Monday, 20 May 2013

Hear Us Out

A prominent Vietnamese monk is in Hong Kong visiting for two weeks and many of his devotees are here to hear him speak.

The man is full of wisdom, so much so we think the Hong Kong government should listen to him too.

He seems to have his hand on the pulse of the city, saying you can stop a protest one time, but you can't stop another from starting up if you don't deal with the problem.

"There are people who have not been heard, which leads to problems," says Phap Kham, head of the Hong Kong branch of Buddhist Centre Plum Village.

"Protests are just a manifestation of unhappiness inside. They are only symptoms. there should be a way for people's voices to be heard in a peaceful way."

The Zen master adds not only are people's voices not heard, there was no communication between the government and its people.

"Policies should be made to meet people's needs, but sometimes policies are made without meeting needs," he said. "When people speak out, does [the government] make an effort to listen? If they are heard, then there wouldn't be more protests. Protests are a way of saying 'we need to talk'."

Why does it take someone who doesn't live in Hong Kong to crystallize this perfectly for us?

His other observation was that Hong Kong people have a lot of stress and anger because the city's fast pace of life didn't allow them to slow down to take care of themselves.

"When water in the pond is clear, we can see the bottom clearly. But when a herd of buffaloes stamp and stir up the mud, the water becomes murky and no one can see through it," Phap Kham said. "It is important to be calm before we can see solutions to problems."

It's true -- we all need to stop and reflect back what's going on in our lives before we can move forward; otherwise we will continue making the same mistakes or continue to be frustrated.

We need to be more reflective in fast-paced Hong Kong and be mindful of ourselves and others for a more productive and peaceful co-existence.

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