That is a formidable and striking title for a blog post, is it not? I believe it is and it resonates really well about Hong Kong culture in general. In spite of communist China taking over our small haven of cultural paradise, the hegemonies have more or less allowed us to carry on with our normal run of the mill things of everyday life. In essence, much of what I do every day is cultural. Hong Kong University is just around the corner from where I stay. If I’m not doing a course there, I’m using the varsity’s facilities on a regular basis to further enhance my cultural enrichment and appreciation of everything and everyone that is different from my hereditary background.
In case you are wondering why I can speak and write English exquisitely, let me briefly explain. English is always my first language in Hong Kong. But whenever I venture into mainland China, and that happens a lot these days, I put on my socialist thinking cap and revert to mandarin which I am fluent in, in any case. Unfortunately I cannot do better than that. You must know that among the billions of citizens across China and Hong Kong, there are many different cultures and dialects. But they are all well worth pursuing.
That is why when time and money, personal inspiration and life’s circumstances allow for this, I quickly register for a new course and learn something new about the country, its cultures and how it relates to the rest of the world at this present time. I must share with you this personal thought before I forget. It is a hard one, I must say. I wondered just why we have relative peace while the rest of the world appears to be burning up around us. Protest actions and major disagreements everywhere. Not a single chorus of agreement everywhere.
And yet they are still mocking the Chinese for their apparent docility. Yes, we may be ruled by a hegemony which not everyone agrees with entirely but it has been something of a marriage of convenience for Dheng’s successors and the rest of us. Dheng was a hardened communist but he was also a chain-smoking pragmatist. You could almost say that the Russian leader, Mikhail Gorbachov took some inspiration from this masterful leader when he served time as the last General Secretary of the USSR.
I remember one of many a wise word from my father and his father too. Indeed, much of what they would tell us would be inspired by Confucius and Taoism. But even so, our systems, whether communist or social democratic, are not perfect. It is always up for review. Yes, admittedly, we have had some nasty protests here and there, usually over broken promises and some form of corruption or another in the higher echelons of governance over and across Hong Kong. But as a pragmatist, life must go on.
You do the best you can with what you’ve got, not so. And yes, I must say that many of us in Hong Kong have much that we can be proud of. But of the things we have, a lot of it has come to us through our own hard work and cultural tolerance.