National Day at The Umbrella Revolution

protest
Walking on the Gloucester Road flyover

Spent the afternoon walking around the Hong Kong Island scene today. Here are some highlights of what the Internet can’t really show you. Parts of the protest you simply have to be there to experience.

The atmosphere was peaceful and calm, quite surreal in the sense that there was so much energy and passion, yet people were so relaxed and driven at the same time. It was inspiring to see, and made me very, very proud to be a part of this. There was even section where student were sorting through recycling and openly collecting rubbish. Others were handing out food and cooling pads.

The activists stood with bullhorns, but everyone had their own section so it wasn’t just a bunch of noise. The activists spoke passionately and convincingly, using relatable analogies and metaphors that are a heavy structure of the Chinese language. Much of what was said can’t be translated literally into English, but most were along the lines of “Universal Suffrage does not mean you give us options, it means we choose our own.

A young ten-year old boy was trying to understand how GoPro Drones work by explaining it to those around him.
A young ten-year old boy was trying to understand how GoPro Drones work by explaining it to those around him.

This little boy was trying to understand how a Go Pro works, so he listened to his father and then relayed the information (in English) to others around him to ensure he understood. Kudos to this kid for his curiosity!

watching
On the left (in Chinese) – Occupy with love and peace On the right (English) – The world is watching

Motivational signs hung all over the protest arena, to remind Hong Kong citizens to keep doing what they’re doing because many are becoming inspired.

tent
Tents set up for overnight protesters

Overnight protesters set up tents to rest and also shelter themselves from the tear gas, should there be another outbreak.

MK Monday
Taken at the Mong Kok protest scene at lunchtime on Monday.

This one was taken on Monday, at the Mong Kok protest, during my lunchbreak.

Hong Kong Rubbish
Rubbish collection – half of which were collected by students and protesters who even stayed behind to sort through recycling. Hong Kong, you’re doing it right!

Not only have government cleaners and the Environmental Protection Department offered their help, but also students and young children were seen actively cleaning and collecting rubbish. Furthermore, dedicated students also sorted through recycling.

Arrogance
Your arrogance keeps us here Solidarity will see us through.

One of the mantras to motivate activists: Your arrogance keeps us here. Solidarity will see us through. Taken with the symbol for the Legislative Council in the top right corner (Chinese Symbol for LegCo, but also means “To Stand For.”)

  fascist democracy damage

View of the crowd from the Admiralty side. Around 18h00
View of the crowd from the Admiralty side. Around 18h00

Stay strong, Hong Kong.
McGordan

Stability and Solidity

You spend your twenties believing that you’re bulletproof. ~Moby~

The cycle of cognitive development can be a predictable one: as children, we are curious about the greater world, wanting to know a little bit about everything. We have little to no experience in life, and haven’t made enough mistakes to understand consequences. As teenagers, we strive for freedom and try to break free from all that constrains our perceived liberty. It is a phase in life when we feel entitled and complacent, a time when we can argue with a rationale warped to fit our desires, and a time when adults let our immaturity slide because they understand we have to experience it.

Then comes the start of independent living: your twenties. This is the phase when one realizes the immaturity of what was thought to be, as a teenager, the most brilliant or scintillating of ideas. When one looks back two years, four years, or even ten years, everything that was once believable as a teenager is suddenly impertinent to one’s physical (not perceived) reality. Everything you believed – every fantasy, every dream, every construction, every version of the future – is merely reflection of a modern fairy-tale.

The modern fairy-tale: that version of a life you spend a decade of your existence romanticizing – everything that you want to do after college – to work or to study, to experience or to define, to attempt or to decide. All these questions run through one’s mind simply because each day inspires new possibilities. It is in this phase of cognitive development where one is perfectly capable of differentiating between rationale and desire, yet may not have that worn-and-torn life experience called “cynicism” to deter an attempt at making a dream come true. This, however, differs subjectively based on the approach in which one uses to render this romanticized fantasy a reality, but ultimately, humans work with what is known: and where knowledge is lacking, experience is needed. Thus, being in one’s mid-twenties in the twenty-first century first world has offered vast opportunities and ways to actually live, and not merely exist.

Being in one’s twenties is supposedly the best time to gain experience, but this definition of “experience” merely pertains to the “experiences” that you choose, not the ones that are thrust upon you from your childhood. By this reasoning, “experience” is not limited to age: children and teenagers can easily go through just as much (if not more) than adults, and after one’s twenties, experience does not cease to be gained simply because one “grows” or (at times) matures. “Experience” does not simply mean “something that happens in life,” it refers to what is gained or lost from the “happening” or “occurrence.” Conversely, as experiences are subjective, one of the biggest mistakes many parents make when raising children is putting the child into a similar situation in hopes of determining the child’s experience. The experience is not a mistake – manipulating the variables in such a way is, because it is a common misconception that one can repeat or reconstruct a certain experience.

Experiences are meant to be had, not explained.

