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  • 27Jul

    龍應台於書展期間曾經短暫訪港,但我因事忙未有出席她的講座。以下是我最近透過「面書」發給她的一封信,希望能於短期內收到她的積極回應。

     

    尊敬的龍應台女士:

    抱歉冒昧。我叫李偉才,筆名李逆熵,曾任職香港大學助理教授、香港太空館助理館長、以及香港天文台高級科學主任等職,現在已退休並成為自由撰稿人,這是我的面書:(https://www.facebook.com/DrEddyLee?fref=ts)。

    過去數年,我和友人成立了「繁榮反思小組」(https://www.facebook.com/RethinkingProsperity?fref=ts)和「文明急救組」(https://www.facebook.com/350orgHK?fref=ts)等民間組織,目的在於反思現代文明的發展方向。

    我們最近的一項主要工作,是呼籲香港各間大學進行「去碳撤資」(divestment from fossil fuel),主要目的是喚醒世人對全球暖化危機的關注。我已先後接觸香港大學(我的母校)和中文大學的校長,前者一直未有回應,而後者雖有積極回應,但至今未有具體行動。

    我們最近想到,以閣下在中、台、港的影響力,如果能找到一個合適的機會公開地作出呼籲,成效必然比我們所作的大得多。假如得到妳的應允,我們可以提供更多有關的資料。(以下是《維基百科》有關 divestment 的基本資料:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fossil_fuel_divestment

    如何之處,祈盼佳音!

    李偉才

    2015年7月20日

  • 27Jul

    以下是我今天(24/7/15)上午發了給接近二百個朋友的電郵:

    URGENT – Free Download of My New Book (English Version)

    Dear Friends,

    I am glad to inform you that after more than six months’ of hard work, the English version of my new book The Urge of Capital – the Root Cause of the World’s Deep Contradictions has just been published on-line via Amazon.com. As a promotion strategy, arrangement has been made with Amazon to offer free downloads of this book for a limited period of time.

    Actually the free download started a couple of days ago, but I was too preoccupied with other urgent matters (actually preparing for the Mainland edition of this same book), hence this belated message. As the free download will be terminated by the end of this Saturday (25 July 2015), I strongly urge you (pun intended) to take out a couple of minutes, and visit the amazon website below. Please click the “Buy now with 1-Click” icon on the right-hand-side and then just follow through. It will take at most two to three minutes.

    http://www.amazon.com/urge-capital-contradict…/…/ref=sr_1_1…

    Apart from adding more than a hundred footnotes, I’ve actually taken the opportunity to enrich the contents and tighten up the arguments in this English version as much as I could. I can confidently say that this is definitely a better version than the original Chinese one published in December last year.

    So please don’t let this golden opportunity go to waste! Even if you could not find time to read the whole book now, you could download it first and read it at your leisure later. Since I’ve sent this message to nearly two hundred friends of mine, if you could recommend it to two friends of yours, that would already lead to four hundred (paid) purchases down the line. Thank you for your kind assistance.

    Good Reading!

    Eddy.

     

  • 16Jul

    書展開幕了!以下是我為《亞洲周刊》的場刊《從香港閱讀世界 一讀鐘情》

    所寫的一篇文章:

     

    作為一個中、西文化交匯的國際大都會,香港人每年出外旅遊的人次之多,以人口比例計應屬世界前列;而在香港所能夠買到和借閱的中、西書籍種類之多,亦必然位列全球華人地區之首。我十分有幸,能夠在這樣一個開放和多姿的環境下成長。

     

    但環境即使多好,如果我們不主動利用,結果也是枉然。多年來令我最為不滿的一句話是「讀萬卷書,不如行萬里路」。不幸這句話往往出自傳媒或公眾人士之口。古人云「讀萬卷書,行萬里路」,意示兩者相輔相承不可偏廢,所以根本沒有「不如」這兩個字。今人懶於閱讀,有意無意加上這兩個字,當然錯得交關。

     

    記得初中時唸過一篇〈學問與遊歷〉,其中一段說:「學問者,前人經驗之所積,又遊歷之預備也。必先有學問,而後當前之事物,皆有以辨是非。不然,出門眾觀,臨歧悵惘,孰則無關於宏旨,孰則有益於身心,千態萬狀,何去何從?」實是至理明言。

     

    香港「核心價值」之一是言論自由,但於此大部分人都將注意力放於報刊雜誌,較少人會想到書店裡賣的書,而更少人會想到公共圖書館能夠借閱的書籍。作為一個受惠者我要在此高呼:香港最大的一個寶藏,正是她的圖書館和書店!

