Friday, 10 October 2014

Boost in Morale, Boost in Numbers

Thousands of people listening intently to the student leaders giving speeches
Tonight Admiralty -- now dubbed Umbrella Square -- was where some 10,000 people gathered to show Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor that people are still dedicated to the Occupy movement.

Yesterday when announcing she was calling off the talks, she noted there were dwindling numbers of occupiers at the four protest sites.

Lester Shum on stage with Alex Chow and Joshua Wong
So the students urged people to come out tonight at 7.30pm to prove her wrong.

The government should really think twice about what it says because the residents are really keen to prove it wrong.

I finished work late and came to Admiralty after 10.30pm and shocked to see such a huge turnout. Already Federation of Students' Lester Shum addressing the crowd. They were fired up hearing him encourage them to continue the fight, to occupy the protest sites, and sleep overnight.

He said he understood the past two weeks were tiring and that he was also exhausted, to which the crowd clapped and shouted, "Add oil! 加油!"

A great poster and slogan for our times
At this point I started walking up the overpass towards Central and missed Joshua Wong Chi-fung speak. He called on the government to apologize for using teargas almost two weeks ago, and that the protesters wouldn't leave Admiralty until they got an apology. He also called for a long-term occupation of the area, asking protesters to bring tents.

At the end, the student leaders shouted, "Democracy in Hong Kong! We will not give up!"

While I was slowly walking up the overpass, more people kept coming from the Admiralty MTR station and from Central. It just showed how many people really feel strongly about having justice, democracy and freedoms that are eroding away... but also that they are rapt with attention listening to people their age or much younger. A real age reversal in a culture where elders are listened to rather than the youth.

However, there's a silent number who, while supporting the cause for democracy, don't think the students tactics are going to help move things forward.

Just before 11pm, more people descended on Admiralty
A relative, who was unemployed for several years and now finally has a contract job, worries about her livelihood with Occupy happening. "If they block all the roads in Central and I can't get to work, then I won't make money that day," she says.

For her, in a financially perilous position, every dollar counts.

But more importantly she feels the students' ultimatums are too extreme, that the government cannot even concede very much because of what Beijing expects, and this is why Lam called off the talks.

My relative felt the students must know that their demands are near impossible and that they have to back down a bit in order to give the government more wiggle room.

I heard her out, but still feel Lam should have met with the students anyway to give the impression of goodwill and at least hear them out. As a friend said today, politics is about negotiation, and that requires talking and listening.

An artist sketches democracy portraits
Now the stalemate is even starker than before with a hardly an end in sight.

In the early evening, the civil service department gave a press conference, listing all the inconveniences it has suffered, from not being able to get supplies such as stationary, toner cartridges and water, to appointments being cancelled or rescheduled elsewhere. Oh and they added that consul-generals aren't able to get around by car...

Already civil servants are allowed to get to work... so why not get each one to carry a box of paper or pens or cartridges into the building? Not impossible, is it? Definitely not thinking creatively...

In the meantime, Hong Kong Tramways has come up with a preliminary agreement with the students about allowing the Happy Valley tram line to operate. This would greatly help people wanting to get from Kennedy Town to Central, Admiralty, Wan Chai and the edge of Causeway Bay.

And today the latest Time magazine came out today with a portrait of Joshua Wong on the cover.

He's hardly changed by all the media attention he's been getting. Cooler than cool.

2 comments:

  1. 1. Unaffordable Housing is the true HK problem, correct?
    2. If so, then ‘DISMANTLE THE PROPERTY CARTEL” seems the correct solution? Why not TRY do that?
    3. So why instead, these ridiculous personal attacks upon CYLeung? He is a better endowed person, than most HK persons
    4. HK people (and China also) have NEVER HAD IT SO GOOD! What are the Alternatives?? Maybe it is time for the JAPS TO RETURN & REMIND US (students in particular) of some alternatives?
    5. But worse than Japs, would be DYSLEXIC TEENAGERS feeling entitled to run the show. What on EARTH is “Scholarism??”

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  2. @anon, another 50 cent-er at work...

    1) Unaffordable Housing is NOT a HK problem, at least HK and China problem.
    2) Dismantle the property cartel and the HK/CCP gov't for their land policy and poor management. Let's try that..
    3) Nah, let's not attack CY Leung, let's attack Jiang Zumin AND Xi Jinping along with every CCP member...
    4) HK people have it better before 1997. HK economy and as a whole been downhill since 1997. The alternatives, HK independence. what's wrong with HK people governing themselves without PRC interference.
    5) Worse than the Japs, its Mao Zedong, Deng XioPing, Jiang ZuMin, Wu JinTao and the worst of all, Xi JinPing. These are the immoral scums of the earth and billions in their offshore account at BVI and Cayman Island.
    6) At least these youths are NOT sheep or NOT selfish-mindless idiots of communism.
    7) At least one won't land in black jails, mental hospitals for speaking whats on my mind.
    8) the PRC puppets are welcome to destroy the Japanese embassies in China anytime (vs. one every four years per the CCP), especially the one in Shanghai

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