Generation 40s – 四十世代

Good articles for buddies


Leave a comment

歌唱布列頓百年

Hong Kong Economic Journal
C05 | 城市智庫 | 回眸英倫 | By 毛羨寧 |
2013-08-03

在倫敦聖三一音樂學院Mandeville Place舊址上課的朋友,要忍受位於Blandford Street殘殘破破的附屬大樓(annexe building)。灰黑色的大樓內,旋轉樓梯只能容許兩位身材瘦削的學生上落,要是拿着大型樂器甚至是冬天的厚外衣,便要互相遷就,或是先嚷着說:「沸水來了!」大家擦身而過擠進不隔音的練習室,音樂水準的高低更顯而易見,誰也不願意給同學看穿自己的缺點。我還記得那裏的暖氣設備很會鬧情緒,天氣寒冷的時候不開動,和暖的日子會自動調節到攝氏三十度,而且為了避免附近高級住宅的居民投訴音樂擾人,練習室的窗戶都會鎖上,令人穿上小背心仍汗流浹背。因為這些原因,我跟同學下課時會到聖三一主樓對面的專用表演場地Hinde Street教會,更期待街道盡頭的威格摩爾音樂廳(Wigmore Hall)舉行免費午餐音樂會。我們習慣到音樂廳旁邊的餐廳Wagamama吃一碗日本拉麵,然後去威格摩爾音樂廳欣賞室樂、表演前的專家演講、看新進樂手小試牛刀。威格摩爾音樂廳給我的印象太深刻,雖然不夠維也納的演奏廳豪華,也沒有東京歌劇城新式的建築設計,卻永遠是我心目中最舒適、最像家的演奏廳。

慶祝活動全球進行

威格摩爾音樂廳原名是「貝赫斯坦音樂廳」(Bechstein Hall),1901年由隔鄰的德國鋼琴製造商「貝赫斯坦」所建造,一次世界大戰期間由英國公司買下,才改名威格摩爾音樂廳。以文藝復興風格設計,音響效果適合獨奏、聲樂以及室內樂的演奏,在一百多年歷史中吸引了無數音樂家在此獻藝,包括作曲家聖桑、鋼琴家魯賓斯坦、聲樂家梅爾巴。今天2月,我回到威格摩爾音樂廳參加英國作曲家和演奏家布列頓(Benjamin Britten)一百歲誕辰紀念音樂會Come and Sing: Britten 。自從二十世紀三十年代以來,威格摩爾音樂廳與布列頓有着密切的關係,許多布列頓的作品首演在這音樂廳舉行,例如1945年發表的歌劇《彼得.葛蘭姆斯 ——四首大海間奏曲》(Peter Grimes )、《為男高音、圓號及弦樂作的小夜曲》(Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings, Op. 31 )等。為了慶祝布列頓百年誕辰,英國的布列頓-皮爾斯(Britten-Pears)基金會耗資了650萬鎊舉行一整年的「布列頓一百」(Britten 100)慶祝活動,與全世界各主要表演場地合辦一連串演出。沒想過昔日在台下「佔小便宜」,現在竟然有機會在威格摩爾音樂廳台上唱歌。

這次齊唱活動由英國女高音伊莎貝拉(Isabella Adams)帶領,早上十時開始練習,直至下午三時表演。伊莎貝拉講解布列頓的生平:布列頓於第一次世界大戰前出生,生長於音樂家庭,他父親雖然是查令十字街醫院駐診牙醫,卻是業餘音樂愛好者,母親則是優秀的業餘女高音。他就讀私立中學,大力反對打獵及戰爭,長大後成為一位熱心的和平主義者。他十六歲獲得了英國皇家音樂學院的作曲和鋼琴獎學金,創作音樂也反映了對人的憐憫,也曾為戰爭中犧牲的人舉行許多次義演。1962年的代表作《戰爭安魂曲》(The War Requiem ),就是獻給他四位死於二次世界大戰的好友。後來他退隱鄉間,閒時作曲釣魚。知道了這些歷史以後,聽Praise We Great Men 一曲又別有一種感受。

