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1992年,正值香港的後過渡期。當時的英國保守黨主席的彭定康(Christopher Patten),在英國國會選舉中失去席位,被迫辭去保守黨主席一職,首相馬卓安隨即委任他為第二十八任香港總督,於1992年7月9日履新,任期為五年,成為首位「政客港督」,亦是最後一任港督。

彭定康上任不久,於1992年10月7日發表了長達三萬多字的首份施政報告,提出了一系列的「政改方案」,內容主要包括行政局與立法局徹底分家,以及擴闊1995年立法會選舉的投票範圍。

北京方面指「政改方案」是「三違反」,前國務院港澳辦主任魯平更點名,怒斥彭定康為「千古罪人」,而中英間的關係亦在他擔任港督期間變得惡劣。

香港在1997年7月1日回歸中國,末代港督彭定康在6月30日深夜,登上不列顛尼亞號皇家遊艇,離開香港,標誌了英國結束對香港150年的殖民管治。

彭定康在1996年10月2日,發表他港督任內最後一份施政報告。他在報告中表示,任內的一大憾事,是未能在香港引入普選,通過投票選出香港的領導階層。

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Hong Kong: Transition
Christopher Patten

1996 Policy Address (extract)
2 October 1996

92 Governors have lived for Hong Kong. One or two have literally died for Hong Kong. But all have found Hong Kong, in and out of office, an all-consuming interest. Retired to our grey and green island, past Governors have watched from afar with keen-eyed interest and, doubtless, occasional frustration as Hong Kong's history has unfolded. I shall do the same, carrying with me one frustration, gnawed by one anxiety, comforted by one certainty.
93 For me the frustration, the greatest in this job, is that I have not been able to put my personal view of Hong Kong's best interests to the test which legitimises leadership in most free societies, the test of the ballot box. But Hong Kong has been promised that its government will develop so that that can happen one day, a day I hope I shall see and a day that I shall be delighted to put down to China's credit and to the credit of those in this territory who have stood up bravely for the people of Hong Kong.
94 My anxiety is this: not that this community's autonomy would be usurped by Peking, but that it could be given away bit by bit by some people in Hong Kong. We all know that over the last couple of years we have seen decisions, taken in good faith by the Government of Hong Kong, appealed surreptitiously to Peking - decisions taken in the interests of the whole community lobbied against behind closed doors by those whose personal interests may have been adversely affected. That is damaging to Hong Kong because it draws Chinese officials into matters which should fall squarely within the autonomy of Hong Kong. If we in Hong Kong want our autonomy, then it needs to be defended and asserted by everyone here - by businessmen, politicians, journalists, academics and other community leaders, as well as by public servants.
95 And what of that truth which more than anything else gives me confidence in Hong Kong? The truth is this. The qualities, the beliefs, the ideals that have made Hong Kong's present will still be here to shape Hong Kong's future.
96

Hong Kong, it seems to me, has always lived by the author, Jack London's credo:

"I would rather be ashes than dust,
I would rather my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze,
Than it should be stifled in dry rot.
I would rather be a superb meteor,
With every atom of me in magnificent glow,
Than a sleepy and permanent planet."

97 Whatever the challenges ahead, nothing should bring this meteor crashing to earth, nothing should snuff out its glow. I hope that Hong Kong will take tomorrow by storm. And when it does, History will stand and cheer.

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提及優越的演說家,相信不少香港人都會想起末代港督彭定康,他在任五年的所作所為,包括政改方案,所引起的爭議仍然很大,但撇除這點不說,相信連彭定康的敵人都同意,他是世界第一流的公關藝術家,同時亦是一位優秀的演說家。

彭定康的演詞聽說不少出自他自己的手筆,今次要介紹的,是96年他在立法局發表的最後一篇施政報告,至今仍然餘音未絕、繞樑三日。我認為這篇擲地有聲的演說,集合了我們所介紹過的卓越演說家的優點--簡潔、易明、用典、委婉及含蓄等,而且運用得神乎其技。

彭定康是演說的高手,這是他在香港發表的最後一篇施政報告,所以通篇的風格充滿了感性,言辭也非常出色,例如︰

Governors have lived for Hong Kong. One or two have literally died for Hong Kong. But all have found Hong Kong, in and out of office, an all-consuming interest. 這段說話非常有含蓄之美,指所有港督都是為香港謀利益的,更有一兩位死於任內,讓人想起前港督尤德,在任內去北京談判香港前途時,不幸心臟病突發而逝世。很巧妙地挑起香港人對歷任港督的種種回顧和懷念,以肯定英國對香港的殖民統治。

彭定康在演說中也很聰明地運用了一些委婉句︰Retired to our grey and green island, past Governors have watched from afar with keen-eyed interest. 何以句中不說retired to England / retired to my home / retired to the United Kingdom,而要說Retired to our grey and green island?因為grey 指英國多霧、天氣不好,green指英國有很多綠色的田野,用這些字令說話充滿詩意。

又如︰For me the frustration, the greatest in this job, is that I have not been able to put my personal view of Hong Kong's best interests to the test which legitimises leadership in most free societies, the test of the ballot box. 彭定康用ballot box(投票箱)這一實物,代表抽象的選舉,或更抽象的民主理念。可見彭定康不單是優秀的演說家,也是卓越的作家。

他在演說的最後部分說︰The qualities, the beliefs, the ideals that have made Hong Kong's present will still be here to shape Hong Kong's future. 這句話隱含了他對繼任人即特首的警告,表示他已留下了很好的遺產,千萬別把事情弄糟。

彭定康的演講天才亦令人想起前英國首相邱吉爾的名句︰I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat. 這是1940年,邱吉爾在英國下議院宣佈向納粹開戰時所說的一句名句。每一個偉大的政治家,離任後都一定要留下一些金句,讓後世傳誦,才能在身後為自己豎立一座豐碑。

馬丁路德金在其著名的 I have a Dream 演說中,引用了一首黑人小時候常聽的兒歌,末代港督在其末代施政報告中,則引用了美國詩人傑克•倫敦(Jack London)的名詩。不用莎士比亞的名句,而引用傑克•倫敦的詩,是為了遷就香港人的程度,所引用的詩句也剛好非常切合彭定康的處境。

演講就如人生,要做事得體、做人有風度,不外乎要在適當的場合、適當的時候,說適當的說話,所以彭定康認為,傑克•倫敦這首詩,好比一套合身的西裝,最適合這時穿著︰

"I would rather be ashes than dust,
I would rather my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze,
Than it should be stifled in dry rot.
I would rather be a superb meteor,
With every atom of me in magnificent glow,
Than a sleepy and permanent planet."

這幾行詩很貼切地形容了彭定康的處境。如果我們能牢記十幾句名人的金句,袋中又藏了幾則笑話,那麼無論在演講、宴會或酒會,你都可以成為一個儀表出眾、口才得體的人。因此我們欣賞古今偉大的演說,不單學習英語及加強我們英語的修養,也學做人。

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