Benny Tai’s Renewal

This article by HK01 reporter 梁子傑 Leung Tsz-kit brings us up to date with the situation of 戴耀廷 Benny Tai, who was dismissed from his teaching post at Hong Kong University at the end of July. It outlines Tai’s response to this next phase in his life, introduces us to his innovative Rule of Law Rebirth Project, and touches on the prospect of Tai’s being charged under the new National Security Law for his role in the very successful primary elections held on 11-12 July. The keynote is rebirth.


上月底(7月28日),港大校委會未有接納教務委員會的建議,保留佔領運動發起人、前港大法律系副教授戴耀廷的教席,以 18 比 2 大比數通過即時解僱戴耀廷。戴接受港台訪問時表示,現時香港社會淪陷,大學無法力挽狂瀾,守護學術自由,願大學校長在充滿謊言的時代,仍敢講真話。

● 校委會 haauh6 wái2 wúi6*2 = university committee; university board; university council
● 接納 jip3 laahp6 = to admit; to accept
● 發起 faat3 héi2 = to initiate; to start
● 大比數 daaih6 béi2 sou3 = (?) majority (in a vote)
● 淪陷 lèuhn4 haahm6 = 1. (of territory) fall into enemy hands; be occupied by the enemy 2. to submerge; to flood; to inundate
● 力挽狂瀾 lihk6 wáahn5 kòhng4 làahn4 = to pull strongly against a crazy tide; fig., to try hard to save a desperate crisis, overcome impossible odds, seize victory from the jaws of defeat

At the end of last month (28 July), the HKU Council did not accept the recommendation to retain the position of Benny Tai, one of the initiators of the Occupy Central Movement and Assistant Professor in the Law Department of HKU, voting 18 to 2 for his immediate dismissal. In an interview with RTHK, Tai said that at present Hong Kong society is going under [淪陷] and that universities are powerless to resist the tide and protect academic freedoms. It was his wish that university heads would dare to speak the truth in an era filled with lies.


● 角色 gok3 sīk1 = a role; a part
● 衝上天空 chūng1 séuhng5 (?) tīn1 hūng1 = (?) flying straight up into the sky | cf. 衝 = 1. to charge; to rush; to dash 2. to soar; to skyrocket; to shoot up; to rise rapidly

Tai said that he felt freer after being forced to leave Hong Kong University, a place where he taught for nearly thirty years, because after leaving he could find new roles [for himself]: “Just like a bird flying straight up into the sky, I feel, strangely [反而], an ever greater freedom. Even if one is unable to stay in one [particular] place, I believe that that the sky is vast. Yes, you could think of it as [可以算] the end of one phase of [my] life, but it is also the beginning of another.


● 感慨 gám2 koi3 = to sigh with emotion
● 學府 hohk6 fú2 = seat of learning; institute of higher learning
● 守不住 sáu2 bāt1 jyuh6 = unable to guard; unable to defend
● 獨存 duhk6 chyùhn4 = to exist on its own; to stand alone
● 張翔 Jēung1 Chèuhng4 = Professor Xiang Zhang, President and Vice-Chancellor of HKU | 翔 = to circle in the air
● 到港日子尚短 = has not yet spent much time in Hong Kong| Note: 尚 seuhng6 = still; yet

With regard to the current [state] of academic freedom in Hong Kong, Tai sighs with emotion [over the fact that] Hong Kong’s highest seat of learning has been unable to defend academic freedom: “When the whole of Hong Kong is going under, HKU cannot stand alone, and both the university and its vice-chancellor are powerless to resist the tide.” He [went on to say] that he has no great hopes for the vice-chancellor Professor Xiang Zhang because he has not been in Hong Kong for long, and that the ideal university head should dare to speak the truth at a time filled with lies.

