September 30, 2014

Notes on the Umbrella Revolution

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If you've been following the news, you'd probably have noted that Hong Kong is gripped by protests for democratic reform, which has gained the moniker of "Umbrella Revolution". Originally initiated by some pro-democracy groups and student groups, the protests have snowballed, involving close to 80,000 people in a single location after police made what was considered a show of inappropriately heavy-handed force -- they hurled tear gas, a sight not seen since the WTO protests in 2005. Protesters shielded themselves from with brollies, hence the name. 

hong kong, hk, yiweilim ,yi wei lim, yiwei lim, yi wei lim blog, occupy central, occupy hk, support for hk, support for hong kong, free hong kong, umbrella revolution, democracy
This surely will be one of the Umbrella Revolution's iconic moments.

Currently, the areas from Causeway Bay up to Central (including Wan Chai and Admiralty) on Hong Kong Island are occupied with protesters, with Mong Kok being the bastion for Kowloon. Protesters have been rather well-behaved, even cleaning up after themselves. 

I will not be going into detail on the political ramifications and analysis, but as someone who admires this city for its success and its openness and freedom as well as its quirks (like cranky waiters in cha chaan tengs), I do hope that Hong Kongers obtain self-determination in their political process. 

I've loved this city since I came here as a student in 2009, I love it now, and I hope it emerges stronger, better, and more importantly, a kinder place to its people.    

There is hope yet, as illustrated so well by designer Jessica Cheuk See Tang on her Instagram @cheuksee:

hong kong, hk, yiweilim ,yi wei lim, yiwei lim, yi wei lim blog, occupy central, occupy hk, support for hk, support for hong kong, free hong kong, umbrella revolution, democracy

To my friends out on the streets, we support you... please keep a cool head and remember that the police aren't your objective/target. Stay safe everyone, we are praying for you!

Edit: A previous version of this post stated that tear gas was last used in quelling the 1967 riots. It has now been amended - thanks to my Malaysian senior at university Len Foong.

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