Occupy Central (Hong Kong) - My Two Cents

Being here at Berkeley does make it harder for me to be caught up with everything that has been happening in Hong Kong. However, I do appreciate the conversations that I have had with different people regarding this situation back home. Berkeley really did broaden my horizon. I am amazed by the intricacy of people’s ideas and am inspired to always think about things in multiple stances. So now, approximately 24 hours before my midterm (which I have not started studying for), I would like to take a moment here to reflect on how I view the Occupy Central situation in Hong Kong.

The Problem

So what do people want? what are people asking for? 

One of the fundamental problems we have in Hong Kong is the widening of the wealth gap. The rich is getting richer, and the poor is getting poorer. Although Hong Kong has gone through rapid economical development throughout the years, the poor is not exactly gaining anything out of it. The government has not done anything effective to alleviate poverty in Hong Kong. Estate prices and inflation rates are gradually getting higher. The middle-class is feeling pressured and helpless - the struggle to afford a place to live has never been more real. These, I believe - are some of the reasons why people want a more responsible government- people need a more responsible government. 

An interesting point that was brought up in one of my discussions with a friend - many people of the upperclass do own double nationalities. By all means, if anything “bad” does happen, they can just flee from this place, similar to what a lot of people did back in 1997. Then who’s left? People who never had a voice. People who don’t have the money, or the opportunity to go somewhere else. People who never had the chance to voice out to the government - not because they didn’t want to, but because the government did not listen to them. So these are the ones who are trying to be heard now. 

Universal Suffrage 

The problems in Hong Kong exist more than just the lack of attention to the poor though. People in the middle class feel like they’re merely “tools” in society and are not receiving any benefits for what they have contributed. We also lack “good enough” policies to manage our society. So then, I think our goal here is to find someone who pertains the qualities to be the leader of Hong Kong. Hong Kong citizens have been disappointed by the numerous CEs we have had so far. Therefore, I suppose that is one of the reasons why the urge for universal suffrage is so strong. We want to be able to choose someone ourselves whom we think is capable of being our CE. 

What also agitated the crowd was the White Paper, where China explicitly stated that Hong Kong’s leader must be “Pro-China”. In a way, there is nothing “wrong” about our leader being “Pro-China” because after all, Hong Kong is a part of China. However, I think one of the reasons why people are so fed up was because of the negative connotations that often come with the idea of Chinese politics. Hong Kong has always been proud of it’s corruption-free status - or at least up until the point when numerous HK officials (including ICAC members) were revealed to have taken part in corruptive activities. This really turned things around, and people started to lose trust in our officials.  Therefore, a “Pro-China” leader may provoke certain negative ideas among the crowd. 

Occupy Central - Yay/ Nay?

This one definitely takes more thought for me. Looking at Hong Kong, we do see that the only times when people were heard were during large-scale protests. 1) Basic Law Article 23 - In 2001, 500 thousand people stood up and revoked the implementation of this law. This was one of the largest demonstrations Hong Kong has seen - and there we saw it was effective. The government heard its people. 2) In 2012, when the government proposed to add national education to the school curriculum, students occupied Tamar as a sign to show that they did not want to be “brainwashed” by nationalistic ideals. It was only through these protests (not ‘peaceful talks’ or ‘government surveys’) that the government then listened to the voices of its own people. And so I’d say, to a certain extent, the government is responsible for the way people are expressing their thoughts on the streets today. 

Civilized Occupation?

"Hong Kong protests are the most civilized ones you’ll ever see" - titles like these are all over the news. From learning more about the media’s portrayal of news and such in class, I do admit that the media often put what seems to be "more attractive" to the audience to gain more views. However, from personal experience from being involved in several demonstrations before, I agree that the degree of civilization in Hong Kong people does amaze me every single time. It is true that there were indeed times when violence was set off among the crowd. But then again, this is a protest. I am not suggesting that violence is always necessary, but in a protest, people have different opinions that they want to be heard. They are angry and agitated. All in all, I do think that the protest has been held in a really orderly manner. Moreover, from what I’ve seen on live streams and what I’ve heard from my friends’ first-hand experiences,  the high degree of civilization people still have at times like these is something that everyone can learn from. 

and I really wish I could see it for myself. 

Economical Aspect

This was the part that I was unsure about. However, I do think that every protest comes with a price. I believe that negatively impacting our economy has never been the crowd’s original intention. If it were, then it wouldn’t have been the streets of Central/Causeway Bay/ Mongkok that people occupy. They would have gathered at the airport and the Exchange Square - places that can really affect our economy adversely. What the crowd wants is to communicate to the government, to our chief executive. 

So far, there has been no direct communication between CY Leung and the demonstrators. And that I believe, is what is keeping the protest ongoing. People want to talk to the government, and CY Leung needs to talk to the movement’s leaders. Direct conversation is really the key here. 

Concluding Thoughts

I am by no means a politician, and I do understand that people have different opinions when it comes to political matters. These words serve more as my own thoughts and my personal take on the whole situation. I am open and more than happy to hear what people have to say. It has truly been eye-opening to hear my friend’s stances on this situation. I can’t express how thankful I am to have friends who are respectful towards one another as we have important discussions like these. I believe that it is through these conversations that we really get to think and reflect on larger issues. 

People help the People

God knows what is hiding in those weak and drunken hearts
Guess he kissed the girls and made them cry
Those hard-faced queens of misadventure
God knows what is hiding in those weak and sunken lives
Fiery throngs of muted angels
Giving love but getting nothing back, oh

People help the people
And if you’re homesick
give me your hand and I’ll hold it
People help the people
And nothing will drag you down
Oh and if I had a brain,
Oh and if I had a brain
I’d be cold as a stone and rich as a fool
That turned all those good hearts away

God knows what is hiding in this world of little consequence
Behind the tears, inside the lies
A thousand slowly dying sunsets
God knows what is hiding in those weak and drunken hearts
Guess the loneliness came knocking
No one needs to be alone, oh singin’

People help the people
And if you’re homesick,
give me your hand and I’ll hold it
People help the people
Nothing will drag you down
Oh and if I had a brain,
Oh and if I had a brain
I’d be cold as a stone and rich as a fool
That turned all those good hearts away

Don’t know why but I’m pretty much discontent with everything going on right now. 

I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.
― Friedrich Nietzsche
Anonymous: would you mind answering college-related questions? like choosing colleges and the application process?

not at all! you can pm me or ask me here :)