Ta Kung Pao: Let Right-Hand Drive Gradually Drive Away from Hong Kong

Ta Kung Pao is a Hong Kong-based pro-Beijing newspaper. This article is now widely shared after the announcement that Mainland Chinese self-drive tour is going to be allowed in Hong Kong.

Feb 7th 2011

For tourists that have just arrived in Hong Kong, especially the booming Mainland Chinese “individual visit scheme” tourists, they must be curious about the exciting and unique transportation system in there. Besides ding-ding producing, antique feeling and century-old trams, on the major roads and small lanes there are European style double-decker buses, and on the Victoria Harbour there are spacious wooden ferries shuttling between her. Tourists who observe carefully must be able to find peculiarities in the transports and traffic rules of this metropolis. Indeed, they are different from Mainland China and even the rest of the world. The driving seat of Hong Kong car is on the right front and the traffic drive on the left as adaptation. Hongkonger who are born and raised there are accustomed to it and they see it as natural. They call it “right (*wheel) car” and use it to differentiate the usually seen car that is with wheel on the left and driven towards the right.

There is no reason for Hong Kong not to follow the trend of the world

Hong Kong have been opened to trade for a century. The historic record of her first car and road has yet been recorded in detail.  However, it must have been very long as the history of Hong Kong as a trading port is long too. The peculiarities of Hong Kong transports and traffic rules are from Britain. British brought their own rules, which were according to their local custom and might be very advanced at that period, to the underdeveloped Hong Kong. Therefore, Hong Kong developed her own traffic rules and transports based on them. Now, the intricate urban streets, the communities connecting roads and the border-crossing human and goods transporting corridors are all connected to every corner of Hong Kong. These are like the veins of “the Pearl of the Orient”; These are like nerves inside the most developed economy in Asia. These are dazzling.

Towards this “right (*wheel) car” phenomenon, many people don’t care about it. Even for new Mainland immigrant drivers, they don’t think these “peculiarities” will affect them as long as they pay more attentions. Sometimes, we may think these peculiarities are like one is accustomed to hold chopsticks with left hand. Since it doesn’t affect others, there is no reason to change this special habit. However, Hong Kong “right (*wheel) car” phenomenon is not like the problem of holding chopsticks with left hand. In the past, there were some people who are enthusiastic about social affairs requested to change it. The request for such change reached its climax before and after the Handover and then died down. The key to the problem is that it will be a big event. If we wanted to change the status quo, not only would the spending be unpredictable. but there were no good starting point. Why would we asking trouble for ourselves?

Even though the voice for changing the status quo is not big and there is no social consensus, the reason behind the change is very simple. First, “right (*wheel) car” is a remnant of the Imperialist and it is becoming rare in Worldwide. Even the veteran imperialist, Britain, have followed the world trend and returned to the right road using the international standard which is wheel on the left and driving towards the right side. As “Pearl of the Orient”, Hong Kong have no reason not to follow. Second, as the number of “right (*wheel) car” decreases gradually, the production of such car will require special process. Not only is the production of it complicated, but it will be pricier than the other car under the same condition. Third, since the Handover, the exchanges between Hong Kong and Mainland China have became increasingly close. As traffic connections and transports traveling between two places are increasing, therefore the status quo must be changed to adapt the changing environment and provide convenience and safety to the crowd that travel between two places, especially for drivers.

In the past, “same ruts for carriages” happened.

In fact, pursuing for consistency in road traffic in regions with frequent economic exchanges was not only the expectation of modern elites. It is a universal law. After Emperor Qin Shi Huang unified the Central Plains, he carried out a series of reformations, among which is the most famous “same ruts for carriages, same script for writing”. “Same ruts for carriages”, which stipulated the distance between two wheels of a carriage to be corrected to 6 feet and hence the tracks of all the carriages would be the same,  is to end the nonuniform traffic system before the conquest. In this way, it helped the flow of traffic of all regions. Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s approach undoubtedly shows the dictating side of Qin. However, undeniably, there was an urgent need for social development under the productivity of that era. Today, the exchange of world traffic has already been very developed. The problem of Hong Kong “right (*wheel) car” certainly is not of political concern. As a historical legacy, it can even be a unique scenery that makes tourists curious. However, the economic aspect of it can not be gone unconsidered.

As the economies of Mainland China and Hong Kong are integrating, and the development of Hong Kong has been included in the “12th 5-Year-Plan”, the merging of Shenzhen and Hong Kong to become a “living circle within an hour” has grown from a concept into a reality. Under this background, the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong high-speed rail project will be finished in a few years, and the exchanges of land transport between Shenzhen and Hong Kong will certainly be surging. Right now, besides goods transporting cross-border big container trucks, the number of private vehicle that can be driven between Guangdong and Hong Kong are increasing. Recently, experts called for the immediate arrangement that allows Hong Kong cars to enter Mainland China. Clearly, the restriction of Hong Kong cars to Mainland China are being lifted. Simultaneously, the number of passenger and commercial vehicles from Mainland China are going to increase predictably. Therefore, it is natural for Hong Kong to give up its old custom, “right (*wheel) car”, and change her traffic rules.

