SCMP, Asia Society contribute to decolonization

The South China Morning Post ends this decidedly interesting week so obsessed with attacking Hong Kong’s evil young pro-independence rebels that it diverts resources away from basic caption-writing and proofreading duties in the Business section…


If Alex Lo’s ‘bring back fingernail-pulling for separatist hooligans’ ranting is too formulaic, occasional columnist Perry Lam comes up with a mind-warp about colonialism.


The coloniser believes the world is divided into civilised nations and barbarism, with his country representing the high point of civilisation.

Sounds like the Qing dynasty worldview when the first British emissaries turned up trying to establish trade relations. The Qing were colonists, I suppose.

When Britain ruled India as a colony … it replaced Persian with English as the official language…

And how had Persian become the official language in India?

By working with and learning from their colonial master, Hong Kong people built a small fishing village into one of the most vibrant and prosperous Chinese societies on earth.

Politically correct Mainland academics insist Hong Kong was already at least partly vibrant and prosperous when the Brits came – and the ‘fishing village’ thing is anti-Chinese propaganda. But who cares about that when…

…there was a price to be paid for this success. …collusive colonialism and submissive colonialism by which the colonial subjects come to accept the coloniser’s inherent superiority and their own contemptible inferiority.

This is a problem decolonisation is supposed to deal with. But … Hong Kong’s colonial past is an inconvenient truth that gets swept under the carpet and decolonisation is a non-starter. As long as a society stays in denial about its colonial past, its colonial mentality will find a way to show its naked, ugly face and shock the world.

scmp-thisisaprobUnfortunately, the author doesn’t tell us what ‘decolonization’ entails (assuming ‘sweeping colonial past under the carpet’ isn’t good enough). But it seems to be about changing people’s thoughts. Which sounds no less obtrusive and coercive as the original British brainwashing that left the Youngspiration activists feeling all that ‘contemptible inferiority’. And an uphill battle if you want to convince people to embrace the Communist Party along with, and indeed as, China.

The real problem is that the current approach to re-colonization fails: if you tell young Hong Kong people “You are Chinese, therefore you must love the Communist Party”, you will just make them feel less Chinese. Logically, you need to make the Communist Party less alienating and abhorrent, or tell the kids something else.

(By the way, ask any Westerner who has been to India if it isn’t pretty much the most non-Westernized, indeed freakishly alien, cultural phantasmagoria they’ve ever experienced. Suburban Shanghai and Muncie, Indiana are barely distinguishable by comparison.)

No doubt the Bronze Bauhinia Medal is in the mail!

asiasoc-logMeanwhile, I hear that the Asia Society has mysteriously cancelled a November 15 premiere for the independent movie about Occupy Raise the Umbrellas (directed by Evans Chan). The Society, headed locally by property tycoon Ronny Chan and housed in a nice government-provided heritage building, is a rather establishment institution, so perhaps it’s no surprise. And indeed, when we try to track down the details, the Society website goes all huffy and says you are not authorized to look at this, so there (sniff).

I declare the weekend open with a little anecdote from 45 minutes ago. Vaguely recalling that I am on the Asia Society mailing list, I trawled through unread emails for the last few months. I found just one or two. Delving deeper into rarely visited parts of email-land, I find that has been weeding most of them out as spam!


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9 Responses to SCMP, Asia Society contribute to decolonization

  1. Alex Lo gets dottier and dottier. Is he related to the late Dorothy Liu, whom we used to call Dotty…deluded neo-Maoist, a vortex of racism, bigotry and hysterical xenophobia.

  2. Cassowary says:

    Basic Law reinterpretation confirmed. Stick a fork in it, we’re done.

  3. Meathamper says:

    Decolonisation in HK means repainting postboxes green and that’s as far as they’ll go

  4. reductio says:

    When you’ve clicked on the Asia Soc link, take a look at the top right. Very apposite.

    Oh, and Perry, here’s where Decolonization can land you:

    Free your mind, bro!

  5. A Poor Man says:

    The anti-colonial essay writer uses an interesting name. Is Perry a Hakka, Chiu Chow or Toisan pronunciation?

  6. old git says:

    The standard, proven technique for dealing with members of the younger generation with whom one disagrees, does not involve imprisonment.

  7. Property Developer says:

    I counted nine instances of Colonxxxx in a short space. Does Pei-ri (are there that many r’s in Chiu Chow?) need a spot of the old Epsoms or maybe some irrigation?

    George might want to check his punctuation a little.

    While on the subject, has he seemed a little “erratic” recently? You know, mixing up his avatars and throwing out non sequiturs? Just asking…

  8. Red Dragon says:

    George Adams, the Alex Lo of the Big Lychee comments section.

    Property Developer, are you suggesting that Champagne Perry requires colonic or colonial irrigation? I have a hose in hand to deliver him a dose of the latter.

  9. Many Hong Kong people feel that they have exchanged British colonial rule for Chinese colonial rule. From this perspective, the localists are the true decolonisers, seeking to preserve Hong Kong’s distinctive culture against such imperialist impositions as replacing Cantonese with Mandarin and “national education” designed to brainwash children into accepting the superiority of the ruling power.

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