回想在大學時期獻唱的布列頓曲目和歌劇,的確有着強烈的英國特性,糅合了民謠和歐洲文學的根源。音樂的魔力,繞樑三日,過了一百年還歷久不衰。

毛羨寧

Advertisements


Leave a comment

公職擁權利權責 官員須清白坦白

Hong Kong Economic Journal
A02 | 要聞社評 | 社評 | 2013-08-03

發展局一波未平、一波又起,局長陳茂波捲入涉嫌利益衝突漩渦仍苦苦掙扎之際,政治助理何建宗亦因家族公司在古洞發展區內持有廠房地皮,他卻無申報利益,昨天引咎辭職,並向公眾鞠躬致歉。

這是繼林奮強辭去行政會議非官守成員職務後,接連兩天有公職人員掛冠而去,肇因都與權和利的矛盾糾纏攸關。連串事件為正在或有志投身公職者上了深刻而可貴的一課,為當局檢討及完善高層官員與行會成員申報制度提供了一個適當的契機,也為陳茂波堅持留任發展局局長增添了沉重的壓力,令特區政府的管治威信雪上加霜。

隨着時代的進步,市民對社會公平合理益加看重;也由於政治委任制度的實施,愈來愈多不同背景、不同界別的「布衣」進入官場,他們原先的人脈網絡和生意投資,或許牽涉諸多利益關係,公眾對公職人員的要求日高,理所當然。

權利權利,權力與利益往往如影隨形,擁有公權力的公職人員,可以制訂政策、推行措施,或可佔有得知公共政策與措施內容的先機,若藉此謀取私利,則不但不法、不義,也直接損害公眾的利益,更導致政府失信於民,失去公平施政的基礎。

是故,市民有需要確保公職人員撇清以權謀私的一切嫌疑,有權要求他們比白還白,以保障社會公義和公眾利益。

權責權責,權力與責任必然相輔相成,獲賦公權力的公職人員,有責任面向市民,極力避免所有利益衝突的瓜田李下;當公眾出現懷疑的時候,必須及時開誠布公,盡其所能釋除社會的憂慮。如果始終無法洗脫嫌疑,則自動放棄權位,也是一種履責的表現——不單為自己的「論盡」負責,也為整個團隊能夠正常運作而責無旁貸。

利益申報是免卻利益輸送最基本的第一步,但更加重要的是公職人員的誠信和道德操守,只有坦誠和無私,才不會鑽申報制度的空子,更不會想方設法暗渡陳倉、蒙混過關。所以關鍵的是擔任公職者,務須「捨得」——捨牟利徇私之念,得服務社會、廉潔奉公之功德。

接二連三的公職人員身陷利益衝突風波,情況各有不同,結果亦異。林奮強經廉署調查,得還清白,在被指偷步賣樓的事件中,並無公職人員行為失當的證據,但他依然辭去行會職位,大有意興闌珊之慨。

何建宗雖然在上任之前已完成家族公司的股權轉讓,作為切割利益關係,但他承認未就此事向上頭申報,有違︽政治委任制度官員守則︾中的規定,未能避免令人懷疑其有不誠實、不公正或有利益衝突,遂向特首辭職。

至於陳茂波,乃三人之中實權最大、職務對本港經濟、民生影響最深的一個,其利益衝突之嫌,也是最嚴重的一位,卻偏偏只有他仍然在位,甚至連一聲道歉也欠奉,公眾的觀感會是怎樣,不問而知了。

雖然陳茂波及妻兒,目前應該已無新界東北發展區內的土地利益,但其誠信大受質疑,且不易挽回,新東發展計劃無可避免因他而阻礙倍增、舉步維艱,受損的將是香港整體發展、萬千望樓興嘆的市民,特首和陳茂波皆得權衡輕重,知所取捨。

或許陳茂波至今堅持自己並無利益輸送之舉,也有按例申報,但他必須明白,沒有犯法、沒有違例,不足以獲市民信服。如果他當日向特首申報之時,已能同步向大眾公開交代,而非心存僥幸,以為只要暗中處理,便可當作事情沒有發生,就不會到傳媒揭發之曰,狼狽解釋,且疑點層出不窮,致信譽蕩然。

超乎一般的清廉、毫無掩飾的坦白,是公職人員取信市民的標準;「食得鹹魚抵得渴」,即使家人的相關情況,也得暴露於陽光之下,以消除公眾的疑慮。自忖能達此要求的有能之士,方可享公職的權力和榮耀。


Leave a comment

The middle way to electing the next chief executive

South China Morning Post
Comment›Insight & Opinion
2014-03-25

Michael Davis

In an open letter to Carrie Lam, Michael Davis suggests a way for Hong Kong to elect the chief executive in 2017 that would conform to the Basic Law, as the government insists, while being consistent with international human rights standards

Dear chief secretary, considering your frequent calls that proposals for nomination of the chief executive conform to the Basic Law, and mindful that the Basic Law also requires conformity to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, I offer the following proposal. It seeks to adhere to the guiding human rights principles, offered by an expert international panel at the University of Hong Kong last week. And it seeks to reconcile views from both sides of the political spectrum.

First, the nominating committee. It should be composed of 1,200 members elected from “broadly representative” sectors of society, with reference to and through expansion of the sectors in the current Election Committee. To assist the legislative process, an independent working group headed by a member of the judiciary should be appointed to make recommendations for inclusion in sectors based on the following criteria:

That the overall constituent base for electing the nominating committee be increased substantially, opening space for all voters to register under an appropriate sector;
That there be no corporate voters and no discrimination against any class of voters in order, for example, to include among constituents in the various sectors such grass-roots groups as support staff, shareholders, sole proprietors, frontline workers, homemakers and civil servants;
That each constituent sector and the number of voters for each seat within a sector be roughly equal; and,
That the fourth political sector be made up primarily of directly elected legislators and district councillors, without precluding their constituents voting in other sectors.
Second, nomination. Any candidate who meets the Basic Law criteria in Article 44 concerning age, citizenship and residency and is nominated by 12.5 per cent of the nominating committee members shall be presented to the voters for election based on universal suffrage. Each person in the committee shall nominate only one candidate. There should be no formal limit on the number of candidates nominated except as a result of these constraints. The statute should provide for prompt judicial oversight.

Third, public recommendations. To better consult the public, a candidate who obtains a minimum of 10,000 signatures from registered voters should be given consideration for nomination in good faith by committee members to reach the required 12.5 per cent threshold. Fourth, election. The election among the nominated candidates shall be based on universal and equal suffrage. If no candidate receives more than 50 per cent of the vote, there would be a second round run-off two weeks later involving the two candidates who received the most votes. The nominee who receives more than 50 per cent of the vote shall be elected.

Finally, the elected nominee shall be appointed by Beijing, and he or she will swear a statutory oath of loyalty to both the country and Hong Kong.

Basic Law Articles 39 and 45 require that universal suffrage in Hong Kong complies with international human rights standards for elections, articulated in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The government has sometimes sought to avoid this duty by citing a 40-year-old colonial British reservation to the covenant’s democracy requirements. Relying on such antiquated doubts would undermine public confidence in our electoral system and damage Hong Kong’s reputation. As the Human Rights Committee has indicated in responding to Hong Kong human rights reports, once the city implements universal suffrage, it is bound to meet such international standards.

Though I would be happier with a nominating committee made up entirely of directly elected members, this proposal aims to satisfy the NPC Standing Committee’s 2007 directive that the committee may be formed with reference to the sectorial make-up of the existing Election Committee. The challenge is to reform the four sectors in the Election Committee to be “broadly representative”, as expressed in the Basic Law, and meet the international covenant’s standards for universal suffrage.

The roundtable expert panel offered guiding principles that emphasised transparency, participation, non-discrimination and equality in voting to elect members of the nominating committee.

Compliance with the international covenant requires voters to be given a free and fair choice of candidates to reflect the genuine will of the people. Any attempt to exclude candidates for political opinion surely fails this requirement.

Article 26 of the covenant forbids any discrimination, whether direct or indirect, as a consequence of electoral restrictions. There have been frequent calls to maintain, more or less, the existing Election Committee, use block voting and severely limit the number of nominees. Such constraints would be discriminatory. The government must surely appreciate that calls for restrictions that would deny free and fair elections and fail to allow the will of the people to be expressed have caused public mistrust.

With these frequent statements, one cannot blame many Hong Kong people for insisting on civil nominations.

To achieve free and fair voter choice and realisation of the public will, the proposal suggests the same 12.5 per cent threshold for nomination as required in the Election Committee. Further, it incorporates a feature for public recommendation by collecting signatures, by which candidates will be nominated if they achieve the same 12.5 percent threshold. This a way to encourage members to nominate candidates with sufficient public support.

Finally, there is provision for a second round of voting to produce a winner with more than 50 per cent of the vote, thus providing legitimacy for effective governance. An oath should allay any concerns about loyalty of the appointee.

By satisfying the requirements of the Basic Law and international covenant, while meeting objections based on the government’s interpretations of these requirements, this proposal aims to create an avenue for the government to show a sincere commitment to universal suffrage.

