Dear Occupy Central,
Hello. I hope you are warm, as the mercury has been hanging low the past week. I’m not sure if it’s colder inside my flat than on the street at times; however, I’m sure you have many moments under the HSBC building that are significantly cooler than inside my flat. Good on you, for keeping up your movement, and standing up for your beliefs.
Here’s my gripe: you are ‘occupying’ one of the few places in Hong Kong that provide Hong Kong’s real downtrodden with a place to play and congregate with friends. Every
Sunday, the undercarriage of HSBC is swarmed by hundreds (if not thousands) of domestic helpers: now they know how to occupy central.
Your ‘occupy’ movement is a bit of a paradox. In one of the most densely populated cities in the world, you have between 5-30 persons at your site. In Hong Kong, 5 persons may live in as little as 50-100 square feet. Don’t believe me? Consider the ‘helper’s room’ in nice flats. Consider the illegally partitioned homes: the practice of splitting a single unit into 3-10 smaller units which can then be rented out individually, with 70+ gross square feet. Consider the illegal roof units. (i did! It was my first flat!). Consider the cage homes.
Your tents and wannabe yard sale display under the HSBC building takes up a few thousand square feet of public outdoor space. And what have you made of it? There’s a crazy bike rack, some living room setups that look like a 1970s Ikea display. Empty tents and a handful of babysitters at any point in time, day or night, to ‘occupy’ Central.
It’s been several months, and no one ha taken notice. Here is why: Central was occupied long before you arrived, and in greater style.
Sundays have always been days to OCCUPY CENTRAL. Sunday is the day of the week that all domestic helpers in Hong Kong are guaranteed a full day of work. Thousands of women (and some men – but predominantly women) from the Philippines, from Indonesia, and other Developing countries of South East Asia, descend on Central for their time to gather with friends, cut each others hair, hold religious services, work on their dance routine for the next big Sunday showcase, vent their weekly frustrations, play Bingo, make forts out of cardboard, and enjoy a space for one day a week that they know as there own. This weekly (and public holiday) occurrence happens across Hong Kong. Roads in Central are shut down to provide them with space.
And guess what, those who proclaim themselves Occupy Central: for the thousands of people who congregated peacefully under the HSBC building every Sunday since time remembered, YOU have stolen their home. This is my issue with what you are doing.
Since I’m a problem solver, I want to offer a solution for you. I think this will help you to (a) gain greater public image, (b) have your message heard and (c) truly support Hong Kong’s underprivileged. Maintain your ‘occupy’ camp from 12:01am Monday morning, until 6am Sunday morning. This isn’t giving up the movement: it’s recognizing the true heroes, the silent partners in your movement, and letting them to Occupy Central in a much more public way.
Do this, and Hong Kong will take notice.
Occupy Central: Why You’re Disliked
Dear Occupy Central,