#OccupyCentral – The Hong Kong Democracy Protests – Thoughts and Photos

EDIT – If you wanna save yourself the time of reading my personal thoughts, this Tweet basically sums up why I’m getting involved.

I was sitting at my computer doing work for my university course late on Sunday evening. I was seeing lots of reports of violence between student protesters and the Police in Central as part of the student sit-in protest and the Occupy Central movement. As a good student, I had decided to concentrate on my work, but at around 10 pm I decided that I simply had to go and see what was happening. I had previously been to the July 1st protest in Causeway Bay but I had since lost a little faith in the pro-democracy movement. However, seeing the images of Police firing tear gas at unarmed crowds of students, who despite the violence, refused to engage the Police or back down, was the final straw so I set off to Central to document what was happening.

When I arrived at Central I met a group of students in face and eye masks saying they had just been attacked with tear gas and had retreated. They invited me to join them, but I decided to go alone towards Admiralty. The streets were lined with Police and tear gas was still in the air. I could taste it, smell it and it was burning my eyes. The students on the front line were completely peaceful, yet the Police were warning that they would use tear gas unless everyone left. Eventually they held up a sign warning us that an attack was imminent. I scarpered (most stayed) but thankfully nothing happened.

Some people (mostly Westerners) have told me I’m a ‘visitor’ to Hong Kong and as someone who is not born here I shouldn’t get involved. That’s complete bullshit.  As someone who has lived here for 4 years, I feel Hong Kong is just as much of a home to me as England. The Hong Kong people are some of the kindest, helpful and caring people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting so I wanted to show my support for them. I’m quite ashamed of England’s lack of involvement in the whole thing, too. We were the ones who promised, along with China, that the Hong Kong people would get universal suffrage in 2017 and yet we’re done nothing since China announced no civil nominations would be accepted.

More important than those reasons however (and this is something I think a lot of people need to remember) we’re all human beings and the vast majority of us enjoy freedom of speech and the right to vote. These students are fighting day and night to protect something that the majority of the world takes for granted. They are sleeping on the streets, barely eating and yet still have the energy to continue protesting. They are providing water, food and supplies to people out protesting and have shown tremendous courage and bravery in the face of Communist China. The scenes of people helping each other throughout the protest have been very moving to me. They are fighting because they know that come 2047 when the current agreement expires, they will possibly lose all the freedoms they’ve had and their parents had before them. The first sign was the White Paper from China stating that candidates would be hand picked by Beijing, so what will happen next? I totally support them in this. This is not something I can accept.

So why shouldn’t I, or anybody else for that matter, rise up and support the Hong Kong people in their fight for democracy? I’ve never been a particularly politically active person, but the sheer audacity of the Chinese government to refuse to listen to demands for a fair civil nomination, as well as my own government’s impotent attempts at confronting China are enough for me to get involved. This isn’t just the Hong Kong peoples fight, it’s the fight of everyone who supports democracy and freedom of speech.

Anyway I’ve ranted for long enough. Here are some photos of the past four days.

Sunday 28th September, 2014 (Central/Admiralty)

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Monday 29th September, 2014 (Mongkok)

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Sunday 30th September, 2014 (Mongkok)

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Monday 1st October, 2014 (Admiralty)

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Trip to Tap Mun

Last weekend a friend was visiting so we decided to go to Tap Mun (Grass Island) as it’s one of the more secluded islands in Hong Kong. We took the ferry from the pier near University MTR (forgot the name) for about 90 minutes and arrived mid afternoon. The island has a very small town consisting of a few seafood restaurants and family-owned convenience stores.

The main sights are Balancing Rock and a lookout post, both of which are easily accessible and require little ‘hiking ‘ to get there. Huge spiders though!

Of course with a name like Grass Island you’d expect some grass wouldn’t ya? Well you’re in luck as there is a ton of it. And cows! Very thin cows, mind you but still. One thing that was lovely was the constant breeze on then hills which allowed us to cool down in the melting heat.

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John Tsang: HK Does Not Rely on Chinese Tourists

The Real Hong Kong News

AM730

16th June, 2014

John Tsang: HK Does Not Rely on Chinese Tourists

自由行貢獻港經濟財爺:肯定稱不上倚賴

John Tsang

Individual Visit Scheme has long been under the spotlight in Hong Kong. John Tsang Chun-wah commented in his blog post on 15/June that the recent opinions about Hong Kong’s economy has been heavily relying on Chinese tourists via Individual Visit Scheme (IVS) over the past ten years is an overstatement. Tsang cited statistics that Chinese tourists’ economic contribution to Hong Kong’s economy account for only 3.9% of Hong Kong’s GDP, which highlights that Hong Kong’s economy does not depend on Chinese tourists.

