Star Ferry protests show need for better communication with the people, say activists and academics The government is facing increased pressure to adopt a new language of communication with the public and learn a lesson from the Star Ferry protests, say academics and social activists. The call comes as the battle to preserve Hong Kong's heritage moves to neighbouring Queen's Pier, where a series of events, seminars and forums are being held until January 4. A full-page advertisement published in newspapers last Friday, called on the administration to 'initiate direct communication with the people'. The advert, initiated by academics in cultural studies and district and legislative councillors, was entitled 'Can you hear us, Donald' - a reference to Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen - and carried 690 signatures. Social and political commentators say the protests that erupted over demolition of the Star Ferry pier, which featured the formation of human chains and scuffles with police, showed people were becoming increasingly frustrated with the inadequacies of government-initiated consultations. The leader of the protest, Chu Hoi-dick, 29, who was also involved in the failed attempt to preserve Lee Tung Street in Wan Chai, better known as 'Wedding Card Street', said he felt he had run out of options other than getting physically involved. 'With the so-called consultation, the officials are just playing games with you. They make you think you have a say, but at the end of the day they go ahead with their original plan,' he said. 'There was no other way. We literally had to try to physically stop it.' Chan Kin-man, from the Chinese University's sociology department, said a generation gap had opened up between government leaders and young Hongkongers. 'Our elders were not even born in Hong Kong, they came here because it was a marketplace, and the government has been developing this place as just an economic centre,' Professor Chan said. 'A new generation has different expectations. It wants to say, 'Hong Kong is our home'.' Professor Chan said that throughout the consultation process on the central harbourfront, the government had spoken in terms of land value and infrastructure. 'It was the language of developmentalism. Concern groups comprised of mostly university students want more discussion on cultural value and identity.' Stephen Chan Ching-kiu, a professor of cultural studies at the Chinese University, suggested that the government should draw up reports on 'cultural value' and carry out a complete revision of consultation procedures. He said the protesters had a 'new level of consciousness' about themselves as Hongkongers, especially in choosing to stage a hunger strike at the old Star ferry pier, just as in 1966 when So Sau-chung protested against a ferry fare increase. Executive councillor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung said the government should pay more attention to public concern for a Hong Kong identity. 'But when the government conducted the consultation in 2002, there wasn't a strong voice of opposition,' he said. 'It's not that the government didn't listen.'