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On the Centennial of the May Fourth Movement. By Chapman Chen, HK Bilingual News






Today is the centennial of the May Fourth Movement. The picture shows the grave of former Peking University President Tsai Yuan-pei. The Movement's merit is its valorous, anti-establishment spirit. 100 years ago, Peking U students beat up treacherous government officials and even set fire to their residence. After their arrest, they were bailed out by President Tsai Yuan-pei. Today no one dare to condemn these students for being violent and irrational, while the authorities label the young activists of the Umbrella Revolution and the Fish-ball Revolution mobsters. The Movement's downside is its total rejection of traditional Chinese culture and classical Chinese, i.e., throwing the baby out with the bathwater. In order to assert itself, Hong Kong should avoid recommitting the same error. Culturally, Hong Kong had better forsake the dregs of traditional Chinese culture, like slavish mentality and patriarchy, but continue to preserve Confucian benevolence, Buddhist demystification, Taoist naturalism, and combine them with Christian love and Western freedom. Linguistically, written Hong Kong Chinese language had better continue to merge concise and elegant classical Chinese with agile Pak Yuet (Southern China) indigenous languages, simple modern Chinese, and vivid Western loan words.


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