So the protest has had its first violence within the public itself yesterday. Many western media will concentrate on the what is happening now instead of looking deeper into the issues unlike the article I posted last time. So I’m glad I watch the Hong Kong news.
This protest is designed to disrupt the normal running of Hong Kong lives making it difficult for anyone, not just the government, to ignore. On the news, a police officer was reading out a statement, asking people to return to their homes and stop causing inconvenience to others and in the background, you can hear a girl/woman yelling back “How does this cause inconvenience?”. But is it just inconvenience that they are causing?
I really do feel sorry for the local businesses there. Big chains can survive, but the local businesses will be hit the hardest. I saw a report on the news that one small, new-ish restaurant who had been anticipating a lot of business for the public holidays where families were expected to celebrate over a meal. But due to the demonstrations almost all of the bookings were cancelled – I’m talking about only one or two bookings left. The fear of chaos was enough to deter people from those locations. Its not just the bookings that were affected, normally at lunch time his restaurant would be 70-80% full. The day of the interview we saw 3 tables with people on them. He’s had to cut all the extra part time staff he hired for the seasonal busy time and asked most of his workers to go on paid annual leave. Those that have used all their holidays need to go on unpaid leave. You can see and hear (from his voice) how helpless he feels about the situation. All the blood and sweat he put in his business is in danger. This resonates with me as I’ve been in a similar situation, when our take away wasn’t doing very well, my parents had to worry about whether they can still provide food and shelter for me and my sisters if the take away were to close down.
The small local newspaper sellers on the streets are hit very hard as well. There’s always been a decline in sales of printed media, but not to a point where there is no business at all. There’s literally nobody there to sell their magazines/newspaper to. He was very angry and emotional. He said its alright to want democracy, but don’t affect others livelihood.
However, it’s not just businesses, workers too. I saw last night some workers wanting to work in the government building last night and one of them in a red tshirt said “I haven’t worked in four days!”. These people obviously need these jobs and just about get by with what they make so I imagine this puts a bigger strain on what they have to get by.
Even the elderly were affected. Carers can’t get to them because their cars are blocked off requiring them to walk a bit further than normal. Some elderly wake up early to get to the markets to buy their food for the day. Now they have to travel further to a different location.
What about single working parents? The schools nearby have had to close so who is going to look after the children when the parent goes to work? If they stop working, who is going to pay their bills?
So its understandable to see why the public are very upset with the protesters. There were groups of triads who have mixed in with the protests on both sides now, but with so many people, its impossible to tell who is and who isn’t one. Except when the fighting starts.
The protesters are saying they want a peaceful protest and no blood to be spilled. But to be honest, this type of protest makes it hard for the government and police difficult to ignore because they’re hurting the public. To me, that is equivalent of spilling the blood of the locals. You’re hurting these people and and they’re desperate but the protesters either fail to see this or don’t care.
Water is an essential part of any human being. So in Chinese, “water pipe” refers to something that is very important part of someone’s life. What these protesters are doing are meddling with other’s water pipes to get attention and to hold the Hong Kong government to ransom – by hurting the local population of Hong Kong.
So I would like to end this blog post with a quote of an old man who was interviewed on the streets of Hong Kong:
“If you want to protest, there are designated areas the Hong Kong government can arrange for you. Don’t interfere with other people’s lives – it’s wrong. Don’t close our water pipe!”.