21st October, 2014
There is at least one great thing about the Occupy Movement in Hong Kong: the “foreigners” invented internet and mobile phones, text messages are shared across the world, and anyone can have an opinion. Without the Occupy Movement, you would not realise that out of all the people that you know, some for decades, you do not really know them. There is one popular view amongst many Hongkongers: “British had governed Hong Kong for 150 years, you had never asked for democracy, why ask for it now?”
This question could be difficult for some, but for those who have any common sense, this is no more than a joke.
The YOU in this question “For 150 years, you have never asked for democracy” is the key. The younger generation in Hong Kong are in their twenties and thirties, but the “YOU” in the question are their grandfathers, great grandfathers, and great great grandfathers – they were the idiots who do not demand democracy from the Brits. The younger generations nowadays have not met any of their great grandfathes and great great grandfathers – they are merely strangers to them.
The previous generations gave up their right to demand for democracy back then, but that is not our business! This is no difference from the fact that CY Leung’s mother being a foot binding woman but his daughters are not practising the same “tradition”! Perhaps those who ask us why we are fighting for democracy and freedom now should ask Leung’s daughters who are currently studying in the UK, “your grandmother never studied in the UK, why would you study in the UK? Your grandmother had her feet bound for decades, why aren’t you practising the same ‘tradition’?”
Perhaps they should also ask Sun Yat-sen and Kang Youwei: Qing had been ruling China for over 200 years, why didn’t you demand for constitutional monarchy during Kangxi and Yongzheng eras (when constitutional monarchy was in practice in the UK), or demand for republic during Jianqing and Daoguang era (when the US became a republic), but demand for a republic of China when Puyi was only three years old?
We can understand why Chinese ask this type of ignorant question. Unfortunately, many Hongkongers ask this type of questions too, and many who agree with such type of “argument” are well very educated locally or in the Western world. After weeks of seeing similar text messages being forwarded, I had to agree that: it’s perfectly fine for any parts of the world to practise parliamentary democracy, but for the land where people who have problem answering the stupid question above, democracy is probably too far a stretch for them to understand.
By Chip Tsao