Implementing from outside to inside, zone-by-zone

In fact, changing Hong Kong traffic rules and switching from “right car” to “left car” is not complicated. The changing of traffic rules can be implemented from outside to inside and in zone-by-zone fashion. Border and near Mainland China regions such as Sheung Shui and Lok Ma Chau can implement the changes first, and then pushing the changes from city outskirts to the city. From now on, gradually allowing “left car” to be on the road of Hong Kong and appropriately restricting the number of “right car” until they totally vanish. Certainly, it is a very long process that will probably last 10 to 20 years. However, the result can be foreseen and big spending is avoided since it takes a longer period of time.

All in all, if we are willing to take the first step and accumulate experiences, gradually let the “right car” driving out of Hong Kong, the effort we need to spend would be reduced by half.

Original Source

Extra Info
On Feb 10th 2011, a group of 20 people protested inside the meeting room of North Point government offices, and they found a map “Major Transport Networks in Shenzhen” in which a large area of Hong Kong is covered.

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Comments on Ta Kung Pao

wakuku: “There is no reason for Hong Kong not to follow the trend” Sino-British Joint Declaration clearly says there are two systems under one country and Hong Kong are allowed to have high degree of autonomy. If everything is based on “there is no reason not to follow the trend”, doesn’t it mean that “there is no reason” for Hong Kong not to follow China? Doesn’t it mean that “there is no reason for China to have two systems”? Does that mean overflowing the Sino-British Joint Declaration? Is this Hong Kong ruled by people or law? A trend is made artificially. If everything were according to the “big trend”, then why didn’t the Communist Party follow the big trend using traditional Chinese character? During the rule of Kuomingtang, worldwide Chinese had to recognise and accept their own ancestors. However, why did (the Communist Party) “destroy the old and establish the news” and overflowed their ancestors?

buhin: Even though there is freedom of speech, lies should not be fabricated. Britain have never been changed to “left drive”, which isn’t a world standard either. Please make sure if everything is right before you publish it, dear editor. Thank you!

****I will post more comments from everywhere. Many people wanted this article to be translated into English and therefore I tried my best to do it.****

16 thoughts on “Ta Kung Pao: Let Right-Hand Drive Gradually Drive Away from Hong Kong

  1. Been reading your blog for about a month now, keep up the good work!

    Like some of the comments on the original ta kung pao source, the author needs to get his facts straight. The author is just trolling.

  2. Ta Kung Pao, needs to go PK. He wants to change Hong Kong? He better not be a Hong Konger. All Hong Kongers who are pro-Beijing, pro-China, are all Hong Kong traitors. They’ve betrayed the homeland in which many HONG KONGERS died defending in WWII from Japanese rule, and during the Leftist Riots in Hong Kong in the 1960s, where PRO-BEIJING Chinese came down to Hong Kong disguised as workers flared up the protests into a riot. Pro-Beijing/China people… you support a country that never sent aid to Hong Kong during WWII. You support a country that sent people to start riots in Hong Kong in which the riots claimed the lives of Hong Kong citizens. You support a country that robbed your homeland the rights of decolonization, and the right to hold a referendum on their future. You support a country of thieves, liars, and cheaters. You support a country that was technically the home of a disease-ridden citizen who came down to Hong Kong and spread the SARS virus into HK, and caused hundreds of death and a great epidemic. You support a country of locusts that sap away your homeland’s life. You support a country that has Hong Kong, your home, at gun point ready to pull the trigger when they have sapped every last dollar from Hong Kong’s economy. You support the ENEMY!

    1. not many hongkongers defended the japanese invasion, it was largely only the british empire armies that defended, unless youre labelling Kwai-lo as hongkongers now! China and HK integration is inevitable, we all know Hong Kong will be no more, how many years left until 2047?

      1. Hong Kongers are anyone who lived in Hong Kong… There are Hong Kong Britons, Hong Kong Indians, Hong Kong Pakistanis, etc. Hong Kong is an identity, it isn’t restricted to Chinese Hong Kongers. It’s definitely not a race either.

        I know, it is sad to know… And my grandfather fought against the Japanese. It doesn’t matter what race you are to be an HKer. And I don’t think China needs 2047 in order to fully destroy HK. It’s already semi-destroyed right now, and it hasn’t even hit 15 yet… It is so sad.

      2. Ah, i know where you’re coming from now by the things you say…
        very funny name ‘Hkforever’ especially as…
        1.you’re not ethnic Chinese, you’re probably Indian or White or mixed race
        2. You’re not even a Hong Konger and you don’t live in Hong Kong.
        I have no idea why you’re even upset! The future of HK has nothing to do with you. In a nutshell -Troll.

      3. “They’ve betrayed the homeland in which many HONG KONGERS died defending in WWII from Japanese rule… you support a country that never sent aid to Hong Kong during WWII.”

