My Take

Hong Kong should keep those 'inappropriate' postboxes

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 13 October, 2015, 2:05am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 13 October, 2015, 2:05am

A plan by Hongkong Post to cover the British royal insignia on historic postboxes has local Anglophiles up in arms.

The post office said it was "inappropriate" to display the insignia on 59 historic postboxes that came into use during the colonial period.

But heritage fans have dismissed the rationale, saying it's really a deliberate attempt to suppress part of old local culture.

Some suspect the decision wasn't even made by Hongkong Post, but by people even higher up within the government. One reason for the suspicion is that the post office has traditionally been friendly to traditional postboxes that are still in service.

Back in 2010, it even repaired an old King George V postbox on Lamma Island after conservation activists objected to its removal. Officials have left alone those politically incorrect postboxes since the 1997 handover, so why are they suddenly "inappropriate"?

My own suspicion - though I have no proof - is that it's the government's revenge against people who protest while waving British colonial flags. Mainland honchos have repeatedly expressed dismay at the sight of such protests and pointed to the colonial mentality that has failed to be properly "decolonised".

Unfortunately, there is nothing the police or the Hong Kong government can do about such unpatriotic displays.

So covering the insignia may be a small but demonstrative way to show we are doing our part to erase the last vestiges of British colonialism.

If this is true, it's rather mean and petty. Sure, those who wave the colonial flags are idiots, but there is no law against such people. It would be such a shame that for their stupidity, we have to deface postboxes that date back decades, if not a century.

Most of the 59 postboxes carry the royal insignia of Queen Elizabeth II, but the oldest has been around for 100 years, since the reign of King George V.

Seven old postboxes will be left intact and put on display in their original form for tourists. How thoughtful!

The postboxes are perfectly fine. I doubt their presence will diminish the fervour of any good Chinese patriots and lead any young person astray by following those nasty imperialist Brits.