As I See It - by Jason Y. Ng
" In your soul there are infinitely
precious things that cannot be
taken from you. "
- Oscar Wilde
" When a people lost their own culture
and language, they lost their very soul. "
— author unknown
This Hong Kong Blog, "AS I SEE IT", can be impressive, particularly to those English-speaking readers living outside of this city.
In terms of culture and language, the blogger Jason Y. Ng sees Hong Kong quite differently from the ordinary natives. We can see why some humorous natives would poke fun at his mindset. Behind the scene, much efforts and possibly a fair amount of money have been putting in to promote this blog and especially to advertise the well-crafted image that Jason Y. Ng projects for himself on the Internet and to his intended audience in Hong Kong and beyond. An extraordinary large number of paid Internet search results appears under Jason Y. Ng's name.
"AS I SEE IT", an English-language blog, is mainly written about the natives for the non-native audience. Jason Y. Ng writes well. His syntax, phrasing, and the idioms he uses tell much about his background, identity, and where he spent most of his life in the past. "As I SEE IT" along with several of Jason Y. Ng's other websites can be considered as commercial sites; he has something to sell from all his websites.
Hongkongers are not Westerners. Carrying a overwhelming air of "Western-ness", Jason Y. Ng is not someone the natives can resonate or identify with. Very few Hongkongers live the lifestyle that his community lives in. To suggest otherwise is misleading and disingenuous. However, to be fair, you may happen to be Jason Y. Ng's prospective customer, a member of his target audience, and deem his writing illuminating.
As far as we know, Jason Y. Ng is virtually unknown to Hong Kong's predominant population. That Cantonese-speaking native population is not the people he markets his writing to. The truth of the matter is less than five percent of HK's general population write in English the way he does; native-speakers of English compose merely two percent of HK residents. The chances are that you will be much likely to hear Mandarin speaking on the streets of Hong Kong than English. Nowadays, English is seldom heard inside HK's legislature building. If and when it is heard, it is usually spoken in "Hong Kong English" with a thick local accent.
Intentionally or unintentionally, Jason Y. Ng evades the fact that English in HK is mainly used for commerce by the majority population, not for politics, nor for matters of the heart. What people, living on their own land, would conduct their own politics and social life, or share their inner thoughts among themselves in a language other than their mother-tongue? We are quite certain that conversing with one's lover in English is not exactly very romantic, intimate, sexy, or emotionally satisfying among the local Cantonese-speaking majority.
We certainly do not use English to discuss our politics among ourselves, nor we use English to write our literature that stirs the depths of our soul.
Though Jason Y. Ng cannot speak or understand Mandarin, he bills himself as a China-and-HK-relation expert of sorts. He cannot exchange simple pleasantries with you in Mandarin — a language we hear speaking all around us every single day. We have yet to meet a local university student who cannot speak Mandarin and we have met a large number of them. In this post-colonial era, his unique "Westernized" community is relatively very small and by no means inclusive. Speaking English with Jason Y. Ng's noticeable accent and in his conspicuous speech patterns, however at the same time, displaying his ostentatious Western bearing is strangely puzzling to us.
To lighten up a bit, we wonder if Jason Y. Ng's employer, who sent him here from overseas, knows his lack of crucial language skills to be working in this part of the world. Numerous times in recent years, we were surprised by how well some friendly young Westerners, working in this city, can carry on a lively delightfully long conversation with us in Mandarin.
Reading "AS I SEE IT" is like watching a movie that is grossly miscast, in which Jason Y. Ng casts himself as a main character. Some outspoken but unkind natives would call Jason Y. Ng a carpetbagger. Some would say he is " 唔 怕 羞 ". And some, growing up under British rule, would consider him a "Westerner/British poseur". No one should have fear of him disrupting the status quo. Jason Y. Ng's interest in Hong Kong is primarily a commercial one, which is marketing a name and an image to his English-speaking, potential customers.
Jason Y. Ng paints a one-dimensional, selective, overly Westernized picture of Hong Kong to his readers. Like many in his generation of similar background, Jason Y. Ng craves acceptance and approval from the Westerners. The tone of this blog clearly reflects his mentality and inclination. In many circles, those who speak English are still perceived to be in the top echelon of HK's social hierarchy. However, to the ordinary Hongkongers, Jason Y. Ng's way of displaying his outmoded colonial-era Western trappings is now out-of-date. He would be completely lost and out-of-place in any grassroots neighborhood meeting in today's Hong Kong. After more than two decades since the British retreat and living in a sea of non-English-speaking people, why Jason Y. Ng sees himself the way he does?
It is too much to ask, perhaps. You will not see Hong Kong's heart and soul in this blog — the blogger Jason Y. Ng has neither of them. The purpose of "AS I SEE IT", is not to inspire, but to sell. If you are curious, go take a look at this blog and find out if Jason Y. Ng can make a sale on you. Test yourself and see if you can see through all the hype. Read "AS I SEE IT" and see how impressionable you are, or to see Jason Y. Ng's remarkable marketing talent and formidable salesmanship.
It is impressive to see someone who has done something so well. Jason Y. Ng has mastered the art of self-promotion. After all that he has said, the fact remains that... Hong Kong in this new era is far less "Western" than what Jason Y. Ng leads you to believe, or he can see.
Through centuries of growth and changes, the heart and soul of this very extraordinary city, by the South China Sea, have always been speaking and singing to us in this land's native tongue.
Does anyone of us want to have it in any other way?
To Jason Y. Ng: 入屋叫人 入廟拜神 .