     

    從兒童到少年階段,是一個人知識和性格成長的關鍵時刻,報刊雜誌(及至網上資訊)固然是知識的一個來源,但在是非混淆爭拗不絕的今天,只是透過這些渠道獲取知識(實質只是資訊)往往令人「臨歧悵惘」,不知所從。書籍在這方面具有不可取代的作用。好的書籍不但能夠提供大量的背景和基礎知識,更可對不少問題溯本尋源,幫助年輕人「以辨是非」。

     

    我的知性甚至品格成長,很大部分是在中環大會堂的兒童(中二以前)及成人(中二以後)圖書館中形塑的。我從民間故事到希臘神話到外國文學名著譯本,再到天文學物理學考古學生物學,再到科幻小說偵探小說哲學心理學社會學政治學經濟學… 毫無壓力的愉快閱讀,令我對世界的了解不斷加深。

     

    在遊歷方面,我自懂性即每年隨同家人回內地探親(時值「文革」期間)。1980年天文台派我往英國學習氣象學和天氣預測,我才第一次乘飛機出國。我在英國住了七個月。任職天文台近十五年間,曾多次前赴各國參加氣象會議,其中一次防災研討會兼培訓班在日本住了一個月。1994-98年間,我一家移居澳洲悉尼,四年的外國生活使我對西方文化有進一步的了解。1997年中我因博士論文進行實地調查在北京住了一個月,2002-04年間我任職「港大—復旦繼續教育學院」的教務長,每月皆要前赴上海至少兩次,與內地機構的合作大大加深了我對內地文化的了解。

     

    但我還是要強調,我對這個世界的認識,絕對離不開我的大量閱讀。我可以肯定地說,如果只有以上的「遊歷」,我對世界的認識必會較今天的膚淺甚至偏頗。

     

    談到偏頗,便把我們帶回香港的巨大優勢之上,這便是我們在書店以及圖書館裡書籍種類的包羅萬有。說包羅萬有固然有點誇張,但我想凸顯的,是我們可以找到“左、中、右”以及各種不同觀點的書籍,這在內地、台灣或其他華人地區如新加坡都是非常難得的。此外我們亦有大型的英文書店銷售各種由保守到激進的書籍。但還是那一句:環境即使多好,如果我們不主動利用,結果也是枉然。所以我強烈向大家呼籲,除了不能以「行萬里路」取代「讀萬卷書」之外,我們還必須善用香港的優勢,大量閱讀基於不同觀點的書籍,以令我們對世界有更全面和深刻的了解。

  • 22Jun

    假普選方案在立法會被大比數(!)否決,立即迎來的問題是:今年「七、一」遊行應以什麼為主題?

     

    「我要真普選!」是必定要重申的;「重啟政改五部曲」也可以叫,但筆者認為那是緣木求魚意義不大。我反而認為,既然政府短期內不會重推「政改」,遊行的主題應該集中於政制以外的各種社會矛盾,其中包括地產霸權、金融霸權、高鐵超支、第三條跑道、全民退保、標準工時、集體談判權、以及至為重要的對抗全球暖化等各方面。

     

    二零一一年底,我在《信報財經月刊》發表了一篇名為〈我們需要怎樣的繁榮〉的聯署文章。翌年初,我與聯署的朋友共同成立了一個名為「繁榮反思小組」的組織(面書:https://www.facebook.com/RethinkingProsperity?fref=ts)。那年的七月一號,小組的十多人轉流抬著一個由四枝高桿和四幅橫額所組成的“方陣” 參與了遊行。向前的一幅橫額寫著「我們需要怎樣的繁榮?」、向後的則寫著「爭取2017真普選」。至於左、右兩旁的,則寫著由我的兩首「詩作」:

     

    水漲船高欺人語

    貧富懸殊見假真

    投機泡沫皆巨賈

    共富方能享太平

     

    以及

     

    資本主義競增長

    環境生態慘遭殃

    既倒狂瀾須力挽

    群策改弦復更張

     

    三年轉眼過去,2017真普選成為泡影,但「雨傘運動」則喚醒了年輕一輩。至於其餘的抗爭,雖然進展同樣令人沮喪,但我們仍然不能放棄。統治階層(以及經濟系裡的大學教授)要我們相信「經濟發展是硬道理」,但擺在眼前的事實則是:「馬照跑、舞照跳、死路一條!」之所以筆者不斷呼籲:「抗爭才是硬道理!」

     

    比起三年前,世人的醒覺包括:

     

