The Outcry, the Uproar – Hong Kong Post-80s.

Melanie Chan

8th January 2010, the last day of the 4-day campaign for fighting against the express railway project.

There were about 8000 of ‘activists’ outside the legislative council. They knelt every 26 steps, which symbolized the 26 kilometers construction. The 26 kilometers railway, which many of the Hong Kong citizens may not know, is going to plunder the homes of Tsoi Yuen Tsuen Villagers. Among the activists, majority of them were whom we called the post-80s, gathered with the Tsoi Yuen Tsuen Villagers, walking and kneeling across five districts, from Sheung Shui to Central just to arouse the awareness of the public. Many of us might have noticed, they, however, did not get what they want. From what was shown in newspaper article the day after their demonstration, a girl mentioned her experience during the walk, “While I was walking along the road, a driver with fine suit who drove by said to me, ‘Do you know how troublesome you post-80s are? What you really have is not a sense of caring but only reckless and ignorance!’” And the line after the quoting was “the girl talked and then burst out in tears”.

There is nobody’s right or authority to judge whether any side is doing the right thing. All I know is people have their own interests. People can do anything to fight for their own good providing that they would not affect others’ interests. Then what are these post-80s fighting for? Do they deserve the rudeness and hurtful feelings? Or is there anything wrong about them in raising voices?

It seems that what the post-80s want is to show to the public that they care about the society, Hong Kong, and China. Doubtlessly, there are a number of post-80s who are so fragile and cannot face any difficulties. They made noises and complaints because they were not satisfied with the welfares and aides from the government. For example, they did not get a job or a flat in the public housing. And some even threaten to commit suicide if the government did not give them proper aides or adopt certain policies, which only favor them. However these people who whine day and night are not the post-80s that should be investigated upon. Whom we are talking about, are the people born between 1981 and 1989, demonstrating a real sense of interest and caring of their own society and country.

Yet, thanks to the labeling effects from most of the mass media, the post-80s become a bunch of naïve and discontented kids who claim themselves as patriots in most of our views. This is exactly where all the misconceptions grow. It is easy to see, almost all of the mass medias get used to call people who born in the 80s as ‘post-80s’, no matter they committed suicide because of the stressful life or they demonstrated on the street for better welfare in housing problems. It’s just so unfair to them, to be labeled as people they are not, be stereotyped to be the persons they may despise. No matter how many times they fell, they will quickly get up and fight again.

Indeed, it is understandable that the post-80s have so much dissatisfaction. They did really witness all the good things that Hong Kong had before returning to China in 1997. They were introduced by their parents that Hong Kong enjoyed a fusion of culture of both East and West; they heard form their parents that Hong Kong was an affluent city for being the middleman of China and the West; their parents brought them to a Dai Pai Dong on one day and a French cuisine on the other; and they could see how their parents had faith in the colonial government – just like what we have told them.

After 1997, we faced enormous difficulties, like the economic downturn in 1997 and the outbreak of SARS in 2003. Don’t you remember the “biggest demonstration ever” in 2003? It did gave me a great impact as a million of discontented Hong Kong citizens, walking out on the street to tell our government that we Hong Kong people did not want the “Basic Law Article 23”. Seeds of struggle had already been sowed in my heart for I witnessed what “democracy” really means. That is, in Latin, “People’s power”.

Gone are the days I deeply believe in the word ‘Democracy’. Years and years the government was expected to do something for the welfare of Hong Kong people; however, we were failed, again and again. Not only the slightest improvement was shown, but also the short-sightedness of the government kept worsening the situation.

Throughout the past few years, there were not a single day we could not hear about the government decide to demolish a historical site for further “development”. At first there was the Queen’s Pier and then the Lee Tung Street in Wan Chai. This was a sad thing we gradually lost our collective memories in Hong Kong. Yet, with time passes, and people growing up, we are losing something called our guts to express.  And at the same time, we are losing faith and hope in the HKSAR government and this dampened us.

From all sorts of mass media, the post-80s’ work is easily seen. They have joined the demonstration against the “Democratic Development”, to fight for the rights on 1st May. On the 1st July, they tried their best to convince the voters how the Democratic Party betrayed us, the voters, as they did not fulfill their promises made in 2008; they sit in, with the other fellows, to protect our priceless Edinburgh Place Ferry’s Pier and the Queen’s Pier. And, most importantly they attended the 4-day campaign to protect the homes of Tsoi Yuen Tsuen Villagers. These days were tough, very tough. I somehow was ashamed of myself, as I did not have the courage that they have.

Maybe you would ask, what’s the point of being so unyielding? These are just angry Hong Kong people who have nothing better to do. However, I do have faith in them.

To a lot of people, politics is all about voicing out. If you are neither a person playing a decisive role in the government nor a voter, there is only one thing you can do – to influence the government in the most direct way: to speak out. And that is exactly what the post-80s are doing.

Despite all the difficulties and criticisms from all over Hong Kong, they stick to what they believe. It is a fact that the road of real democracy and achieving a better Hong Kong is no easy task. If we could give more support to them, their lives could be easier.

Although it maybe true as mentioned by many of the people that the post-80s maybe a group of naïve kids without comprehensive thoughts, shouldn’t we be a little impressed by their endeavors of striving a better Hong Kong?  Put your bias away and see how those post-80s make things work. You will definitely see the young man you used to be – after all, we are all humans and we passed through similar stages in life just like them, don’t we?


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