Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Checking Out Occupy Central

Occupying Causeway Bay with students handing out water and fruit (left)
Today is National Day and with the Occupy Central movement happening around the city, no one quite knew what to expect.

Tents with supplies for food, first aid and masks...
Before the flag-raising ceremony, a group of students wanted to disrupt the proceedings, but in the end rationality prevailed and Scholarism's Joshua Wong and a group of students were allowed into the area, but when the flag was raised, they turned their backs on it and raised their arms and crossed them.

One district councillor Paul Zimmerman -- yes we have gweilo politicians too -- brought a yellow umbrella into the ceremony and unfurled it. And another district councillor, Pamela Peck was completely clad in yellow -- the Occupy movement's theme colour.

Meanwhile some friends and I got together in the afternoon and started in Causeway Bay with the intention of checking out all the areas that the Occupy movement... was occupying.

Gloucester Road was completely devoid of traffic...
By 3pm, Causeway Bay was heaving with people. My friend YTSL and I went to a supermarket and bought a sports drink powder and some plastic cups. We donated them to one of the nearby tents with supplies and the young people manning it were very grateful. Then we went to a nearby tent to get the yellow ribbon to pin to our shirts.

Most people were just sitting on the road, hanging out, and we were impressed by how orderly it all ways, parents bringing their young children out, young people with their friends, and even an elderly woman handing out posters demanding "the wolf" -- Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying to step down.

An inspiring message for the "Umbrella Revolution"
We then proceeded through Wan Chai, where the streets were practically deserted, and then to Admiralty, where it was full of people. It just happened that a supply truck came and everyone cheered. More supplies of water and food came.

Other supplies include fruits like bananas and apples, band aids, towels and even sanitary napkins!

A Christian choir sang songs, while a young girl and her father held up signs demanding universal suffrage. There were also demands for Leung to step down and caricatures of him, asking where he was.

Over in Central the crowds were practically non-existent along Chater Road, but were heavily occupying Connaught Road Central.

We took a civilized break at the Mandarin Oriental -- that was hardly packed for the late afternoon -- before heading out to Mongkok.

A lot of umbrellas ready for the taking when needed!
Here it was a completely different vibe -- the people were more grass roots and YTSL remarked it was a pretty intense atmosphere. People sat on Argyle Street, intently listening to people giving two-minute speeches. Some young people explained their parents didn't approve of them taking part in the protests, others saying the Chinese government had a big problem on their hands resolving this issue.

Before we left the area we checked out the "democracy bus", a bus that had been left stranded in the area when the occupation took place. People had posted messages all over the vehicle and some images were hilarious, such as more Leung caricatures, others messages for peace and showing their love for Hong Kong.

People sitting on Argyle Street in Mongkok
Meanwhile walking towards Tsim Sha Tsui we could see some streets were back to normal, which is understandable, seeing main thoroughfares blocked.

By the time we got to Tsim Sha Tsui, it was only a short stretch on Canton Road by the Gateway shopping mall. It seemed incongruous to see luxury brands and people occupying the road demanding democracy.

This area was also interesting because there are usually lots of mainlanders who shop here, but they were either conspicuously absent or were in the shops minding their own business. In fact protesters didn't stop anyone from shopping -- everyone did his or her own thing.

The "Democracy Bus" with messages all over it
I went back to Admiralty and managed to take a photo of the sea of lights as people sang the song by Beyond about freedom.

But how much longer will this happy atmosphere last? Some students have decided to escalate the situation by calling on Leung to step down by tomorrow (Thursday) or they will start occupying government offices.

Is this the solution? It seems to drastic at this point and could lost public support.

We'll have to see how things unfold tomorrow.

Overlooking the sea of lights in Admiralty this evening
But in the meantime wandering around today showed me another side of Hong Kong people, and that they are determined to create a better future for themselves and their home.



2 comments:

  1. Right now there are rumors that CY Leung and the CCP using HK triads to mix in with the Occupy Central movement to either serve as spies or troublemakers to start a smear campaign on Occupy Central.

    I still would point the finger (faulting) at CY Leung and the CCP if Occupy Cental goes violent. If CY Leung and the CCP willing to compromise, there won't be protests. Regine Ip Lau Sau Yee is the biggest hypocrite on the face of the planet (Someone help us all if Regina Ip becomes CE.)

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    1. HI nulle -- Many would agree with you about Regina Ip...

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