    1. 連最為鼓吹自由經濟的國際貨幣基金組織(IMF)最近也得承認,「不斷把餅造大便可解決貧窮問題」這種「滲滴經濟理論」(Trickle-down economics)是一個騙局:http://www.psmag.com/business-economics/trickle-down-economics-is-indeed-a-joke;
    2. 教宗方濟各多次批評現時的經濟制度無法改善窮人的苦況,並在最新發表的《通諭》中提出了必須至力對抗人為的全球暖化威脅:http://mashable.com/2015/06/18/pope-francis-climate-encyclical/;
    3. 由民間組織350.org發起的「全球化石燃料撤資」(Gobal Fossil Fuel Divestment)運動,得到了廣泛的回響,一些著名大學如美國的史坦福和英國的格拉斯哥皆已宣布加入。如今世人最為關注的是梵帝崗是否會於短期內宣布「撤資」:http://gofossilfree.org/commitments/;
    4. 二零一四底年在北京舉行「亞太經合會議」期間,習近平和奧巴馬在「瀛台夜話」之後,發表了《中美應對氣候變化聯合聲明》http://www.greenpeace.org/hk/news/stories/climate-energy/2014/11/comment-on-cn-us-climate-agreement/;
    5. 今年五月在柏林舉行的七大工業國峰會(G7 Summit)期間,德國總理默克爾強烈呼籲發達國家必須積極推動「去碳」(de-carbonization)以對抗全球暖化危機:http://climateobserver.org/industrialized-countries-at-g7-summit-acknowledge-need-to-decarbonize-the-global-economy/;
    6. 希臘的債務危機令世人愈來愈明白所謂「緊縮政策」(austerity; 包括大幅削減社會福利)乃是「富人請客、窮人付賬」的無恥剝削。希臘人民示威抗議大家見怪不怪,但最近(六月)在英國爆發的大規模「反緊縮示威」,顯示了人民的覺醒和團結:http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jun/20/tens-thousands-rally-uk-protest-against-austerity。

     

    我在此強烈呼籲,大家將今年的七、一遊行的主題延伸至廣泛的社會公義和全球公義的議題。我們可以借用「世界社會論壇」(World Social Forum)一個激勵人心的口號:「另一個世界是可能的!」(Another World Is Possible!)

  • 17Jun

    註:以下是我和一位內地的年輕朋友的網上交談。較早前的交談內容,可參閱本平台中〈有關中國前途的對話〉和〈有關中國前途的對話(續)〉兩篇貼文。

    Dear Eddy,

    最近除了英国,意德法也都申请加入亚投行。我很想听听您对这事的看法,促使欧洲转投亚洲,可能还有澳大利亚、韩国等,这背后的原因是什么?更重要的是欧洲的加入会对我国造成什么影响?格局会有改变?还有欧洲的债务会对我们有什么影响?欧元会对人民币造成冲击吗?

    廣如
    *******************************************************************
    廣如:

    方才翻閱電郵,才發覺看漏了你三月時有關「亞投行」的提問。很明顯,這是中國為了打破西方對國際金融長期壟斷所作的舉措,針對的是由美國主導的IMF和日本主導的ADB。美國不加入是意料中事,而日本作為亞洲最大經濟體選擇不加入,當然凸顯了她只是美帝附傭國的事實。

    其他西方國家的加入,我相信是真心想從而振興本國的經濟(說得難聽是“撈油水”),但英國的加入我則以陰謀論的角度詮釋:她是美帝默許下的「無間道」,而之前美國對英國加入表示不滿只是“做戲咁做”。請試想想,多年來英國雖說是歐盟一部份,但她始終不肯放棄英鎊轉用歐羅,清楚說明在全球地緣政治爭霸的戰略中,美國仍然視歐洲為主要對手(從她監聽“最親密”盟友德國的總理默克爾的通訊可知),而英國這個“母親”才是惟一可以信賴的“家人”。也就是說,如果有一天美國需要對付甚至弄垮歐羅,仍然使用英鎊的英國可以不受牽連。

    加入「亞投行」這麼重大的事情,英國不可能不請示美國這個“兒子”兼主子才決定。這所以我認為,是美國安插英國在其中,以便(1)搜集第一手的情報、以及(2)在關鍵時刻進行破壞。在我看來,這是「司馬昭之心,路人皆見」也。

    最近令我很開心的一項發展,是昂山素姬訪問中國,並與習近平對話時提到劉曉波的事情。我的開心是兩方面的,從地緣政治角度,這是中國抗衡美帝在緬甸擴張勢力的“遲來的外交手腕”,簡單的邏輯是:只和專權的軍政府合作最後只會“搭沉船” ,並讓美國在支持昂山素姬之中獲得“漁人之利”。至於另一方面,當然是從爭取民主、自由、人權、法治等普世價值的角度看。當然,昂山素姬查詢劉曉波情況一事國內傳媒不會大事報導,但民間的小道消息必會流傳,而這對爭取民主的國內人士終究是一種鼓舞。

    好了,就此擱筆!

