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  • Nov 22, 2014
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My Take
PUBLISHED : Friday, 05 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 05 July, 2013, 4:39am

Where were my neighbours on July 1?

If those who joined the July 1 march represent Hong Kong's majority, then where are those people in my neighbourhood? Statistically, the odds must be good for me to come across one or more protesters. I ran up and down the road to ask my neighbours this week if they took part on Monday and couldn't find a single one. Maybe they just didn't want people to know about their involvement, but I seriously doubt that.

From my highly unscientific and partisan survey, I conclude that there is the real quiet majority, people who have no time for politics or protest because they are not upset or don't care enough. Sure, I think most Hongkongers like me and my neighbours want full democracy, clean and efficient government and a fairer society. But most of us realise we already live in a free and safe city, with a relatively efficient civil service. Yes, it's a semi-democratic society full of defects and problems, but then what society isn't?

Many of us also don't want to antagonise or confront the central government. This may be for purely pragmatic reasons, but not a few of us may have patriotic respect for Beijing for what it has achieved in a generation by making the country, while not rich, at least not terribly poor like it was. We - like the vast majority of citizens on the mainland and most governments around the world - accept the central government as the legitimate government of China. And we believe it's better to work with Beijing in good faith to bring about full democracy than confronting it at every turn and denouncing mainland officials at every opportunity.

Such reasonable beliefs are not so hard to understand. But our anti-Beijing crowd insists on not understanding them, or ignoring and suppressing them, because they are at variance with their self-righteous and ideology-driven narrative. By definition, we may be in the majority but we don't make enough noise and attract attention. I respect people's right to protest, but I resent being presented with false choices - democracy good, Beijing evil - as if we were facing an existential moral crisis.

Like most ordinary people, I don't get invited to spring receptions with mainland honchos and local ministers. But if there is an occasion where a mainland official is present and wants to shake everyone's hand, I would certainly shake his as a respectful gesture. If my children tried to join those HKU or Scholarism under-aged protesters, I would ground them for a week and cut their allowances for a month. When the national anthem is played at a public event, I expect them to stand up.

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Dai Muff
And these people who believe in not fighting for anything would almost always be on the first plane out to Canada or the US, with their kids, if or when the you-know-what really hit the fan. Take full advantage of the democracy other people have fought for, while at the same time most likely despising the citizens of their host country.
thung01
Mr Lo, none of my neighbours attended the pro-government rallies, and their numbers were much smaller than the pro-democracy rallies -- so, by your logic, what does that prove? That the overwhelming majority do not support the government?
"By definition, we may be in the majority", you say. Who are "we"? All those who did not join the protests? Hold a referendum (if the government dares), and you'll find out who "we" are.
John Adams
Mr Lo, this is one of your 'pure gold' columns, and I agree with every word you say.
I also did not march on July 1 and I also don't know a single person who did march (seems there were more spectators than marchers, based on what I saw on a brief stroll Monday)
We don't know how lucky we are in HK .
As a lifelong Mainland friend visiting HK on July 1 said : "As long as you don't break the law or behave corruptly, China is a very good and well-governed country to live in . I certainly would never want to live in the USA, and not even in UK or Europe nor any other S.E Asian country. And I certainly would never want to live in any emerging middle eastern democracy like Egypt "
Having worked half my life in China I fully agree with my friend.
I hope you don't get 'hate' mail as a result of what you wrote today because what you wrote today is the truth.
Please accept this 'love' mail in gratitude for your sincerity and willingness to speak the truth
Dai Muff
Funny how you never have anything negative to say about those groups ramping up the Cultural Revolution rhetoric and anti-democrat thuggery in HK. There won't be blood on the streets unless someone spills it. Or is that what you support?
lokuohsiung
I agree with you, Alex.
John Adams
Dear Mr Lo
Seems you can't win.
But anyway, you are not alone
KwunTongBypass
Sad to see that Alex Lo is also no longer immune to "Singapurification".
impala
Well then, at least we now have a slightly better idea from which direction the wind blows with Mr Lo: a sheer unconditional nationalism with respect for the CCP that claims to embody the nation, combined with a materialistic opportunism: as long as his bread is buttered (and that of his neighbours), and economic growth is positive, The Party is doing a good job, and basta.

He ideally does want full democracy, less inequality and so on, but it isn't worth agonising The Party for that, since after all they butter our bread. Let's above all not antagonise The Party by our frivolous demands for democracy, fairness, freedom of Article-23 and other details.

For we already have a bunch of things, and no place is perfect anyway. So why bother making it better, or striving for ideals? Don't bite the Beijing hand that feeds you, says Mr Lo. Don't even nibble it, because it may get upset. Instead, sit pretty and do as told. Forget your ideals, forget Hong Kong's unique identity, forget dreams of a better society. After all, other places have their trouble too and we wouldn't want to become Egypt! Shock! Horror! Fear! (the similarities to Republican scaremongering about 'the US will become Greece' are striking).

Needless to say I disagree, but it is good that Mr Lo has spelled out his morally shallow and intensely opportunistic stance loud and clearly.
kennethng2009

Its crystal clear that HK under CY Leung’s administration, without legitimacy, is becoming worse in just one year’s time in aspects of human right, freedom of expression, rule of law and equality, not even mentioned those daily live problems such as housing that can’t be resolved. Seems Alex is blind to witness such obviousness.
The central government is a single-ruled dictatorship party government without legitimacy. Only those immoral animals enjoyed benefits from it accepts its ruling. Please don’t generalise your immoral act with HK people. Alex is naïve to think we can work with the central government to achieve full democracy. Will a dictator work with you to share you his tightly-gripped power in which the communist party can make a sea of monetary benefits from it? We HK people have been waiting for 16 years for universal suffrage, while till now there is no progress at all. We only see the backward development of human rights, equality, freedom in many aspects in our everyday live.
Contrary with Alex’s education to his children, if my children tried to join those HKU or Scholarism under-aged protesters, I would praise and reward them for their righteousness and braveness to contribute to the society, and the ability to distinguish right from wrong, unlike those immoral writers. And I am sure I will even double their allowances for a month!
kennethng2009
I have the impression that Alex is an employed writer for the communist party after reading his passage. I doubt if he writes with the same tone if he lives in mainland China being exploited with basic human rights and personal freedom. He always takes his naïve opinion as those of the majority of HK people. He is naïve enough to take the view that his neighbours didn’t take part in the 1July marching represents the majority of HK people is like him, a free-rider who desires full democracy yet passive and silent. He commits the fallacy of one sparrow does not make a summer. Its no strange you can’t find one around you who went marching as it seems you are paid to write for the central government.

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