"The less educated have more sense of justice" (仗義每多屠狗輩) you would love MK once you know MK by譚蕙芸 on 10/10/2014
As a blueblood (*which means middle or upper class in Hong Kong), I had prejudice against Mong Kok (MK). Triads, foul languages, the fights between “leftists" and "rightists", all these resulted in my reluctance to go to MK. The props for protest here are so freaking weird: single beds, bunk beds, the alter of the Chinese God Guan Gong (關公) as the guardian of roadblocks, the statue of Jesus Christ. All Gods from different cultures gather here, showing a sign of the unity of the world. I have heard that there are some playing table tennis, having hot pots, making marshmallow in the middle of roads, which is really...
However, to be fair, one should go to MK before judging it. Tonight I went to MK for a while and discovered some of its uniqueness. Compared with the "well-organized", "courteous" Hong Kong island, the "grassroot" MK is more energetic and has find its order out of chaos, which is something irreplaceable. In Admiralty and Causeway Bay (CWB), you can see different cliques chatting and discussing, but the interaction is limited to those who already know each other; in MK, you can see people of different background talking to each other, tolerance and acceptance are what prevails here.
In an area which is called "chatting area" (In fact it is just a cleared section of the road), strangers sit down and chat. They can sit on the sofa (please don't ask where the sofa comes from, I don't know), or chairs (once you go there, someone will give you a folding chair). Franking speaking, these strangers' lives do not intersect with each other. If there was no Umbrella Movement, they would not meet each other in their whole lives: an old man from Shan Dong were commenting on the current situation with Northern Chinese accent, while a young office lady listened attentively. Next to them, a 50-year-old local spoke about his stories of fighting against triads in Mong Kok.
As an experienced journalist, I knew this picture is VERY rare. In Hong Kong, these three types of people, belong to completely different social groups. Among them, a girl of post-80s generation - Keung, works at a network company. As the Chief Secretary of Administration Carrie Lam called off the talk with HKFS (*the sort-of representative of protesters), Keung worried that chaos might appear at Mong Kok, therefore she went to MK to maintain order, in order to protect the reputation of the Umbrella Movement, which upholds "peace and non-violence". Keung said that she had been to Admirality, but she found that MK is energetic and full of "grassroots' creativity" which is ever-evolving. "I am addicted to MK." Keung said.
The Shan Dong old man, speaking Mandarin in a high-pitched voice, said that he had participated in June-fourth incident. Afterwards he went to Hong Kong and speculated in property market to get rich. He said he understands the simplemindedness of the students, and he also thought that the government will not compromise and thus this movement will not be effective. As a resident living in MK who visits the occupied area everyday, the old man claimed himself to be "neutral". Although this old man did not support the movement, everyone still listened to him patiently: people with different opinions can discuss with each other rationally at MK. This kind of tolerance and acceptance is truly amazing.
There are many grassroots male in the occupied area of MK. These men feel weird and uneasy going to Admiralty and CWB, but in MK they know it is where they belong. No wonder there is a saying on the internet - "Real men are those who guard MK". (Though this saying is so sexist, I can't help but agree with it. Admiralty is "well-mannered", CWB is "Kawaii" and MK is where grassroots men find their manhood.)
Casual worker Mr. Choi said, he used to not care about political reform. However, on that day when triads attacked MK, he put aside his job and went to MK without hesitation. "I used to be a coward, but on that day I 'protected the canopy' (*the sort-of headquater of the Umbrella Movement at MK). It was the most courageous moment of my life (Mr Choi is fifty years old). I don't really know why I wasn't scared."
Brother Dong who is also fifty years old, operates a fish shop at West Central wet market. He loved practising kung fu when he was young. "I guess I can can block a few punches for the students as I had trainings before.", Dong said. Even Mrs. Dong is mad with him (for putting himself in danger), brother Dong still visits MK all the time.
Brother Dong said that he felt alienated when staying overnight at Admiralty: "Those people at Admiralty dress very nice, like they are upper class or middle class. Grassroots like me feel uneasy when those upper class look at us like we are going to ruin the movement, but here at MK I feel so comfortable. Everyone around talk the same way. In Admiralty I am a stranger, Admirality does not need me, MK needs me."
The performance of the fish shop owned by Brother Dong has dropped due to the Umbrella Movement, because everyone is busy with the movement and no one cares to cook their dinner. However Dong thought that the movement matters more: "Temporary drop of sales is not really a big deal, as the movement has a long-term effect on our future.". Many of his friends are against the Umbrella movement therefore Dong has received many anti-movement messages on his cell phone. He replied with "Having conscience is more important than earning money! Don't send me all these "fifty-cents" articles (*articles that are pro-China and pro-government) again, or else I would be VERY mad!" Before Brother Dong's departure, I asked for his consent to write down his story. Dong did not only agree but also asked me to publicize it: "Let more people know! The less educated have more sense of justice, those dressed in suits are not reliable."
A few steps away, I met KK, a paralyzed man sitting in an electric wheelchair. Under the dim street light, I noticed his friendly smile, therefore I asked "Can I talk to you for while?" He said yes kindly. This is what MK is like, everyone can start a conversation with strangers freely.
KK is forty-nine years old and his body is paralyzed due to a car accident 17 years ago, the only parts that move normally are his head and left hand. "Why are you here at MK?" I asked. KK replied, he has been a fan of online radio, and has developed his own view of politics. As KK is in a wheelchair, he could not join the protest on Hong Kong Island: "There is no elevator at Admiralty, so I can't leave the MTR station. There are so many curbs at Connaught Road Central, so I can't really go there." Since KK lives at MK, his private nurse can help him to go to the streets and to join the movement.
What KK said has compelled me to reflect on myself. I had written about the social policy helping disability years ago, and got to know the problem of the design of Admiralty station, that there is no elevator which provides direct access to the platform. The only facility provided is a "monster"(*elevator for wheelchair) hanging on the stairs, which requires the assistance of a MTR staff in order to use it. The frequent breakdown of this "monster" often results in wheelchair user hanging in the halfway of stairs. As this "hanging" is insulting to many wheelchair users, they refuse to use the "monster". I have never considered that if Umbrella movement only took place at Admiralty, some wheelchair users would be excluded.
KK recalled the night when MK was full of triads and police. He "drove" his wheelchair all the way through Reclamation Street and Argyle Street to where the police stationed, which shocked them for a little. I could not help but to feel breathless when I heard this part, but KK seemed to enjoy recalling the excitement of that night. He has continued to support the movement by being "on duty" at night and resting during daytime. To KK, MK is the only place where he can join the movement. If MK falls, he has no choice but to return home and listen to online radio about the news of Umbrella movement.
Middle class like us who always claims that "democracy belongs to everyone", protests in a way that somehow discriminates against grassroots and disabled people. For this reason, MK means a lot and it should not be given up. Protecting MK is not for the sake of protecting Admirality as a "headquater" of the movement, it is to empower the grassroots and marginalized ones, so that they can participate in fighting for democracy like everyone else.
【佔領】仗義每多屠狗輩，識佔梗係佔旺角 ／ 譚蕙芸／10/10/2014
旺角佔領區特別多基層男性。他們在金鐘銅鑼灣感到「不自在」，在旺角就找到自己的存在價值。怪不得網上有句說話「守過旺角才是真正男人」。（雖然我覺得這句好性別歧視，但細想不無道理。金鐘太斯文，銅鑼灣 kawaii，旺角就讓基層男性找到自己的 manhood。）