Occupy Central (OC) has been going on for over a month with no sign of a resolution. From a mostly supportive and empathetic attitude towards the cause and the action of the students, comes a gradual and growing disagreement to the students’ action. I see increasing polarization of the yellow ribbon camp ( supporters of OC) and those who support the blue ribbon ( HK police to enforce the law). I have friends in both camps, and see daily debate among my friends; healthy and unhealthy ones on Facebook, Google+, etc. This breaks my heart. A harmony that existed amongst my circles became delicate glass that can be easily shattered, if not handled with care. I guess politics should not be brought to the dinner table, unless you want dinner unfinished.
Why is OC losing support from many Hongkongers? I guess the inconvenience of occupying main commercial areas, are killing the wallets of many innocent businessmen and employees who are not the target of the students, and yet they are paying with their livelihood. Mr X , Yellow ribbon supporter camps in Admiralty but during office hours, he changes to go to work. When questioned why he leaves the camp daily, he answers” I still need to make a living”. Ms Y, another fellow HK citizen, has been told she to take no pay leave for an indefinite period, as the jewelry shop she works for in Causeway Bay is closing its doors indefinitely as daily business turnover has fallen from a 6 figure to a 3 figure sum. Is Mr X ‘s living more valuable than Ms Y’s? In the name of democracy, has Ms Y’s wish been considered? If the students are fighting for the benefits of the majority of Hongkongers, is their continued strategy of occupation, sacrificing stability of individuals and risking Hong Kong ‘s political and financial stability , the only road that can be taken to achieve universal suffrage?
One then questions why is universal suffrage important to Hongkongers? What brought this issue to the forefront, when Hongkongers for the most part lived obediently and seemingly happy under British rule without the right to vote? Is democracy really the issue, or is this an anti-China sentiment? When one recalls Hong Kong movies that depict the mainlanders as mainly criminals who cross the border to rob jewelry shops in the 80-90’s, perhaps it is too much to accept the current reality that they are not robbers, but our VIP customers whom we bow to at our glittering gold stores and unfortunately also purchasing our luxury apartments pushing Hong Kong property prices from sky high to “universe -high”.
Whilst all these sentiments are understandable, we too need to question ourselves, what does Hong Kong really need to achieve stability and financial viability? When one compares this concrete jungle to our neighboring chicken rice land; our seemingly more stable counterpart has not been the most democratic in its political arena and yet very often we aspire to their government.
Hong Kong, is a unique city , with an uneasy heritage of West meets East , and now East meets West. Its success so far, has been its unique mixture of not totally Western and yet not fully “Chinese”. To survive, we have to be a little different from China to please our Western friends and yet not deviate too much to displease our big boss in China. How do we best capitalize on this unique position?
Every country , even the democratic ones, set boundaries in order to balance freedom of speech vs control of unmeritorious expression to maintain stability in the country. Is it not time to think if the continued occupation is indeed a meritorious action for Hong Kong society ? Democracy allows freedom of speech and stability, and with this freedom it has translated into the Umbrella Revolution which also planted the seeds of polarization and instability. Is it necessary to continue the Umbrella Revolution in its current format? What could be achieved by continuing? The results to date has been far from encouraging. Are there no roads for gradual reform to live in harmony with the our Chinese Big Boss and maintain our Western friends?
I look forward to an honorable closing by the students rather than a regretted exit. Hong Kong loves you but for many of us, the price of occupation has just been a little too high to pay.
P.S. This blog was written 2 weeks ago but due to frequent travels it has only been published now. Hope it is not too outdated 😛