Date
19 November 2017
Blue ribbons are distributed by organizers of the anti-Occupy campaign, but young protesters wearing yellow ribbons hold their ground. Photos: AFP
Blue ribbons are distributed by organizers of the anti-Occupy campaign, but young protesters wearing yellow ribbons hold their ground. Photos: AFP

Would you ‘unfriend’ an Occupy opponent?

To support or not to support the Occupy campaign, that’s the question that is dividing Hong Kong.

As protesters continue to occupy major roads in Hong Kong, people have found themselves on opposite sides of the issue in relation with friends and family members.

The raging issue has not only spurred a cacophony of arguments on social media and elsewhere but has also resulted in the breakup of friendships with some people hitting the “unfriend” button on the Facebook social networking site for people who don’t agree with their views, according to a Hong Kong Economic Journal report.

This goes to show that the issue, although political, is a highly emotional one, with many Hongkongers realizing that it has now affected their interpersonal relationship with friends, family members, schoolmates and fellow workers.

In the past week, as thousands took to the streets to press their demand for genuine universal suffrage for Hong Kong, some counselors said people have come to them for help on how to handle disagreements with family members and friends over the issue. It is not uncommon for such disagreements to end up in bad feelings and even breakup of friendships, they said.

At home, altercations between parents and children have intensified over the issue. Some people are even worried about the color of the clothes they wear as choosing the wrong one might prove to be a source of conflict in their social circles. 

Since Sept. 29, when the Occupy campaign officially began, a help hotline jointly set up by the Hong Kong Psychological Society and the Hong Kong Red Cross has been receiving quite a number of calls related to the protest movement.

According to a psychiatrist working at the society, many of the calls came from persons who fear the protests may lead to chaos in the city while others sought help on how to handle relationship with people who have a different view on the political debate.

Some callers even insisted on first knowing the political view of the volunteer worker receiving their calls, and once they learned that their views were different, they would immediately disconnect the line, the psychiatrist said.

She advised people who are being affected emotionally to try to watch less news or even stop watching news about the issue.

The psychiatrist also suggested that they avoid talking about politics with friends and family members if they feel the subject can affect their relationship.

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TL/AC/CG

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