近日,戴開展「香港法治重生計劃」(Hong Kong’s Rule of Law Rebirth Project),冀在社區推動法治教育工作。他稱,雖然「法治已死」,但仍有機會重生:「我們要有死亡的覺悟,但亦要有重生的盼望,現在香港正經歷死亡的歷程,但當我們有重生的盼望,我們有的就不是一種無力感,而是學習忍耐等候。」

● 冀 kei3 = to hope; to long for; to look forward to
● 推動法治教育工作 = to promote rule-of-law education work
● 覺悟 gok3 ngh6 = consciousness; awareness
● 盼望 paan3 mohng6 = to hope for; to long for
● 歷程 lihk6 chìhng4 = a course (that a certain process takes)
● 忍耐 yán2 noih6 = to exercise patience; to exercise restraint; to restrain oneself
● 等候 dáng2 hauh6 = to wait; to await; to expect

Just recently, Tai has launched [his] Hong Kong’s Rule of Law Rebirth Project in the hope of fostering the work of education [with regard to] the rule of law. He states that although “the rule of law is dead”, there is still the chance of a rebirth: “We must have an awareness of [this] death, but we must also harbour an expectation of its rebirth, giving us then not a sense of powerlessness but the learning of patient anticipation [忍耐等候].

對於民主派曾組織、策劃及參與初選活動被指有可能違反《港區國安法》第 20 條、第 22 條及第 29 條,戴表示,對此感到誠惶誠恐,但會坦然面對,亦會繼續保持單純的心,戴又認為自己得比失多:「可能開始時這條路很少人同行,但道路愈來愈黑,同行的人卻愈來愈多。」

● 初選 chō1 syún2 = primary elections; a straw poll
● 誠惶誠恐 sìhng4 wòhng4 sìhng4 húng2 = in fear and trepidation
● 坦然 táan2 yìhn4 = calm; unperturbed; having no misgivings

With regard to the claim that [指] the democratic parties’ organizing, planning and participating in primary elections may constitute a violation of articles 20, 22 and 29 of the Hong Kong National Security Law, Tai said that he felt fear and trepidation but would face [this possibility] without misgivings, and would continue to maintain a purity of heart. Tai also believes that he has gained more than he has lost: “At the beginning, few people walked this road [with me], but now, as the way gets darker and darker, the number of people walking with me is, however, growing.

Reporter: 梁子傑 14 August 2020
Source: Source: HK01

Hong Kong’s Latest Miracle!

To watch the video made by HK01, please click here.

Benny Tai speaks:

We have created yet another miracle

In this public ballot [for] primary elections [for] the democratic camp
+ 初選 cho1 syun2 = primary election

According to the current system, the electronic system, statistics for the number of people voting

Stands at 592,211

In addition, we also have roughly 21,000 paper ballots
+ 選票 syun2 piu3 = a vote

Making reasonable calculations on the basis of [these figures]

There is quite a big chance (?), [that] this vote conducted by the people
+ 由 yauh4 = indicates the subject of the verb進行 jeun3 hahng4 = to carry out | + 民間 mahn4 gaan1 = of the people (as opposed to the government or some official agency)

In excess of 600,000 [people voted in this ballot]

Because it takes rather a long time to count the votes
+ 點票 dim2 piu3 = to count votes

[And] because there are also [都] 21,000 paper ballots

但我哋估計呢,個個嘅投票嘅結果呢 We estimate, however, that the result of all the votes

At the quickest, it will take until dusk tomorrow (13 July) before [the result] comes out


Reporter speaks:

Robert Chung Ting Yiu, the Director of the Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute at Hong Kong University, said
+ 民意 mahn4 yi3 = public opinion | + 總監 jung2 gaam1 = director

That the counting of the paper votes was about to get underway
+ 即將 jik1 jeung1 = about to (indicates a near future occurrence) | + 展開 jin2 hoi1 = to open up; to launch

[And] when the counting was complete

The result combined with the electronic voting result (?) would be announced


Benny Tai speaks again:

I believe that every single candidate

Will keep their promise [in line with] the agreement we had, the agreement made before, when we were co-ordinating [this ballot]
+ 協調 hip3 tiuh4 = harmonious; to coordinate | + 協議 hip3 yih5 = to negotiate; an agreement

