14 April 2020

Lunar New Year Message from Chris Patten, HK Governor in 1997

1997年香港總督彭定康農曆新年賀辭

新的一年又來臨了。對香港每個家庭以至整體社會來說,這個新年都具有特殊的意義,原因我們都很清楚——這是今年夏天香港主權移交前的最後一個新年。每個人的心情難免百感交集,而又無比興奮。對我和內子,以及我們的小女兒來說,這種百感交集的感覺尤為強烈,因為今年六月底,我們便要告別香港;過去五年來,這個地方一直是我們的家。

遺憾的是,在我出任總督期間,我們兩個較年長的女兒潔思和麗思,沒有與我們一起在香港生活。不過她們也曾趁着假期,來港稍作逗留,並親眼看過香港這個城市,是何等的與別不同。然而就像你們當中許多人一樣,我們沒有把兩個女兒留在身邊,而是讓她們在萬里外獨自生活求學,畢業後又在那兒開展她們的事業。我不得不承認,我和內子無時無刻不惦念這兩個孩子。

不過,我們最小的女兒,跟我和內子一樣,非常享受在香港的生活。她在這裡接受優良的教育,又結識了不少知己好友。一旦要離開這個她一直視作家鄉的地方,我相信她必定非常難過和傷感。
離開香港,我們一定會時常懷念這裡的許多摯友,我深盼我們的友誼天長地久。新春伊始,這確實是我真心的願望。

回顧過去的幾個月,我們看到香港又再取得非凡的成就。

香港是全球經濟最蓬勃的地區之一,表現也最突出。根據美國智囊團的評估,香港是全球最自由的經濟體系。我們既能保持相當高的經濟增長率,又把通脹率降低,實在令人欣慰。

我們的失業人數亦告下降。當然,我們不願意見到任何人失業,但最低限度,我們現已再次創造更多的就業機會。過往幾個月,我們的儲備——即香港整個社會存放於銀行的款項,增幅甚至高於以前。

強大的經濟實力,使我們能夠履行這個充滿愛心的社會期望政府承擔的責任,例如更妥善地照顧高齡和殘疾人士,處境不幸的人,以及社會上成就和經濟條件均不如其他大部分港人的一群。

照顧這些人,是我們應做的事;此外,我認為,與全港市民一起討論長遠房屋策略,也是我們應做的事,因為每個家庭心目中至為重要的事情,除了子女的健康和教育外,就是擁有一個舒適的居所。房屋問題確是每個人的切身問題。

展望新的一年,充滿考驗和挑戰。我相信,我們有足夠的信心面對這些挑戰。世界上沒有多少地方,能夠在十數年間取得一倍的經濟增長;世界上沒有多少地方,能夠像我們一樣,擁有如此優秀的公務員隊伍。

世界上也沒有多少地方,社會環境像香港這麼穩定。何以見得呢?香港的罪案數字持續下降,目前的罪案率,實際上較八十年代初期還要低。

由此可見,香港確是一個成就卓越,人人得以安居樂業的地方。我衷心希望香港繼續欣欣向榮,寫下更輝煌的一頁,成為一個可與子孫永享繁榮的地方。當你們在下一個農曆新年,回顧今年的成績時,盼望大家能夠看到另一個碩果豐收的年度。

今年夏天,我將會帶着依依不捨的心情,離開香港。正如我剛才所說,我會深深懷念這個美好的地方,這個了不起的城市。當董先生成為特別行政區首長時,我深信他必定全心全力,保持香港的繁榮安定。

在此,我恭祝各位安坐家中的觀眾——新春快樂!

Another New Year. A very special one this, for every family in Hong Kong and for Hong Kong as a whole. We know the reason for that - this is the last new year before the transfer of sovereignty this summer. So, it's a poignant and exciting time for everybody. Particularly poignant for me and my wife and our youngest daughter, because we'll be leaving Hong Kong, which has been our home for five years, at the end of June.

Unfortunately we haven't had our two elder girls, Kate and Laura, with us while I've been Governor. They've come on holidays. They've seen what a very special place Hong Kong is. But like so many of you, I've had children away from Hong Kong finishing their education, and starting their careers, and I'd be telling you a terrible untruth if I didn't admit that we've missed them a great deal from time to time.
But our youngest daughter, like my wife and myself, has greatly enjoyed living in Hong Kong. She's had a wonderful education. She's made marvellous friends, and I think it's going to be particularly difficult for her when she leaves the place which she regards as home.

When we leave we'll be looking back on many friendships made, and I hope that the friends we've made will be friends for life. I'd certainly like to think that, at a New Year.

I suppose when we look back in Hong Kong over the last months, we see once again a story of extraordinary success.

The Hong Kong economy is one of the best ..... best performing in the world. We're the freest economy in the world, according to American think-tanks. We've been very happy to see our growth rate staying pretty high, and we've seen inflation come down.

We've seen unemployment figures fall. Any unemployment is too much, but at least we're creating more jobs again. And we've seen our reserves - the amount of money that we've got as a community in the bank - we've seen our reserves increasing even more over the last months.

That economic strength has enabled us to do what a caring community like this wants to see the Government doing. Making better provision for the elderly, for the disabled, for the disadvantaged, for all those who don't have as successful and prosperous a time in society as the majority.

It's right to take care of them, and it's right also - I think - for us to have started to involve the community in a discussion of our long-term housing strategy, because the most important thing in every family's life, apart from the health and education of their children, is to have a decent roof over their heads. So housing matters to everyone.

Well, we look forward from this New Year to the challenging year ahead. I think we can do so with quite a bit of confidence. There aren't many places around the world where you could say that the economy had doubled in strength over the last dozen or so years. There aren't many places around the world, with such a fine civil service as we've got.

There aren't many places around the world where you can point to as great social stability as there is in Hong Kong. And what's one of the signs of that? Well, the fact that here in Hong Kong our crime has been falling and is now actually lower than it was in the early 1980's.

So Hong Kong is a successful and decent place for everyone to live in. I very much hope that it will continue to be even more successful, that it will continue to be a splendid place in which you can bring up your family, and that when you look back at the next Chinese New Year, when you look back on this year, you'll be able to see another one which has been very successful.

I'll leave Hong Kong this summer, with - as I said - a good deal of nostalgia, a good deal of feeling for one of the finest places in the world, one of the greatest cities in the world, and I'm sure that Mr Tung - when he becomes Chief Executive of the SAR - will be committed to doing all he can to keep things that way.
So, to all of you watching at home - Sun Chun Fai Lok.

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