香港:一个很特别的地方,可它到底在哪儿? / Hong Kong: A Very Special Place, But Where Is It?

香港:一个很特别的地方,可它到底在哪儿?

我在美国念书的时候,搭顺风车还是年轻人常见的旅行方式,让你可以既经济实惠又妙趣横生地从一座城市穿越到另一座城市。在主要的州际公路旁,经常可以看到一些人(多为男性)站在匝道入口处,随身带着一块纸板,上面是手写的搭车目的地。当然,即便是在当年,搭车也存在着安全隐患,但总体来说,那个年代相对还较为安全和简单,一些隐患也比较好控制。

如今,你仍会在路边见到举着纸板求助的人,但他们要的是钱或者工作,不再是顺风车了。

出大学校门一年以后,我离开芝加哥老家,搭车前往西海岸,在那儿买了一张去香港的单程机票。出发时,因为似乎没人清楚香港到底在哪儿,我就做了一块搭车牌,上面写着“香港”两个字。人们的好奇心发挥了作用,我很快就接力般地搭到了很多车。一些人还问我是不是走错了路。这是我这辈子做过最管用的搭车牌。

Hong Kong: A Very Special Place, But Where Is It?

In my student days in the U.S., hitchhiking was a common way for young people to get around, and it was a very economical and interesting way to get from one city to another. It was common along major interstate highways to see individuals (mostly male) standing by the side of the entrance ramp with a cardboard sign on which their destination would be hand-written. There were safety concerns, of course, even then; but by and large it was a safer, simpler time, and such concerns seemed more manageable in those days.

Nowadays, you still see people with cardboard signs by the side of the road, and they are still asking for something, but more often money or work rather than a ride somewhere.

When I left my home in the Chicago area one year out of university, I hitch-hiked to the West Coast, from where I had purchased a one-way ticket to Hong Kong. When setting out, because no one seemed very clear on exactly where Hong Kong was, I made a hitch-hiking sign on which I wrote “Hong Kong.” The curiosity factor worked wonders, and I got a lot of rides in fairly quick succession. Some people asked if I was going the wrong way. It was the most effective hitch-hiking sign I’d ever made.

香港特别行政区区花——紫荆花 / Hong Kong’s Official Flower, the Bauhinia

这些都是70年代中期的事了。从那以后,特别是在1997年香港回归中国以后,香港获得了国际媒体的广泛关注。作为宣传口号中的“亚洲国际都会”,香港是世界三大金融中心之一,也是最繁忙的三座港口之一……

但遗憾的是,仍有很多人不知道香港地处何方。

几周前,我哥哥鲍勃从芝加哥用联邦快递给我寄了个包裹。快递公司的职员显得有些迟疑,因为她觉得香港不是一座城市,而是一个国家,因此她要求鲍勃提供我的收件地址位于香港的哪座城市。

这个问题并不局限于某家航空快递公司,我也遇到过其他公司因为缺少邮政编码而拒绝投递香港包裹的情况。他们根本没有顾及邮政编码在香港这个弹丸之地毫无用武之处的事实。是的,香港是全世界极少数没有邮政编码的微型区划之一。

此外,有些网购订单也会自动拒绝没有邮政编码的支付地址和送货地址。

(“亲爱的圣诞老人:我谨代表我本人和700万香港居民,恳求您送给我们一个邮政编码,好让我们生活得更简单一些,免遭别人的自动拒绝。我们不需要复杂的编码,一个大号码就够用了,我们可以分享。多谢了。——此致!四不像”)

而香港的身份识别问题也不仅限于邮政编码。有一次我在美国的赫兹公司租车,帮我填表的柜台职员问我香港属于哪个国家。我还没来得及搭腔,她身边一位身着赫兹制服的同事就告诉她:“你傻啊!香港的国家是亚洲!”后来我加入了赫兹的金卡计划—— 金卡会员可以自动登记—— 就不用再为我的原籍国争论不休了。

我在美国好几个州购买钓鱼执照时,也遇到过一些有趣的对话。买这个执照通常是在体育用品店,有时也会在加油站,一般会要求出示有效驾照。我会亮出香港驾照,但因为不太常见,所以常会引发这样的开场白:

“哇,香港。在这儿可不常见。你在那儿生活很久啦?现在日语一定说得不错吧?”

我还——不止一次地——被踢出过网购程序,只因为香港电话号码有11位,超过了网上表格允许的位数。

(“亲爱的圣诞老人:另外,您的助理能从我们的电话号码里减去几位,作为我们的新邮政编码吗?这样就两全其美了。再次感谢!”)

连电话号码都会因为过长而遭到拒绝时,你就会知道通货膨胀日益严峻了。

假如这些还不足以说明问题,那我还从美联航收到过里程账单,账单地址上赫然写着“日本香港”。那是很久以前的事了,但想想还是够可怕的。也不知道有没有人告诉过飞行员香港到底在哪儿?