And make a decision to take part or not in the official election

On the basis of these two, three days, we will announce the results and afterwards

Some districts will have to do a bit more in the way of co-ordination

Including Hong Kong Island and Kowloon West

[Now] if any groups taking part in the election choose to ignore [唔理] this previous agreement

And later go on to contest the election

It is my belief that they will receive censure from various quarters
+ 責難 jaak3 naahn4 = blame; censure

If they want to confront those consequences [of their actions]

Although they may be able to hold on to their own voter bases [基本盤]
+ 即使 jik1 si2 = although; even though | + 基本盤 gei1 bun2 pun4*2 = base; people who are committed to voting for you

Actually, there is only a slight chance in my view that such people will be elected

I think these spectacles of mine have been broken a fair number of times already

From what I said in the past few days about our elections

可能只係得170,000 仲驚不夠數嘅時候
Possibly only getting [a turn out] of 170,000, I was still afraid then that the numbers wouldn’t be enough (?)

So everyone needs to keep making an effort

This time 600,000 [Hong Kong] citizens have participated in these primary elections

When 6 September comes around

The number of Hong Kong citizens ought to be many, many more than this

And wisely they will understand how to make use of their vote
+ 運用 wahn6 yuhng6 = to utilize

Enabling candidates belonging to the democratic camp to win the greatest number of seats
+ 候選人 hauh6 syun2 yahn4 = candidate | + 贏取 yehng4 cheui2 = to win | + 議席 yih5 jihk6 = a seat in LegCo

And reach the objective of 35+

Cantonese through News Stories: Benny Tai Goes to Jail

Capture_Occupy Central Sentencing_24 APR 2019

Students of Cantonese watching the news in recent weeks have enjoyed an absolute field day in terms of legal vocabulary. In this report on the jailing of civil disobedience activist Professor Benny Tai, 趙嘉韻 Jiuh6 Gāa1 Wahn6 at TVB provides us with a very competent update on the basics of penitentiary vocabulary. The way things are going in Hong Kong, familiarity with the following twelve new words is set to become essential learning . . .

12 new words:

1. 押送 aat3 sung3 = to escort; to take … under escort
2. 監獄 gāam1 yuhk6 = prison; jail
3. 服刑 fuhk6 yìhng4 = to serve a prison sentence
4. 囚衣 chàuh4 yī1 = prison clothes
5. 囚車 chàuh4 chē1 = prison van
6. 懲教署 = chìhng4 gaau3 chyúh5 = Correctional Services Department
7. 收押所 sāu1 aat3 só2 = detention house; reception centre
8. 紀律程序 géi2 leuht6 chìhng4 jeuih6 = disciplinary procedures
9. 革除 gaak3 chèuih4 = to dismiss (from employment)
10. 判囚 pun3 chàuh4 = to sentence (someone) to go to prison (?)
11. 公民抗命  gūng1 màhn4 kong3 mihng6 = civil disobedience
12. 爭取民主 jāng1 chéui2 màhn4 jyú2 = to struggle for democracy

*For jyutping romanization, you can cut and paste any Cantonese vocabulary in this post onto the Sheik Cantonese website for checking.

Benny Tai, one of the people who initiated Occupy Central, was taken off to prison under escort to serve his sentence.

Wearing a prison uniform, Benny Tai — who has been sentenced to sixteen months in prison — was escorted onto a prison van by staff from the Correctional Services Department and taken away from the Lai Chi Kok Reception Centre.

Note: Just as Cantonese says “[my] stomach is hungry” for “I am hungry”, here we have “[his] body was wearing”. Also, 由yàuh4 here seems to indicate agency, identifying the “doer” of a particular action. Possibly it is used here in preference to the passive marker 被beih6 which (at least traditionally) was associated with unpleasant or adverse consequences

Continue reading “Cantonese through News Stories: Benny Tai Goes to Jail”