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Showing posts from September, 2013

Hong Kong, as Seen from the Island Tram

The Hong Kong tram is one of the symbols of Hong Kong. It covers a large part of Hong Kong island, stretching from Kennedy Town in the west to Shau Kei Wan in the east. One line branches off to Happy Valley. 
The tram started operation in 1904. At that time, it followed the waterfront, before land reclamation transformed it. Judging from old pictures from the pre-World War II period, the trams' design is basically the same, both outside and inside. However, today all trams are double-deckers. 
The tram is one of the cheapest means of public transport in Hong Kong, with a fare of only 2 HK dollars. Compared with the underground system (MTR), the tram is very slow, given both the age of most trams and the traffic. If you're in a hurry, you'd better take the metro. But if you want to enjoy a nice view of the city, then the tram is a great choice.

Perpetuating Humiliation - The Reemergence of Chinese Nationalism After 1989

The political and moral collapse of Communist regimes throughout the world in 1989 marked the beginning of a new era in global geopolitics. At that time, it seemed as if the capitalist-democratic Western system had triumphed and all countries in the world were destined sooner or later to accept the allegedly irrefutable verdict of history. Very few people would have bet on the survival of the CCP in China, or on the success of Deng Xiaoping's reform programme. The PRC appeared like a dying relic of a past age.
The true meaning of the year 1989 remained inscrutable to those who didn't want to see. Western bias was too strong. In 1989 a new China was born; a China that combined East Asian-style developmentalist economic policies, autocratic statehood, and nationalist ideology. 
The CCP regime survived the collapse of the Soviet bloc because the path it chose was different from that of its Communist 'brothers'. The PRC had already in the late 1970s embarked on a period of r…

Westernisation and Socialism with 'Chinese Characteristics' - What the CCP can learn from Hong Kong

'Westernisation' is a commonplace, but a dreaded and hatred one. In recent decades most people have come to accept this notion as something natural, obvious, and somewhat inevitable. At the same time, however, Western influence has been often deemed dangerous, humiliating, and polluting.
Asian societies have shown both a desire to 'learn from the West', and a great degree of mistrust towards Westernisation. For example, in 1994 former Singaporean Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong warned his fellow countrymen not to imitate too much the West. In order to make his warning effective, he cited some of the issues that according to him plague Western societies: "broken families, teenage mothers, illegitimate children, juvenile delinquency, vandalism and violent crime" (Asian Values, Western Dreams: Understanding the New Asia. Sheridan 1999, p. 72). This vision of a chaotic, unstable, individualistic West is often referred to by advocates of East Asian values. 
China is an…