方禮倫:Celebrating Hong Kong’s Olympic Gold 慶祝奧運勝利

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張家朗奪得金牌後,與其他得獎劍手擊拳道賀。 圖片來源:路透社

On Monday I woke to a flurry of messages from Hong Kong I was not expecting. And for once the news from home wasn’t bad.

The news was, of course, that Hong Kong fencer Cheung Ka Long had won a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics. People seemed genuinely thrilled.

Cheung is only the second Hong Kong athlete to win an Olympic gold, after the windsurfer Lee Lai Shan in 1996. I remember back then how the city celebrated the achievement of “San San”, the girl from Cheung chau. She was a very local hero in uncertain times, and for a city defined too often by other people’s nationalism. I am sure the quiet and unassuming Cheung will be the same.

Monday was also a good day for my adopted country. Britain’s Olympic athletes won five medals, including three gold medals. I remember back in 1996 the British Olympic team managed only 15 medals, and only one gold. For many of my friends it was merely yet another sign of Britain’s decline. 1996 proved instead to be a low point from which the British team would recover.

At the last Olympics, in Rio in 2016, Britain won 67 medals, with 27 golds, to come second in the medals table behind the USA. Medals are not as rare as they once were.(註 1)

Perhaps this is why the reaction in Britain to the success of their Olympic athletes is more muted. In our village there was no fanfare. No one seems to have made time in their daily lives to watch British medal hopes compete on the world stage. Walking the dog and trimming the hedges take precedent.(註 2)

It could not be more different in Hong Kong. People who had previously shown no interest in sports left me celebratory messages and sent me videos. I watched clips of people gathered around the city, in shopping malls, bars and private homes, erupt in joy as Cheung won.

I also saw how conflicted many people were as the Chinese national anthem was played. Some people, in some locations, even booed. Whilst this is not surprising, it is sad to see.

Hong Kong has had so little to celebrate recently. It is a city wracked by hate and torn by division. Cheung, through the innocent pursuits that is sport, gave Hong Kongers something to celebrate and something to unite behind. Why could others in Hong Kong, those with power and the authority to shape the kind of society we are, do this? Why must our official anthem represent division? Harmony does not come from turning people on each other, nor through oppression.(註 3)

I do not fence. I had never watched fencing in my life. I do not know how his win ranks as a sporting performance, nor can I truly appreciate what he has achieved in his sport. I doubt many people in Hong Kong can.(註 4)

And yet Cheung’s win made me smile. His success reminds us of the power of sport, and the spirit in which the Olympic Games are meant to represent. It brought people together. For this I am grateful.

The Olympics should not be a setting for countries to complain about maps, or that others countries are partaking in the games. It is not the place for officials to politicise sport by issuing complaints about “ugly” photographs of their athletes being carried in the global press. It is not a place to tell others competitors that they are not independent nor to deny the legitimacy of the government they have elected. Hubris is not a sign of strength, but of arrogance.

As I watched people watching the awards ceremony, and the Hong Kong flag being raised, my video was on mute. I did neither applaud nor booed the anthem and the flag. What I celebrated was the achievement of someone who grew up in my city, who was shaped by the same society and with whom I share an experience of home. It had nothing to do with ethnicity — if it were, I would relate instead to Britain’s silver-medal winning triathlete Alex Yee, who is like me Eurasian. But I am not from London. I am from Hong Kong. And what mattered to me was to see Hong Kong celebrate.(註 5)

陶傑點評

奧運女子 100 米和 200 米自由泳雙銀牌得主何詩蓓是香港及愛爾蘭混血兒,選擇代表香港出賽,贏得香港人心。

作者遷居英國,看見當地國家隊雖有奪得奧運金牌,民間卻無亢奮情緒,因為多年以來,獎牌數目均如潮水起落。電影「烈火戰車」(Chariots of Fire)記載,第二次世界大戰之前,英國國勢鼎盛一時,民間已經渡過了「金牌亢奮發育期」,心智早已成熟。

本文記述了一個像何詩蓓一樣的香港人,在英國目睹奧運的感想。

1.

  • 1996 年英國隊只奪得 1 面金牌,總數 15 面;2016 年則有 27 面金牌,總數 67 面。今年多少沒有關係,英國人不需要金牌數目來為國家「增光」。500 年來,英國已有牛頓、瓦特(James Watt)、霍金,還有遠東熟知的馬禮遜(Robert Morrison)、戈登將軍(Charles George Gordon)及李提摩太(Timothy Richard),不需再多的英國運動員在日本「揚威海外」,也不需再「增光」了。

2.

  • 在作者居住的那個村鎮,沒有一處樹立起大螢幕,讓村民聚在一起看運動比賽。英國人照常散步放狗。在這種地方生活,沒有壓力,四周也沒有太多的情緒爆發,可能就是生活質素的定義之一。

3.

  • 甚麼叫做「和諧社會」?不拿自己運動員穿的衣服,以放大鏡作出政治挑剔再散播仇恨,就已經算是和諧社會了。不過在中國,當初提出「和諧社會」的那個前總書記,站在天安門城樓,神情衰老,早已不當權。所以,中國人是一個非常現實的民族。

4.

  • 「我不會劍擊」、「我不會說法語」,地道的英語不說「不會」(I can’t)或「不懂」,而是說「我不」(I don’t)。

5.

  • 「我來自香港,不來自倫敦,看見香港能慶祝奧運勝利,對於我更重要。」英國人看了這句話,不會介意,正如愛爾蘭政府及當地駐港總領事館看見何詩蓓奪得銀牌,也發文為她感到高興。這是文明民族應有的胸襟。

陶傑英文遊花園

香港和台灣,面臨世紀的變局。海外華人居住西方國家,也數目龐大。如何提升英文程度,克服文化隔閡,加強英文能力,在亂世中至關重要。

許多華人都有合理的職業或專業的英文程度,但如何在原有的中學文法訓練基礎之上,探討高層次的英語文化和表達方式,以備融入英語世界主流社會?

本欄介紹評析欣賞英文的寫作細節,分享經驗,歡迎提出不同的評析角度和心得。

※ 此欄文章為作者觀點,不代表本網立場。 ※

方禮倫(Evan Fowler ) ,本地出生成長、中英交界的香港人,在劍橋和倫敦大學政經學院畢業。現居英國。 英文怎樣能表達得更好?香港的英文教育,著重文法正確、詞彙廣泛。但除了這兩樣,說好的英文、寫好的英文,還要有某種英語的理性與感性思維。 好的英文必清晰、婉約而有教養,與中文寫作文化略有不同。有時借用英文的文化特色,用於中文,可以別具一格。但若有一日移居英語國家,與以英語為母語的當地人溝通,融入主流社會,摸通英文表達藝術的深層結構,會很有用。 方禮倫的英文筆觸細膩,每週五他會以英文與我們見一次面,講述香港和海外華人關心的事情。除了獨特的觀點,其文筆可供英文寫作學習參考。