In 2005, then Chief Secretary for Administration Donald Tsang Yam-kuen succeeded the much despised Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa to become the leader of the HKSAR. The annual July 1 march came about one week after, with only 20,000 joining the march, showing a dramatic drop in number compared to the 400,000 the previous year. Hong Kong seemed to have undergone a turnaround, with stability in the immediate future. During the march that year, I, along with some of my classmates, was handing out leaflets to the demonstrators, reminding them not to believe in Donald Tsang. For not only the situation was caused by the flaws in the system and that Tsang was part of the Tung government who pushed Hong Kong into such a state. However, our audience scolded us for stirring up trouble out of nothing, and that they believe Tsang would be better than Tung.
Twelve quick years have passed, and now we see Tsang in prison. I wonder how those who believed in Tsang back in 2005 would feel today. Perhaps they are too busy with the upcoming Chief Executive election fiasco. These so called pro-democracy Hong Kongers may have forgotten what happened more than a decade ago. Somethings remain unaffected by time though. These Hong Kongers would still be adopting the same logic, believing that John Tsang (unrelated to Donald Tsang) would be better than Carrie Lam, and Carrie Lam would still be better than the much despised CY Leung. These Hong Kongers would still believe they are making a smart and politically sound decision by taking the lesser evil. And I would be re-writing the leaflet, one much similar to the ones back in 2005, to remind people, yet they would continue to scold me for stirring up trouble out of nothing.
These Hong Kongers are the ones who the press called the “awakened middle-class” back in 2005. They were easily satisfied by Tsang unseating Tung. Compared with the so called pro-democracy “yellow ribbons” much boasted by certain leftards, who once protested for universal suffrage but now would settle for just John Tsang, I see absolutely no differences. What political awakening? Bullshit. Hong Kongers are basically politically brain-dead.
Proper political awakening requires proper political reasoning and teaching. The lack of such for the democratic movement in Hong Kong is eminent, which honestly frightens me for a movement lasting more than 20 years to have no political theories. What’s more alarming is that Hong Kongers, who have fought for democracy for so long, would drop their beliefs in simple political slogans so easily, let along any deeper political reasoning or direction.
In 2003, the demonstrators were using slogans such as “democracy may not solve all problem, but terrible leaders can be kicked out through democracy” and “democratic system can elect a leader who can represent the people”. However, Tung was not unseated through democracy and Tsang was not elected through any election, yet people would happily pretend to enjoy a democratic victory and cease all further protests. Fast forward to 2014, these Hong Kongers wanted “real universal suffrage”, bought into the various plans for political reform promoted by the press, believed in how non-violence and love could move tanks and troops, talked about Gandhi and Mandela all day during the occupation, even spread nonsenses about significant minority during the election, yet they would happily discuss how “choosing” John Tsang to push for the legislation of Article 23 of the Basic Law would be better than Carrie Lam today.
There is no political awakening in Hong Kong. As these Hong Kongers would forgo their beliefs in a heartbeat, “we shouldn’t be so stubborn. It’s quite practical to support someone who is better, isn’t it?” Because deep down, Hong Kongers have no dreams, no dignity, no beliefs, not even any core values. All there is is how to be worldly and flexible, as they would say, “beliefs are merely theoretical, the practical thing is what’s in front of us and how we adapt to it. We have to be flexible to succeed.”
This kind of belief is the most powerful political belief in Hong Kong. It is the most common and moving among Hong Kongers. They would talk all day about the grandeur of various beliefs, yet they always settle for the minuscule benefit on the table, eventually getting nowhere. For Hong Kongers, it is most attractive to gather and discuss which is better between the bad apple and the bad orange, rather than being freed or being in power to decide our own future.
The once-adored Donald Tsang is now in prison for his corruption act. It is easy to foresee whoever supported by these Hong Kongers, ones who believe in a “better” solution, in choosing the lesser evil, in voting for someone for the so-called significant minority against their own will, would gladly accept such applause and authorisation, and go on his own way.
Original Text in Chinese 中文原文: