Signs of Democracy

We recently traveled to Hong Kong for a few days and while we were there the student lead protests had just begun. Read more about that with my post Last Night. Be sure to look at the comment section where I posted a link to a young girl’s blog who lives in Hong Kong and is taking part in the protests. A very interesting perspective, one that you won’t get from a news report or newspaper article.

This week Word Press has given us the theme signs. Previously I posted on signs from around China and street and silly signs around my neighborhood in Shanghai. WP talks about how signs can point us in the right direction, decorate, announce and show us about a time or culture. This was very true of the protests that are ongoing in Hong Kong. I decided to post more of the signs from Hong Kong that we saw around Admiralty and Central during the protests. It certainly is representative of time and culture.

The contrast of signs on HK streets Sep. 29, 2014

The contrast of signs on HK streets Sep. 29, 2014

 

Hand made signs on cardboard, streets and fabric are in English and Chinese stating their feelings and ideas. Most ask for democracy. The contrasts between the handmade signs made from whatever materials were on hand and the massive  neon lighted signs of the high-end designer shops is opposite in every way. Will these become signs of change?

 

 

Stay Tuned…

 

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Categories: Chinese Adventures, Culture, History, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tags: , , , , ,

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40 thoughts on “Signs of Democracy

  1. Wow! Can’t believe you are there seeing the protests, signs, etc. You’re witnessing history. Thanks so much for posting this.

    • Thanks. It was pretty amazing… we were on the metro and I could see the news and never dreamed it was there in HK. When we got into the hotel and put on the TV and saw it we were in disbelief. It is so unlike them… the next day we walked around the area and it was something to witness. I can’t describe the feeling and energy from the crowd. I was so honoured to be accepted and people wanted to share their story and thanked us for coming. They were so polite and cleaning up after themselves… just amazing!

  2. Thanks for posting these, the most important signs of the week. I hope these patriots succeed. They have a right to choose candidates, that was the promise and it’s high time. If Americans can choose candidates, Hong Kong citizens are just as able.

    • What has brought this on was the change in policy. For 50 years HK was suppose to have the right, but then they decided it would change slightly… I hope they can make a difference since fighting against a government isn’t always easy.

    • Thanks for your compliment 🙂

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  5. I knew something was happening over there, but wasn’t sure exactly what (I refuse to watch mainstream news), so thanks for your explanation! How amazing to have been there!! 😀

    • It was really unusual. This was my 4th trip and my husband’s 6th. Expats that live there say it is so unlike them. Locals themselves say their usual focus is on work and money (or study) so to have been there and see some first hand was surreal and quiet the experience. I wish I knew more, but I too rarely follow news. I have been watching this lately to see what the outcome may be more so since I was there and spoke to so many people about it.

  6. My husband will be there next week. I hope things settle down a bit before then. Such a relevant and current post, CTB. Great photos.

    • Thanks for your compliment. It will be interesting to see the results. As to your husband’s visit I am sure things will be fine… things looks worse on TV and we make assumptions about protests since most are heated. I know I did too and wanted to avoid the situation, but was glad my husband convinced me to go and see it. It is peaceful and they keep stressing they want to remain that way. After the panic from the police on night one police presence was very limited and things remained calm. The major inconvenience it they block the roads, but you can still get around. (metro is great) They do not attempt to block people who are wanting to pass on foot and shops are open. They have actually stayed away from sidewalks, so not to hassle people and shop owners. A few scuffles have started, but these are people who do not support the student protests and the students have done their best to walk away as they want to remain peaceful. Talks were to happen soon, so that may also disperse the crowds.
      Thanks for visiting and talking the time to comment.

      • Thank you for taking the time to give me such a thorough reply. Of course things probably look worse on TV. I hope an amicable solution can be reached.

        • I think too we are conditioned to think the worst when we hear protest. With so many people in crowds we naturally become fearful. Our hotel posted signs to avoid the area. The airport was announcing there could be travel disruptions and if possible avoid it too. Of course people get a little nervous with all this. It could get crazy, but really that is NOT what they want, so I am sure it will be fine.
          CNN has an outlet in HK and when the local reporters, who live there, report you can see a difference in the reporting… and they try to get into the crowds and show you what is happening more so than large sweeping crowd shots.
          I also hope it all goes well and ends peacefully soon.
          Is this your husband’s first trip to HK? Is he going for work?

          • He’s been there at least six times. He travels a lot and pretty much echoes exactly your point of view. All business! He was in Haiti years ago during rough times and reported it was all localized. It will be so interesting to see how this all plays out. Any thoughts?

