Into the midst of the weirdness, Robert Chow returns. The representative of the ‘Silent Majority’ and founder of the anti-Occupy Central ‘Alliance for Peace and Democracy’ was interviewed on RTHK this morning. At his height as a scourge of pro-democracy activists, the snowy haired rabble-rouser spread apocalyptic visions of Hong Kong in chaos, and pushed a vast United Front anti-OC signature campaign against the evils of civil disobedience. The delights of demagoguery went to his head, however, and he launched an informers’ hotline for people to snitch on schools planning to facilitate student involvement in pro-democracy protests. Taken aback by the public revulsion, he disappeared from view – perhaps retreating into a cave where he could pull the wings off butterflies in peace.
His reappearance (briefly mentioned by a Standard editor desperate for another half-dozen lines) reveals him to be a broken man. Apparently grief-stricken at the thought that the ‘Silent Majority’ turned up a couple of nights ago and took Argyle Street and Nathan Road, he railed at how the Occupy organizers never mentioned Mongkok in their plans, and they should get out of there and move to Central, as the campaign’s name would seem to require. He is mightily miffed about this, as if the devious pro-dems have somehow cheated by occupying Admiralty, Causeway Bay and mid-Kowloon. Getting even more sorely vexed, he ranted that maybe the protestors have had their fun and games, but what happens next?
That is, of course, a fair question.
So far, the Students/Occupy protests have achieved four major policy aims that have defeated Hong Kong governments for years:
- Firm action to tackle obesity, as striking Swire Bottlers staff bring production of Coca-Cola to a standstill;
- A solution to municipal waste problems, as protestors on the street spontaneously figure out a way to get everyone to recycle trash, using bags hanging from railings;
- A glorious fall in the number of Mainland visitors, and negative sales growth for retailers selling overpriced crap no-one needs; and last but not least…
- A very noticeable improvement in air quality in traffic-free streets.
The government has also cancelled the National Day fireworks display. Maybe officials felt the event would be provocative, as the space-age pyrotechnics were to feature the words ‘Chinese people’ in simplified characters. Or perhaps the idea is to disappoint millions of innocent children looking forward to the show, and hope the blame gets shifted onto Occupy central as some sort of punishment. Or both. Or maybe Carrie Lam was having a bad hair day.
Not least, the demonstrations and sit-ins have yielded iconic photography and inspired a range of intriguing art and assorted meme-stuff. The stand-out is from here. My own humble contribution is intended for Beijing’s Liaison Office to fly on October 1…
But back to Robert Chow’s question: what next? The occupation-of-intersections thing has presumably peaked; people need to go to work, or go home for a shower and a good night’s sleep. There’s probably no point in sitting in the street over the public holidays, even if that was the Occupy Central plan up to last weekend. Organizer Benny Tai and friends are devising a ‘second phase’ of action – a bit optimistically, perhaps, given that the first phase was unscripted and ad-hoc, and they had to run to keep up.
While demands that Beijing cease being Communist are pointless, a lull in Occupy activity could be a good opportunity to put the Hong Kong government on the spot with a simple request for a constructive response to recent events. People are clearly unhappy: let’s hear a proposal by next weekend on how to move forward. Or it’s back to streets.
The South China Morning Post’s Peter Kammerer writes that there are better ways for the people to make their voices heard than taking to those streets. Of course there aren’t – we had mass protests over Article 23 and National Education precisely because it’s all the government listens to. The columnist’s alternative is that people be good citizens, look after their families and… have “exercise and good habits.”
Maybe the SCMP are getting into this.
