Friday, 31 October 2014

Wing Wing: Her Beloved Hong Kong

Her Beloved Hong Kong
Translated by Vivian L., Written by 翼雙飛 (Wing Wing)
Original: http://www.passiontimes.hk/article/10-30-2014/19460 

(Photo credit: Passiontimes)

Do you know someone like this?

She is young, probably in her 20s, and an avid photographer on Facebook and Instagram. The photos she takes, however, are but a compilation of mundaneness that the world can live without—selfies snapped at an awkward angle, afternoon tea in some fancy hotels, boat parties, boarding gates, group-selfies featuring a pack of pouting girls.

Then came the Umbrella Revolution. One day, out of the blue, this otherworldly young lady proclaimed on Facebook, “These occupiers are messing up Hong Kong. Please stop disturbing other people’s lives and destroying my beloved Hong Kong!”

That last remark practically drove me to madness.

Over the last few years, the residents of Sheng Shui have been forced to endure the ceaseless streams of Chinese smugglers “shopping” in the border town, carts loaded with smuggled commodity running over their feet, and their once quiet lives turned upside down.
A survey found that 10 out of 10 residents of the primarily residential northern district do not want the multiple-entry permits to be continuously issued to China’s individual visitors.

To these she has said nothing. She has not once blamed the smugglers for messing up Hong Kong or disturbing the lives of Sheng Shui residents. Her life of mundane extravagance continued on unaffected.

Besides the swarm of smugglers that have been snapping up daily necessities in bulk, Hong Kong has to entertain an impossible number of visitors from across the border. Over the past year, Chinese travellers accounted for more than 40 million arrivals into Hong Kong (during which period the whole nation of Japan only accommodated around 10 million visitors worldwide).

Hong Kong’s retail industry has been gravely distorted by this numbers game. Small, well-worn shops that have long been the locals’ lifeline—eateries, stationery stores, bookstores, grocers—have been replaced by high-end outlets that target tourists and jewellery chains that line the city’s high streets with windows full of gold.

With the floodgate for Chinese tourists wide open, Hong Kong’s world-class and only railway transport system has suffered constant malfunctions and outages, Hongkongers have even grown accustomed to waiting for the next train that they can never squeeze into.

To these she has said nothing. She has not once blamed the Chinese tourists for messing up Hong Kong or disturbing the lives of Hongkongers. Her life of mundane extravagance continued on unaffected.

Last year when HKTV was denied a free TV service licence despite being a more qualified candidate than certain existing licensee, Hongkongers protested against the government’s decision.

Not only was the decision made behind closed doors, the government ignored the demands to disclose the grounds for the rejection.

What has been the pillars of HK society—fair competition and just procedures—have been toppled by a system that relies on the mere words of certain top officials and under-the-table deals, essentially turning HK into an authoritarian regime.

To these she has said nothing. She has not once blamed the government for messing up Hong Kong’s business environment or disturbing the lives of businessmen and HKTV employees. Her life of mundane extravagance continued on unaffected.

Early this year, three pesticides have been removed from the regulatory list at the request of Chinese authority. That is to say, from then on vegetables containing said pesticides would be allowed to be sold in our markets, and be consumed by us.

To these she has said nothing. She has not once blamed the government for messing up Hong Kong’s food safety or disturbing the dietary affair of Hong Kong citizens. Her life of mundane extravagance continued on unaffected.

Now, thrust upon us is a phoney universal suffrage proposal that gives Hongkongers “the vote” to elect our Chief Executive from a few pre-selected puppets approved by Beijing.

Many people who care about Hong Kong want a genuine choice when choosing the one to lead the city, they wish to elect a leader who answers to the people’s needs and concerns. For that they have been hit by pepper spray, choked by tear gas, beaten by police batons, and have called the dusty roads in downtown Hong Kong home for the past month. To what end have Hongkongers endured all that? All for a genuine election, to stop a puppet government—one that is like Leung Chun-ying’s cabinet and the two before him—from ruining our beloved Hong Kong. We have lost enough. It’s time to take back what used to be us, what we deserve.

The occupiers are people who care about Hong Kong. They are willing to go to great lengths to save Hong Kong from a hopeless future. Meanwhile, those other people described at the beginning of this article have been blind to what Hong Kong has become. Their lives of mundane extravagance continued on unaffected. They have never cared, as if what goes on in the society has nothing to do with them. Until now. The people who care enough to speak up for our future are “messing up Hong Kong”, they say. What about the government that has been the culprit of a myriad social problems? They say nothing.

Occupiers destroy “her” beloved Hong Kong, she says? Has she even cared enough to know what is going on in Hong Kong? To find out what people’s lives have become? I doubt she has ever truly loved Hong Kong as her home. “Love” spoken so frivolously makes me sick.

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