Idealistic young people putting futures at risk for protest movement

PUBLISHED : Friday, 01 August, 2014, 3:55am
UPDATED : Friday, 01 August, 2014, 3:55am

I write as a retired English teacher regarding the sit-in protest in Central on the night of July 1. Where were those who call for "civil disobedience" and fervently back Occupy Central's stand on universal suffrage, while passionate young people were being arrested in Central on the morning of July 2 and putting their futures at risk?

I empathise with these ideal-driven youngsters. However, I despise those who yell for universal suffrage, but left the youngsters to get arrested.

It is relatively easy to get these youngsters feeling passionate about democracy. It is important that it is achieved in Hong Kong, but some of these pro-democracy supporters have selfish motives.

The students involved in the overnight sit-in on July 1 said they would ignore warnings from police that they were breaking the law. Their zeal for the consummation of a democratic system is admirable, but they need to be led by shrewder minds and not led astray.

These students need to realise that they are unlikely to achieve their aims regarding universal suffrage and win over the central government by battering the lame-duck government of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying.

Their civil disobedience tactics will not resolve the knotty problems we face, but could spoil their futures, especially if the economy goes into a downward spiral. The central government may become even more intransigent and irrational in its responses.

We need to look at the reality of our situation in Hong Kong. If the Basic Law offers pseudo-universal suffrage, then we have to find a way to strive for real universal suffrage. Reasoned discussion is needed but this will take time, patience and understanding. Things can only get worse if protests turn violent.

Over the last 20 years, China has advanced a great deal economically, but is still politically stagnant with emphasis on allegiance to the party.

It is no use yelling "Down with C. Y.", because he is just a puppet on this issue. And it is no good insulting anyone who takes a counter-view, as this encourages instability in our society. I hope we can see a return to the values of the past, when Hong Kong was a hard-working and harmonious city.

We must try to reason with the central government and let it know what our true expectations are regarding universal suffrage. We must make the nominating committee a channel for those who genuinely want to serve Hong Kong.

Lai King-lau, Kwai Chung