Archive for July, 2007

兒童待遇—-社會的道德量尺

Posted in Debate on July 5, 2007 by loso

梁國雄議員在張超雄議員有關「成立兒童事務委員會動議案」的發言。

2007年6月8日

主席,其實劉秀成議員剛才所說的,便等於中國的一句古諺:幼吾幼以及人之幼。

我本身沒有子女,而且亦不會有,但如果我們放眼看一看社會內各種不同的兒童,處於幸福中的人也會看到身處貧困和苦難中的人。兒童是弱勢社群,因為他們無法提出自己的訴求,他們亦沒有力量,包括沒有投票的力量,這便是為甚麼他們的訴求或狀況會被忽略。

其實,一個社會如何看待兒童,屬於社會的道德量尺。這個政府對待兒童的政策實在太差了,我們在這裡其實已經說過很多次,有很多兒童因為家庭貧困,甚至不能享受孩提時期應有的權利和愉快。我們在這個會議廳裡,為了綜援金的削減,與政府官員唇槍舌劍,到了最後,政府也沒有被我們說服,更要勞動自由黨籌集眼鏡回來,因為接受綜援的兒童沒有眼鏡,也沒有波鞋。

由於我們的綜援制度要省錢,還有歧視新移民,以致出現母親要靠子女的綜援金來養育子女的情況,這些是無法容忍的。一次行動勝於一打的綱領,講是沒有用的,立刻更正現時對兒童不公平之處,才是政府立信的基準。

很多文學也有提及兒童,安徒生的故事中便已有《賣火柴的女孩》,是關於一個貧窮小女孩凍死的故事,當然,,它的寓意未必是直接說貧窮;而《國王的新衣》是說看到國王沒有穿衣服的故事,也是出自他的手筆。我們這個議會便是由這兩個膾炙人口的故事輪流主宰。我們容忍賣火柴的女孩的存在,我們忽略了那位小朋友,他告訴大家,國王沒有穿衣服。苦海孤雛的情況應該不會出現了,但大家細心想一想,即使那些小朋友毋須當童工,但如果因為身處貧窮,而不能得到足夠的資源培養自己,他們便是另一群苦海孤雛。

我們每次在這裡討論貧窮的問題時,也會提到隔代貧窮,隔代貧窮是怎形成的呢?是因為成年人的貧窮,是因為成年人的貧窮以致不被尊重、不被正視。還有另一個關於小朋友的故事,是馬克吐溫的《乞丐王子》,我們的政府官員會否送自己的子女到貧窮家庭感受貧窮,然後換來貧窮的小朋友到自己家中居住,看看是怎麼樣呢?馬克吐溫果然是一位偉大的散文家,他道出了這個事實。那位王子返回皇宮後,由於知道民間疾苦,所以推行改革—-當然不知道他如何改革的。

至於我們今天說的兒童事務委員會,政府其實已經三番四次指出,有家庭事務委員會已經足夠,成立那麼多委員會,甚麼婦女事務委員會、兒童事務委員會來幹甚麼呢?這其實可以看到政府的短視和不尊重個人權利。核心家庭作為基本的社會組織,在這個現代社會中,一早已經受到衝擊,不能作為一個避難所。我希望政府真的立下決心成立兒童事務委員會,以及予以撥款,真正做一些事務。我希望大家也會表決支持這項議案。

多謝主席。

Sons of Cathay, raise your voice in thunder!

Posted in Speech on July 4, 2007 by loso

Following is a speech by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Rafael Hui, at the Annual Speech Day of Queen’s College this evening (December 9 2005):

Mr Li, Fellow Guests, Parents, Teachers, Graduates and Students,

As a product of this distinguished institution, it gives me great pleasure – and much pride – to stand before you today and deliver this address. It seems unbelievable to recall that the last time I made an appearance on this very stage was thirty eight years ago, when I myself was a Form Six graduate.

Instead of a microphone now in front of me, I then had my future before me, and you will perhaps forgive me for saying that, at present, I would happily change places with anyone of you students or graduates.

An even earlier appearance on this stage – no less than forty years ago – saw me doing Jacques’ soliloquy in Shakespeare’s play “As you Like It”. I can still recall my lines from memory, and in particular “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.”

How very true. Like players, we each have our entrances and our exits. But the importance is what happens in between. We all have our roles to play, and it’s up to us to make the most of them.

Queen’s College has prepared us all for great things, but our schooling here can only carry us so far, after which we must each take the initiative to grasp the opportunities it has laid open to us.

