The North Wind and the Sun had a quarrel about which was the stronger.
“Let us agree,” said the Sun, pointing to a traveler passing along a road below them, wrapped in a cloak, “that he who can strip the traveler of his cloak is the stronger.”
“Very well,” agreed the North Wind, and at once sent a cold, howling blast against the traveler. The gust whipped the ends of the cloak. Feeling the wind and the cold, the traveller wrapped the cloak more closely around him. The more the Wind blew the tighter the traveller held on to the cloak, and the more he cursed the Wind for his adversity.
Then the Sun began to shine. Its beams were warm and gentle. In the pleasant warmth the traveller smiled and unfastened his cloak, which he let it hang loosely from his shoulders. As the day grew gently warmer, the traveller removed the coat and, with a smile, sat down in the shade of a tree to enjoy the day.（註 1）
The Aesop tale of The North Wind and the Sun came up in conversation with a friend in Hong Kong.
The message of the tale, that strength is not found in forceful bluster but in gentle persuasion, resonated strongly with our thoughts about Hong Kong.
Hong Kong has not always been as it is now.
In 1997 a University of Hong Kong poll found only 9 percent of Hong Kong people felt negatively about the handover. 35% were positive, and welcomed being “reunited with the Motherland”. The majority of people were neutral, and were instead determined to make the most of a new reality — their fate decided, on Beijing’s insistence, by others.（註 2）
Neither patriotic comrades nor colonial running dogs, the majority of Hong Kong people were pragmatic. Lord Patten, the last governor of British Hong Kong, is fond of reminding people that Hong Kong people are not themselves difficult to govern, rather it is the situation in which the people find themselves that provides the challenge.
In 2017, twenty years after the overwhelming majority of Hong Kong people accepted the city’s return to the China, a similar poll found only 3.1 percent of young people between the ages of 18 and 29 were even proud to identify as being “broadly Chinese”. As recently as 2008, that figure was nearly 40 percent.（註 3）
A North Wind blew hard, telling Hong Kong people to embrace the Motherland. It told Chinese people not only how to be patriots, but how to be Chinese. The more it blustered, the more the traveller clung to his cloak — and the more Hong Kong’s differences, and it’s distinct identity, meant to the Hong Kong people.
If only the sun would shine perhaps things would be a little different.（註 4）
- 作者想講甚麼？筆鋒一轉，引述 1997 年香港一家大學的民意調查。3 成半的香港市民對於主權移交後的前景感到樂觀，只有 9% 香港人不滿。其餘大部分態度中立，既然無法決定命運，不如盡量順勢多賺錢。
- 20 年之後， 18 歲到 29 歲的年輕人，只有 3.1% 對「中國人身份」感到自豪。而 2008 年，這個數字高近 4 成。
- 道理非常簡單：手段愈暴烈，人心愈抗拒「回歸」。最後一句，顯示英文文章不喜歡話說得太明白，收結溫和含蓄。香港有很多人自覺英文很好，但直白的表達和咒駡，由「搬起石頭砸自己的腳」、「別有用心、其心可誅」，到「英國向 BNO 持有人派居英權正賤種」之類，還是相當低端的坦率。這種人無論花幾多年學英文，英文程度也絕對不會高。