    Eddy

  • 10Jun

    《傘下速寫》 Sketches under Umbrellas

     以下是我應好友黃啟聰(Alvin)之邀,為一本即將出版的畫冊(其中包括了眾多本地 Urban Sketchers — 包括 Alvin本人— 的作品)所寫的英文序言:

    Utopia on Earth?

    - Portraits of an Unfamiliar Hong Kong

     

    Dr. LEE Wai-choi

    Whenever the name “Hong Kong” comes up, most people would think of a bustling metropolis noted for its dazzling speed of doing business as well as almost everything. The people of Hong Kong are famous for their flexibility, adaptabilty and the readiness to make a quick buck, rather than their keenness in politics and social affairs. Actually, having lived under colonial rule for one and a half century, it is well-known that Hong Kong people are pragmatists who have learnt to stay away from politics as far as possible.

     

    So it comes as a great surprise to people around the world, and as a matter of fact even to many people of Hong Kong, when tens of thousands of people dared to defy the law (and braced the attack of tear gas), and occupied key roads outside the Central Governments Offices, which are close to the city’s central business district. This was quickly followed by similar occupations in Causeway Bay, a key commerical area also on Hong Kong Island side, and then Mongkok, another vital commercial district on Kowloon side, leading to complete block-off of traffic in those areas. And this not just for a few days, but for a full 79 days!

     

    And the reason? To fight for genuine universal suffrage, which was promised by the Beijing government since the sovereignty of the city was handed back by the British to the Chinese in 1997. The history of this betrayal and struggle suffice to fill volumes, and volumes have actually been written. To this author, what is amazing is not just the courage and perseverance of the occupiers, but the level of discipline and the spirit of solidarity and communitarianism manifested during the occupation period. Throughout the 79 days, not even a single car was overturned, a single tyre burnt nor a single display window glass broken. And during my numerous visits to the sites, the sense of comradeship was palpable and touching, with young people (some barely in their teens) helping to distribute food, water, medical supplies while collecting each and every bit of garbage to ensure that the occupied areas remain spotlessly clean. More than one friend have echoed my feelings after visiting the occupied areas: “Are we seeing utopia on earth?”

     

    Seeing all these, a thought that occurred to me early on is “Is this what the Paris Commune of 1871 looked like?” Well, you would be hard put to find a person in Hong Kong who knows what the Paris Commune is, but the logic of history drives people toward the same direction. Seeing this as an opportunity too good to lose, I wrote three open letters to the leaders of the movement, and conducted a total of five open-air talks to the occupiers. My thesis is that this heroic surge of citizen activism must not confine itself to a fight against the authoritatrianism of Beijing, but must extend itself – at least in thought if not in specific action – to encompass the fight against the grave social and global injustice brought about by rampant capitalism and the exploitative neocolonial world order. So at a fundamental level, the Occupy Cental movement in Hong Kong and the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York are one and the same movement. Furthermore, in my book on the climate crisis published in 2011, I said “If we lose in our fight against global warming, we lose in everything we are fighting for.” And the greatest obstruction to our fight against global warming is exactly the logic of corporatism and capitalistic expansion.

     

    While historians will continue to spill tons of ink on his epochal event, a group of artists in Hong Kong have borne witness to this using their inks in a somewhat different way. These are the Urban Sketchers, selected works of whom form the book which you are now holding. In this day and age of ubiquitus and instant videorecording, one may question the need of using paint and easel to record the march of events. Yet after looking at the sketches in this book, I am sure you would appreciate the unique value of these testimonies. They are not just the products of artistic skills. They are perspectives and tributes to the indefatigable human spirit portrayed through the hands, mind and heart of human beings with aritistic sensibilities. For the cliché that Hong Kong is a “cultural desert”, this album is the most eloquent refutation.

     

    It is true that the movement ended without achieving its objectives, hence many participants are deeply disillusioned. And yet from a long-term historical perspective, this should only be seen as a set-back and not a complete failure. The fight for democracy and social justice is a long and arduous journey, and what had happened in the autumn of 2014 is already a milestone in the annals of Hong Kong’s history, a “sparkle in the great blue motion of the sunlit sea”. To all the young participants, and the younger generations to come, I have this to say: “The fight has just begun!”

