Thursday 18 December 2014


Not the real sit-in. These are Filipino domestic workers
enjoying their Sunday outing in Central.
The real demonstration is
taking place in the streets below.

We knew it wouldn't last, but we were surprised that it even lasted this long. The so-called "Umbrella Revolution" was a civil rights movement in Hong Kong which started in late September 2014 as the Hong Kong people's response to the lack of autonomy as to their choice of government. 

Ever since Hong Kong's return from the United Kingdom of Great Britain to the Central Kingdom of People's Republic of China (has there been a more ironic name to one of the world's most autocratic nations?) in 1997, the Special Autonomous Region has been governed by a series of Chief Executives appointed and approved by Beijing. The Hong Kong people did not have much of a say, and that looks to continue in 2017 when the next election takes place. 

That was the bone of contention for thousands of Hong Kong's students, who were hoping for more autonomy and the dream of universal suffrage. The demonstrations began as an extension of the Occupy Central movement but spread to include more sites. The sit-in was opposed with excessive force by the HK police (who used tear gas, pepper spray and physical violence) and that galvanised the movement into something more widespread.

My visit to HK was originally to attend the HK International Piano Competition, but the event was postponed to 2016 because of the demonstrations which took place a stone's throw away from HK City Hall. Here are some photos I took on 26 October 2014 on my way to the Thank You Recitals hosted by the Chopin Society of Hong Kong.

With the dismantling of all demonstration sites, the young agitators may be down (for now), but definitely not out.  

The demonstration on Harcourt Road in full swing.
Its actually more peaceful and quiet than it looks.
I dare call it Hong Kong's latest tourist attraction.

Umbrellas have been replaced by tents
and camping equipment.

Thousands of goodwill messages
in the form of Post-Its.

The iconic Umbrella Man.

...and Umbrella Woman!

Taking a breather.

The advertisements in Central add a
surrealistic feel to the whole scene.

Present Chief Executive C.Y.Leung
(we know what he'll be called in Hokkien)
was a lightning rod for the people's ire.
The sign says something like,
"Rather dead with a voice than to live in silence". 

The carnage just outside City Hall.
That's how close the demonstrators got to
Vladimir Ashkenazy and Co. 

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