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英雄就在你我身邊 | Everyday Heroes
約翰百德 (John BATTEN)
at 10:24am on 28th October 2019


圖片說明

2019年9月2日,九龍太子旺角警署外,帶着小狗騎單車的街坊和警察。圖片由作者提供。
Caption:
Bicyclist, her dog, and police outside Mong Kok Police Station, Prince Edward, Kowloon, 2 September 2019. Photo: John Batten.

 


(Please scroll down for English version)

 


香港在示威聲中度過的幾個月以來,我和一位友人不時討論中國國歌歌詞中的諷刺意味。國慶日翌日,當我打開《南華早報》讀到幾篇報道:北京慶祝國慶、香港各區示威持續、中學生被槍傷事件仍然歷歷在目,還有警方在走下入境大樓行人天橋樓梯時以橡膠子彈在射向一羣記者,誤傷本地印尼語報章《Suara》記者,令她一隻眼睛被確認失明……我不禁再三覆讀確認,後問問自己:這份報章不會是惡作劇吧?不,它是認真的。頭版廣告由香港兩個商會贊助,印有中國國歌的歌詞,並寫有熱烈祝賀中華人民共和國成立七十周年,1949-2019年的標題。

登報的愛國人士,到底有沒有認真看過歌詞?在香港現時的政治危機中,這些歌詞可說有點煽風點火:


「起來!不願做奴隸的人們!把我們的血肉,築成我們新的長城!
中華民族到了最危險的時候,
每個人被迫着發出最後的吼聲。
起來!起來!起來!
我們萬眾一心,
冒着敵人的炮火,前進!
冒着敵人的炮火,前進!
前進!前進!進!」

從字面看,歌詞好像道出了香港示威者行動背後的理據。又或者可以是對香港政治情況和領導班子的諷刺與批評。又或者,我們可以了解歌詞的創作背景,那是詞人田漢為紀念義勇軍在1934年奮勇抵抗日軍入侵滿州的英勇事蹟寫成的作品。

對於香港示威持續期間人們所缺乏的敏感度,我已經不再驚訝。在這場政治危機之中,來自「主要操作者 」的溝通,現時只透過大聲公外交的形式進行:在報章和記者會發表的廣告、聲明、然後再經媒體和社交平台發放短片。連儂牆除了貼着多不勝數的圖像、文字、宣言和聰明的畫像,也成為了肢體衝突的現場。運動中的主角,距離多麼的遙遠,對立雙方沒有真正坐下來好好討論,除了街頭上的對抗,也沒有任何「正面交鋒」的辯論。

在文宣海報上,愈來愈多把示威者的行動描繪為英雄義士的作品。遺憾的是,這個現像卻與過往歷史衝突和事件中的政治文宣手法可謂如出一轍:就像第一次世界大戰的宣傳海報、蘇聯時期的政治傳宣,還有中國文化大革命時對工人、軍人和作家的奇幻式描繪,即作家手中的筆桿像刺刀般拿着。香港示威海報的畫像之中,義士被描繪成戴着防毒面具與頭盔站在前線上的人。

上海藝術家、漫畫家、知識分子和評論家豐子愷也曾經歷過日本侵華的年代,他的文字與圖像作品也有諷刺日軍、國民黨的不濟,但更重要的是他在妙筆之間弘揚了建基於他佛教信仰的生命德行。他的畫作從來沒有淪為政治文宣,時至今日仍然雋永和切合時宜,提醒我們衝突只是暫時的事。他的作品曾經提到,國土正被兇殘的敵人佔領,我們好像身患重症,只有重藥才可以對抗這場病和生存下去。抗日戰爭則好像來得及時的療藥。然而,戰爭從來都只是短期的補救措施,我們也應注意不要戰爭成癮。當病毒被清除,我們慢慢回復健康,便需要適當的營養補充。有什麼營養對我們長遠身心健康最為重要?和平、快樂、大愛,還有藝術這種保命的基本元素。

在豐子愷眼中,英雄主義在日常生活的人與事之間可以得到更好表達。過去幾個月,我便看過無數見義勇為和善良的例子。好像,一位因為愛犬而為人熟悉的太子街坊開心踏着單車時,意外地闖進旺角警署外警方正以催淚氣清場的場景。我以鏡頭拍下了她。她的愛犬漫不經心也沒有為意身處的險境,然而,女士卻猶有餘悸。在旁觀者迅速協助下,她找到逃走路線,然後朝着遠離警方防線和當晚暴亂的方向踏單車離開。所有參與其中的人都沒有大驚小怪,雖然未有在我的照片中出現,但各人卻各自展現了偉大情操,每一位都是英雄。


