Calling the few rocks between Okinawa and Taiwan the “Senkaku Islands” instead of “Diaoyutai” does not automatically make you guilty of treason; you are simply following the translation globally propagated by the suspenders-wearing editor of Reuters from his smoky newsroom.
Nor should one feel ashamed for wishing Zhan Qixiong, the heroic fisherman detained by the Japanese over his intrusion into the waters of the islands, a nice stay in custody because Japanese jails are torture-free, fully air-conditioned and enviably serve fresh sushi meals.
If on hearing Beijing’s threat of a potential boycott of Chinese tourism to Japan last week, a move calculated to make Japan’s economy feel the pain, and you rushed to call your travel agent to book your winter hot-spring holiday to Sapporo because you know now the hot springs there will be free of spit and buzz—you are simply smart. As a Hongkonger, you are reacting to big news stories as calmly, pragmatically and scientifically as always—and there is nothing wrong about that. The last time I recall reacting similarly was when I urged my mother to buy up HSBC shares at its record low in the early morning of June 5, 1989. My mother made a small fortune before the blood on Tiananmen Square had hardly dried. She thanked me for my filial piety. It was ages ago. How time flies.
All I know about how to behave as a good moneymaking Hong Kong citizen during moments like these, is a strict observance of article 14 of the Basic Law, which stipulates that the defense of the sovereignty of the country is the responsibility of the Central Government. As I watched the TV news, I raised a glass of fresh Hokkaido milk just purchased from the nearby Park-N-Shop in salute to the Hong Kong SAR government marine police, which stopped a trawler from sailing to the Senkaku Islands to confront Japanese gunboats.
When the Chinese go nuclear at the Japanese and start throwing bottles at Japanese international schools, we show our good will to our neighbor up in the northwest and vote more often with our feet to some 1,000 local Japanese restaurants, nearly all of which are owned by Hongkongers. Should we afford to be emotional, it would mean the local waitresses shouting, “Yilashai-masei” (roughly: “welcome”) there with their heavy Cantonese accents may lose their jobs. We snatch up tickets to Hiroshima to admire the autumn maple leaves there for a casual autumn weekend, while our fellow countrymen have to endure long queues and some hostility from junior Chinese staff at Japanese consulates in Beijing and Shanghai. At moments like this, I doubly miss the late Uncle Deng Xiaoping, the man who, under the “one country, two systems” formula, had secured our tourist visa-free travel to Japan, as well as the glass of melamine-free milk I happily sipped jet-fresh from Hokkaido.