     

    LEE Wai-choi, Eddy.

    2 June 2015

  • 28May

    筆者最近為了《資本的衝動》一書的英文版和內地版忙得不可開交,是以沒有在網上貼文已久。但最近讀到由劍橋護老院醜聞引發的討論(也包括電台節目中的聽眾來電),深感香港人受「新自由主義」洗腦之嚴重,故多忙也要發表一下意見。

     

    日常英語中有一個名詞叫“the elephant in the room” ,意指眾人在分析或爭辯一個問題時,往往把最重要、最明顯的部分(就如站在房子中央的一頭大象)完全忽略了。這可能來自我們認知上的盲點,也可能來自感情上的抗拒,或是多年來被洗腦的結果。就香港安老服務的討論,我認為屬後者居多。

     

    我讀了、聽了這麼多討論,竟然找不到有人提出以下這個最根本的問題:「安老服務這種涉及全社會和人的基本福祉和尊嚴的服務,為什麼會是由市場提供,而不是一種基於稅收的公營服務?」這便是我所指的「房中大象」。

     

    自幼被「自由經濟至上論」哺養的人,必然會像膝蓋被醫生的小錘敲打一樣作出直接反應:「這種無知的建議有違自由經濟原則,所以絕不可取!」可他們卻忘記了,香港的郵政服務、消防服務、供水服務、氣象服務、免費教育、公營醫療制度、公共房屋政策、康文處轄下的公園、圖書館、博物館、漁護處轄下的郊野公園等等,全部都有違「自由經濟」的原則,因此都絕不可取!

     

    筆者多年來不斷強調,由瑪嘉烈‧戴卓爾(Margaret Thatcher)和朗奴‧列根(Ronald Reagan)兩人於上世紀八十年代所發動的「新右回朝」(Return of the New Right),對世界的為害至今未減。這趟權貴復辟一項最犀利(也對基層傷害最大)的武器是「私有化」,而它的理論後盾則是「芝加哥經濟學派」(佛利民、貝克、張五常、王于漸、雷鼎鳴、陳家強、曾俊華、黎智英、楊懷康…)所鼓吹的「新自由主義經濟哲學」(Neoliberalism):「市場是最聰明的!」、「市場最有效率!」、「市場可達至社會資源的最佳分配!」等等。索羅斯(George Soros)稱這套教條為「市場原教旨主義」(market fundamentalism),我則直截了當稱之為「市場萬能論」或「市場迷信」。

     

    拙著《反轉經濟學》對這個問題已有較詳細分析,故在此不贅。在去年底出版的新著《資本的衝動》之中,筆者則恰好談及了安老服務這個題目,有興趣的朋友,可以在書中第廿二章〈第二次分配與公共財〉看到我的分析。簡言之,「幼有所依、老有所養」是任何一個良好社會的基礎,在實現這些目標時,我們千萬不要被「市場至上」的歪理所蒙蔽。

  • 27May

    電視劇《大時代》重播牽起熱潮,除了主角的可怕性格外,最具話題性的,無疑是故事中那「三更窮、五更富」的瘋狂股票世界。其間那種翻手為雲、覆手為雨、爾虞我詐、不是你死便是我亡的博弈和殺戮,都令觀眾留下深刻的印象。

     

    這套劇集首播是1992年,它的歷史藍本上世紀是七、八十年代的多次股災。但這種揭示與批判(亞視拍攝的續集《世紀之戰》批判得更為尖銳)令我們醒覺了嗎?答案是否定的。正如荷里活電影《華爾街》(1987)的批判沒有改變現狀一樣,之後世人還經歷了亞洲金融風暴、科網股爆破、以及零八金融海嘯的巨大破壞。

     

    雖然零八海嘯至今餘波未了,但同樣由劉青雲演出的《奪命金》(2012)充份說明,炒股這種「合法賭博」對人類的吸引是無法抗拒的(雖然片中的蘇杏璇只是想保本養老…),而在「滬港通」、「深港通」的刺激下,香港股市近日牛氣再現,在「樓貴不如炒股」的邏輯下,難保「全民皆股」不會重現香江。

     

