Writer: IU Ting Kwok
Those who are familiar with modern Chinese literature must have heard of Lu Xun (魯迅). In 1925, Lu Xun wrote a short passage called “The Kite” (風箏). The Kite was one of the selected passages in the syllabus of Hong Kong secondary school Chinese Language.
The passage was about the author’s recollection of his interaction with his younger brother during their childhood. The author’s younger brother loved to play kites but the author thought playing kites was the activity of the underachievers. One day, the author discovered that his younger brother was trying to make his own kite in a small house nearby. The author destroyed the kite. As a grown-up, the author upon reading books on children psychology came to understand that toys are the children’s angels and are positive to the upbringing of a child. As such, he had regrets on his mind. Eventually, the author had an opportunity to meet his younger brother again after so many years. He attempted to bring up the subject with a view to tendering his apology to his younger brother so that he could be forgiven. To his surprise, the younger brother had no recollection of the incident at all and therefore, the author was unable to make his apology and be forgiven. He was very frustrated because the regret would have to be with him forever.
Now, most of us think that apology is for the benefit of the recipient. They do not realise that having an opportunity to apologise will help the apology-maker move on. Nowadays, people tend not to apologise because they are afraid that making an apology would be taken as admitting the wrongdoing and thus attracting the legal liability. As such, some of them may find themselves wanting to apologise but being afraid to do so.
The Apology Legislation was passed by the Legislative Council on 13 July 2017 and it was gazetted as the Apology Ordinance on 20 July 2017. The Apology Ordinance will come into operation on 1 December 2017. The object of the Apology Ordinance is to promote and encourage the making of apologies with a view to preventing the escalation of disputes and facilitating their amicable resolution.
For the purpose of achieving the object, the Apology Ordinance provides a wide definition of apology including a statement of fact. The Apology Ordinance applies to applicable proceedings which include nearly all proceedings except criminal proceedings and those set out in the Schedule to the Apology Ordinance. In terms of time, the Apology Ordinance does not have retrospective effect.
When we come to the “Green Age” of 60s, we may treasure peace and harmony more than personal achievements. With the Apology Ordinance, not only could we promote peace and harmony, but we could also demonstrate to the others that persons with life experience and wisdom are not shy to apologise. After the Apology Ordinance has come into operation, we should be more eager to apologise so that on a personal level, regrets could be minimized. From the social point of view, the culture of making apologies will certainly reduce disputes and litigation.
An English translation of The Kite
can be found at the following link:-
For those who are interested to read the Apology Ordinance (Cap.631), they may visit the homepage of Hong Kong e-Legislation.
(Author’s note: This article was written with the help of Mr. Andy Kwok)