Tsang also said in his official blog post that there are always pos and cons in every policy, the difference is the weight of them. He said that the public has different opinion on the IVS is perfectly normal: some think that Hong Kong’s economy has been relying on IVS too heavily in the…

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Drinking in the streets (lazy post)

One thing I particularly like about Hong Kong is the ability to legally drink on the street. Don’t want to pay $200 for a whiskey and coke at a trendy bar? NO PROBLEM! Just pop along to Club 7-Eleven and get some drinks for 1/10 of the price, drink them outside the venue and then go inside pissed up and ready to party.

Then again, I rarely ever go to clubs these days.

Last Saturday was the San Miguel beer festival in Tsim Sha Tsui. We had been at work all morning and decided to have an afternoon/evening of decadence. We started drinking in Causeway Bay at a Sichuan restaurant and then proceeded to drink our way to the Wan Chai ferry and continued once we were in Tsim Sha Tsui. All during the day! Waaa! If this was England we’d have gotten dodgy looks or even been nicked…but not in Hong Kong!

The details are a bit blurry but after looking at my phone, it appears we met weird clowns, listened to live music, I engaged in a 30 minute phone call with my buddy in Japan (check out his blog here) and (predictably) we ended up in a darts bar on Hart, Avenue in TST. Oh, I also had a wee in a back alley and took lots of photos of disgusting eggs being disposed in the only way imaginable in Hong Kong….hoy ’em doon the drain.

So yeah, another reason why Hong Kong is great; drinking in the streets!

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Killer Clownz From Outer Space

 

Scary Gwailo clown.

Scary Gwailo clown.

Mmmmm salmonella river.

Mmmmm salmonella river.

 

"Diven't worry aboot the eggs man, I'll just wash the bastads doon the drain with the waata, man"

“Diven’t worry ‘boot the eggs man. I’ll wash the bas’tads doon the drain wiv the waata, man”

Dare you to drink it.

Dare you to drink it.

There was some music at the beer festival but I decided to listen to my iPhone instead.

There was some music at the beer festival but I decided to listen to my iPhone instead.

Smoking area

Smoking area

24 hour McDonald's. Get in.

24 hour McDonald’s. Get in.

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Just curious…

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Hong Kong Wetland Park

Today we visited Hong Kong Wetland Park in Tin Shui Wai. We took the MTR to Tin Shui Wai and then took the Light Rail line to the Park. Despite living in Hong Kong for almost 4 years this was the first time I’d ever ridden on the Light Rail. It was kinda cool because you able to walk cross the lines at certain stations. God, if that’s cool then I must lead a sad life.

Bloody hell

Bloody hell

Oh yeah, it’s hot today. Excruciatingly hot. Over 31 degrees and humid as hell and we were gonna be in a park with little shade. Not ideal conditions but the nice weather highlighted the beautiful scenery surrounding the park.

Thanks for reminding me

Thanks for reminding me

Thankfully I brought an umbrella which provided mild shelter from the blazing sun.

Pretending to fall into the water. Dumb.

Pretending to fall into the water. Dumb.

The park is very lush and the most ‘natural’ and green place I’ve probably been to in Hong Kong. Unfortunately we didn’t see many animals aside from birds; I guess they were probably hiding from the sun, too. 20140601-162645-59205177.jpg 20140601-163108-59468709.jpg 20140601-163107-59467412.jpg   Anyway, overall it was good and I’d recommend it. Unless you hate nature or alligators. 20140601-163110-59470961.jpg

Best. Name. Ever.

Best. Name. Ever.

 

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A walk up a Leaping Dragon.

Sunday was a beautifully sunny day so the girlfriend and I went to Siu Sai Wan to hike up the Leaping Dragon walk. I say “hike” but it was just a steep walk up to the pavilion. That said, the blazing hot sun didn’t make it easy. We took the 118 bus from Nathan Road and got off on the last stop. After consulting Dr. Google Maps we found the start of the trail. Apparently my work colleagues were playing football at the bottom of the hill but I didn’t see them. I did however see a decent lad in a Newcastle United shirt and had some bants with him.

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After about 20 minutes we made it to the pavilion and took a bunch of photos of Siu Sai Wan and the surrounding area. I went on a rant about how hot it was and joked about how I own Hong Kong only to realise that the guy doing umbrella lifts on his back (yeah, what) was a gwailo and probably thought I was a complete knob. Ah well, he was doing umbrella related exercises so what does he know?

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