    最先發行股票的是1602年成立的荷蘭東印度公司,緊隨其後的不列顛東印度公司亦不甘後人。漂亮的說法是:股票讓民眾能夠分享到企業甚至整個社會經濟增長的成果。但實質上,股票是企業向普羅大眾舉債以擴大經營的一種手段,而每一張股票實際上便是一張欠單。銀行的成立當然也是為了借貸:存於銀行的錢之會有利息,是因為銀行用這些存款放高利貸(合法的那種),而所收取的利息收入除了支付存戶的利息外,仍可使銀行家都變得肚滿腸肥。

     

    去年初,筆者在香港大港開辦了一個名叫「資本的衝動」的通識課程。在第一堂,我問學員中有哪些唸經濟和金融,發現人數也有不少。接著我問,有誰能說出金融的本質是什麼?當然他們都沒有給出我心目中的答案。我於是指出,在令人艷羨和目眩的金融世界背後,其實就是一個字:債。我觀察著學生的反應,發現大部分都神情驚訝,但就唸金融經濟的學生而言,更多的是一種不忿。果然,從第二堂開始,一大部分的這些學生從此缺席(因為課程是不計學分的)。

     

    這對我無疑是一趟教訓,因為把真相一下子說出來固然能夠對學生帶來衝擊,但也會使一些學生產生抗拒自絕門外。那次犯錯已是無法補救,我惟有在此推薦大家看一本書:由「佔領華爾街運動」的精神領袖之一(「我們是99%!」這句口號正是由他所創)的人類學家格雷伯(David Graeber)於2011年發表的《Debt: The First 5000 Years》。這本書內地和台灣皆有翻譯,台灣的譯本稱《債的歷史:從文明的初始到全球負債時代》。

     

    在這本旁徵博引和氣魄宏大的著作中,格雷伯縷述了債務在人類歷史中的關鍵角色。他明確地指出,所有金錢其實都是一種債務,而每張鈔票都是一張欠單。這在經濟學中只是常識,但在學校的教授中卻鮮有提及。格氏復指出,隨著金融海嘯之後美國推行一波又一波的「量化寬鬆」,人類已進入了「全球負債時代」。

     

    筆者在去年底出版的拙著《資本的衝動》之中進一步指出,除了天文數字的金融債務之外,更為可怕的是日益龐大的「生態債務」。我們已經進入了一個不折不扣的「大時代」,因為如果我們無法力挽狂瀾扭轉我們的金融制度和經濟發展模式,經濟崩潰和生態崩潰將把人類推向萬劫不復的地步。

  • 27Apr


            繼我於4月18日發給香港大學和中文大學的兩個畢業生評議會(Convocations)的公開信之後,以下是我於4月22日發給香港大學校長馬菲森的呼籲。

     

    讓我再說一次,如果閣下是八大院校的在學學生或畢業生,請在同學和校友之間發起有關的討論,進而加入全球大學生促使母校進行「去碳撤資」(divestment from fossil fuel)的行動。新一輪對抗全球暖化的國際氣候會議將於今年12月在巴黎召開,全球的輿論取向將是這次會議成敗的關鍵!

     

    Professor Peter Mathieson

    President and Vice-Chancellor

    The University of Hong Kong

     

    Dear Professor Mathieson,

     

    Let me introduce myself. I am a HKU BSc graduate of 1978. Prior to my retirement in 2008, I had been an Assistant Curator of the Hong Kong Space Museum, Senior Scientific Officer of the Royal Observatory Hong Kong, and Vice-Principal of the HKU SPACE Community College. I am now a member of the government’s Science Musuem Advisory Panel, as well as a member of the Instituional Review Board of HKU/Hospital Authority HK West Cluster.

     

    I am now writing to you – as an alumnus and also a citizen of Hong Kong – in the hope of urging my alma mater to take up the call of the Global Divestment Campaign (http://gofossilfree.org/) ,and hence gradually divest her funds from all fossil fuel industry. This will be a means to combat the ongoing crisis of global warming and catastrophic climate change. It will also be an act of great symbolic value in raising the awareness of the public in this issue, similar to the ban on shark’s fin in all official meals championed by HKU a decade ago.

     

    Last Saturday, I attended the annual joint seminar of the HKU and CUHK Convocations, and took the opportunity to make this appeal for divestment by the two universities. I am glad to say that the response was highly positive. An open letter to the two Convocations is attached for your reference.

     

    As a scientist yourself, I am sure you are aware of the gravity of the challenge humankind is facing. And yet the gap between what is being done and what needs to be done is enormous, and time is running out fast. Similar to what I have stated in the aforementioned letter, I would be more than willing to visit your goodself and the SMT to explain the science in greater detail if required.

