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借來的空間:殖民心態讓人們無法以香港為家 A Borrowed Place: Colonial mentality prevents people from identifying with HK as home

2015/8/29 — 10:00

這種說法勾起了我自己的童年回憶,記得當初在僑居人士的家庭聚會上,大家總熱衷互相提醒,並告誡子女切記自己在香港的位置。即使對於當時仍是孩童的我而言,這句話已承載了多層含義。 ( Scarset Vincent youtube 短片截圖 )

這種說法勾起了我自己的童年回憶,記得當初在僑居人士的家庭聚會上,大家總熱衷互相提醒,並告誡子女切記自己在香港的位置。即使對於當時仍是孩童的我而言,這句話已承載了多層含義。 ( Scarset Vincent youtube 短片截圖 )

編按:

「香港身份計劃」的創始人方禮倫 (Evan Fowler) 在第一條關於香港身份的每週專欄中,反思香港人長期以來對自己身份抱有的殖民主義觀念,並探討這種觀念如何導致他們無法落地生根。

「香港身份計劃 (HKIDP) 」是私人資助項目,旨在記錄、歸檔和探討各種關於香港身份的活動。[email protected],英文原文在譯文之下。

廣告

In the first of his weekly columns on Hong Kong identity, Evan Fowler, founder of the Hong Kong Identity Project, reflects on the persistence of a colonial understanding of belonging that prevents some Hong Kong people from identifying with a home.

The Hong Kong Identity Project (HKIDP) is a privately funded initiative to document, archive and explore the Hong Kong identity. Original Text is beneath the Chinese translation; the translation is provided by [email protected] Tung Publisher.

廣告

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我的受訪者信步走進錄影室,臉上帶著成功人士特有的自信。在他踏進錄影室之前,我就已經未見其人,先聞其聲,聽到他和製作組聊天,向大家介紹自己的女友。那位年輕姑娘光彩照人,據說是一名演員。而他已經年近花甲,不過看上去比真實年齡稍為年輕,皮膚黝黑,衣著考究,打扮入時,從事的是娛樂業。

錄像開始前,他興奮地宣稱自己是能充分詮釋香港人身份的不二人選。他一本正經地說:「香港人中就數我自豪感最強了。」

他是個混血兒,在香港的家族史可追溯至19世紀晚期。雖然稱不上家室興旺,在香港的發展還算一帆風順,而如今留居香港的家人也生活舒適。

我問他用哪種語言訪問比較舒服,因為他生在雙語家庭,粵英兩語皆是他的母語。他最近習得一口流利的普通話——我注意到他稱其為「普通話」而不是「國語」——卻根本不把它列在考慮範圍之內。我們決定用英語進行採訪。

「我父親曾說香港是借來的時間,借來的空間。」他回憶道。因為這句話,他認為香港永遠無法成為「家園」。

這種說法勾起了我自己的童年回憶,記得當初在僑居人士的家庭聚會上,大家總熱衷互相提醒,並告誡子女切記自己在香港的位置。即使對於當時仍是孩童的我而言,這句話已承載了多層含義。

這句話一方面提醒我們為香港提供的機遇以及能在這裡居住感恩,督促社會把握現在,勿失良機,因為此時的好景不會常在。在我看來,這句話傳達的訊息濃縮了一個自由經濟的時代,強調了自由經濟倡導的自我中心和個人主義,幾乎將其定義為一種生存狀態。「香港人只愛錢」不過是那些對這地事物視若無睹的人才會相信的謊言。對這些人來說不是說香港無法成為家園,而是根本沒有家園可言,在這美好新世界存在的只有機遇,唯獨那些成功擺脫感情包袱的人,放下了對人、對土地的一片深情,才能獲得最大限度的自由去實現個人的「成功」。 

然而,這句話同時警醒我們,香港作為殖民地,其未來變幻莫測。許多殖民時期的香港人同意,香港的命運完全取決於中國政府的一時決策,而中國政府既無代表性,在大多港人看來也缺乏合法性,更重要的是不值得信賴。即使是北京的朋友,也只有少數真正相信中國共產黨。在所有人的心目中,英國政府的離去並不令人擔憂,反而北京能否信守中英聯合聲明的承諾,遵照其中的條文和準則,以確保聲明理念的基礎能延續至2047年,才令人關心。

我問受訪者如何看待那些視香港為家園的人們。他如是回答:「香港不能成為家園。它屬於中國,不屬於香港人。」

香港是中國領土主權的一部分,但是關於主權的言論自身就不能單純建基於成文的條約。一個殖民主義的英國政府無法在港人心目中樹立合理的主權地位,不是因為英國政府執政無能,抑或強權壓迫,而是因為以港為家的大多人認同的不是大英帝國的合法性,而是自己中華民族的身份。中國是我們的民族和文化身份,因為它代表了大家認同的理念。中國不能佔有香港,只能由我們選擇認同中國。

「那些真心以香港為家的人又如何呢?」我問。

「他們被誤導了,」他回答道,「香港不屬於他們。」

我便疑惑了。如果香港不僅不是他的家,而且不能為任何「家園」的建構提供基礎,那麼他自己作為香港人的身份又是建基於什麼之上?

