Monthly Archives: June 2014

Third Time Not Exactly the Charm

I may have left Hong Kong physically, but a serious part of my heart, the one that wears solicitors’ robes (which I actually only ever wore once in my life for my admission), still beats strong in Hong Kong as I watch in horror the continued erosion of Hong Kong’s judiciary independence.

The State Council Information Office of China recently issued a white paper that makes plain that the so-called “one country two systems” policy is merely a notion. The paper proclaims that China has “comprehensive jurisdiction” over Hong Kong, notwithstanding Article 22 of the Basic Law (Cap. 2101), which states:

No department of the Central People’s Government and no province, autonomous region, or municipality directly under the Central Government may interfere in the affairs which the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region administers on its own in accordance with this Law.

Instead Hong Kong’s “high degree of autonomy is subject to the central government’s authorisation” and that the principle of “two systems” is subordinate to the “one country.”  And sure, Beijing is allowing Hong Kong to go forward with its plans of universal suffrage in 2017 for its next chief executive election, but candidates must take care to remember that “loving the country is the basic political requirement for all of Hong Kong’s administrators.”  Included in China’s definition of “administrators” are judges, who have a responsibility of “correctly understanding and implementing the Basic Law.”

So forget judicial independence (which I had already seen eroding even in the few years I was practicing as a solicitor in Hong Kong), for you must be “confused or lopsided in [your] understanding of ‘one country, two systems’ and the Basic Law” if you thought otherwise.

This is just so sad. So Dennis Kwok, LegCo rep of the legal constituency, has planned a “silent march” of legal professionals dressed in black to march from the High Court in Admiralty to the Court of Final Appeal in Central as a demonstration in protest. Apparently this will be the third such protest by my fellow Hong Kong law professionals.  Sadly, I don’t think much will come from this.

All the same I implore all Hong Kong legal professionals to please participate Friday 27 June 2014.  Please see the information summarized below:

Date: Friday 27  June 2014

Time: 5:30pm

Meeting Point: G/F High Court (in front of the fountain)

Route: From High Court to Court of Final Appeal via Queensway, Queen’s Road Central and Battery Path.

Approximate Arrival Time at CFA: 6:00pm

Dress Code: Black

 

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Getting Over You Getting Over Me

[So it turns out, I am going to keep blogging – just a little while longer as I cope with this transition back.]

One friend, who incidentally is also locating to New York from Hong Kong (though he is not returning home) after roughly as long a stay as me, told me that he was advised it takes something like 6-9 months to get through the transition and get over Hong Kong. — Again the reference to a relationship – and I now start to wonder how long will I take to “get over” Hong Kong.

I’m pretty sure I said it before – but I never hated Hong Kong, and did not leave it because there was something wrong with it in particular. I mean, there are certain things about Hong Kong that encouraged me to leave, if we can put it that way. For starters – there are still many quality of life issues that don’t exactly lend to me seeing a long-term future for myself.

I hate that there are so many food quality issues. The bulk of food sourced into Hong Kong comes from its mighty neighbor, China, and I just don’t trust anything coming outta there. I admit, I bought “organic” Chinese grocery, but even then, I worried about how “organic” that was. After all, you cannot exactly control for nearby contaminants in the soil and air and water, can you?

Then if you wanted to get trustworthy organic foods, you end up shipping it from far away lands, and not doing much better for the environment.

Similarly, I worried about my air quality, and stopped running outdoors for years now thanks to Hong Kong.

I also sadly saw a giant retraction of the “two systems,” and every single day, bit by bit, the Red Hand made itself known to the citizens of Hong Kong. It’s no wonder there have been so many racist* incidents against Mainlanders.

So will HK always be so “free”? Is it really now? That really disturbed me – though, admittedly, who knows how free the US of A really is either, right?

But it’s these two main things – a clean and healthy environment (including food, water, and air) and access to free and fair government that gave me concern over Hong Kong in the long run, and I decided that I would be better off dealing with this Stateside and closer to my family – the main impetus for my move.

As I’ve indicated earlier, I experienced the worst year abroad yet in 2013, and it really brought home – well the notion of going Home.  Home really is where the heart is, and for me, that is my family.  They may make me crazy many a time, but they are still my inspiration and strength.  And as much as I absolutely adore my work in Hong Kong, and could have pursued a very fulfilling career, it ached at my heart to be so far away – especially when tragedy struck.

So there you have it – that’s what led me to let it all go – the amazing travels, the great friends, the one of a kind job, and all the convenience.  I’ll elaborate more on these things with subsequent posts, but that’s that in a few paragraphs.

But for such a compelling reason to leave Hong Kong and return to New York, that does not make this transition any easier.  And I wonder how long it will take me, and whether or not you will see me going back to Hong Kong (or elsewhere) in the not so distant future.  Who knows?!

But as with my promise to me in 2009 when I came to Hong Kong, I will promise to me in 2014 in New York, that I need to experience all the seasons and a full year here before I make a decision on that. So here I begin – I officially begin that year-long evaluation 1 June 2014.

So far, it has indeed been hard, and my mind wanders to Hong Kong very often.  But more on that in other posts.

(*see comments below)