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  • Dec 28, 2014
  • Updated: 2:55pm
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Chris Patten 'flattered' by nostalgic Hongkongers who miss colonial days

Ex-governor says nostalgia reflects attachment to core values of press freedom and rule of law

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 22 March, 2014, 4:28am
UPDATED : Saturday, 22 March, 2014, 8:49am

Hong Kong's last governor Chris Patten says he is flattered by nostalgic Hongkongers who say they miss colonial rule.

Patten, who headed the city from 1992 to the 1997 handover, said the sentiments - as shared by locals who waved the colonial flag when he visited the Maritime Museum on Thursday - reflected a "strong sense of attachment" to the core values the colonial government had tried to nurture.

"Some of this tint of nostalgia was … flattering, but I prefer people to flatter than to shake their fists," said Patten, who was in town to endorse the Oxford University Press' English & I, which features the stories of 12 celebrities learning English.

"[The nostalgia] reflects a strong attachment to some of the values we tried to inculcate."

But recalling his days as the city's chief, Patten said his team could have done better.

"It has always been my view that when we were a colonial power, we didn't do enough to entrench those values," he said.

"Rule of law is the guardian of people's freedom, financial problems [and] contract," he said, adding that a free press was crucial to curb "corruption and incompetence".

Stressing that these values were crucial in keeping the city competitive, Patten expressed confidence in Hongkongers' determination to uphold them.

"These values are part of the city's DNA … Hong Kong has an extraordinary sense of citizenship," he said. "People can be patriotic Chinese and citizens of a very special community."

The Oxford University chancellor also stressed the importance of maintaining the city's English ability, drawing a comparison with Singapore. He noted the outstanding English "at every level" in Singapore, saying Hong Kong could be "missing a trick commercially" if it did not keep up with its English standard.

But Patten sang the praises of his former aide Anson Chan Fang On-sang's impressive language ability. "She has impeccable English," he said of Chan, whose own story of learning English is featured in the book, which is expected to go on sale in July.

But Patten refrained from discussing the city's electoral reform debate, and would not say if his dinner with Chan on Thursday had touched on the former chief secretary's latest reform plan.

"I only read [about her proposal] from the [newspaper]," was all he would say on the issue.

 

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16

This article is now closed to comments

chuchu59
I don't think its the colonial government we are missing. We didn't feel much for them but their governing was simple. No political bickering and people went on with their lives earning money, engaging in pastimes like mahjong, karaoke and horse racing. There was much less animosity against others then. These days there is bickering over the most trivial of things. Many HK people hope to revert to the simple lives of yesteryear.
NoOpium
This is an unarguably the manifestation of the psychologically enslaved. Hong Kongers are still pursuing the worship of their White master instead of looking to rule in their own land. This only further proves that psychological attacks and enslavement is much more harmful on the long term compared to the physical aspect. D
espite being currently financially prosperous, Hong Kongers still behave in a slave fashion towards Whites in their own land. Advertisements with Western faces is alarmingly prominent in Hong Kong. There is also an appalling need for having White faces portrayed in an excessively positive way in the mainstream media, especially towards local youngsters. Hong Kongers have completely lost their identity and are behaving as if they are living as servants in a foreign land and are literally kneeling down and begging to be controlled by Westerners. The latter can only rejoice at the ridiculousness!
Masako Owada
The Hongkongers missing British colonial rule must be opium smokers.
draconianfederation
British rule had its own problems, but back then everyone knew the rules of the game, while we weren't given absolute democracy, we could have our voices heard even if the British government does not like it. The British were a tyrant in the beginning, but at least they were not alien to ethics, morality and humanity, they eventually did learn a heavy hand is not good in governing colonies.
What we HKers really missed was the golden days between 1970s when the British, through pressure from HKers, established a anti-corruption commission and all the former abuses were stopped, and 1997. That twenty something years were the years everyone cherished, well, almost everyone.
rainer
This is not a political statement - just my personal opinion.
Chris Patten was the best person to head Hong Kong at all times = no one before and after the handover did the job as good as he did.
He's a peoples person ....
rawlie
I wouldn't go that far but there's no doubt how he felt about Hong Kong & how a large number of Hongkongers felt about him as the Govenor of this fantastic place we call home.
Ant Lee
This is utter disregard for the truth.
Ant Lee
It must be difficult for mainland chinese to comprehend but the British has a much higher standard of governance than the Chinese controlled SAR government . The main reason for the success of Hong Kong (before Chinese rule) was the high standards of government policies and unreserved obedience to the rule of law (instead of mainland Chinese government/officials).
No0pium
Meanwhile, Hong Kongers can't govern themselves and need others to tell them what to do.
philpaul
At least it's Patten, not Thatcher saying it. HK is in such mess because of British legacy.

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