• Mon
  • Dec 22, 2014
  • Updated: 6:31pm
PUBLISHED : Monday, 07 April, 2014, 2:40am
UPDATED : Monday, 07 April, 2014, 2:40am

Don't let Occupy Central occupy all thoughts of democracy

Alice Wu says amid all the focus on Occupy Central, we risk ignoring the many other paths to reach our goal of universal suffrage


Alice Wu fell down the rabbit hole of politics aged 12, when she ran her first election campaign. She has been writing about local politics and current affairs for the Post since 2008. Alice's daily needs include her journals, books, a multi-coloured pen and several lattes.

It seems increasingly difficult for us to reach a consensus on anything these days, especially when that's what we really need. But, there's one thing we can agree on: Occupy Central is already a success. Judging by how much media attention it has grabbed, the movement has to go down as one of Hong Kong's most successful political campaigns.

How often do we see anything making such a big impact in such a short span of time? Within just 48 hours, it has occupied not only Central, but academic, investment banking and sacred ground. It's been a kind of litmus test for the new vice-chancellor of the University of Hong Kong. It is the subject that prompted the first UBS study trying to quantify the impact of socio-political movements on businesses. It's the sanctified social cause that the secretary general of the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui recently unsanctified. And all of this when Central hasn't actually been occupied yet.

It seems the mere thought - or, as others have pointed out, the "threat" - of occupying Central has reached beyond its physical co-ordinates. At the very least, our politicians should be looking at Occupy Central as a textbook case of how to launch and dominate dialogue in public discourse.

While the communications world struggles to keep up with shrinking attention spans, Occupy Central has occupied precious cerebral space. It has been treated synonymously with constitutional reform, partly because the government has taken so long. Because it has laid such a firm and prominent foundation in our political landscape, it's perhaps hard to notice that it is, in fact, just one of the many possible ways for us to achieve our universal suffrage goal. It may be the most prominent but those fasting for universal suffrage represent another way. Lawmakers heading to Shanghai are exploring another way. In fact, those who have decided not to partake in the Shanghai talks are speaking the language of bargaining, which is yet another way.

These are all different ways that different people feel are the best path to take us to our democratic promised land.

Reasonable people still debate the justification, effectiveness, meaningfulness or even legality of each path. It's part of the journey. Perhaps who wins or loses these debates won't matter; getting there would make it a moot point.

Instead of caring so much about who said what about Occupy Central, perhaps it would be more meaningful to turn our attention to what other possible ways are being paved alongside this last resort. We don't need a consensus on Occupy Central to take steps forward in constitutional reform.

When we allow the mere thought of Occupy Central to crowd out other possibilities - when we're so preoccupied with it that it takes over the entire political landscape of the possible - we're doing ourselves a disservice, by tuning out the public dialogue and deliberation that can forge a consensus where it matters.

Alice Wu is a political consultant and a former associate director of the Asia Pacific Media Network at UCLA


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This article is now closed to comments

The article identifies Ms. Wu's occupation as a "political consultant'. Is she consulting the government, any businesses, or any other actor regarding "Occupy Central" or "Political Reform"? This article, and insofar as I know past ones, have no declaration that there is 'no conflict of interest' or 'declaration of interests' between Ms. Wu and her political advocacy on the sheets (material or digital) of the SCMP. Are these 'paid' (by a third party) political commentaries? This is not to argue that Ms. Wu is not entitled to her opinion or should be prevented from expressing them by any means; it does argue, however, that the SCMP's readers are entitled to know whether articles such as this attacking Occupy Central are on behalf of any undeclared third parities (e.g., the HKSAR government or Liaison Office), or if they are simply her opinions.
Occupy serves as a big spot light to cast attention on the issues. In that regard, as the author notes, it is already wildly successful.
But I don't understand the concern about "crowd(ing) out other possibilities". Occupy attracts and focusses attention. THe results of such attention are in no way preordained or constrained by Occupy itself.
Consensus is the stuff of Utopia. Grow up and accept conflict. All that's needed is a democratic plan that has the support of most of LegCo.
“Occupy Central is already a success”?
If “success” is measured by “media attention”,
it only reflects the media’s lack of perspectives
and poverty in thinking
What about media attention’s effect on the movement?
It has turned the movement senile while an embryo,
ruined its popularity and would render it still if ever given birth
"It's been a kind of litmus test for HKU’s new vice-chancellor
the subject of a UBS study",
a “social cause that HK Sheng Kung **** recently unsanctified
… all of this when Central hasn't actually been occupied yet"
So what kind of “success” is that?
It has become a world class farce involving itself and the city
A big and complete FAILURE that undermines everything near it
Top of the list on first page of my google search shows:
Hong Kong Sheng Kung **** (HKSKH) is the Anglican Church in Hong Kong … ****www.hkskh.org/
十全十美 is a popular saying and an idealism that Chinese often strive for in daily life. In reality we neglect to understand it is difficult to achieve it as human being. The consequence of persistently in looking for it yields just the opposite. We end up with disagreement in the most colossal way far far from being十全十美 in our life collectively as a community.
I don’t believe in十全十美.


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