Thursday, October 09, 2014
[Opinion] Hong Kong's Umbrella Revolution -- Romanticism and Realism
1. For most of last week, I was afraid that the demonstration in Hong Kong will end in violence.
In this, I was continuously surprised by the political maturity of the demonstrators.
When most of the demonstrators dispersed by Monday (October 6, 2014) morning, they have successfully avoided a possibly violent crackdown by the Hong Kong Government.
2. Hong Kong's public opinion was by no means unanimous on the demonstration.
There was a perceptible intergenerational difference of opinion.
Quite a few of the older people did not support the demonstration while the demonstrators were mostly young people.
The older people tried not to disturb the status quo while the younger people demonstrate for a better future.
My sympathy is with the younger people.
Given the central government's policy towards Hong Kong, the status quo is not maintainable.
What distinguish Hong Kong from other Chinese cities is its British heritage: a set of customs and values that includes freedom and the rule of law.
Without this set of customs and values, Hong Kong will lost its competitive advantage and be just another Chinese city.
3. I see hope for the future of Hong Kong in the romanticism and realism of its young people.
The young people are romantic in that they demonstrated for something the central government will not possibly grant them: free Chief Executive Election in 2017.
The young people are realistic in that they did not repeat the mistake of the students of Tiananmen Square of 1989 and disperse after their point is made.
What is achieved by the Umbrella Revolution is that the demonstration has put Hong Kong's Chief Executive Election of 2017 onto the international political agenda.
I am hopeful for Hong Kong because its young people are willing to fight for its future.