            • I wish it would go well, but now some people are starting to cause trouble and as a result the government talks have been postponed. The government is getting tough and saying tomorrow things need to be open and a you don’t know what will happen if you don’t listen message is being sent. I’m back in Shanghai now so I am not sure what the people there will decide. Their nature is very quiet and don’t cause trouble, so I wonder if they may just leave and try to make themselves heard in other ways. If a meeting is set and would have happened I think they would have already stopped protesting.

  7. What I am so curious to know is how much people in mainland China know about the protests in Hong Kong. The media here all says that the Chinese government blocks it all out but I find it impossible to do. What about emails from people living in other countries or even blogs like yours? What is your take on mainland China’s knowledge of the developments?

    • Good question… and living here you soon realise things are blocked. Facebook, blogs, youtube, twitter and now they blocked instagram due to the protests. How? not sure but they do. These sites come up unavaialble when you type in the addresses. I have heard stories of emails being scanned and then they are delayed or never reach their destination. There are ways around these things and us expats use them, but not the locals. The locals have their own versions of such things and happy with them…
      In a possible attempt to control the situation further, someone mentioned yesterday, tours to HK were stopped and pulled out as well as the boarder into HK from the mainland in an attempt to stop Chinese people from witnessing it! So with that being said the local news and newspapers are not reporting on it. Locally my blog cannot be accessed and I need to be careful. A few people may learn about it, but gathering in large numbers is against the law and police would immediately come to disperse. It was interesting about 2 years ago it was allowed for a short time to protest against Japan when they were fighting over an island. It was an one time only thing though.
      It will be interesting when I go back to work Monday (it was a holiday for us all last week) to see if any of the Chinese staff are aware of the situation and how they found out.

      • Wow, I’m speechless. This sounds so absolutely crazy it is hard to even imagine. I can’t believe that such a big secret can remain intact. It is nuts that your own colleagues may have no idea of the protests. It is just so hard of me to understand it all and get a grasp on it. We take so much for granted in North America and the rest of the Western world. So much freedom. Please keep me posted. I hope things eventually change for China. I would love to hear your perspective but perhaps it is even risky to write about on a blog.

        • Some of the staff knew about it, but no one really mentioned it. Western staff right away said were you there??? Did you see it??? All curious, but the Chinese staff didn’t say anything except one who said simple there is a problem there, was it OK for you? They concerned for our safety. Of course they felt it is trouble and may fear themselves to get into trouble to speak about it or show approval, so it is quiet. A few local Chinese showed support and were arrested. Not matter where we live we are all led to believe things depending on what information is given. One politician currently in Canada is asking for more transparency in the government. We can even go so far as conspiracy. Look at all the conspiracy theories around 9/11… what is true and fiction depends on who you talk to, So many things can be manipulated with video and editing etc it is sometimes hard to know the truth. Not to be naive or over thinking things, but think critically and wonder about perspective. Read a history book and 2 events can be very different depending on what side the author was on 😉 I guess I have learned to think carefully before accepting things as truth… After all someone will only present facts that make their case stronger.
          As to the protests they are still on going, but smaller. Talks are promised then called off. I watched an Asian news program yesterday and one of the student leaders, a 17 year teen, spoke about what they want and what will happen if talks don’t go ahead. Their message is the same… they don’t want change for all of China, but the freedom to vote and have candidates they elect not ones approved and put in place by Beijing. Again they say despite the threats there is a lot of support. They need to stay strong and be prepared for the long haul since it affects the future of everyone in their city.
          I am careful what I say at all times on the blog and hence no personal photos or names… my work and other powers that be may disapprove. I do think that some of these messages could be blocked, or removed.
          Thanks so much Nicole for really getting me thinking and creating such a great discussion 🙂

  8. They’ve waited long enough. I heard today that the ‘signs’ must come down by Monday. Leaders want the protests to stop by then. I hope they get what they were promised.

    • Well as far as I know the meeting was cancelled due to some Chinese supporters causing fights in another area of Hong Kong. I am not sure what will happen next.

      • Keep us in the loop if you can. Be well.

        • Well I am no longer in HK and watching all I can on TV now. Today (it is already Monday morning) was the deadline for everyone to leave so it will be interesting how it plays out.
          In Mainland no one knows about it (or very few). It is not in local papers or news. A few expats knew about it since they access local news or papers from home. It will be interesting to see if our Chinese teachers know anything about it. We were all on a week school break and we head back today.

  9. Good use of the challenge CTB! Quite the scene over there.

    • Yes it was pretty amazing that a usually very quiet people banded together and went so far out of their comfort zone to do something about it.

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