This school has a very special place in Hong Kong’s history. I need hardly remind you that it began life in 1862 as the first secondary school ever established in Hong Kong. And, today, the Government is still trying to solve the problem of the old walls of the original Central College, which is now the site of the old Central Police Quarters, where, incidentally, a certain man called Donald Tsang grew up. But Donald did not go to Queen’s College; unfortunately he went to another school. But that is another story.

The very first Chinese school magazine in the world was published in Central College in June 1899, under the title of The Yellow Dragon, and if you look through your honour rolls, you will find the names of many who have figured prominently in the annals of our society.

Queen’s College was modelled on the typical English public school of its time, whose values, ideals and traditions have since been widely admired, embraced, envied and copied in much of the world, even though its apparent elitism remains so prone to scorn and derision nowadays.

The liberal education I acquired here was one that I still hold dear, for it reinforced those foundations for analytical and balanced judgement and independent thought that are imbued in the character of us Hong Kong Chinese.

One of this institution’s earliest graduates was of course Sun Yat-sen, founder of modern China. More recently we have the most popular Principal Official, our Secretary for Justice and “the Dragon of Queen’s College” Wong Yan Lung, who is the youngest of all at the top level of the government. Incidentally, you should know that I did suggest to your Principal to invite to this occasion Mr Wong, who is much younger than an old timer like me. Unfortunately, Yan Lung has today an official meeting in Shenzhen that he must attend. So Queen’s College will just have to wait for at least another year.

But I must not stray too far from the well-established tradition which dictates that speech day addresses should aim to be inspirational, so let me try.

You students may wonder why it is that those of us who comprise your Alma Mater become misty eyed at the memory of our years here. The answer is too diverse, intangible and all-embracing to define in a single sentence. I can only say that I am reminded of the opening verse of that famous old student hymn “Gaudeamus Igitur; Juvenes dum sumus”.

Translated from the original Latin, the words roughly mean “Let us rejoice while we are young, for old age comes too soon upon us”.

It isn’t just your youth for which we envy you. It is for the future unfolding before you, when we, who have long left these hallowed halls, have so much of our past trailing behind us. It is said of the old that they increasingly hoard their memories. Perhaps they do – but if so I believe it is principally in consolation for the loss of their unexplored possibilities.

You, on the other hand, have all of that to look forward to. Those of you who are about to graduate from QC are emerging into the dawn of an especially promising new age. An age in which an awakened China is defying the clock by showing the world that something almost inconceivably old, counted among this planet’s longest surviving civilisations, can return to centre stage as something entirely and astonishingly new.

Yours is the moment. Yours is the day to seize. And this new world opening before you is the oyster that will surrender your pearl. So it is little wonder that we envy you – while at the same time we look to you to bear the torch that we must one day yield.

You carry with you not only your own potential – the germinating seed of your contribution to Hong Kong’s, and indeed China’s future – but also the burden of our expectations. More than that, you are the inheritors of a glorious tradition that is Queen’s College.

Your education will not end with what you have learned here. For if I may but slightly misquote those words Shakespeare so long ago placed upon my youthful lips, “all the world’s a school, and all of us men and women merely students.”

Life always has something new to teach us, and those who will most succeed are those who are quickest to learn. I truly believe the one factor that has contributed most to Hong Kong’s success has been our readiness to learn, to adapt and, if necessary, to start afresh.

In the past, our success owed much to our industrious workforce, but times and trends and economic forces have changed. In the future, we can no longer only depend on our traditional strengths but must find also new skills, new ways, new recipes for success. You will be part of that exciting quest, and if I were to restrict myself to just two sentences in imparting my advice to you, those words are “Be Adaptable. And stay alert”.

The long or full version of our Q.C. song, which in turn was adapted from the Eton College school song, reminds us that “Time speeds along. Soon our schooldays are ended. Comes the sad hour when from thee we must part!” For those of you about to quit these corridors of learning, here comes that hour.

Just remember that – whatever you do and wherever you go – if learning is never a closed book, neither will your future prove a straight road. So keep your eyes peeled, your hands on the wheel and watch out for the corners. It may at times seem a bumpy ride, but never let it throw you.

And draw strength and inspiration from the fact that Hong Kong has not only survived – but has prospered beyond all expectations – along a much more tortuous trail. Quite simply because we never lost our adaptability, our flexibility and our willingness to learn.

Let us not forget that the end of our classroom days brings both release and triumph, alloyed with renewed resolve and a swelling pride in the school that has done so much to enrich our lives.

So I wish you well, and I wish you all illustrious careers that will help carry Hong Kong to greater things.

This is where you are on your own, and can finally live up to the call resounding in the final chorus of our school song: “Sons of Cathay, raise your voices in thunder!”

And I’ll be listening. And so will the rest of Hong Kong.

Thank you.

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