        The British government made a decision not to send troops to Hong Kong for its defence, mostly only local garrisons and volunteers from Canada etc defended Hong Kong, local Chinese HK civilians were mass raped and murdered by the Japanese after its fall, yet I don’t hear you criticising the British govt which literally abandoned HK and did nothing to evacuate its colony’s citizens. Rather you take an irrelevant stab at the CCP, KMT controlled the South, not the CCP.

      4. The British Government was fighting their own war thousands of miles away… They couldn’t even if they wanted to. If you knew anything about history, Britain almost got taken over by Germans during the air raids of London by Nazi Germany, which is basically the doorstep, if not inside the house of, Britain.

        First, I am ethnic Chinese. Don’t know why you question that… Second, my entire family is from Hong Kong. I have every right to worry about my own homeland, whether or not I am there or not. That’s pathetic for you to think that simply because you do not live there anymore, it means you don’t need to worry about it.

        Read clearly. I never said ‘CCP’ or ‘CPC’ or any form of Communist China terms. I used ‘the country’, to refer to China, as a whole country, regardless of the government then and there. Chiang represented China, and never sent reinforcements. Thus, China never sent reinforcements. And KMT controlled all of China, I don’t know what you’re talking about… CPC was merged within the KMT’s army as a division, and grew from there…

        So to clear up any confusion, I referred to China as ‘the country’, not CPC, CCP, etc.

      5. Many Hong Kongers defended the Japanese invasion when China was still being mass raped and murdered by japanese in Nanking and other parts of China. And many British soldiers returned in 1945, when American was mass raping Japanese. Please don’t say you can defend HK, when your stupid communist China killed 70 million of yourselves during the cultural revolution your people are an disgusting joke. Ever since 1949 China has become the most HK NO MORE UNTIL 2047? NOT BEFORE YOU GO TO HELL FIRST.

        I personally think British people were not bad compare. HK and British people married. The Cantonese men married European women this is why there is 1.78% European in Hong Kong people. While British soldiers married Tanka women. While mainland women for decades came to HK to steal husbands and become hookers. INFERIOR.

        The ancient China had 5000 years of history and was richest nation for 2000 years. But the communist rule made China today the most disgusted HATED country and people in the world. And absolutely downgrading the quality of being a Chinese. CHINA TODAY = No freedom, No democracy, No laws, No justice, No autonomy. Neither the freedom of speech of view. Selling fake baby milk which poisoned 300,000 in northern China. Mass producing fake products, poison and fake food & drinks. A people with low morality, who had millions of their own people abused and imprisoned by the government. IT IS AN DISGUSTING SHAME TO BE AN CHINESE IN THIS GENERATION. HK and Macau are the only area which preserved traditional Chinese culture and writing. While China destroyed Chinese traditional culture and replaced traditional writing with simplified. If you look at history almost all Chinese in HK and Macau were result of migrants fron 1890′s who went to escape starvation, fanime, corruption from China. And the only areas who preserved traditional Chinese culture and traditional Chinese writing is HK today.

      6. Let me correct my sentence. Genetic has proven there is 1.78% European mtDNA in Hong Kong people. Which shows Hong Kong Cantonese men married white women during the colonial day.

        AND LET ME TELL YOU CINA ANIMALS AGAIN ONE MORE TIME. Almost every HK people were the result of migrants from 1890’s. Do not blame them for migrating to the colony because your filthy country was in fanime, starvation, corruption in those times.

      1. haha, your homeland! Your homeland is in your west, where you hold your passport, where your family voluntarily migrated! You should listen to yourself. the only person that is pathetic is the one that calls himself HongKongforever, yet doesn’t even live there! You no longer have a stake in HongKong, you abandoned it voluntarily!

        On the subject of hypocritical traitors….

        Hong Kong was a British colony, the onus is on the British to defend it, but they abandoned it! Britain WAS NOT even invaded by German forces, yet according to you its ok that the British did not defend their own colony Hong Kong! Yet, according to you, China (KMT) which WAS invaded by Japanese forces, should have defended a British colony that wasn’t even theirs! See how stupid your logic your is?

        You go on….now you refer to China as ‘the country; and not the government! So a piece of land should have defended Hong Kong should it?! haha, does a piece of land have legs? Can a piece of land fire cannon? Can a piece of land fly a plane? Hilarious.

        I’m guessing you emigrated to the west a long time ago, in which case Hong Kong is no longer your concern and hasn’t been for some time, you cannot have your cake and eat it. If you really care about Hong Kong (which you don’t) I suggest you go back to HK and live there and fight for it, if you don’t want to do that because you have such comfort and safety of a foreign passport….cheerleading from the sidelines is most hypocritical and laughable.

      2. homeland |ˈhōmˌland|
        a person’s or a people’s native land : migrants who departed from their Asian homeland.

        bbczeitgeist, get your definitions right.

      3. haha, a dictionary! You must be a child! You have no intellectual capacity to either understand nor make an argument about anything! Do you not understand the point I’m making as to the homeland? If you see Hong Kong as your homeland, go back there and defend it, otherwise don’t call it your homeland. ‘Oh but it is my homeland, the dictionary says so!!”

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