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「選擇」做香港人? To Choose and to be a Hong Kong Person

2015/9/5 — 8:30

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在本週的專欄, Evan 強調「選擇」當香港人的人與只以「香港人」作唯一身份的人,兩者之間是有重要的分別。

「香港身份計劃 (HKIDP) 」由方禮倫創辦,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。譯文由 Alan Chiu 提供,英文原文在譯文之下。

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In his weekly column on Hong Kong identity, Evan highlights the important distinction between those who identify with Hong Kong by choice and those for whom a Hong Kong identity is their only reference.

Evan Fowler is the founder of the Hong Kong Identity Project (HKIDP), a privately funded initiative to document, archive and explore the Hong Kong identity; the Chinese translation is provided by Alan Chiu.

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當我們討論「香港身份」時,其中一個最重要的分別是這個身份是否從「選擇」而來的。

無論我們覺得「香港身份」是否有選擇時,從根本上已經改變我們如何理解這個身份以及與其關係。「香港身份」會否是個外在的身份,容許我們獨立建構起來並有原因去確定這個身份的呢?還是,這是我們的身份之根本,提供一個框架塑造我們的性格?換句話說,這是種並非發自內心、由我們選擇的身份,抑或是衷心所認同的身份?

在我之前所訪問的人當中,絕大部份都無為意兩者是有分別。然而,有些指標可以讓我們分辨到兩者。

我時常都問人,他們從何時開始意識到自己的「香港身份」。我要他們形容的,不單是何時,而是如何有趣地談及首次有意識地認同「香港身份」的經驗。答案大致可分為兩類:一類人指向個人的心路轉變——「香港開始有家的感覺」;另一類人則開始意識到自己並不孤單,並在「有共同經歷的身份」中尋找意義。

當人們談及「發覺自己有多愛這個城市」與「決定留在這裡」,他們從自己的角度出發,從外認識香港。他們的個人身份是獨立存在的,不會固定地與其選擇連起來。這個「香港身份」並非以心去理解與琢磨,反是從我們如何向外展示「我是誰」而來;這還有個潛在的假設——「香港是可替代」的,對香港的認識是相對的,人們決定留下並將之稱作「家」,假設選擇是存在的。

作為一個選擇,「香港身份」本身是被合理化的。因此,我們經常聽到人說這城市是「安全」和「有效率」的 ,又或者有很多美食。這種身份有如時尚一樣,是種我們可以選擇的、最能代表自己此時此刻生活的身外物。她只是暫時符合我們的價值觀,取悅我們的眼球、舒適的留在我們的皮膚上。但取悅我們的雙眼,跟她如何改變我們的看法是大有不同。

對於其他人來說,「香港身份」不是合身與否的時尚問題,「我是誰」才是。對於這些香港人,他們的身份不是來自選擇,而是一種身份確認。帶著這種身份的人時常都難以告訴我首次認同「香港身份」的時間,因為他們一直與這城有所聯繫。通常,他們會形容這種身份是「愛」或「情感」。他們不會描述與香港如何墮入愛河和如何建立聯繫,將這裡視為家的經驗。相反,他們總會強調那些能表達愛的時刻。例如,他們首次離開香港、首次與沒有共識的人去談及「家」這概念。

許多人都表示,他們近來感受「香港是家」最強烈的表達方式,是在多場抗議中的團結意識。這是他們首次感受到自己並不孤單,不僅是價值觀,還有如何理解自己的家和對家的感覺。曾經屬於個人的身份,已經成為了他們心目中明顯的「香港身份」的一部分。

關於人們如何了解自己的香港身份,我時常聽到另一個詞是「家庭」。家庭關係的存在,是不必理性或者合理的。無論他們喜歡香港與否,對家有興趣或公開地關懷與否,都是與這關係風馬牛不相及。

而「選擇」,就會失去這肯定性。由於需為自己的選擇解釋,那些選擇香港作為身份的人,幾乎無一例外更為正面地看香港。尤其是在上世紀 80 年代來到香港的那批人,當時這個城市對於很多人來說是機遇處處而非避難所。故此,「香港是家」成為一個越來越正面的選擇。

這兩種「香港人」的分別在於,回答關於自己身份的問題時,他們給出的答案的微妙差異。「香港的地道食品」和「香港是個令人興奮或多元文化的城市」,可能是你在學校求學時的標準答案, 但這些某程度是被強諸於香港人身份上。

沒有相對性的框架,很多只認同自己是香港人的人一般也不會這樣說。他們不會說「香港的地道食品」不錯,他們會具體地跟你介紹哪種原因去哪裡吃哪種食物。就如最近其中一位受訪者說長洲的腸粉,尤其碼頭旁邊那家大媽造的特別好吃。香港既可被描述,亦可被理解,食品的質素也可以從對話之中窺豹一斑。

這並不是說那些認同有「香港身份」的人,既無想像力也無辦法想像擁有香港以外的家。許多人,在近幾年,都渴望台灣的生活,但他們仍然以香港人固有的眼界向外看。雖然不需要似我們的家人,我們仍然覺得與他們有關係,並意識到要割斷這種聯繫,須拋棄很多塑造成為今天的我們的思維。

其實,否定那些「選擇」香港身份的人的身份是錯誤的——身份是一種很個人之物。一旦跳出個人層面,並不是以大家的差異而是以我們核心相同之處去定義身份。我認為「香港身份」的最終定義是愛香港,而愛有很多形式。我們應該要認識到當中的差異。

 

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One of the most important distinctions to make when talking with people about their Hong Kong identity is whether this identity is chosen. 

