The protests have united Hong Kong’s youth under a political umbrella, writes Jay Ng. Illustration by Julia Zhu Wei.
Underneath the world-famous Hong Kong skyline lie housing shortages, huge wealth inequality and, now, the Umbrella Revolution, a political protest uniting a generation. In the past, Hong Kong has functioned like an apolitical city. White collars work numbly, hoping to buy an apartment one day, while androidlike students study hard, hoping to gain a seat in university. Usually, the only thing that truly excites the city is the release of a new Apple iPhone model.
Over the past month, all that has changed.
Beijing’s attempts to enforce pseudo-universal suffrage has changed what my Hong Kong social circle cares about. My Instagram feed, which once featured screenshots of iPhone 6 receipts, is now full of pictures of my friends sweating and camping out on the street, police brutality, yellow ribbons, and umbrellas.
This is an important lesson that everyone needs to learn. I have learnt mine through my experience with other women of colour.
My hometown, Hong Kong, is currently being watched by international media because of the recent protests for universal suffrage. Hong Kong expats have gathered around the world to express their support for all the freedom fighters back home.
While many of us appreciate the international media attention, I was irritated to see a USyd Socialist Alternative (SAlt) member speaking at the Sydney protest on Monday (29/9).
Regardless of her (or her faction’s) intention, her presence on the speaking list was unwanted and not necessary (I do not intend to blame the Sydney protest organizer, as I do not assume everyone to know SAlt’s usual practice). Copies of Red Flag in her hand were not necessary either.
The intention of our protest was to gather Hong Kong natives to discuss how we feel about our future and our worry about our friends and family being exposed to tear gas. We wanted to gather to talk about our appreciation for those individuals fighting for a democratic future under strong heat and tough rain.
Our current oppression and our future are not your toy to recruit more members or sell more copies of Red Flag. You can be aware of international affairs, educate yourselves and show a relative amount of support, but do not make it your own issue.
All I want to say is, this is just another example in a nutshell of how some groups or individuals in the Western world (or in a more specific context, right here on our campus at USyd) see minority cultures as disposable that they can pick up anytime.
Learn how to stay in your lane, it is not that hard.
This letter appears in Honi Soit ACAR Edition and online.
tw sexual harassment, blood, violence
I cannot articulate myself properly. It takes an effort for me to read the news everyday. So much anger and frustration…
Criminal organizations that are against Umbrella Revolution were involved in Mong Kok, one of the protest areas. One of the gang members carried a knife and explained to the media that he “likes to eat fruit”. Female students were being sexually harassed by male members of these organizations and police stood there and did nothing. Other protestors were also attacked. What a contrast with the countless amount of teargas being thrown to peaceful and unarmed students earlier this week. The police spokesperson said the co-operative act between police and gangs are false claims with no evidence to support. They ARE co-operative with the gangs by being bystanders. PERIOD. Again the PPRB (police public relations) is basically “擘大眼講大話” Lying with their eyes wide open. (They have recently justified their use of teargas only pose minimal harm to protestors.) Don’t forget Hong Kong. We need more support and witness around the world.
(Student leader Joshua Wong)
(Injured pro-Umbrella Revolution protestor in Mong Kok)
[I found these images online, as I am not in Hong Kong right now (unfortunately). If owner of these images want credit please let me know.]