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Editorial﹕Pearls of wisdom and a crimson heart

【明報專訊】FOUNDER of Ming Pao and renowned wuxia (or martial arts) novelist Louis Cha Leung-yung has passed away at the age of 94. An intellectual running a newspaper business, he made Hong Kong his home while remaining mindful of national affairs and deeply concerned about the country and its people. Cha made his name as a great writer, and, with his crimson heart of loyalty, offered pearls of wisdom to the nation. Written under the pen name Jin Yong, his novels have won universal adoration and brought the wuxia genre to its apex, so much so "wherever you find Chinese people you can find Jin Yong's works". Political controversies are short-lived compared to the immortality of culture. The cultural heritage left by Cha will be engraved in the memory of all Chinese worldwide.

History is like the gushing, east-flowing waters of the Yangtze River, washing away all the past heroes. To China, the 20th century was a period dominated by turbulence rather than peace. Cha was born into a family of scholars. From the era of the Republic of China, the war of resistance against Japanese aggression, the founding of new China, the Cultural Revolution to the country's reform and opening-up, he witnessed the country's major changes spanning nearly a hundred years. All through the time, his wholehearted passion for the homeland did not change a bit. Be it an opinion piece on current affairs in the newspaper he founded or a wuxia novel, what he wrote invariably reflected his deep love for Chinese culture and his sense of responsibility as a traditional Chinese intellectual.

When the Cultural Revolution broke out in 1966, China's adoption of isolationism turned Hong Kong into an important window for understanding the mainland. Taking his newspaper as a platform and his pen as a weapon, Cha articulated strong and sound criticisms of the harm inflicted upon Chinese culture by the perverse practices of the Cultural Revolution. During the 1967 riots, he adamantly opposed the excessive action taken by the leftists, denouncing them for "hijacking the word 'patriotism'". "They praise whoever supporting their cause as a patriot, and accuse whoever opposing them of treason." Time has flown and half a century has passed. But the mindset and mentality criticised by Cha back then can still be seen everywhere in Hong Kong society. Many people still like to classify people into enemies or friends by means of various political dichotomies. Taking only people's stances but not reason into consideration, they impose the thinking of "either friends or foes" on other people. Looking back at the pearls of wisdom offered by Cha, his comments are indeed still relevant nowadays.

However, to the majority of the global Chinese community, the most familiar side of Cha is not his political stance or advocacy at a particular time or in a particular place, but his wuxia universe. Cha's works appeal to both refined and popular tastes. The characters he created all have a unique personality as if they were alive. Transcending political and ideological differences, his novel series including The Legend of the Condor Heroes, The Return of the Condor Heroes, The Heavenly Sword and the Dragon Saber, Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils, The Smiling, Proud Wanderer and The Deer and the Cauldron have enjoyed enormous popularity among global Chinese societies.

Cha once noted that given politics often changed rapidly, there was not much meaning in writing novels of literary innuendos. Instead, what he tried to portray in his works were human nature and phenomena related to politics or livelihood universal across all times and cultures. Rather than martial arts masters, some of the characters in his works in fact resemble political figures even more. That exactly is also the reason behind the long-lasting appeal and vitality of his novels. Cha said he would be contented if people would still read his works one or two hundred years after his death. Foreseeably it will not be difficult to fulfil this last wish.

明報社評2018.10.31﹕金石良言為家國 一片丹心留汗青

《明報》創辦人、著名武俠小說家查良鏞先生病逝,享年94歲。查良鏞文人辦報,立足香港,心懷國事,憂國憂民。他以一支健筆打出名堂,一片丹心為國家民族留下不少金石良言;他以筆名「金庸」撰寫的小說膾炙人口,將武俠小說推向巔峰,「有華人的地方就有金庸」。政治紛爭不過一時一地,只有文化精神永垂不朽,全球華人將銘記查良鏞所留下的文化遺產。

滾滾長江東逝水,浪花淘盡英雄。20世紀中國動盪歲月多,平靜日子少。查良鏞出身書香門第,親歷近百載中國變化,由民國時代、抗日戰爭、新中國成立、文化大革命到改革開放,查良鏞滿腔愛國情懷從未改變,無論是辦報臧否時事,還是撰寫的武俠小說,都反映了他對中國文化的熱愛,以及作為中國傳統知識分子的擔當。

1966年文革爆發,內地閉關鎖國,香港成為了解內地一扇重要窗口,查良鏞以報章作為平台,以筆桿作為武器,對文革倒行逆施破壞中國文化,提出強而有力的批判。六七暴動期間,查良鏞堅決反對左派過激行動,抨擊他們「將愛國一詞竊為己有」,「凡是擁護他們的就叫做愛國,反對他們的就叫做賣國」。時光荏苒,半世紀過去,然而查良鏞所批判的這種思維和心態,在本港社會仍然隨處可見,很多人依舊喜歡以各種政治二分法區分敵我,只重立場不講道理,將「非友即敵」思維強加到別人身上。現在回看查良鏞這番金石良言,依然有參考價值。

全球華人最耳熟能詳的,不是查良鏞一時一地的政治立場或主張,而是他的武俠小說。金庸的小說雅俗共賞,筆下角色各有性格,栩栩如生,《射鵰英雄傳》、《神鵰俠侶》、《倚天屠龍記》、《天龍八部》、《笑傲江湖》、《鹿鼎記》等一系列小說,跨越政治意識形態分歧,風靡全球華人社會。

查良鏞提到,政治情况變化很快,影射性的小說無大意義,他在小說中想寫的是人性,將古今中外政治生活一些普遍現象勾畫出來,一些角色與其說是武林高手,不如說是政治人物。他的小說能夠歷久不衰,充滿生命力,原因亦在於此。查良鏞說過,如果死後100年、200年仍然有人看他的作品,他就心滿意足。這個遺願,相信不難實現。

■Glossary

pearl of wisdom﹕a wise saying

apex﹕the top or highest part of sth

innuendo﹕an indirect remark about sb/sth, usually suggesting sth bad or rude

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