Harbour View: “A face that cries out to be slapped” HK Post and Decolonisation

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HK Post gave us an answer today about what the hell is meant by decolonisation: mailboxes. In a move that seems like a softball for the localists, the mailman’s woes over their plan to ‘decolonise’ mailboxes will make the MTR musician conflict seem like a minor skirmish.

Photo: BOOOOOOOOORING! Will all our mailboxes look like this? Send us your pics of your heritage mailbox – while you still can.

Backpfeifengesicht – a face that cries out to be slapped.

A rough translation of this beautiful German word perfectly captures the political reaction Hongkong Post’s new plan to decolonise our mailboxes can expect. As if the phrase “just another Chinese city” was their new motto, HK Post have planned to deface colonial era mailboxes and erase another part of our history.

Ming Pao reports that Hongkong Post plans to, according to our own High Tide today:

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Hongkong Post proposes mailboxes ‘de-colonisation’

Ming Pao reported that the Hongkong Post was proposing to cover all the royal ciphers (ch) engraved on colonial-era mailboxes.

There are 59 mailboxes of such still under service, including seven with the royal ciphers of George V (GRV), one with that of George VI (GRVI), 50 under the reign of Elizabeth II (ERII), and one with the cipher of the Scottish Crown.


If ever an issue was local and localism at the same time, this is it. The ‘save our heritage’ brigade will go nuts, the localists will have something to chain themselves to and sensible people will wonder what political lumpen picked this fight. Did some Liaison Office member harrumph in a meeting about an offending mailbox and everyone locally jumped to address the dreadfully serious issue of old mailboxes?

This is a gift for localists, and to a lesser extent, pan-democrats, looking to sign up candidates for District Council elections. Lord knows it’s been a struggle for them to get candidates, but now all they need to do is park themselves near a historic mailbox and sign petitions and say, “oh, by the way, I’m running for DC….”

Every District Council candidate should be asked about their position on their local heritage mailboxes. Now they have a local issue people will get excited about that perfectly allows everyone to express their undying loyalty to Beijing or raise money to protect our heritage and stop a 1984 style erasure of history.

Will Councilors fight for an exemption for their local mailbox? Denounce our colonial heritage in an act of obeisance to Beijing? Which way will the irascible Liberal Party go?

Given the recent fiascos over trees chopped in the night, the offending mailboxes could be gone as I write, with nary a public consultation. That would be the smart move to avoid focal points for public demonstrations.

If the localists and pan-dems have their radar up and any organisational nous, they will be out with cameras, chaining themselves to mailboxes today. It’s the little, seemingly inconsequential matters, that people frequently get really excited about. Musicians in the MTR? This has potential to be a much bigger story, because once it gets going, neither side can back down. Pro-establishment figures, including the Administration, have to make a vocal show that they will not slow down their ‘decolonisation’ nor give way to those who would hold to the past. Localists would have a great issue to throw into the campaign mix.

If this doesn’t become a major issue, then our pan-dems and localists are too disorganised or too dispirited to react to an obvious gift from Hongkong Post.

Rabble-rousers, to your mailboxes!!