So what happened?
I don’t even know where to start.
Basically, some student protests led to the sudden start of Occupy Central (which isn’t really in Central) which morphed into this thing called the Umbrella Movement.
I was swept up and absorbed in this thing that I’ve never seen before and spent the early days glued to my phone, hooked to Facebook, scrolling through never-ending feeds of what’s happening everywhere.
No one I know can say with any confidence they know what’s going on. But one way or the other, whether you’re for or against it, everyone seems to be in it.
Stories abound. Anything you can think of. Friends and family falling out due to disagreement over the events. It’s hush hush at work. Police beating protesters up. Tear gas. Old grannies sitting on the streets. High school students in uniforms distributing oranges, crackers, masks, and water in the protest sites. Banners. Slogans. Speeches.
If for my entire life I was never political and wasn’t even sure if I can call Hong Kong home, suddenly I needed to know what’s happening. Even the gweilos I know here have changed their Facebook photos in support of the movement. I mean, seriously, when was the last time expats were interested in Hong Kong politics and social issues?
I’m not sure why I’m writing right now. Perhaps this is me taking a breather from all that’s happened. If I was too absorbed to write, maybe this is me mourning. This is me feeling sorry that the movement is in its dying days.
Maybe I’m mourning the fact that idealism on it’s own doesn’t win. I’m an idealistic person (just ask my friends or my boss) – maybe that’s why I was so swept up in it. The passion! The fight for justice! For freedom of speech! For democracy! There’s a reason why the words idealistic and realistic exist.
Realistically, I don’t think anyone would think that the government would give in to the students’ full demands, but at the same time, I didn’t expect the government to not concede even just a little bit.
There are many things I still don’t understand. Why the push for civil nomination? Why not ask for something the government is more likely to give in to, such as the removal of functional constituencies or whatever other way to lower the voting rights of corporate entities and reduce their grip on our lives? Why the push for the Chief Executive’s resignation? I mean, yes, he’s a complete dick and can’t talk for shit, but not necessarily the real focus is it?
Was there ever an end game? Was there ever an exit strategy? Do we just fizz out?
I come away with more questions than answers, sad that we seem to have not achieved anything.
On second thought, that is not true. If anything, the students and the movement have waken the government, and just as importantly, the people up. It’s a long road ahead.