29th January, 2015
Yellow Ribbons Are Merely Bystanders
Yellow Ribbons nowadays are still enjoying the aftertaste of the good times during Umbrella Revolution, and continue to indulge themselves in the glorious moments when streets were occupied by the people. However, dwelling on a failed revolution and basking in the glory of their imaginary “partial victory” amounts to giving up their responsibility and standing back to watch everything crumble in front of them.
To these Yellow Ribbons, their participation in the Umbrella Revolution is all that matters – they wear a yellow ribbon on their chests everywhere to show the world their “determination” for democracy in Hong Kong. Besides the Umbrella Revolution that they took part in last year, they do not care about anything that has been happening in Hong Kong. They think that all these “things” and “news” are something that only matter to others. Activists and Civic Passion members getting arrested for no reason do not concern them, for example.
These Yellow Ribbons would sigh and cry in sadness caused by the failed Umbrella Revolution, but other than that they do nothing to make a difference. They look like they care and are saddened by the gloomy future of Hong Kong and talk about how worried they are about the impossibility of achieving democracy. However, when you try to persuade them to stand up and continue to battle on at different fights that matter to the future of Hong Kong, they say that even though those are worthwhile causes, there is nothing they could do. When you tell them that Hong Kong is at a tipping point, they would reply “it is in fact a crucial moment to Hong Kong, but Hong Kong cannot be saved. Umbrella Revolution has failed, and we have to wait. Remember they said ‘we will be back’, right?”
If you press and ask “What do you propose to do?” They will reply, “there isn’t much to do.” They love sitting on their own hands and wait for their executions, which is as ridiculous as those who moan about a fire being too large, instead of trying to extinguish it. These Yellow Ribbons would not call themselves bystanders, of course, but they watch what is going on under their noses like a blockbuster movie which they would enjoy watching with a tub of popcorn, as if everyone suffering and fighting in front of them are Hollywood actors that would never be harmed for real, and what is being shown on-screen does not concern them. They see their stance (wearing a Yellow Ribbon) as the trademark to single out themselves as “freedom fighters”.
They perhaps do care about Hong Kong, but to them Hong Kong is a topic that is for discussion during free time. They talk about what happened before and express their opinion on how the current situation impacts Hong Kong for the long run. They are saddened by the downfall of Hong Kong as if Hong Kong was not their home – just like other bystanders, who have an escape route (foreign passport) or live in a democratic country, they only observe and comment on Hong Kong as if they are completely detached from Hong Kong.
Although it may seem that they neither contribute to nor harm the democratic progress of Hong Kong, the reality is another story. These Yellow Ribbons will eventually wear out Hongkongers’ determination for democracy or even their ambitions for state-building, which hinders the state-building or full autonomy of Hong Kong. These Yellow Ribbons are no different from leftards, bringing Hong Kong more harm than good.
At present, everything seems so uncertain and no one can tell what lies ahead. However, Hongkongers are the only ones who have the right to determine the future of Hong Kong, our fate and that of Hong Kong are intertwined. If Hong Kong’s state-building is successful, it will only have happened because we fought for it in glory. If Hong Kong perishes and falls to be subsumed into China, we are the only ones to blame and should be ashamed of ourselves. This is Hongkongers’ responsibility, something that we cannot escape or outsource: no one can attain the glory for us, and equally no one can bear the shame we bring to ourselves. Hongkongers must stop indulging ourselves in a failed revolution. We must stop being bystanders, and begin to shoulder our own responsibilities and establish a Hong Kong that belongs to us.