Whether or not we feel we have a choice in identifying with Hong Kong fundamentally alters both our understanding and our relationship with this identity. Is the Hong Kong identity an external identity, separately constructed from ourselves and for which we have reason to identify? Or is it foundational to our identity, providing the framework on which our own person is constructed? In other words, is this an identity we choose from without or is it an identity we find from within?

In almost all cases people I interview are not aware of this distinction. There are however a few markers.

I often ask people to describe when they first became aware of their Hong Kong identity. It is not just when, but also how they describe their first experience of making a conscious identification that is interesting. Answers fall broadly into two categories: those who point to a personal and transformative moment when “Hong Kong began to feel like home”; and those who experience a realisation that they are not alone, and find meaning in an identification from a shared experience.

When people talk of “realising how much I like this city” and of “deciding to stay” Hong Kong is understood externally from who they are. Their personal identity exists separately, and is not inherently tied to the choice. This Hong Kong identity is engaged and understood not from within ourselves, but from projecting who we are already outwards. There is also an underlying presumption that there is an alternative. Hong Kong is understood comparatively. To decide to stay, and call Hong Kong home, presumes that there is a choice.

As a choice this identity is rationalised. Thus we often hear of the city being “safe” and “efficient”, or of the “great food.” This is identity as fashion, something outside of us that we select as we feel it to best represents us at a moment in our lives. It is pleasing to our eyes, comfortable on our skin, at tune with our values. But for it to be pleasing to our eyes is quite different than for it to have shaped how we see.

For others a Hong Kong identity is not an issue of what fits but of who they are. For these Hong Kong people their identity is not a choice but an acknowledgement. People with this identity often struggle to tell me when it was that they first identified with Hong Kong, as they have always had this bond. They did not choose Hong Kong as home, but have instead formed a concept of home around Hong Kong. Often they will describe their identification as a “love” or “feeling”. They do not describe an experience of falling in love with Hong Kong and establishing the bonds that tie them to their home, but highlight instead those moments when this love was expressed. For some this expression came when they first left Hong Kong, or when they first spoke to people with whom they do not share a common sense of home. 

In recent times many have said that the greatest expression has been in the sense of solidarity they have felt during protests, when for the first time they have come to realise that they are not alone not only in their values, but in how they understand and feel about their home. What was once a personal identification has become part of what they believe to be a distinctly Hong Kong identity.

Another word I often hear in relation to how people understand their Hong Kong identity is “family”. The existence of a familial relationship need not be reasoned or rationalised. Whether they like Hong Kong, or show interest in their home or openly care is irrelevant to the relationship. 

To have a choice though is to lose this certainty. Needing to rationalise their choice, those with a chosen Hong Kong identity almost invariably view Hong Kong positively. This is especially true of those who have come to identify with Hong Kong since the 1980s, when this city became more a beacon of opportunity than a place of refuge, and to call Hong Kong home became increasingly a positive choice.

The difference is again apparent in the subtle differences in the way people answer questions about their identity. Talk of “Hong Kong food” and the city as an exciting or multicultural place may be the standard answers thought at schools, but if these identifications are themselves, to a degree, imposed.

Without a comparative framework, many people who identify only with Hong Kong do not talk so generally. They do not talk of “Hong Kong food” being good, but of specific types of food being good at specific places and for specific reasons. As one interviewee recently said, the “cheung fun (rice rolls) in Cheung Chau” are particularly good, and specifically “those made by the auntie by the ferry pier.” Hong Kong is both described and understood, and the quality of food judged within its own context.

It is not that those who so identify with Hong Kong have neither the imagination nor the means to picture a home outside of Hong Kong. Many do, and in recent years many have looked longingly towards Taiwan. But they still look outwards from a perspective that is very much set by their identity as Hong Kong people. Much as we need not like our family, we still feel bonded to them, and realise that to sever this bond is to discard much that has shaped the person we are today.

It would also be wrong to dismiss the Hong Kong identity of those who identify with Hong Kong by choice. Identity is very personal, and when taken beyond the individual should be defined not by differences but the core ways in which we relate. I would like to think what ultimately defines the Hong Kong identity is a love of Hong Kong, and love takes many forms. We should recognise these differences.

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