Saturday, 6 December 2014

Facing Reality

Joshua Wong felt dizzy and unwell before he ended his hunger strike
We are relieved to hear Joshua Wong Chi-fung and two others have ended their hunger strike on doctors' orders.

Wong only subsisted on water and energy drinks for 110 days and was given a bit of glucose. But he ended the fast at noon today because of his sugar levels dropping and also his heart beating very fast, the highest recorded at 108 per minute, when on average it is no more than 100.

It was shocking to see him at first needing assistance to go to the bathroom, and then being pushed around in a wheelchair.

Another student Isabella Lo Yin-wai had to end the hunger strike yesterday and then tonight a few hours ago Prince Wong Ji-yuet was taken to hospital and will quit as well.

There are two more still not eating any food, Gloria Cheng Yik-lam and Eddie Ng Man-hin, but they started a day after Wong.

When Wong started his hunger strike, it seemed like a last desperate attempt to get attention, and as predicted, Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying refused to speak to the students despite pro-Beijing lawmakers, including James Tien Pei-chun who was recently ousted from the CPPCC when he called for Leung to step down, tried to get both sides to meet.

Leung said that while he was "very willing" to have talks with the students, public nomination would be off the table as a prerequisite for dialogue.

Over a week ago when a colleague mentioned Admiralty, an associate rolled their eyes and said Joshua Wong was trying to get asylum in the United States. "Lester Shum's father has a green card, Joshua doesn't," the person noted. "He's just trying to get attention."

The hunger strike certainly did, but was it for the right reasons? Another colleague has pointed out that people in Tibet have set themselves on fire and Beijing didn't care, so why would it even bat an eyelid to a group of students on a hunger strike?

These desperate attempts to get the government to get back to the table are not working and not thought through.

As a result the students lose credibility for their perceived inability to think strategically. Yes they are young and naive, and many of us enjoyed the freedom of being able to occupy several main thoroughfares in the city, as well as the incredibly creative artwork that showed both mockery and artistry.

But what is the endgame? No one seems to have a solution except to withdraw for now.

It's terribly disappointing the Hong Kong government has refused to engage the students beyond a one-time debate, and has relied on public transportation companies to apply for court injunctions to clear the road, than to do it in the interests of the entire city's residents.

However we now know where the government stands (behind the big menacing panda) and it's up to individuals to decide if they want to stay behind and live with this fact, or move on to more democratic climes.

And apparently many are doing the latter if they can afford to make the sacrifice...


  1. a few timely placed devices in Beijing would get their attention...