英文

Editorial : A new cultural bureau in the government revamp

【明報專訊】THE reorganisation of the government's structure has again been placed on the agenda. The Chief Executive has announced that, in the upcoming policy address next month, the establishment of a cultural bureau and the division of the Transport and Housing Bureau into two bureaus will be mentioned. The policy making structure of a government should reflect the practical needs of society. With the land and housing problem being the most urgent task to tackle, the separation of transport and housing affairs is long overdue. Many big cities in the world have designated government departments in charge of promoting the development of cultural work and the cultural industry. By contrast, Hong Kong has so far lacked the related supporting measures. The handling of the city's cultural affairs has been scattered across various departments. There has been neither an overall strategy nor a macroscopic vision. As the central government's 14th five-year plan has mentioned supporting the development of Hong Kong into an exchange centre for Chinese and foreign cultures and arts, the establishment of the cultural bureau will be a substantial step towards formulating the vision blueprint and the development strategy concerned. The authorities should engage more with the stakeholders of the industry to clearly define the cultural bureau's functions.

At a consultation session for the policy address a few days ago, Chief Executive Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor mentioned setting up a designated cultural bureau to handle cultural affairs and separating the policy work of transport and housing affairs. It is possible that legislation on the government's restructuring will be completed by the end of the current government's term. That means the next SAR government's structure will be changed from "3 Departments and 13 Bureaus" to "3 Departments and 15 Bureaus".

Housing is at the core of deep-rooted conflicts in Hong Kong society. However, advice on housing and transport, the two major fields of policy work related to people's livelihood, has long been concentrated on a single policy bureau. Anthony Cheung Bing-leung, former Secretary for Transport and Housing, had expected to dedicate more time to handling the housing problem before he assumed office. But it turned out that he had to put in much effort in dealing with transportation issues such as the cost overruns of MTR projects. Despite the intertwined relationship between housing and the land problem of Hong Kong, the two have been separated and handed to the Transport and Housing Bureau (THB) and the Development Bureau (DevB) respectively. The proposed "separation surgery" of the THB is only one part of reshuffling the policy making structure for land and housing. The DevB should also be included in the entire restructuring.

Around the globe, many regions and cities have designated government departments to coordinate and support the development of cultural work and the cultural industry, examples being the Korea Creative Content Agency (KOCCA) of South Korea, the Department of Cultural Affairs (DOCA) of Taipei, and the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) of Singapore. The sweeping popularity of the Korean Wave in Asia over the past decade has largely been due to the government's policy related to the cultural industry. By comparison, Hong Kong lags far behind in this regard.

At present, the Hong Kong government has three policy bureaus to follow up issues on culture and arts. The Home Affairs Bureau (HAB) theoretically carries out the function of cultural policy making. The Commerce and Economic Development Bureau (CEDB) is in charge of the film industry and other creative industries. The DevB is responsible for the policy function of heritage conservation. However, as the HAB has to take care of a wide range of affairs, it is not devoted to promoting cultural work. Worse still, the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) and District offices under its charge are mainly positioned at providing recreation and sports. The annual book fair should be a great cultural event for the city, but because of its organisation by the Trade Development Council (TDC) under the CEDB, the occasion looks more like a "clearance sale" of books in practice.

The authorities should be far-sighted and plan early. They should take the initiative to provide training to cultivate more talents. If the authorities can get the horses for courses and understand more about the thoughts and needs of the industry's stakeholders, the new cultural bureau should be able to play a significant role.

明報社評2021.09.14:政府架構重組再出發 設立文化局對症下藥

政府架構重組再上議事日程,行政長官預告,下月《施政報告》將提及成立文化局,運輸及房屋局亦將分拆為二。政府決策架構必須反映社會現實需要,處理土地房屋問題是眼前要務,運輸與房屋事務早應分家;世界不少大城市皆有專責政府部門推動文化事業及產業發展,反觀香港一直缺乏相關配套支援,文化事務分散多個部門處理,既無通盤策略,亦缺宏觀視野。國家十四五規劃綱領,支持香港發展中外文化藝術交流中心,成立文化局定下願景藍圖和發展策略,是切實推進相關工作的一步,當局應多跟業界持份者協調,清晰界定文化局職能。

林鄭日前出席《施政報告》諮詢會,提及設立專門政策局處理文化事務,以及將運輸房屋政策工作分家,有可能在本屆政府任期屆滿前完成立法,意味下屆特區政府管治架構,會由「三司十三局」,變成「三司十五局」。

香港社會深層次矛盾,居住問題是核心,可是房屋與運輸這兩個重大民生工作範疇,長期集中由一個政策局建議。前運房局長張炳良,上任之初原本希望多花時間處理房屋問題,到頭來卻要投入不少精力應付交通運輸事宜,諸如港鐵工程超支等。本港房屋問題與土地問題緊扣相連,可是當局卻將兩者割裂開,分別交由運房局及發展局處理。運房局「拆局」,只是理順土地房屋決策的一環,當局應將發展局也拉進來,納入架構重組之中。

放眼世界,很多地區和城市皆有專責政府部門統籌支持文化事業及產業發展,例如韓國有文化振興院、台北有文化局、新加坡有文化社會及青年部;過去10多年韓流席捲亞洲,便相當得力於政府的文化產業政策。相比之下,香港在這方面卻落後得多。

港府目前主要由3個政策局跟進文化藝術事宜:文化政策職能理論上由民政局負責,電影及創意產業由商經局跟進,發展局則負起文物保育方面的政策職能。

民政局要處理的事務眾多,無法專心致志搞好文化事業,轄下的康文署及民政事務處,更是以康體娛樂為主要定位;一年一度書展,理應是一場文化盛事,然而由商經局旗下的貿發局主辦,實際更似「散貨場」。

當局應放遠目光,及早籌謀,積極培訓、凝聚更多人才,倘若當局能夠知人善任,多去了解業界持份者想法和需要,文化局應可發揮顯著作用。

■Glossary 生字

reorganisation : the act or process of changing the way in which something is organised or done

deep-rooted : very fixed and strong; difficult to change or to destroy

reshuffle : a change in the jobs that a group of people do, for example in a government

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