I declare the two-day mid-week holiday open with an alternative view. This is a real extract from an email from a former Hong Kong resident now overseas…
Fanaticism has never been the answer to anything, but the so-called Pan Democrats of Hong Kong and now the young radicals of Hong Kong are perfectly willing to lead Hong kong and China into chaos with THEIR new brand of fanaticism, their new magic crede, answer for everything, their new IDOL. You new fanatics, who are now willing to destroy anything that is contrary to your views, you are EXACTLY the same species as the Red Guards who only a few decades ago were willing to destroy much of China’s heritage and kill millions for precisely the OPPOSITE views that you are agitating for in Hong Kong now. Opposite views, same species. THEY and YOU were/are BOTH so absolutely certain you are right about everything and that you can/must have it NOW, that you will do anything to get your way. You will trample over the lives and livelihoods of all the other people in Hong Kong, because ONLY YOU are right. You would not care if China were again enveloped in another two decades of chaos such as it previously experienced when order broke down – just so long as you can get your way. You, in parallel societies, are the young fanatical suicide bombers and terrorists of the world, you are Pol Pot’s fanatical youth who killed millions because they also KNEW they were RIGHT and had to have their way NOW, you are the Hitler Youth who were prepared to assist the Holocaust because THEY also knew they were so truly RIGHT.
This is the kind of fanaticism that starts by saying it can ride roughshod over people’s lives and livelihoods – because YOU know better and YOU are RIGHT.
There is more. Almost makes you glad to have Robert Chow back.
Our students did in 2 days what the cops couldn’t do in 10 years: clear Central of all Alphards.
Asia’s Finest ? No more.
How come that senile old fool Li Ka-shing hasn’t put in his reactionary 2 cents yet ?
As to things Pythonesque, I am awaiting the “other,other plan”. As was mentioned by RTP yesterday, there is a real divide that exists in HK, largely on age based lines . Older Hong Kongers, perhaps their firm is Mainland owned or training is undertaken on the Mainland are now dismissive of Colonial HK. Perhaps the extra salary when Mainland festivals arrive, helps somewhat . Rightly or wrongly, there are a hard core of HKers who are against such protests . You know the sort, the type who delight in underpaying their maid, the ones who push on at the front of a queue while another is being served, demanding instant attention regarding the extra 5 cents they were charged .
JB, the Alphards will be back, along with the air-pollution. The decline in the air-pollution is more likely attributed to the golden week and the fact the factories are shut up north. Nonetheless, I have to say it’s easy to get around with tourist buses not loitering and clogging Stubbs Road.
Come on, sheeple! Wake up to the truth!
This is all a Beijing plot to distract us from Rafael Hui’s damaging testimony!
Li Ka Shing like most of the Tycoon / Bureaucrat clique, that frankly along with the CCP are responsible for Hong Kong’s woeful governance, now realises his words carry no weight and, has joined all but the very foolish (Vagina, Fanny), in keeping his head well below the parapet.
Yes this will blow over and we can rest assured the CCP will be furious with CY and Commissioner Andy. CY’s at the half way point of his term knowing China will probably let him limp until June 2017 but his political career is over. Commissioner Andy’s days of going Beijing to get his tummy tickled are over so he may as well tot up his accrued leave. Replacement Carrie sounded defeated and not nearly so smug yesterday and is probably now looking forward to retirement in Britain.
So who will China pick for 2017? You can keep changing the actors but if the scrip is shite the result will be the same. Time for a new scrip or carry on with the old one this time starring Robert Chow !
With all due respect to your overseas friend, Hemlock, he is either prejudiced, extremely badly informed about the modern day political situation in China, or the history of fascistic movements in general.
One of the common characteristic of all of the movements he mentions are the strongly held belief that violence, or even eradication of human beings, is the solution to other people having the wrong colour skin, the wrong shaped penis, the wrong religious beliefs, the wrong ideas and beliefs (merely due to the social class they were born in).
A more accurate analogy would be to compare or liken the Umbrellas to the civil rights movement in the US in the 60s, the non-violent opposition to British rule in India, or the suffragettes. In these cases, the majority of the citizens in society understood that injustice and baseless persecution was rife in the political economy of the time. Fear, intimidation and violence were used by the minority, by the state and state aligned groups, to maintain the status quo, often at the expense of the life, liberty and social equity of the disenfranchised or those who dissent.
