On September 28, 2014, Beijing disrupted social order and harmed Hong Kong’s economic livelihood by attacking hundreds of thousands of unarmed protestors with uncountable attacks of teargas and pepper spray. Some say, Beijing’s actions will bare unimaginable consequences for China.
As an American living in Hong Kong during one of the city’s most historic chapters to date, I have learned a few things. 1) Communist don’t change. 2) Communist have zero respect for human life. 3) Communist will never allow for any rival for party politics. 4) America is pretty fucking great.
I don’t personally know any of the Occupy Central protestors, the same protestors that have shown the world how protests are done! Sure, I follow them on Instagram and Facebook, we exchange comments, but I haven’t been able to sit down and share a coffee with one of these amazing individuals. The guy that cuts my hair is local and has been very active, and boy did I learn a lot during my last haircut, but I’d love to learn more. I’m curious if they really feel in their hearts they can make a change.
The other day I read a story about a young lady who protested for more than a week. While hanging out, sleeping, eating, doing homework, educating others by standing up for what she believes in, she left the streets a different person. She is hopeful Beijing will change and honor the Basic Law, but she seriously doubts anything will come from these protests. After all, she pointed out, they’re fighting China! But what I liked most about her story was what she gained from sleeping outside for a week. She learned how to dream. She explained she had worked hard and accomplished much, but she didn’t have a dream or hope for the future. She didn’t have a true personal life. With each night she spent sleeping on the street, she gained the ability to dream deeper. I think she realized what many of us already know. The real benefits of the act of dreaming isn’t about the dreams coming true, but more importantly how having dreams and hopes impact our lives on daily basis.
Today marks no real change for the city. C.Y. Leung is still in office. Many of Hong Kong’s police officers are as much of a disgrace to the people of Hong Kong, as they were on Sept. 28th. Occupy Central protestors in Mong Kok are still being attacked by so-called “pro-Beijing” supporters, which turns out many of which have been recruited and paid by Chinese-communist activist from China. Streets are still closed throughout the city. As for the silver lining in all this, well, the air quality downtown is much better. And despite recent news that the MTR may not be able to maintain the additional passengers for much longer, the city is still hanging on. Outside temperatures have dropped, helping aid the longer walks and queues. Oh, and to my complete surprise, my dry cleaner found a way to my building today, delivering my clothes for the first time in three weeks.
However, taxis will soon consume streets again. The MTR will go back to more manageable level of rudeness and buses will be back on schedule. However, just because the streets will soon be open, does not mean Hong Kong will be back to normal. For better of worse, Hong Kong will never be the same again. Like a solder returning from battle, Hong Kong people have seen things they will never forget. They have been changed.
Beijing may be holding on for now, but the people of Hong Kong are fighters! Polite friendly fighters, but still fighters! They have learned a lot from this experience. They’re stronger and wiser. They have a better understanding of the power of international social media, the brotherhood of community, not to mention the most powerful lesson… the greatest weapon is self-control, through the graces of love and peace.
No one knows what will happen next, but one thing’s for certain. Hong Kong has a joint declaration with China and if it takes fighting again and again and again, point by point, everyday to maintain democracy promised by that declaration, registered with the United Nations, then that’s what Hong Kong will do. Again. Again. Everyday. Doing the best they know to do, and as they know better, they will continue to do better.
I have never been more proud to say I live in Hong Kong. You guys rock!