他說:「香港人就是世界人。」根據我的理解,他口中的香港人就是「世界公民」,他們作為個體和人道主義者,並沒有(或不需要)紮根任何一片土地。揹負著殖民地居民的身份長大,世界便從此代替了大英帝國,因為這一更為廣闊的、越國界、跨文化的理念彌補了我們缺失的根。這種香港身份是無根的,作為永遠的難民,我們缺乏的歸屬感和失去的家園必須從一個遙不可及且虛無縹緲的崇高理想中尋得補償。 

這種理想我們能夠理解,但是作為人,不能直接感知。我們原則上可以博愛,但本性決定我們只關心朝夕相處的人。友情,以及很大程度上親情,都是建基於這種自然的情感依附。每人都有可能成為朋友,但只有身邊的人,真正參與到我們生活中,與我們共同創造回憶的人,才是我們的朋友。 

否定這種與土地、與人的直接關係,否定我們無可避免會紮下的根,以及否定這些情感基礎便是家園,將阻礙我們真正認同那些更崇高的關於人類或者民族的價值建構。我們的普世人性建基於這些直接關係之上,也建基於我們與這一切以及身邊事物所煉成的自然結合之上。這就是家。

要想獲得對的認識,我們必須懂得如何去關愛那些與我們分享家園的同胞,並認識到這種關懷的重要性。

在受訪者離去後,我不禁想追問他:今天的香港仍舊是借來的時間、借來的空間嗎?

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My interviewee sauntered in to the studio with a confidence only success breeds. I could hear him well before he joined me in the room where our video interviews are recorded, chatting away to the production team and introducing his girl friend, a glamorous younger lady whom I was told is an actress. He is in his late fifties, but looked younger, swarthy yet impeccably groomed. He works in the entertainment industry.

Before we began recording he excitedly proclaimed that there was no one better who represented what it meant to be a Hong Kong person. “No one is more proud of Hong Kong”, he declared in all seriousness.

My interviewee is a scion of a family of mixed ethnicity that can trace their heritage in this city back to the late 19th century. Whilst not immensely successful, the family has on the whole done well from Hong Kong and those members of the family that continue to live here do so in comfort.

I ask in what language he would be most comfortable to be interviewed. Having grown up bilingual, both English and Cantonese were of equal preference; both are his local language and mother tongue. His recent fluency in Putonghua - and I noted that it was Putonghua and not Mandarin - was never a consideration. We choose to record the interview in English.

“My father used to say Hong Kong is a borrowed place on borrowed time”, he said. For this reason, he argued, Hong Kong could never be “home”.

This saying brought back memories of my own, of being at gatherings with expatriate families who eager reminded themselves and their children of their position here. “A borrowed place on borrowed time” was a common saying in colonial Hong Kong. It was a saying that had many layers of meanings. 

On the one hand it was a reminder that we should be grateful of the opportunities of work and living in Hong Kong. It urged this community to make hay whilst the sun shines, as it would not always shine so brightly. It was a message that for me epitomised an era when liberal economics, and the self-centredness and individualism that it promoted, came closed to establishing itself as a human condition. Hong Kong people cared about money was a believable lie to those who choose to be blind. To such people it was not that Hong Kong could not be a home, but that there was no home; in this brave new world only opportunities existed and those who could free themselves from the emotional baggage of genuine relationships, whether with a people or a place, were the most free to find individual “success”.

 

But the saying was also a reminder of colonial Hong Kong’s uncertain future. As a relic of a previous age many people accepted that their concept of Hong Kong depended on the whim of a Chinese government that was to a majority neither representative nor legitimate. Even among those friends of Beijing, few genuinely trusted the Chinese Communist Party. What was on everyones mind was not whether the the British would leave, but whether Beijing would honour the principles and stand by the guarantees outlined in the joint declaration to preserve the fundamentals of this Hong Kong for its people.

I asked the interviewee what he thought of people who identify with Hong Kong as a home. He replied, “Hong Kong can not be a home. It does not belong to the people. It belongs to China.”

Hong Kong is a sovereign part of China. But claims of sovereignty are themselves based on more than mere contract. A colonial British administration could not justify its legal sovereignty over Hong Kong in the hearts and minds of the people not because it was particularly incapable or oppressive but because the majority of people for whom Hong Kong was home identified not with the legitimacy of Empire but with being Chinese. China is our national and cultural identity because it represents a concept with which people choose to identify. China can not own Hong Kong; we can only choose to identify with China.

“And what of those Hong Kong people who do identify with Hong Kong as home?”, I asked.

“They are misguided”, came his reply. “Hong Kong does not belong to them.”

At this point I was confused. If Hong Kong was not only not his home, but could by his understanding not be the basis of any form of association on which a “home identity” might be constructed, on what foundations had his own identity as a Hong Kong person been built?

“To be a Hong Kong person is to be a person of the world”, he said. His Hong Kong person is a “global citizen” who, to my understanding, operates as an individual and a humanitarian without (or not needing) roots in any one place. Having grown up with a colonial identity, the world has replaced the empire as that wider, trans-national and trans-cultural concept that compensates for our lack of roots. This Hong Kong identity is that of the rootless man, the perpetual refugee who lacking value in a sense of belonging or home must find it in the artificial emotions of a distant and seemingly greater ideal. 

This is an ideal we may learn, but are as human beings not able to directly feel. We may on principle care about everyone, but by nature we learn to care by our relationships with those around us. Friendship, and to a great deal familial love, are based on these natural emotional attachments. Everyone may have the potential to be a friend, but it is those people who are around us, who engage in our lives and with whom we build memories, that are our friends. 

To deny our immediate relationships, whether they be with a place, people or the roots we all inevitably lay down, and to deny these emotional foundations as a home, precludes us from really identifying with those greater concepts of humanity or nationhood. Our universal humanity is built on the foundations of our immediate connections; the natural bonds we forge with those and with what is around us. This is home.

As the interviewee left, I couldn’t resist putting one further question to him: is Hong Kong still a borrowed place on borrowed time?

 

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