Date
16 September 2019
These young people told themselves that enough is enough and began to rise against oppression. Photo: Bloomberg
These young people told themselves that enough is enough and began to rise against oppression. Photo: Bloomberg

What we who are silent can do

People like me, who have been living under the old social and political status quo all our lives, are unable to achieve any breakthrough in our political system.

Through the years, we have been standing on the sidelines witnessing silently how the bigwigs are cracking down on civil society from all directions, blatantly disqualifying our political representatives and colluding with big business at the expense of our city’s future.

Sadly, ever since our dream of being granted universal suffrage was smashed, not a single political leader has been to show us the way out.

We have been betrayed, humiliated and walked over by the elite, while our young people are witnessing how the rich and powerful are getting their claws into virtually every aspect of our everyday life.

And then suddenly one day, these young people told themselves that enough is enough, and began to rise against oppression even in the face of police’s use of pepper spray, tear gas, rubber bullets and beanbag rounds.

There are probably too many reasons for people of my age to remain silent, or too few reasons for us to stand up and be counted.

However, I believe that for those who remain hesitant after having watched the scenes of violent clashes during recent protests on TV, there is at least one thing they can do: to attach historical meaning to what these young people are doing by writing down or recording all the beautiful things they have seen. Remember that authoritarian regimes would often go to any lengths to distort the facts to serve their own agenda.

Perhaps we will have to come to terms with the fact that today our society is no longer hunky-dory like it used to be.

It has become highly polarized, with genuine supporters of the police on one side and people who are determined to defend protesters on the other.

And the degree to which these two opposing blocs can accept and tolerate each other’s existence would pretty much determine whether our city can achieve reconciliation and move on.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on July 5

Translation by Alan Lee

[Chinese version 中文版]

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JC/CG

HKEJ contributor