近三萬隻不同品種和年齡的狗來參加小組賽,替牠們悉心打扮、做按摩,就不得不佩服他們所付出的心血。

這個歷史悠久的狗展始辦於1886年,參賽狗必須在前一年累積到其他狗展賽的獎項,且成為區域比賽冠軍,才有資格參加。進入了克魯夫茨大賽,牠們便要在各小組分開為公狗和母狗來作賽,兩個性別的第一名再互相比試,產生該品種的最佳犬。第二輪比賽則要從獵犬、槍獵犬、工作犬、梗犬、放牧犬、玩具犬和實用犬七大類別選出「大種類最佳犬」,最後在這七頭狗之中選出總冠軍(Best in Show)。我看牠們走路時昂首闊步,受評判檢查毛色和體格時顯出高貴的神態,面對場內其他幾萬頭狗也處變不驚,表現出動物的智慧,其實遠比當我們的寵物高等得多。

要在比賽中勝人一籌,當然也有代價。克魯夫茨大賽近年受愛護動物協會等團體批評,說參賽的全部是純種狗,在代代近親繁殖出「最優秀品種」的過程中製造了許多遺傳病,例如眼疾、癲癇症、頭顱發育不全(Syringomyelia)等。這間接教育了普羅大衆什麼是動物福利;原來沙皮狗頸上的皺紋愈多並不是愈可愛,倒是會令牠們眼瞼內翻,以致呼吸困難,耳部產生問題。克魯夫茨大賽再也不是按維多利亞傳統的選美比賽,還表揚導盲犬和搜救犬,呼籲大家救助流浪狗。「名犬」這個銜頭,今日又別有一番意義。

毛羨寧


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三項條件減疑慮 萬勿強推自駕遊

Hong Kong Economic Journal
A02 | 要聞社評 | 社評
2012-03-10

粵港自駕遊計劃在香港民間引起強烈反彈,反對聲音相當響亮。然而,自駕遊是粵港融合的其中一項措施,兩地政府早在二○一○年已將之正式納入《粵港合作框架協議》,故如今無論實行與否,都陷兩難。這死結如何解開,尚待仔細研究、從長計議。

立法會交通事務委員會昨天開會時,泛民政黨議員不惜要求運用特權法,迫使政府公開粵港自駕遊的會議紀錄,以確定「北上」與「南下」是否存在綑綁式協議,防範第一階段港人可駕車北上遨遊之後,港方被迫接受「對等安排」,也讓粵省車輛隨後來港馳騁。

雖然部分議員引用特權法的建議不獲通過,但足以反映粵港自駕遊落實與否,港人非常關注,也十分憂慮。

廣東省省長朱小丹昨在北京表示,粵港自駕遊試驗計劃當中,廣東車輛何時來港,可以實事求是,因時制宜。他指出,如果條件未成熟,可放緩一些才讓粵方車輛赴港。他更強調,在一國兩制安排下,不用強行要求兩地實行對等安排。

朱小丹之言,無疑給擔憂粵省車輛來港會製造連串弊端的民眾,猶如派了一顆定心丸;也讓曾蔭權政府鬆了一口氣,因為事情「放緩一些」,這燙手山芋已留給下屆政府了。

可是,事情尚未解決,「放緩一些」不等於取消、停止;若說要等待「條件成熟」,更不知待到何年何月,事關港人現時所擔憂的情況,並非可以隨着時日推移而改變。

歸納港人對內地人駕車來港遊玩的憂慮,一是恐增交通壓力,加劇空氣污染;二是怕粵港兩地左右軚駕駛的差異和交通規則的不同,容易造成事故。還有最大的問題,就是內地人的駕駛態度、守法意識和遇上車禍時的反應,都令香港市民無法安心。

上述問題,有些是根本改變不了,有些是三幾年間也難以扭轉。試問怎樣才可「條件成熟」呢?

一旦條件遲遲未能成熟,香港市民又始終強烈抗拒,則香港政府因協議無法履行,如何向粵方交代,如何免令粵省「車迷」因不能「南下」而感不公,如何使兩地合作關係不致受損,將是一個兩難的困局。

自駕遊今日的難題,完全是港府官員顢頇低能、處事粗疏一手造成的。

須知促進粵港融合、增加兩地民眾的溝通往來,沒有太多人會反對;不管自由行還是自駕遊,讓多些旅客來港消費,倘若安排得當、配套得宜,也不會惹來太多反感。然而,內地人駕車來港旅遊可能出現的問題,香港人會產生的擔憂,可說屬於常識範圍,有關官員怎能毫無預見,不知不覺,更遑論早訂應對之策。

其實,自駕遊「南下」之弊,其中加重塞車與染污空氣一環,只要嚴格限制來港車輛數量,影響應該不大;反而內地司機的質素問題,才是「重中之重」。

對於內地司機不諳香港「左上右落」與交通規例,大可要求參加自駕遊者必先接受培訓,通過考核,取得合格證明,始可駕車到港。

至於有人擔心「小悅悅事件」在港重演,有人撞倒路人還再輾過,這未免太極端了。不過,港府應該要求來港的內地司機必須購有足夠的保險,且對遇上事故後的應對程序和方式,具充足了解,並且嚴格執行。

