Young yet diverse, they join in decrying capitalism

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 23 October, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 23 October, 2011, 12:00am


The participants of Occupy Central consist of various individuals, some with political activist affiliations, others with specific causes.

Jaco Chow Nok-hang, 27, is one of the founding members of underground radio station FM 101. Chow has been working as an assistant to Andrew To Kwan-hang, a League of Social Democrats district councillor, for about six months and has been going to work and returning to the commune in the past week, and will continue to do so.

'This experiment of a 'mini-community' is an archetype of what we want - the freedom to decide what goes on in our community,' Chow said. 'Everyone pitches in.'

Kensa Hung Chung-kit, 17, is a student at the HKICC Lee Shau Kee School of Creativity and is also affiliated with FM 101. He notified his school that he would be taking some time off to work with the commune.

'I don't think we need to talk too much about anti-capitalism, we just need to try out a new concept to break that mould of thinking,' Hung said. For the past few days, he has been in charge of housekeeping duties - mainly recycling and rubbish. He said living in the commune was very different from living alone, which he did in the past two years. However, he preferred the commune. 'At least I have people to talk to and to eat with when I get home,' he said.

Leung Wing-lai, a co-founder of FM 101 and an active member of the commune, said: 'Everyone here has an anti-capitalism story that can make them cry, which is why they are staying. We are anti-capitalism, but with different perspectives.'

Derrik Benig, 21, an FM 101 member, said: 'Anti-capitalism is an attitude and a change of lifestyle, not a single issue.' Benig, who works and studies fine arts part-time, said the key to change was dialogue.

Chow agreed. 'This experiment is to bring dialogue into the otherwise undefeatable capitalist discourse. We want to prove that [capitalism] is not the only way.'

Besides the FM 101 members, there were like-minded people in the crowd. Kokanne, 19, is a singer in a local heavy metal band and plays a variety of instruments. She also did much of the cooking for the group.

'We are doing this because we want to, because we are sick of what we're born into,' she said. Kokanne, who lives in Wong Tai Sin, goes home every night, but returns at 7am to cook breakfast for the overnighters.

Lo Ka-wo, 21, who recently lost his job, got involved because he was against big companies' stranglehold on business. 'Look at the new towns, there are no local stores and shops, only huge malls,' he said. 'Wealth is only accumulated by a few.' He goes home to Kwun Tong for showers, then returns to help with the publications and maintain the blog.

Musician Li Dai-guo, a visitor to Hong Kong, joined the commune for a day with a friend.

He said he had yet to see a consensus within the group on what they were asking for, but that might not be necessary if they were only experimenting with a different communal lifestyle.