After a full week of swelling crowds, idealism, exhilaration and courage in the face of violence, Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protestors can pretty much declare ‘show over’, take a bow and leave the stage with their heads held high. It was a staggering performance that caught the attention of the world and stripped bare the government’s incompetence and lack of legitimacy.
The conclusion won’t be so neat. As with the whole of the city’s pro-democracy movement, different groups of demonstrators have their own ideas. Some radicals and militants hang on in Mongkok, although public sympathy is likely to dwindle along with protestor numbers. Some student leaders are bogged down in earnest pre-discussion discussions about nominating committees with officials – apparently engaging government in a mutual face-saving exercise. Exhausted people will go back to their daily lives in their own time.
The last few days had an air of drawing-to-a-close about them. A Hong Kong University academic seriously pondered the legalities of People’s Liberation Army intervention in Hong Kong, as if ‘PLA’ and ‘legality’ occupy the same universe. At the same time, the great elders of liberal society (university presidents, moderate pro-dem politicians, clergymen and the former Chief Justice) issued doom-laden pleas to students to go home to avoid a terrible fate. If this was contrived, it was a lot more subtle than earlier attempts to bludgeon hearts-and-minds.
Going from the sublime to the unhinged, Regina Ip blurted out to the New York Times that she has her eye on the Chief Executive position for 2017. No surprise, of course, but it’s the timing: why not just tattoo ‘Desperate Opportunistic Freak Coming!’ on your forehead? By contrast, the repulsiveness of the Leftist and Triad rent-a-mobs was relatively predictable – it was so clichéd you half suspect pro-dem publisher Jimmy Lai bankrolled them.
(Some worthwhile comments and clips on the right courtesy of this Guy and this guy.)
Despite inevitably ending in semi-chaotic anti-climax, the Occupy Central ‘umbrella uprising’ (or this round of it) has made history. We think the pro-dems are rudderless: for a truly scary lack of leadership and direction, look no further than the Hong Kong government. If it had any sense of decency, it wouldn’t dare show its face around town ever again.
What is the point of having a local administration if all it can do as the streets fill with angry citizens is bleat slogans handed down from Beijing and (apparently in an appeal to our humanity) wring its hands about the wretched retail sector? Previous Hong Kong governments have been detached and isolated, but you could see they sensed it and it made them nervous. This one has simply lost any idea that it might have a role as a representative of the community. The usual way of wording this is to say that the community has ‘lost faith’ in the government, but that’s effect, not cause. What has really happened is that the top leaders and administrators have managed to sever any remaining meaningful connection with their own population. It’s like we’ve gone back to the colonial regime of the 1950s and 60s, which saw the populace (refugees at that time) as a remote, burdensome nuisance.
This seems to be partly the culmination of years of increasingly prioritizing the interests of the tycoons and bureaucrat ‘elites’ over everyone else. That would be disturbing enough. But it also seems to be a corollary of a deeper official deference and loyalty to Beijing. The students and Occupy people have revealed the perverted dynamics of ‘One Country Two Systems’ in 2014 (and all it entails for the wider world): the more the Hong Kong government treats its own people like worthless shit, the more the Communist Party trusts it. For that, they can be proud.
Desperate Nuland failed to brings her buns and luckily McCain who would love to take selfies with local ISIS branch had scheduling issues; but wondering what local based foreign NGOs, NDIs, NEDs are sponsoring lately
Another good post. Hemmers has been among the most reliable commentators on Occupy Central.
Correction, though, on comparing this useless government’s view of the Hong Kong populace to British views from the 1950s. At least the British made decisions to help the unwashed.
Most disgusting sight of the week – nauseating Vagina sidekick Semen posing for selfies with kids along Connaught Road. However I was honoured with a selfie with the wonderful Jimmy Lai!
During a recent quiet afternoon I watched some vintage You Tube “Last Governor” episodes and was struck with some similarities between ancient colonial “oppression” and the present. Even possibly some lessons to be learned? Patten pissed off to varying degrees The Elite, Tycoons, The UK Foreign Office, patriotic Pro-China types and of course and most importantly the CCP, yet he remained hugely popular. Why ? He connected with the ordinary Joe on the street (99% of the population) and the majority believed he was representing them.
CY Leung has pissed off The Elite, The Tycoons, Pro-China types, the CCP and most of the population. He seems unable to see his “mandate” is to represent this city and not to parrot what he believes what the CCP and tycoons (0.001% of the population) want him to say and do. Before the end of his tenure he may want to engage the 99% and start administrating for them. Try affordable housing, pollution, wealth gap, corruption and reining in those odious , self-serving, pigs in the trough, Tycoons who have all thankfully shut the fuck up this last week or so.
Even with democratic development try to convince and cajole the CCP and if you fail, admit it ? But please don’t try and justify their decision as good for Hong Kong.
To the Students well done and to Incredulous (above) I’m so glad I did not run into Semen yesterday I would have probably lost it.
hemmers what’s going on. the 50 centers seem to have found your site.
hello john. welcome. we look forward to many hours of hilarity over the coming days.
saw a great poster on scmp. every time ‘foreign forces’ ‘CIA’ etc etc gets mentioned by a 50 center you have to have a shot of your favourite liquor n post ‘gambei’. he ran out of steam after one night. too pissed on shots. brilliant.
what is being over looked in all this is the massive contribution being made to the “umbrella movement” by Peoples Power and Civic Passion and their respective subgroups (Left 21 etc).
The Benny Tai trio and the pan-dems are only the leaders of this thing in the media narrative, they have little to no control over the people on the street.
