Sunday, 12 October 2014

Two Weeks Later

Looking over Admiralty with people, signs and tents everywhere
Apologies to readers who may be wanting to read other news about Hong Kong, but I can't help but be drawn to Admiralty to take a look.

After a swim at the gym, I made a big detour to Admiralty on my way to the Star Ferry to get to Kowloon.

Students doing their homework as they protest on the streets
The area was bustling with hundreds of people around. It was very peaceful, though YTSL reports there was an older woman who came by shouting at the protesters to go away and so they responded by singing Happy Birthday to her to embarrass her.

It's a tactic often used in Mongkok where there are the odd verbal flareups, but for the most part, Admiralty is perhaps the safest of the four sites (Central is virtually non-existent).

Yes -- there are kids doing their homework here and even a schedule for classes, and tutors willing to lend a hand to anyone who needs help.

Seeing more artists out there is also wonderful, capturing the spirit. I spotted this poster on the stairwell at the overpass and put it on Instagram. Almost instantly there was a flurry of likes, and even one Instagrammer identifying the artist as Ah Tsui who is an illustrator.

Beautiful work by Ah Tsui celebrating the umbrella movement
The spontaneous artistic creativity is fantastic, and it's wonderful seeing so many people of all ages out there for the cause, but what is going to happen next?

How is this going to be resolved? I don't mind sacrificing inconvenience for the cause on the long term, but both sides are refusing to budge.

The students published an open letter to Chinese President Xi Jinping. They insist the Umbrella Revolution is not a "colour revolution" and that they respect "one country, two systems".

They also add Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying admitting receiving HK$50 million ($6.1 million) from an Australian engineering firm demonstrates that there is corruption within the system and that true democracy is the way towards accountability.

At the end of the letter they make three demands:

The HKSAR government must bear the sole responsibility, be accountable to Hong Kong citizens and rectify herself;

A painter at the protest site documenting the scene
To establish a democratic system that affirms equal rights;

To uphold the principle of "One Country, Two systems": Hong Kong problems be settled in Hong Kong; Politics to be settled by Politics.

No word yet from Xi, but this morning Leung went on TVB in a taped interview to reiterate he was not stepping down because that would not solve the problem, and that it was impossible to get the National People's Congress to withdraw its decision on how candidates for chief executive would be chosen, or for the body to accept civic nominations.

"In achieving universal suffrage in 2017, if the prerequisite is to put down the Basic Law and the decision made by the National People's Congress Standing Committee, I believe we all know that the chance [achieving] is almost zero," he said.

He also said he did nothing morally or legally wrong in accepting the HK$50 million...

Looking at the streams of people coming and going
With both sides as far apart as they were before, the city is becoming more divided. There are stories of family members having arguments about who is on which side and of course police officers having a tough time doing their jobs.

Occupy has galvanized Hong Kong, but at the same time has brought out a very civil side -- strangers striking up conversations with each other, donating food, helping set up tents and encouraging people to be creative.

Hong Kong's an amazing place.


  1. "Yes -- there are kids doing their homework here and even a schedule for classes, and tutors willing to lend a hand to anyone who needs help."

    I've seen classes scheduled and taking place in Causeway Bay too -- and photos of a "mobile democracy" classroom erected in Mongkok as well! :)

    Re where this is going to go: I think the Umbrella Movement folks have given Beijing some wriggle room... by stating it's the Hong Kong government they're holding accountable. So let's hope that Beijing can agree that the Hong Kong government has hardly been doing a stellar job for a start!

    1. HI YTSL -- Yes we hope! But there is no wriggle room for the civic nomination which is what they really want...