     

    Yours Sincerely,

     

     

    Dr. Eddy LEE Wai-choi

    22 April 2015

    Email: eddylwc@gmail.com

    Attachment

    To: The Standing Committees (& All Members) of the

    HKU Convocation & CUHK Convocation,

     

    An Urgent Call for our two Universities (and subsequently all universities

    in Hong Kong) to Divest from the Fossil Fuel Industry in order to

    Combat Global Warming and Climate Change

     

    Dear Fellow Alumni,

     

    The adverse impacts of human-induced global warming and climate change are growing stronger day by day. Over the past cenury, global average temperature has risen by 0.9 degrees Celsius, and mean sea level by 20 centimetres. This has already led to significant shrinkage of the Artic ice cap and extensive melting of glaciers world-wide. Severe droughts, heat waves, wild fires, and super-storms are becoming more and more frequent. Biological habitats are being destroyed and the rate of species extinction ( a loss which is irrevocable) has reached an unprecedneted level.

     

    According to the latest assessment report released by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2012, if we continue on our present course, the global temprature will rise by a further 5 degrees, and the sea level by 90 cm by the end of this century. Many scientists consider these projections to be too conservative, fearing that the actual consequences would be far worse.

     

    International efforts to reduce the emission of carbon dioxide – the main culprit behind global warming via the greenhouse effect – has failed miserably so far. With the failure of the 2009 Copenhagen International Climate Conference and the expiry of the Kyoto Protocol in 2012, people the world over have come to the realization that this is an issue too important to be left to the politicians. We the people must stand up and take the lead in this fight for our own future – a fight which we cannot afford to lose.

     

    Initiated by the organization 350.org (http://350.org/), the Global Divestment Campaign launced earlier this year is exactly such a citizens’ action to turn the tide. It is a call for all individuals as well as organizations to divest from the fossil fuel industry, thus giving a clear signal to society-at-large that any further extraction and burning of fossil fuel like coal, oil and natural gas is a crime against humanity.

     

    The organizations targetted by this campaign include all types of NGOs,  charity and humanitarian organizations, as well as various religious organizations such as the Vatican. And yet the leading organizations must surely be the universities, the custodians of knowledge and wisdom in our societies. True to their mission, universities such as Standford University and University of Glasgow have committed themselves to divestment. However, resistance in many universities is strong. As a result, students all over the world are pressing their universities – most notably at Harvard and Oxford – to do the right thing.

     

    I am a HKU BSc graduate of 1978, and have been working hard to raise the awareness of the people in Hong Kong to the threat of global warming for over ten years – with public lectures and radio/TV shows, university GE courses, as well as a book titled 《喚醒69億隻青蛙》published in 2011. A few years ago, a group called 文明急救組 was set up together with some of my friends, and numerous articles were written and published on various on-line platforms. Recently, we have formally registered as the Hong Kong chapter of 350.org. A Facebook account titled 「文明急救組@350.hk」 has just been launched.

     

    I deeply believe that both the HKU and CUHK Convocations are uniquely positioned – the popular phrase nowadays is “those chosen by history” – to take up this challenge. I sincerely hope that after due deliberation, the Standing Committees of both Convocations will start a dialogue with the top management of both universities, and work together to realize the goal of divestment from all fossil fuel businesses. This will send out a clear signal to our society that our only hope lies in the “de-carbonization” of our economy, a move which could not be started too soon.

     

    To help you understand the nature of the campaign as well as the enormity of the challenge we are facing, I have prepared a number of appendices. I would be more than willing to join your meetings and explain the science in detail if required.

     

    Your Sincerely,

     

    Dr. Eddy LEE Wai-choi(Email: eddylwc@gmail.com

     

    全球暖化背景資料:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effects_of_global_warming

    全球暖化危機最新狀況:http://www.climatecentral.org/news/earth-day-climate-trends-18907

  • 20Apr

    強烈呼籲香港大學與中文大學帶頭「去碳撤資」!

            我唸大學時沒有住宿舍,但上星期六(4月18日)上午,我卻參加了由「香港大學畢業生議會」 及 「香港中文大學校友評議會」 合辦的一個教育研討會「港大舍堂/學院教育與中大書院精神 — 回顧與展望」。主要的原因,是我想借此珍貴的機會,向兩間大學的校友介紹正在席卷全球的「去碳撤資」運動(Global Divestment Campaign)。

    首先在此感謝兩個評議會的現任主席蔡秀煜先生(HKU)和陳志新博士(CUHK),讓我在席上作出這一與大會主題好像沒有關係的呼籲。(我說“好像”,當然是因為在一個深刻的層面,這個呼籲與舍堂/書院教育大有關係!)會後,我把事前預備好的有關全球暖化危機和撤資運動的兩份材料交了給他們。不少兩校的校 友(大部分都並不認識)則趨前向我表示支持,令我感到十分鼓舞。