To many people on the street the ‘leaders’ of the movement are the “Leftards” spoken about in many of the posters seems around the place.
People on the barricades are saying that this time there won’t be any “give yourself a round of applause for half a victory and everybody go home” ending. No settling for half measures.
The intellectual/negotiating/media whore (not HKFS and Josh, poor kids) end of this movement may be with the ‘we’re not anti china scholars’ but the manpower and logistics is with the “localist” groups, and they seem to be digging in for the long haul.
Those guys that are usually carrying the old colonial banners and flags, which should be conspicuous by their absence, are out there and there is a determination to be forced off the streets.
Most worryingly, I’ve spoken with more than one christian warrior doing gods work out there, they understand the full implications of what they are doing and sound like they are ready for Martyrdom.
The thing about MLK tactics that Benny doesn’t talk about is how he was positioning himself as the good guy option for USA gov to talk with as opposed to the more militant Malcom X and the Black Panthers….
Is there a cure for Messiah Complex? I suspect that several of the leaders associated with the Occupy movement are going to soon need serious help. Of particular concern is the dim-looking kid who reads all of “his” speeches off an I-thingy.
I admire the students for what they have done, but I can’t be the only one here who thinks they should have done more regarding the root of the problems, i.e. the tycoons and collusion etc..the whole world seems to be listening but they can only hear the cry for democracy. Apart from those links to the guy in the SCMP I have yet to read an article or tv report that pinpoints the blame at the feet of the handful of families.
Before OC I reckon the tycoons were petrified of seeing themselves as burning effigies amidst all the riots. Now they appear to have come out the other end completely unscathed.
A golden chance has been missed? Or am I being too harsh?
Spud; What you say was pretty much the focus of the class boycott and the Tamar teach in. The pan-dem politicians and Benny have co-opted the students movement so that they can push their civil nomination/universal suffrage issue. Alot of the inner OCLP and pan-dems are invested in the tycoons system, they fear the social justice/equal rights message as much as the 5/6 families. How many pan-dems turn up to vote on LGBT ridhts issues or would support better treatment for immigrant workers?
During the class boycott students mooted the idea of general strike and marching to Kwai Chung to support dock workers in strike action. The dockworkers were one of the first groups on stage to offer strike action in support of the students because of the support the students gave them back in 2012. Pan-dems shut that idea down and if you try to suggest it to the ‘elders’ they dismiss the idea out of hand.
Look at the sub groups of civic passion: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civic_Passion
Land Justice League
Land to the People Front
Age of Resistance
Hong Kong People First
the kids that are on the barricades belong to these groups. Trouble is they get labeled as the ‘militant radicals’ in the media and their issues are lost.
It hasn’t helped that Benny’s occupy was the only one that had media coverage and info in English.
Today Hong Kong, tomorrow Shanghai. The seed has been planted.
Something else: this evening I saw half a dozen sinister characters near the far end of the barricades in CWB, in front of Causeway Bay Plaza. They were all smoking and they had that ‘Mongkok Keung’ look. One even wore a black T-shirt that said ‘security’. And I have lived in CWB long enough to tell the difference between mainland tourists and local thugs. Looked like Albert’s boys.
I also saw small groups of secondary school kids being shown around the sit-in area by students and being briefed on the activities. That was something else.
@[email protected] Yes I was very tempted to have a go at Semen (one of the nastier tycoons considering he’s a gweilo who got himself a Chinese passport to further ingratiate himself with HK govt and PRC) but I thought to myself , this was supposed to be a peaceful demonstration and the sight of two Western over 60 year old’s brawling might have amused the media and onlookers too much!
Next time maybe I’ll just burn his effigy!
I think the tycoons know full well where they sit in this mix: guilty as charged, utter scum.
But I doubt they’re worried at events
Logically (or hopefully?) true universal suffrage would deliver an anti-tycoon CE. But whether a “real” CE would follow through with anti-tycoon things once they’re elected is pretty doubtful. The tycoons will reckon they can mould Hong Kong into a Philippines style model of universal suffrage but pathetic Presidents – totally corrupt once in office, hang the promises made to get elected.
If the Kwoks nobbled the unelected Rafael Hui it won’t take long for other tycoons to nobble Rafael’s elected descendants
Sad, but probably true
A couple of queries, if I may.
First, I assume that “Vagina” is the hideous Regina Ip, but who is her sidekick, “Semen”?
Secondly, who is the “dim-looking kid” referred to by the soi-disant “Sage of Mui Wo”?
I have lived in Mui Wo for the last 25 years, and haven’t noticed too many sages about. If the “Sage” in question would care to unmask him or herself, I’d be very willing to plumb with him or her the depths of his or her delphic utterances.
Keep up the good work, Hemmers. You provide the best commentary we have.
Oh! The penny has dropped. “Semen” must be the odious Allan Zeman.
Very nasty piece of work.
Each day, Lord Chrome Dome Semen of Staines must be hemorrhaging a fortune. Let’s hope his misfortune continues.
If I had a choice to smack the faces of 3 people I would smack…
Vagina Yip (twice)
Semen (really hard)
Paul Chan Mo-po (plus a complimentary kick up the ass)
I know that’s 4 smacks, but I couldn’t help myself. It just felt so good.
I’d probably add to that list Robert Chow. And visions of the bastard love child of Semen and Vagina give me sleepless nights just like John “I never did maths’ Tsang.
Zeeman is showing off his slimy which way is the wind blowing today personality. A perfect toady 2nd level Oligarch.
I don’t know who wrote that, but it wasn’t Semen.