原文刊於《明報周刊》,2019年9月13日



Everyday Heroes

by John Batten


Over the months of Hong Kong’s protests a friend and I often discussed the irony of the lyrics of the National Anthem. So, when I opened the South China Morning Post the day after National Day, with Beijing celebrations, Hong Kong’s protests and the shooting of a secondary school student fresh in my mind and confirmation that the reporter of local Indonesian newspaper Suara had lost an eye to a police rubber bullet wantonly shot into a group of reporters as police retreated down a stairwell on the Immigration Tower overpass, I did a doubletake – was someone making a spoof? No, it was serious. In a full-page front cover advertisement sponsored by two Hong Kong business associations the National Anthem’s lyrics were reproduced to “Warmly celebrate the 70th founding anniversary of the People’s Republic of China 1949-2019”.

But have these patriots ever read the lyrics? They are particularly and potentially incendiary in the context of Hong Kong’s current political crisis. They are:

“Arise, we who refuse to be slaves!
With our very flesh and blood,
Let us build our new Great Wall!
The peoples of China are at their most critical time,
Everybody must roar defiance.
Arise! Arise! Arise!
Millions of hearts with one mind,
Brave the enemy’s gunfire, March on!
Brave the enemy’s gunfire, March on! March on, on!”

Taken literally, these words could justify the actions of Hong Kong protesters. Or, they could have an ironic, critical ring about Hong Kong’s political situation and its leadership. Or, they could be read, as intended by Tian Han the lyric’s composer, to remember the heroic deeds of the volunteers who were fighting against the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1934.

I am no longer shocked by the lack of sensitivity seen during Hong Kong’s protests. Communication from the ‘players’ in this political crisis is now done through a type of megaphone diplomacy: advertisements and statements made through newspapers and press conferences, then redistributed through video on media outlets and social media. The Lennon Walls are a profusion of graphics, text, pronouncements and smart imagery – and points of physical conflict. There is now such distance between protagonists. There is no real sit-down discussion between opponents. And, no ‘head-to-head’ debate, except confrontation on the streets.

The actions of the protesters are increasingly being depicted in posters as heroic. But, unfortunately, it resembles and replicates the propaganda of past historical conflicts and events: akin to First World War posters, Soviet-era propaganda and the fantasy depictions of Chinese Cultural Revolutionary workers, soldiers and writers whose pens are held aloft as if they were fixed bayonets. Now depicted are gas-masked, helmeted frontline Hong Kongers at the barricades.

The Shanghai-based artist, ‘cartoonist’, intellectual and critic Feng Zikai also witnessed the Japanese war years and his writings and drawings variously poked fun at the Japanese invader, Kuomintang inefficiency and above all extolled the virtues of a moral approach – replicating his own Buddhist ideas – to life. His drawings never descended into propaganda. His work remains contemporary, and relevant – he reminds us that conflict is temporary, and that:

“Our land is being overrun by a vicious enemy. It is as though we are in the throes of a disease, and only strong medication can help us fight this illness and survive. The war of resistance is just such a timely treatment. Yet warfare can never be more than a short-term remedy, and we should be wary of becoming addicted to it. As the virus is eliminated and we regain out health, it is essential that we take proper nourishment. And what kind of nourishment is crucial to our long-term well-being? Peace, happiness, and universal love, and the basic ingredient for ‘preserving life’ itself: art.”

In Feng Zikai’s view, heroism is better expressed in the people and actions of our everyday lives. I have seen countless examples of small acts of heroic behaviour and kindness over the last months. For example, a local Prince Edward resident well-known for her dog who happily sits on the back of her bicycle, accidently passed as a police tear gas clearance was happening outside Mong Kok Police Station. I photographed her. Her dog is nonchalant and oblivious of the danger, she however is fearful. Quickly, with the assistance of other onlookers, she found an escape route and cycles away from the police and that night’s trouble. Everyone involved, without fuss, self-aggrandizing and unseen in the recorded photograph, were heroes.




This opinion piece was originally published in Ming Pao Weekly on 10 October 2019. Translated from the original English by Aulina Chan.



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