Fong Chi-hang: Subjectivity in HK Football Team

Subjectivity in HK Football Team
Translated by Vivian L., written by Brian FONG Chi-hang
Original: http://hk.apple.nextmedia.com/news/art/20151118/19377462 

  • Hong Kong held China to a 0-0 draw in a World Cup qualifier match on Tuesday night at Mong Kok Stadium

Hong Kong’s World Cup qualifier match against China came to an end on Tuesday night as the city’s team battled its rival to a valiant 0-0 draw. Prospect for team Hong Kong aside, we have witnessed the birth of a new era as the games progressed—a new age of the "Hong Kong subjectivity".

To say football [or soccer as the Americans say] has nothing to do with politics is a lie that cannot fool anyone with half a brain. In fact, football [translator's comment: or any team sports for that matter] more often than not embodies the nexus between sports and politics. Football is the battleground between bitter rivals both on and off court (for example England─Argentina or Japan─South Korea). It also reflects the conflicts between a state's centralised power and its peripheral groups (centre-periphery conflicts).

Political scientist Benedict Anderson defined a nation as an imagined community [translator’s note: In contrast with an actual community where members interact with each other face-to-face, an imagined community is constructed socially, and imagined by the people who perceive themselves as part of that group]. Awareness of such a community is usually through symbols.

Star players pegging away on the pitch, fans cheering for their heroes, team flags and banners filling every corner of the fully seated stadium—the game of football provides the perfect concoction of the construction of subjectivity of the “periphery” community.

Examples of centre-periphery conflicts exemplified in football symbolisms are abundant.
Football clubs Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao are both the mascots and arenas of the Catalans' and the Basques' defiance against the Spanish state. In Verona, Italy, one lives and breathes a sense of the proud Venetian identity. Go to a Cardiff City game and you will see the mutual grudge between the Welsh and the English in action. Over in the French cities of Bastia and Rennes, the regional identities of the people of Corsica and Brittany cannot be more apparent in their home teams.

Today’s Team Hong Kong may not be the best squad in the city’s history, but it is certainly the team that carries the strongest sense of subjectivity of the Hong Kong identity. The match-up between HK and China inadvertently set the stage where Hongkongers defied “the Chinese Celestial Empire” at a time when China’s oppression towards the city is in full throttle while Hongkongers reap an ever-strong sense of Hong Kong subjectivity.

As team HK delivered two electrifying draws against China, every cheer and chant that echoed all around the city marked the birth of the Hong Kong Subjectivity. Our time has come and the political discourse between Hong Kong and China will never be the same.

(Author Dr. Brian FONG Chi-hang is the Associate Director of the Academy of Hong Kong Studies at The Hong Kong Institute of Education)


Kim Pan-gon, our Hiddink in Hong Kong

Kim Pan-gon, our Hiddink in Hong Kong
Written, edited and translated by Chen-t'ang 鎮棠

(Singtao Daily)

After the game last (17th) night, with a Korean being the coach and leading our national team and CY Leung refusing to show his support to it, I somehow wonder why would a Korean dedicate his life in Hong Kong, backing the football development?

Born in the May Day of 1969, Kim Pan-gon was initially a left-wing back in 1992 in K League. He met Kwok Ka-ming in a team coach training, who suggested Kim to play on the field in 2000. Kwok was a well-known football technical consultant in HKFA and a lecturer in FIFA and AFC at the time. He gained his fame in Instant-Dict, but a year later, the company withdrew and became Double Flower, and Kim continued. He became the player and coach at the same time in 2002 in Rangers, as he has a strong left leg, he dealt with all free kicks and corner kicks at the time. Later he returned to Korea and obtained the AFC Professional License in 2002.

In 2008, he returned to Hong Kong and led South China to be the champion of the local league, and even brought it to AFC Cup. The match between South China and Kuwait Athletics had taken 37,459 spectators, with the "all sold" flag on in Hong Kong Stadium. He later returned to Korea for medical treatment, and in October 2011, he re-applied for the post of the HK team coach. He was, however, commissioned as the U-18 coach in December. November 2012 marked the start of the coach life, though an acting one, and in May 2013, he became the official coach of our Hong Kong Team.

"When I coach Hong Kong, I really want to die for Hong Kong." That's what he said in this September. Why would he say that? "The war between North and South Korea was beyond their control, and South Koreans were willing to dedicate themselves on the field for the country. Such spirit was incorporated into the education system, and made me growing up with a strong sense of nation. Football match is just like a small war. When you are on the field, you gotta spare no effort for the team, so I said, 'Die for Hong Kong'." he explained.

"Hong Kong is a place with dream. I could no longer be a player, but Hong Kong gave me such chance, and let me become her coach." He did not appreciate the system in Korea, where the coach has to live with the players the whole week except Sunday, not to mention the workload." Kim thinks that Hong Kong is more flexible in terms of time, at least he can take care of his family. The staff of South China once asked Kim how long would his 13-year-old son study in Hong Kong (in 2010, so should be 18 now), Kim answered in a quite serious way: "Thank you, until they go to university."

Mark Sutcliffe, the CEO of HKFA, would soon renew the contract with Kim. Sutcliffe felt optimistic about his role, and once the contract is renewed, not only Kim has to lead the match on 24 March 2016 against Qatar, he also needs to take Hong Kong into one of the 24 teams in the final week of AFC 2019. In order to enhance the development, Sutcliffe said the Japan exchange tour in mid-2015 brought some directions and inspiration to the future development of Hong Kong Football League. The Tseung Kwan O Football Training Centre is about to begin its former works, and will hopefully open in mid-2017.


2015 District Council Election: Beware of the Pseudo-umbrella-revolution-supporters

2015 District Council Election: Beware of the Pseudo-umbrella-revolution-supporters
Written by Karen Leung

(Photo by Hong Kong In-media)
(Photo by Hong Kong In-media)
(Photo by Hong Kong In-media)

Under convenient cover of “Umbrella supporters”, eight candidates (Li Chak-sum, Lau Pak-tung, Wan Tsz-fung, Winnie Wun Ki-yan, Vannie Poon Wing-yin, Chan Pak-lun, Lun Man-kit and Lam Chung-shing) of the District Council Election seem to be in an attempt to add to Pro-democratic Camp’s unfavorable position in intense electoral district, namely Hong Kong Island. 

Political platforms can hardly be found on their publications; the candidates are from New Youth Group (NYG) share the same slogan, and some of them even share the same mobile phone number; they never in a single occasion explain their definition of "supporting the Umbrella revolution"; so far, candidates have not revealed their occupations, their sources of financial assistance for elections.

When Li Chak-sum was asked in an interview of the knowledge about the system of “small-circle election”, Li replied, “I...I...I...know about this of course. Surely I do. It is...formed by an election committee. Maybe there are some problems from the election committee’s system.” Li’s grandmother said in an interview that Li is paid 1.5K to participate in the election and that Li ranks money and business as the top priority.

It naturally calls in question whether Li or the NYG involves in violation of the Elections (Corrupt and Illegal Conduct) Ordinance. Democratic Party and Civil Party then ask ICAC to look into the matter.