Michael C. Davis, who teaches constitutional law at the University of Hong Kong, was a member of the roundtable expert panel


Leave a comment

佔中與通識教育

Hong Kong Economic Journal
C03 | 優質教育 | 教育講論 | By 李維儉 |
2013-08-03

隨着特首民調再創新低,「佔中」問題繼續成為熱話,且迸發不同意見,其中立法會梁美芬議員於7月16日在報章發表署名文章,提為「走出通識必答題誤區」,引來筆者等教育界人士關注。

梁美芬的文中討論到通識教學理念、教育改革方向及近日名人在演講佔領中環等教育社會議題,但筆者認為梁議員對通識教學及教育改革的一些看法存在誤解,故此撰文希望梁議員走出她的「誤區」。

先從梁美芬文章(下稱梁文)的觀點出發,並說明我的看法,希望大眾多多指教。近十多年來,教育界及社會人士對填鴨式教育甚為不滿,並透過多年來的教改修正填鴨式教育對下一代的負面影響。本文不是替填鴨式教育討公道,而且我認為教改方向大致上是正確,但梁文認為通識考試設必答題就等於是填鴨式教育,這實在是對教改推動新考核方式的一大謬誤。

就算不是前線教育工作者,社會大眾都知道所謂填鴨式教育就是要學生記憶知識,並在考試裏把答案背誦出來作答的考核方法,也就是說學生不必太多思考,只考核知識把握程度。

切合時代需要

填鴨式考評當然不合時代需要,其實考評設有必答題或選答並不是檢視填鴨式教育存在與否的指標,因為還要看出題理念與形式。簡單點說,若以開放式題型要求學生提出立場,並以理據來回應不同意立場就是從填鴨式教育走出來的新方向,學生需要把思考過程在考試上一一呈現,教育與考評就成為了一個思辯過程。而評分的老師亦不能因考生的立場與其政見(如有的話)不同而影響評分,本人曾參與過兩屆新高中通識的評分,過程裏感受到考評局很嚴厲要求評分者要持平,而評分過程亦由多於一位老師評分,所以為合政府口味而提出支持政府之類答案並不是得分關鍵,而是考生在立論過程如何展現高水準思維。

可能因為首兩屆通識考試必答題部分均以政治參與為考試必答題之一,通識老師為支援學生而在課堂裏多討論香港政治參與相關議題是無可厚非,但不是梁文所言,通識教材由老師喜好而自訂,受老師政治立場影響下,學生苦不堪言!

近年來,學通識的學生與教通識的老師都清楚知識考試裏持一面之詞,或背誦新聞知識來回答通識考題相信在考評裏不會成功。

不怕理性討論

當然,坊間「某某教育」之類的補習社以商業為由,向學生提供佔中等熱門議題的問答來吸引學生的手法的確有問題,該等手法在此不深究,但老師選課題亦並非梁文所說是「放任無邊」,在實際教學情況下,老師教學時間有限,往往會選一些恆常議題,或以跨議題方式來把不同單元概念串連起來,把學生所學應用於現實社會議題上。總之,政治參與雖然是通識大熱論題,但學生根本難於背誦,因為立場及回應是課堂討論的學習成果。(其實很多學生都很醒,知道背誦都無用,或根本不會花時間去背誦,平日功課或校本評估已經很多了。)或許梁議員擔心佔中等熱門議題成為課堂討論重點會鼓勵學生支持佔中。其實乃杞人憂天!

我們要對學生有信心,就算協恩中學以佔中為講座題目,難道協恩中學學生就必然支持?而且,學校不討論,學生就無從知道社會對佔中的討論?

非也。就算老師不教,學生上通識堂都會問,因為議題實在太熱了,老師更應該把握教育學生機會,引導學生認識不同層面或角度的看法,實在是理性討論的開始,難道社會不重視理性,或害怕理性?

其實,政治往往就是生活。自覺或不自覺也罷,生活在資訊發達時代,社會各種事務都可以看成政治事務。學生聽政治人物演講不一定會影響其立場,反而逃避政治討論、害怕思考政治的代價可能更大!有關政治人物與教育發展的關係實在非三言兩語可以說明,實有另選文討論的需要。

撰文︰李維儉

香港浸會大學附屬學校王錦輝中小學 (中學) 通識科主任、資深通識發展與課程規劃者