With less than a year to go before the transition, growing numbers of people seem to be trying to become more Chinese and patriotic. They do this by wiping out or toning down different aspects of Hong Kong's colonial history. Understandably, the Hong Kong Jockey Club has decided to drop its 'Royal' prefix and other institutions are said to be quietly thinking about following suit. The latest addition to the 'return to China' shopping list are the written appeals by seven people to the preparatory committee suggesting the removal of the statutes of British monarchs from Victoria Park and the Botanical Gardens before July 1 next year. Suggestions are also on the cards for names of Hong Kong roads to be changed to erase colonial references. These efforts are in sharp contrast with the view of the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club which has decided to keep its title. This might have appeared to be politically incorrect, or at least unwise, in the run up to the change of sovereignty next year. After all, any old colonial links are not considered something to boast about. But if you pause and think, perhaps you would agree with the arguments against such a change. Supporters of the status quo understood the political sensitivity but maintained that the name was one to be proud of. And they are right. Why should any reference to royalty or the outgoing sovereign be cast aside? Can we erase a century and a half of history so easily? We have roads, schools, hospitals and public buildings named after British royalty or governors. Are we supposed to change them all? Beijing may believe that anything to do with the colonial ruler be struck out from the records. But should they try? What does a change of title mean to ordinary people in Hong Kong? Will they become more patriotic if they walk down People's Avenue instead of Queen's Road? Frankly, for many, names with colonial references, be they hospitals, parks, schools, welfare institutions or streets, do not mean much to them. Prince Edward Road is just a road they travel along, King's College is a highly regarded school and Victoria Park is a place to enjoy fresh air and outdoor fun. But, what would the graduates of Queen Elizabeth Secondary School feel if their school were to 'disappear' overnight and to be replaced by a new one? How would the old nannies cope with the change if suddenly Queen Mary Hospital were to be renamed the Proletarian Hospital? And would taxi drivers and their passengers be lost if King's Road were to become Chairman's Boulevard? Any drastic measures to make Hong Kong people forget about the past will be misguided and unnecessary. Probably, the best way forward is to blend the old and new to give Hong Kong a sense of starting a new chapter in history without throwing away the book. For instance, instead of changing names of the schools, roads or hospitals, a less disruptive approach would be to give new buildings, facilities or roads a stronger China flavour. The new extension of the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, a key venue for holding next year's ceremonies and programmes, could be named Patriot Plaza. The nearby pier could be called Repossession Point. The new park on West Kowloon Reclamation could become People's Park and the trunk road could be named Reunion Drive. There are many possibilities. People would certainly find that more acceptable than wholesale changes to things with which they are familiar.