No Babylon: A Hong Kong Scrapbook
Having witnessed Britain?s retreat from India in 1947, and Malaya in 1957, Peter Moss traveled on through the lengthening shadows of a waning Empire, seeking the last remnants of a once flourishing panoply of imperial pomp and circumstance. He arrived in Hong Kong to find this fabled territory less a British colony than a triumph of collective enterprise; no mythic Babylon but a vibrant and compelling reality. His Hong Kong career spanned four decades, from the spillover of China?s cultural revolution to the return of its prodigal son at midnight on June 30th 1997. In his take on events leading up to that historical watershed he has drawn on Chinese sources to present a wider perspective, and has not flinched from challenging popular perceptions. He saw Chris Patten, Hong Kong?s last governor, as a knight in shining armour, riding in at the eleventh hour to slay the dragon. ?I felt there was a distinct danger of him accidentally killing the damsel in distress.? Many have loved and admired Hong Kong but few have grasped its intricacies. That an enclave so small should have become so powerful, and left such a mark on the world, is a mystery that No Babylon seeks to probe and dispel. ?Had he discovered Hong Kong first, Karl Marx might never have written Das Kapital, for this hubble-bubble of experimental capitalist alchemy contradicted so many of his theories?.
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