如果政府能夠先就上述三項「條件」與粵方商討,取得共識,再以此諮詢香港市民,相信未必出現當前「人神共憤」的局面了。事到如今,粵港兩地政府都必須尊重港人的意願,理解港人的擔憂,想方設法消減港人的疑慮,在沒有取得大多數港人接受的情況下,自駕遊「南下」計劃,萬萬不可強推。


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Balancing act

South China Morning Post
2012-03-27
Insight

Anthony Cheung says chief executive-elect Leung Chun-ying faces a daunting task in delivering the change he promised while also preserving Hong Kong’s core values over the next five years

The chief executive election is over, but the more challenging and tumultuous part of the change of government has only just begun. Chief executive-elect Leung Chun-ying isn’t starting from the same point as his two predecessors Tung Chee-hwa and Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, both of whom enjoyed a comfortable popularity rating of around 70 per cent when elected, as well as unified support within the pro-establishment camp.

Public sentiment against the “small circle” nature of the election, especially among the younger generation and the middle class, has risen quickly. More than 220,000 people took part in the mock poll on the eve of the election, and more than half cast a blank vote to indicate no confidence in the system.

At one point, Leung’s popularity rating had climbed to 50 per cent, but then dropped back amid allegations about his integrity, especially following the as-yet-unsubstantiated accusations by his rival Henry Tang Ying-yen about what he had said in the Executive Council nine years ago. This caused concern about his willingness to safeguard Hong Kong’s core values. Despite all these doubts, Leung has held on to a support rating of 35 per cent in public opinion polls, still well ahead of Tang and the pan-democrat Albert Ho Chun-yan.

We will never know how the three candidates would have fared if there had been a real popular election. Sceptics said the writing was already on the wall even before Sunday because of Beijing’s strong influence on the Election Committee members. But the writing is equally on the wall that Hong Kong cannot afford to go through yet another saga like this one – the committee was discredited because of insider jockeying, and allegations and scandals within the pro-establishment camp, who dominate the committee.

The central government should recognise that implementing universal suffrage to elect the chief executive in 2017 and the whole of the Legislative Council in 2020 is the first necessary step to pull Hong Kong out of the political impasse and restore the legitimacy of governance institutions.

The way the election was reported in the media, and the negative campaigning and all kinds of allegations – both substantiated and unsubstantiated – that dominated public discussions, have caused increasing scepticism and distrust of the governance institutions. Such election reporting and discussions are disappointing but not unusual; they will probably become the order of the day when universal suffrage arrives in 2017. Hong Kong people are experiencing the teething problems of transition from the politics of anointment to the politics of election.

Hopefully, the 2017 election will induce more policy debates, because once ordinary people have a vote that they know can make a difference to their future, they will not be alienated onlookers following the election like a television soap opera.

Contrary to earlier speculation, even this small-circle election displayed uncertainties and unexpected shifts in alliance and support. Such events might have been shocking to those who expected a smooth sailing, but they are quite normal in popular elections. The earlier all parties get used to such uncertainties the better, because a true election is never one where the results can be written before the race starts. Hong Kong’s people, and political parties and camps should all learn good lessons from this time round and become better prepared for a democratic election in five years’ time.

With only one-third support and amid a large dose of public scepticism, Leung will indeed be handicapped as the new chief executive. He will not enjoy any post-election honeymoon. He may encounter difficulty in forming a ministerial team that’s broad enough politically and he will be guaranteed a hostile opposition camp campaigning hard against his administration in the next five years, especially in the upcoming Legislative Council election.

So Leung has to prove to the community that those doubts about his leadership are misplaced or unfounded. He should make his commitment to democratisation clear in no uncertain terms. It is encouraging that he pledged in his post-election speech that he expects to take part in the 2017 direct election to be baptised by universal suffrage.

Constitutionally, the chief executive has dual accountability – to the special administrative region on the one hand, and to the central government on the other. Beijing’s preference and the local public’s preference may at times be at variance, and it is the role of the chief executive to work towards a way that can balance well the interests concerned and gain the trust of both sides.

From day one of his election campaign, Leung positioned himself as a challenger from within the establishment, versus Tang who saw his advantage as providing more continuity of the present policy regime. Sceptics would say that like US President Barack Obama, championing “yes we can” is easy, but making change happen is quite another business in the reality of power politics.

Leung has the daunting task of delivering change – in the government-people relationship, in constitutional reform, in redefining government-business links, in social policies, and in restructuring our economic base. At the same time, he risks alienating a lot of deeply intertwined establishment and business interests if he pushes for change too drastically.

He has to play both a real reformer – and not let down his supporters, and a preserver – so as not to lose support within the pro-establishment camp. He has to be prominent in safeguarding Hong Kong’s core values and institutions. He must also learn to work with the pan-democrat opposition within the legislature, even though he will be the target of their main political campaign over the next five years.

Politics aside, Leung must win the confidence of the people in his rule in three main aspects: first, by addressing the wealth gap that has been worsened by declining social mobility, the overconcentration of wealth, soaring living costs and the lack of retirement protection; second, by addressing the economic gap by expanding opportunities for small- and medium-sized enterprises and professionals; and, third, by adroitly managing Hong Kong-mainland tensions arising from the process of integration.

At the end of the day, Leung’s single-most important challenge is to articulate a Hong Kong identity that can appeal to the broad spectrum of seven million people.

Anthony Cheung Bing-leung is an executive councillor and founder of SynergyNet, a policy think tank