即使考虑到美国教育在国际事务和地理知识方面存在不足,但我仍然认为出现上面这些形象问题,香港自身也多少有些责任。

就好比我,从来就对香港97年以后的宣传口号“亚洲国际都会”不感冒,认为它语焉不详,含糊不清。亚洲有很多大城市,其中不乏世界级的城市和大都会。同时,亚洲也是全球较大的地区,类似于银河在我们星系中的地位。因此不能指望人们能在如此广袤无垠的区域内找到弹丸之地香港,至少没有GPS是不行的。

我一直认为香港的独特定位应该在于它是“中国世界都会”,这样既不会抢了其他中国城市的风头,也强调了过去30年香港支持中国改革开放的历史角色,更不用提在亚洲地区和全球贸易及金融中所起的作用了。

That was the mid-1970s. Since that time, and especially surrounding Hong Kong’s 1997 transition back to China, Hong Kong has received a lot of international media coverage. “Asia’s World City”, as its promotional slogan goes, is one of the three leading financial centers of the world, one of the three busiest ports, etc., etc., etc.

Unfortunately a lot of people still don’t know where it is.

A couple of weeks ago, my brother Bob kindly sent me a FEDEX parcel from Chicago, which the clerk baulked over because, according to her, Hong Kong is not a city, it’s a country. She demanded to know which city within Hong Kong my address was located in.

This is not a problem limited to one air courier company. I’ ve had other air courier companies reject parcels bound for Hong Kong because the address lacked a postal code, despite the fact that poor little Hong Kong suffers from an absence of postal codes because it is too small in size for them to be useful here. This puts Hong Kong in a very elite group of tiny territories around the world which do not have postal codes.

Certain online shopping check-out forms will also automatically reject a billing/shipping address which lacks a postal code.

(“Dear Santa Claus: on behalf of me and my 7 million neighbors here in Hong Kong, can we please have a Postal Code? It would make life so much simpler and stop people from automatically rejecting us. We don’t need multiple postal codes. Just one big one will do. We’ll share it. Thanks so much. Sincerely, SBX”)

Hong Kong’s identity problems don’t end with Postal Codes, either. Once while renting a car from Hertz in the U.S., the clerk behind the desk who was assisting me to fill in the required forms, asked me what country Hong Kong was in. Before I could respond, the Hertz uniformed colleague standing next to her said “You dummy! Hong Kong’s country is Asia!” Later I joined the Hertz Gold Card program — the check-in process is automatic for Gold Card holders — so my country of origin needn’t be the subject of ongoing debate.

I’ve also had interesting discussions several times while purchasing fishing licenses in various U.S. states. This transaction, handled in sporting goods stores and sometimes gas stations, usually requires producing a valid driver’s license, so I volunteer my Hong Kong driver’s license, which is unusual enough that it often sparks a conversational gambit something like this:

“Wow. Hong Kong. We don’t get that many of those in here. You lived there a long time? You speak pretty good Japanese by now?”

I’ve also — on more than one occasion — had online purchase check-out procedures derailed because Hong Kong telephone numbers have 11 digits, which exceeds the number permitted in the computer field within the online form.

(“Dear Santa: P.S. Can you have Santa’s helpers make our new Postal Code by subtracting some digits from our phone numbers please? This would be a real win-win situation. Thanks again.”)

You know inflation is a growing problem when even your phone numbers are rejected as overly jumbo.

And if that weren’t enough, I once received my mileage plus update in the mail from United Airlines, addressed to me in “Hong Kong, Japan.” That was a long time ago, but it was kind of scary. Has anyone told the pilots?

Even allowing for the inadequacies of American education when it comes to international affairs and geography, I also think that image problems are at least partly the responsibility of the subject, which in this case is Hong Kong.

I, for one, have never been much of a fan of Hong Kong’s post-1997 slogan “Asia’s World City.” It’s vague and unclear. Asia has lot of big cities, many of which are world class and fairly cosmopolitan. Asia is also a huge region of the world, a bit like the Milky Way is within the universe. No one can be expected to find tiny little Hong Kong in that giant expanse, at least not without GPS.

It’s always seemed to me that Hong Kong’s unique selling proposition is that it is “China’s World City”, which takes nothing away from any other city in China, and underlines Hong Kong’s historic role in helping support China’s open door and reform. policy these past 30-some years, not to mention its role in Asian regional and global trade and finance.


更多



阅读数 338,600 / 338,600 views



发表评论

电子邮件地址不会被公开。 必填项已用*标注

:wink: :-| :-x :twisted: :) 8-O :( :roll: :-P :oops: :-o :mrgreen: :lol: :idea: :-D :evil: :cry: 8) :arrow: :-? :?: :!: