Thursday, 25 September 2014

The Dichotomy of Hong Kong

Students occupying the park near the Central Government Offices
Hong Kong students are into their fourth day of protesting and tonight they marched from the Central Government offices at Tamar to Government House, demanding that Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying speak to them.

They have been demanding that he speak to them for several days now, and he has avoided any kind of appearance.

As a result the students are angered and yesterday some threatened to "arrest" him.

While they can't make a citizen's arrest, using that kind of language scares some people who want nothing to do with Occupy Central, which seems to be going ahead next Wednesday.

One of the people who told me about the students wanting to "arrest" Leung was a man in his 30s with two young sons I had lunch with, along with a woman who is a professional.

He said that the atmosphere now is like the 1964 riots, where at first the movement seemed benign, but could escalate into something violent. The man said he was worried about the students, saying they were naive and didn't seem to know what they were getting themselves into.

Meanwhile, the woman didn't care much for the movement except that it disrupted deliveries to her office on the east side of Hong Kong island...

The topic quickly moved to emigration, and she asked the man if he was considering leaving Hong Kong.

He said he is, and wondering where to go, though the sacrifice is for his children, not himself. We didn't get into where he was considering going to as the topic changed, but it made me realize there really are at least one in five people in Hong Kong considering leaving the city with what is happening now.

This guy also used to work in the telecom business, though he didn't say which company. He said China Mobile has aggressively moved into the Hong Kong market with much lower subscription fees. And then with the sale of cheap phones like Xiaomi, even more people were lured in to sign up with China Mobile.

And the this state telecommunications carrier combined with PCCW-HKT owned by Richard Li Tzar-kai, son of Li Ka-shing who are pro-Beijing, according to this young father, these two telecom providers have the vast majority of the market, where people do lots of texting and calling.

He says there will come a time when you may not be able to get onto Facebook anymore or other social media, so where are you going to turn to -- texting. And that will be monitored by China.

"It's scary isn't it?" he asked.

Frightening more like it. But then again it's all part of the mainlandization of Hong Kong. Should we be surprised?

On the one hand the city is still moving ahead as if nothing is happening -- celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay was here opening his first restaurant in Hong Kong, Bread Street Kitchen, and then other students are protesting for a greater say in how they choose the city's next leader in 2017.

The dichotomy is so bizarre really -- some people going to work day in, day out -- while others are mobilizing to prepare for Occupy Central.

Things are definitely going to be interesting in the next few days, with the "banquet" less than a week away...


3 comments:

  1. I suspect/predict: OC fellows, if successful, will simply metamorphose into next bunch of HK property blood-suckers.

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    Replies
    1. HI Anonymous -- We'll have to see about that! From what I am seeing, grassroots groups here are looking to help the common good... but you may prove me wrong!

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  2. Ha, ha, dream on...

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