There is only one actor who is “running roughshod over people’s lives” in HKG and China right now, and it is the state. This is done under a public guise of “maintaining stability and harmony”, but it is of course simply a ruse to facilitate the large-scale graft, corruption and outright theft that characterises the behaviour of state actors and state-aligned groups in China.
Comparing the young who have the courage to stand up to open injustice and persecution, and claim their inalienable political rights – for themselves, for their community, for their society and for their country – to red guards, Hitler youth is of course beyond ridiculous. The philosophy and methods of the red guards didn’t leave China, they were resurrected by Jiang Zemin and his cronies within the domestic security apparatus in China – different generation, same game. Confessions of “wrong thought” or we torture you. Stop fighting for your rights, or the rights or others, or we imprison you. If you refuse to support what we say is right, are your wife and family safe?
Though I am concerned for the future, and what may come as a result of these protests, this is the first time in my life I have been proud to call myself Hong Konger.
Peter good-toilet-habits Kammerer should have been put out to grass long ago.
Perhaps as much by luck as by judgement, the protestors avoided Benny’s damp-squib idea of starting on a holiday. But now their degree of disruption will reduce for a couple of days, although more — and older — people will have time to join in. The question is whether they’ve got the stamina to last a week or two.
If I were CY I’d stop stupidly stonewalling and flee overseas, as de Gaulle did in similar circumstances.
I’m with Joe Blow. Asia’s Finest, not any more.
As a sidenote to yesterday, Hemmers you reckoned it was CY who asked for the gas and batons
I talked yesterday with an old friend who knew about much tougher crowd control (two tours of Ulster in the eighties and Basra in the naughties). His view was that it was almost certainly the police on the spot who went red, with the gas and batons etc, and almost certainly not an approval by CY or one of his minions.
My friend’s experience was that Rules of Engagement take a long time to set, and once it all kicks off it’s down to the line commander’s view of operating reality at the messy end. He or she must cover themselves by justifying a perceived threat (easy) and showing they delivered a real warning (often difficult).
ps great link about this – http://www.chinafile.com/confessions-reactionary … there is a very simple solution to all of this … China already has a great constitution (ironically enough, originates in its philosophy, if not detail, with the Qing) … dedicate all resources in the domestic security budget to implementing the constitution and then upholding it.
I think everyone should leave Vagina Yip alone. It seems she is subtly showing her support for the protestors by dyeing her hair black.
I still have a horrible feeling this will turn out badly, not just for the students but for all of us in HK
I sincerely hope I am wrong
ok i am blaming mister hemlock for this – he brought up the pytonesque piece.
the protesters should have said to the police ‘negotiator”
“you cannot pass until you bring me a…….shrubbery ni”
seriously they are doing something i am too gutless to do and 100% behind them. about 5000kms at the moment unfortunately.
ps little phones not good for typing especially after a couple of beers and using free wifi in burger king auckland.
My few words on Robert Chow: http://ourprivatebeach.blogspot.hk/2014/09/silence-of-damned.html
To pull some threads of Hemmers recent and Comments together:
Point made. Culmination of protest tomorrow. Set a one week deadline for CY to say something non-robotic. To at least pretend he’s on the side of HK people. Otherwise Occupy will be back, in 10 days.
Have this megaphoned (and disseminated) by Jimmy, two leading students (one female), a pro-dem and Zimmerman. PZ very quiet but this message is one of ‘go home, study, rest, back to work’ which is very civic. Gwei good for global TV.
It’s time to take heat out of this. But pile it on that back a week Saturday, in spades, if no sniff of an accommodation or understanding about the frustrations of the people of Hong Kong.
When the hungry peasants of France rose up against the Bourbons, they had no idea they were going to be successful at all and even less that 200 years later their actions, example and ideas would still reverberate around the world.
You cannot script a revolution: you just fight it.
New York Times is doing an editorial on Hong Kong today.
