A prominent figure on the Hong Kong political scene and someone who should know better, a lot better, Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee – legislator and chair of the New People’s Party – has written an editorial for the South China Morning Post newspaper titled: Protesters must abandon fantasy of a ‘Hong Kong race’ free from the mainland (Sunday, 07 December, 2014).

She says the Occupy protesters are in effect demanding self-rule – rather than democracy – have been misled by the years of colonial rule into rejecting their Chinese family.

Not so. Never seen or heard any serious desire for independence from China for Hong Kong by Hongkongers. There was no local cry for such even at that juncture of hand-back around 1997.

Also, the idea of any Chinese rejecting their Chinese family cannot be understood (at least by a non-Chinese) other than if meant to imply not wanting to identify with a generalised Han overarching culturally-quashing roll-over of what are distinct regional traits – in this territory, mostly Cantonese but also Hakka or Hokkien (spoken in Fujian and Taiwan), and many others.

But more likely the locals are speaking about the way a Singaporean would answer the question when asked about their nationality, or a Taiwanese, given that the person is of Chinese ancestry, the fact of saying I’m Singaporean, Taiwanese, or Malaysian does not deny anything so why bring this matter up Regina?

But she insists: “It was inevitable because the protest was not really about democracy. Large numbers were attracted, especially at the start of the protest, by the democracy mantra. But right from the start, the quest for self-rule was evident from slogans – such as “self-determination” – writ large on the backdrop of the stage when students kicked off their sit-in.”

Wow, what an interpretation, how far off the mark!

Anyway, “Self-determination” does not mean redefining “one country, two systems” or redefining Hong Kong’s relationship with China. To reject the decision of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee of August 31, 2014, the Occupy demonstrators are effectively saying we still have a voice in the matter of China’s sovereignty over Hong Kong, and we want to revise that report sent by the Hong Kong administration telling Beijing we acquiesce to the stated dictates. Not only was it lacking then it is multiple times more lacking now after such a grand internal dialogue on the electoral issue by the Occupiers.

The remainder of Madam’s editorial reads like sycophantic grandstanding.

Of course Beijing has been extraordinarily helpful to Hong Kong – it’s part of China. We are the prodigal child, not quite the abducted son, as there was only a relatively small population at Hong Kong’s start, not quite the Barren Island, but minimal.

We know there is a timetable for universal suffrage to be brought into play but Occupy was not inevitable because Hong Kong had been a British colony for more than 150 years but because it was a refuge for those who did not believe in Communism under Mao and before that because of Imperial China’s corruption, plus that of the latter National Party when Sun Yet Sen lost control.

We must also amend Madam’s paragraph starting “Under British rule… ‘an elite among’ Hong Kong people enjoyed unprecedented rights and freedom, the rule of law and a much higher standard of living.” The ordinary person had very little of rights and freedoms, hemmed in by breadline poverty.

True though: “While many Chinese families remained steeped in traditional values, Western ideas and institutions exerted indelible influence.” That is a problem. The Chinese baby got thrown out with the British bath water.

The tragedy of Tiananmen was the way the West used it to propagandize against the Chinese Communist Party, indeed a tragedy (June 4, 1989), the human suffering was caused outside of that so famous square, which fact is little reported, nor that it was mostly soldiers who were killed in those early days.

With the surging rise of China’s economy and what Madam sees as a lack of that in regard to Hong Kong be reasonable and see the geophysical difference when comparing a tiny place with an entire country.

Instead of accepting a small but vibrant and sustainable destiny which can be locally self-forged the same elite in Hong Kong, of which Madam is a member, urged all kinds of infrastructure and contractual inconsistencies – CLP and China Power now highlighted – but also cartels by supermarkets, meat importers (only place in the world with no live hens) and maximum benefit shown to the brand name shops of all descriptions and no threshold against rent increases for either commercial or residential properties – and no policy augmenting local food production.

If the chief executive, instead of denying dialogue with the students, had communicated from the start of their occupy activities himself and his administration and Hong Kong generally might have determined what is causing the underlying discontent: the financial divide, the gap between the haves and not-haves, the high rents and the greedy landlords, the spineless environmental – avoiding zero-waste solutions – and transport policies – engendering private car ownership for same elite and the populace suffering pollution as the consequences.

Hong Kong is a distinct place as part of China which no one is denying so that’s a false flag raised on a bluff. An analogy can be taken looking at languages, how to have both without the one completely wiping out the other.

Thus, it is important that Hongkongers learn Putonghua but it is equally important to retain everything that is associated with Cantonese with the proviso, as pointed out to me by pal Lionel Mok when asked about the language to teach in: “there are many types of Cantonese, depending on whether you are in Zhongshan, Dongguan or Shunde and so on. We would be hard pushed to decide which Cantonese to choose if we were to achieve linguistic autonomy, and also in all these regions and Hong Kong, there are many people speaking different languages at home (the Guangzhou type of Cantonese is the de facto lingua franca for all the Cantonese speakers).

So if we impose Cantonese as a language of explanation in class we are still discriminating against a certain minority, like Hong Kong people may feel they are discriminated against with the need to study Putonghua – but all the Sasa/Bonjour shop girls speak Putonghua with no effort at all; naughtily adding, “Also the English attitude towards language learning has rubbed off on them. The only way forward is to teach the national language like it’s done everywhere else, and in the present case, an international language that Putonghua has actually become.”

Hongkongers, or the Hongkongenese, have to take matters in hand as they did and are doing during this phase of Occupy.

Another pal, Tjitte, has a good plan – let the students agree to suddenly/instantly leave the streets – just like that – overnight so to speak. People everywhere will be delighted and respect will be regained and the administration would always now that if they don’t get it right and do their proper job as intermediaries with Beijing and stand up properly not cowing down thinking of their own jobs, like mushrooms, all those tents will appear again!

Too late methinks – as the press is reporting, Joshua Wong, one of the key students in the protest, is saying his group would maintain the principle of non-violence during the clearance of the protest site in Admiralty, home to government offices and next to the main Central business district. Looks like time’s up this coming Thursday.
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