Earliest political memory of the day #66


It happens when I was in kindergarten at age 5 or 6, in the mid 1990s. One day I watched television news when playing toys. The news was about governor Chris Patten attending meetings with civil servants. I was intrigued because the news told said he was the governor of Hong Kong but he was white and hence a ‘foreigner’. Also, I was puzzled that he didn’t look ‘Hong Kong’ at all but he got a rather ‘Chinese-sounding’ name (note 1). It was my first memory about public affairs and the colonial status of Hong Kong (note 2).

Note 1: The Chinese official name of Chris Patten is pronouned as ”PANG Ding-Hong”. I only learnt later that it’s a common practice of foreign office/UK embassy to assign official Chinese names for British politicians for official press release. ”PANG” is a common Chinese surname and derived from PATTEN. ”Ding-Hong” literally means stability and health).

Note 2: Politics or local history wasn’t taught in preschool curriculum in Hong Kong. The school curriculum in colonial Hong Kong usually avoided history – to avoid cultivating Chinese nationalism and to avoid assimilating Hongkongers as British.

Any thoughts?

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