I came to Big Lychee hoping that he would help me make an informed judgement on these extraordinary events. I mean: I hoped he would tell me what to think. Instead I found, particularly today, a mainly light-hearted article, mocking in tone, which informed and piqued my mind a little. At first I was disappointed. Now I think there may be something to learn: Calm down, these things pass, it’s not so bad. If I kept on worrying, and worrying, I would write: “I still have a horrible feeling this will turn out badly, not just for the students but for all of us in HK. I sincerely hope I am wrong.”
An alternative strategy would be to pile on the pressure while the government jackasses are in such obvious disarray. This might include trying to organize rolling “flash mob” type protests at busy intersections, MTR stations and the airport for, say, three hours’ duration.
Also, it is high time that government officials and their enablers pay a personal price for their betrayal of the people of Hong Kong. They should be vilified and ostracized wherever they go. People should turn their backs on these arrogant self-aggrandizers, shout “Resign!” and “Shame!” whenever they are seen in public, and point at them whilst blowing toy whistles to identify them for the zombies that they are.
I’m sure there are many other, better ideas out there, but this was the best I could come up with before breakfast.
Robert Chao keeps harping about the 1.5 Million signatures he purchased with packets of sugary Vitasoy Drinks”happy meals”, or what ever they call the crap they served up from Cafe De Coral to the mainland patriots bused in. I expect he’s all a panic to justify to Beijing all that money shot down the toilet.
Whoever gave the order to the police to jackboot through the streets with their Remingtons, must be held to account.
some interesting points made in the discussion at Marginal Revolution:
I do think that, with a few honourable exceptions, the scope of the debate over the last few days could have been greater. The events happening before our eyes are unprecedented, and caught nearly all the commentators by total surprise. The repercussions stretch well beyond this tiny piece of land, involving of course the Chinese government, but also the whole world’s media and even leaders. Even the poor old BBC has had to shake off its deferential attitude to the pro-China nexus.
Furthermore, the outcome is difficult to predict. An eery silence has emanated from most of the establishment in HK and China.
Peking wants above all to avoid the foreign media showing pictures of Chinese tanks confronting unarmed citizens of Chinese ethnicity. But no one has suggested any plausible middle ground between the umbrella movement and CY and his bosses. If he resigned or genuine democracy in, say 2022, was offered, that might take some of the wind out of the protestors’ sails.
But they may yet be ground down by the government waiting for a couple of weeks — in which case they would be advised to up the ante somehow (block a harbour tunnel? call for a general strike? surround the liaison office? CY’s residence?).
Whatever happens, Joshua and Benny have proved the unlikely saviours of HK’s soul.
Paul Chan for CE!! If I had a vote, he’d get mine!
You indolent troll. I cannot believe you have actually gone on holiday today! Those kids should string Hemlock up.
“Give me your tired, your poor, your indolent masses, yearning to breathe free…” – Emma Lazarus
Imagine “Les Miserables”…
10,000 people congregate on the Peak outside CY Leung’s 120 million dollar mansion. The masses are quietly humming “Can you hear the people sing ?”. At the stroke of midnite, CY’s wife, Regina, appears on the balcony of the master bedroom, next to the illegal trellis, and dramatically proclaims, “Your queen cannot sleep ! Go home and eat cake !”. At that moment, CY’s daughter, Marie-Antoinette, appears next to her in a designer dress (Barney Cheng) and clutching her expensive necklace from Lane Crawford. She laughs hysterically and screams: “I paid for this with your tax money !”, and slashes her wrist…..
I agree. Robert Chow is an idiot and its good to see him exposed for trying to muddy the argument instead of being honest & finding a proper resolution
@ Joe Blow
The only incredible factoid in your vignette thingo is that you think CY’s mansion is only worth $120M. Yeah, right………….maybe 320M
PD says “The events happening before our eyes are unprecedented, and caught nearly all the commentators by total surprise”. I am pretty sure they caught most of the protesters by surprise as well. No one expected anything on this scale.
Robert Chow must be all a panic that the Tong’s are getting more cash from China that he is.