Generation 40s – 四十世代

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阿拉伯女權低落

信報財經新聞
回眸英倫
2016-05-07

毛羨寧

這個月在基督教教會繼續學習伊斯蘭教文化和教義,兩位導師講解得更加深入,開始涉獵到常見的阿拉伯語,例如「bin」是指某人的「兒子」,所以拉登(Osama Bin Laden),其實是「Osama, son of Laden」。合起第二課教授女性在伊斯蘭教的地位,令我想起10年前在牛津大學學生會聽拉登嫂嫂Carmen Bin Laden演講。那時她出版自傳The Veiled Kingdom,寫自己在阿拉伯和拉登家族生活的日子,以及女性在阿拉伯世界所處的卑微地位—— 當地婦女全身要披上布紗、不能離家外出,除了丈夫和父親,不能與異性交談。因為女性Hormah這個稱呼,是從阿拉伯話Haram延伸出來,意指罪。

以宗教為名

今天資訊科技發達,而許多中東難民因戰亂逃離了家園。當穆斯林女性進入到男女平等、民主自由的社會,她們還怎會信奉伊斯蘭教,怎會甘願作次等的奴婢?卡門就代表了新一類中東人:她有一半瑞士和一半波斯人血統,出生於瑞士洛桑湖區,1974年與Yeslam Bin Laden結婚——他就是Osama同父異母的兄長,婚禮後第二天同往美國加州留學。當卡門隨夫回阿拉伯的時候,年輕的Osama已經秘密提供武器給阿富汗的革命團體,來反抗蘇聯軍隊在當地的佔領。對阿富汗人民來說,當年Osama是他們的英雄,幫助巴基斯坦設立軍事醫院及基地,建造用來藏匿的地洞,進口槍械和挖鑽隧道的重型機器,並引入阿拉伯的僱傭兵。拉登家族有源源不絕的金錢資助,加上Osama對軍事策略有一份執迷和投入,難怪他在1994年流亡後,仍然有很多支持者。

卡門演講會的前幾天,荷蘭剛發生了一宗謀殺案,被謀殺的電影導演Theo van Gogh在阿姆斯特丹拍了一齣描述回教女性受凌辱和虐待的電視電影,名為Submission,怎料電影上演了不到3個月,他便被回教極端分子謀殺。他們還用刀在屍體上插着恐嚇信,警告那些要維護回教女權的人不得再公開批評回教。德國時事雜誌Der Spiegel專題文章〈真神阿拉那些無權利的女兒——在德國的回教婦女〉(Allahs rechtlose Töchter – Muslimische Frauen in Deutschland),德國電視台DW-TV報道也比英國詳盡。那時我以為中東政治離我們很遠,只覺得根深柢固的宗教教條和殘暴行為,不單會發生在回教國家;歷代不少戰爭和欺壓,都是以宗教為名。現在我見課堂氣氛嚴肅,男士特別沉默不語。我想,封閉社會,有時候是由人的集體思想和無形規矩造成,眼前有再廣闊的天空,也好像看不到,衝不破。

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The real reason Hong Kong is less liveable – us

South China Morning Post
Comment›Insight & Opinion
2015-08-24

Alice Wu

Alice Wu says rather than pointing the finger at Occupy Central, we should look at the kind of life we make for ourselves, with our ultra-competitive behaviour, long work hours and lack of family time

The latest Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) Global Liveability Ranking is fascinating. We are a city of winners. Every time we lose, we’re instantly consumed by guilt and shame. So, naturally, someone needs to be blamed. Interestingly, the report did that for us: blaming Occupy Central for our drop of 15 places in “liveability”.

And what are we to make of survey editor Jon Copestake’s “pat on the back” comment that our city “retains bragging rights over its regional competitor Singapore, but by a tiny margin”? I imagine the very mention of Singapore got some of the most competitive Hongkongers to twitch.

A lot of people question these studies. How does one define “liveability” anyway? Different surveys use their own concoctions of parameters and indicators for measurement, but none has been able to define what constitutes the very thing they have tried to measure. The EIU is no different. When it came out with the “Best Cities Ranking” in 2012, as a result of an exercise in exploring better approaches to benchmarking cities, Hong Kong, to the surprise of the EIU, came out on top. What that says is that, with the right data set – and, for the “Best Cities” one, spatial awareness figures into the number crunching – Hong Kong can be considered the ideal.

Nonetheless, while we shouldn’t take these studies too seriously, they should inspire us to examine the well-being of our communities and the quality of life we impose on ourselves. There will always be room for policy improvement and better government, but my gut tells me that we are the reason our city is now 3.2 per cent less liveable than before – all of us, and all the baggage that is weighing us down.

It’s cultural. It’s part of our identity. Hongkongers are highly strung, and we’re wired to be proud of overachieving. We’re obsessed with competitiveness – the daily grind is all about competing against the next person or beating the system. Just look at how many try to beat the closing train doors on the MTR. And yet, our government makes us this way. But, by taking a step back, it’s easy to see that being competitive all the time, or worrying about it all the time, doesn’t make our city any more liveable.

Occupy Central is a symptom of a generally unhappy, highly stressed and dissatisfied population. It was an eruption of very raw emotions mixed with consistently high cortisol levels. So while the protests may have “hit Hong Kong’s liveability”, it’s hardly a major reason this is an increasingly unlivable place.

Hong Kong is less liveable because we are unhappy (and there are studies to tell us that, too). It’s the air quality, cost of living, price and size of homes, long working hours, lack of recreation time, and an education system that embeds “stress” into the lives of toddlers. If anything, Occupy is an outcry of desperation. Our youth can’t see a bright future or find this city “liveable”, no matter now trained they are to be competitive.

So, instead of blaming and shaming, let’s use this drop of 15 spots as a catalyst for serious public discussion on positive changes we can make. We must begin by re-examining our own priorities and how we live. We have to make conscious decisions not to run as train doors close, not let work get in the way of family life and not enrol our kids in after-school tutorials that rob them of their childhood. We must recognise that liveability extends beyond just economic dynamism and career opportunities. When we shift our priorities, they can help force policymakers to shift theirs in making Hong Kong a vibrant place, not only for businesses, but for residents. The threat of political unrest doesn’t make our city less liveable; the threat of our increasing restlessness makes it less liveable.

Alice Wu is a political consultant and a former associate director of the Asia Pacific Media Network at UCLA