    中文大學方面我其實已經和沈祖堯校長直接聯繫,並獲得十分正面的回應(現正與其中一位副校長積極跟進);香港大學方面我則接觸了學生事務長周偉立博士和大學評議會成員文灼非先生,但暫時未有具體進展。

    但我覺得除了校方高層,兩間大學的學生和校友亦應是推動的主力,這正是我努力爭取在這次聯合活動中發言的原因。

    以下是我交給兩位畢業生評議會主席的公開信:

    Global Divestment Campaign

    去碳撤資、刻不容緩

    To: The Standing Committees (& All Members) of the
    HKU Convocation & CUHK Convocation,

    An Urgent Call for our two Universities (and subsequently all universities
    in Hong Kong) to Divest from the Fossil Fuel Industry in order to
    Combat Global Warming and Climate Change

    Dear Fellow Alumni,

    The adverse impacts of human-induced global warming and climate change are growing stronger day by day. Over the past cenury, global average temperature has risen by 0.9 degrees Celsius, and mean sea level by 20 centimetres. This has already led to significant shrinkage of the Artic ice cap and extensive melting of glaciers world-wide. Severe droughts, heat waves, wild fires, and super-storms are becoming more and more frequent. Biological habitats are being destroyed and the rate of species extinction ( a loss which is irrevocable) has reached an unprecedneted level.

    According to the latest assessment report released by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2012, if we continue on our present course, the global temprature will rise by a further 5 degrees, and the sea level by 90 cm by the end of this century. Many scientists consider these projections to be too conservative, fearing that the actual consequences would be far worse.

    International efforts to reduce the emission of carbon dioxide – the main culprit behind global warming via the greenhouse effect – has failed miserably so far. With the failure of the 2009 Copenhagen International Climate Conference the expiry of the Kyoto Protocol in 2012, people the world over have come to the realization that this is an issue too important to be left to the politicians. We the people must stand up and take the lead in this fight for our own future – a fight which we cannot afford to lose.

    Initiated by the organization 350.org (http://350.org/), the Global Divestment Campaign launced earlier this year is exactly such a citizens’ action to turn the tide. It is a call for all individuals as well as organizations to divest from the fossil fuel industry, thus giving a clear signal to society-at-large that any further extraction and burning of fossil fuel like coal, oil and natural gas is a crime against humanity.

    The organizations targetted by this campaign include all types of NGOs, charity and humanitarian organizations, as well as various religious organizations such as the Vatican. And yet the leading organizations must surely be the universities, the custodians of knowledge and wisdom in our societies. True to their mission, universities such as Standford University and University of Glasgow have committed themselves to divestment. However, resistance in many universities is strong. As a result, students all over the world are pressing their universities – most notably at Harvard and Oxford – to do the right thing.

    I am a HKU BSc graduate of 1978, and have been working hard to raise the awareness of the people in Hong Kong to the threat of global warming for over ten years – with public lectures and radio/TV shows, university GE courses, as well as a book titled 《喚醒69億隻青蛙》published in 2011. A few years ago, a group called 文明急救組 was set up together with some of my friends, and numerous articles were written and published on various on-line platforms. Recently, we have formally registered as the Hong Kong chapter of 350.org. A Facebook account titled 「文明急救組@350.hk」 has just been launched.

    I deeply believe that both the HKU and CUHK Convocations are uniquely positioned – the popular phrase nowadays is “those chosen by history” – to take up this challenge. I sincerely hope that after due deliberation, the Standing Committees of both Convocations will start a dialogue with the top management of both universities, and work together to realize the goal of divestment from all fossil fuel businesses. This will send out a clear signal to our society that our only hope lies in the “de-carbonization” of our economy, a move which could not be started too soon.

    To help you understand the nature of the campaign as well as the enormity of the challenge we are facing, I have prepared a number of appendices. I would be more than willing to join your meetings and explain the science in detail if required.

    Your Sincerely,

    (李偉才/李逆熵)Email: eddylwc@gmail.com; Mobile: 9738 1551

    各位朋友,如果你也是香港八大院校的在學學生或畢業生,而且也認同我的呼籲,懇請你們聯絡你們的同學/校友,對這個課題作出討論,並進而向你們的母校呼籲甚至施壓,令它們盡快作出「去碳撤資」的承諾!

     

    ”"

     

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