Saturday, October 4, 2014

RE: The Umbrella Revolution

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For the past few weeks, the story of Hong Kong's Umbrella Revolution has captured the imagination of many around the world. What started out as a small attempt to get Beijing to listen has evolved to a demonstration of gigantic proportion, involving more than 100 000 people taking it to their streets to get their voices heard. 

A lot of praises have been heaped unto the revolution by the Western world, describing it as a role model for peaceful protests, and many have painted the revolution in a rosy fashion as well. Festive, peaceful and united were among the adjectives used to describe the protest. Some even claimed that the move has caught Beijing completely unprepared, giving the Communist Party a headache that they are at lost at how to resolve.

But of course, those who are more realistic doubted whether the movement could have any impact, seeing how Beijing has been silent at best in response to the revolution. I sadly, think the same way too. That while the protest has achieved an admirable standard, I am skeptical at whether it could have the effect on those who are still sitting high on the pedestal. Because protest as you might, the elites are still sitting in their comfortable mansion, perhaps sitting their 10 000 dollars tea, unaffected by what has been going on.

From how I see it, Beijing is essentially doing what I would imagine a stern Asian parent would do whenever a child is throwing a tantrum. Deliberate ignoring. Cry all you want, but as long as I don't acknowledge your cry or respond to it, there's nothing you can do. And after a while, you would grow tired of crying, and I would win. Unless you can manage to cost a significant loss to me, but other than that I'm just going to stand here and let you cry all you want. Or if you managed to annoy me enough, I would probably respond with a harsh punishment. Something like what happened at the Tienanmen Square back in 1989. But as long as you're holding the protest peacefully and not costing me anything, I can just go ahead and continue to ignore it.

A prime example of how negligible the impact of the revolution would be on the ruling class would be the recent fiasco concerning CY Leung's daughter, who's father is facing the call to step down by the protesters. In a Facebook post, she sarcastically thanked the taxpayers for buying her shoes and necklaces.




At the end of the day, it's a battle of patience between the ruling class and the normal citizens, to see who will grow tired first. But looking at how things normally work in our world, I have little faith that this would end out nicely for the protesters. A crackdown is imminent and the ruling class have nothing to lose. Unless of course, the soldiers or police choose to switch sides, but other than that, little is going to change. 


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