Gaining experience and living an “exciting” life depends on one’s personal definition of the words but also the approach one takes in reaching the optimized goal. To some, “excitement” and experience come from travelling the world, from exploring and understanding cultures and societies; to others, stimulation or excitement come from doing what one loves, and loving what one does. Furthermore, some regard experience as the amount of pain and suffering one has to endure in order to develop resilience. When one reaches their twenties, the two priorities in life suddenly become “stability” and “solidity,” and these can involve any category in life. Stability refers to career, finances and relationships; solidity to self, friendships and family. The common misconception is that living an exciting life doesn’t entail stability – again, this depends on one’s personal definition of “excitement.” There are times, however, when stability has to be sacrificed in order to gain solidity, and vice versa, but this is not an ultimatum. If sacrifices are inevitable, though, they are based on one’s personal definitions of “excitement” and “happiness,” combined with the goal one hopes to achieve.

To those who deem “excitement” as world travel, stability is not necessarily a component, but solidity is – solidity in finding one’s self, in cherishing and building solid friendships, and for many, establishing a firm basis with family now that one is old enough to communicate without being patronized. To those who deem their everyday life as excitement may entail, at times, losing a sense of self to complement the chosen path, only to find one’s way back to solidity. To those who intentionally take the toughest route in hopes of growing back stronger, who absuse “pain” as a method of gaining experience, may work for some but not all. This methodology may work for those who trust that their support network is strong enough when they need to recover from the “battle,” but if the support network was that strong to begin with, then why take the route of masochism in the first place?

Every mistake is an experience, but no experience is a mistake.

Nonetheless, each individual takes a different approach towards achieving their perceived definition of happiness in starting a journey of a “life of fulfilment.” Whatever the definition, priority or goal, the ultimate enrichment, experience and enlightenment comes from one’s own chosen path – mistakes and failures, accomplishments and achievements – thus, stability comes from routine, practice and habit. It is a lifestyle which can only be achieved with a certain amount of sacrifice along the way – that sacrifice being the risk of occasional boredom, lack of stimulation or simple mundanity which constrains one’s inspiration; conversely, this small sacrifice in the beginning leads to equanimity in the long-run. Boredom and apathy are fleeting states of mind, but stability is the concrete foundation which only paves way for taller and stronger skyscrapers. Solidity, on the other hand, refers to the strength, integrity and self-assurance it takes to exist as an individual entity without the co-dependent need for a crutch. Although the paradox is that humans are reflections of other humans, the actual human experience – existence, living and being – are had by oneself. Hence, solidity comes from the ability to be, and to live comfortably in one’s own shoes.

It takes true strength to admit weakness and wisdom to admit folly.

 

Mistakes

2012 US Elections

It’s gone, gone, gone
It’s time for things to get better
It’s time for things to move on.
~Ou Est Le Swimming Pool~

With the kick-off and onset for the 2012 US elections, one can only help but reminisce on the 2008 elections, where McCain and Obama came head-to-head in a domestic political war: Republicans versus Democrats. Though the last 2 years of term of office, it is evident that he has made an impact on the political field of United States and Globalisation, but how much of a change has he really made?

Considering the aftermath of eight years’ worth of “Bushism,” the pressure for Obama to make immediate change skyrocketed, and expectations were elevated. The Promise for Change which Obama had repetitively emphasized throughout his campaign in 2008 had the country hoping for more – and in offering hope for the nation, people are likely to feel included rather than overlooked.

Part of the reason the Democrats were in the lead two years prior is that Bush’s administration failed to comply to society’s demands for justice and progression. Though Republicanism itself is built on traditional and concrete (unwavering) values, George Bush and his administration turned out to be a disappointing testimony as the face of Republicans. The fact that the stronger players in the game – the main power players – had reached this higher level of success, many of the team felt that the existing system was already the best available option. However, in eight years of Bush’s office, society noticed that little was being done to accommodate their needs: Change was needed.

Obama’s role as a “change maker” appealed to a society desperate for a president who cared, a president who believed in change, a president who himself disputed the existing system. Had Obama stepped up any earlier than he had, society might not have been as anguished and forlorn, but taking into account the failures and disarrays the Bush Administration had left, Obama offered hope to a broken society.

Now that his term is at its mean, enough has materialised for one to speculate. Change, as Obama promised, has most definitely been made, but on what scale? Many would argue that he has not done all he has promised, however, bear in mind that Obama bears a stepping-stone mindset: to change the big, one must first change the small. By this, one might argue that not enough has been done reagarding taxes, the war in the Middle East, foreign policy etc. Though these issues have not been as heavily regarded today as it was with Bush’s Administration, Obama’s focus was on individual care: the Reformed Health Care Plan, refining the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” bill and the religious disputes between Islamics and Islamism.

All things considered, the social demands for Obama to “change the country” are derived from their expectation for him to “clean up Bush’s mess” at the click of a finger. With expectations set absurdly high, it is inevitable for society to be disillusioned and disappointed. And this disappointment comes demand for change, yet again.

Democracy focuses on change based on society’s demands, yet the irony is that society can only handle change when it is convenient – take the best, leave the rest. Republicans, on the other hand, do not account for variable change because (as stated above) pressure for change, in a republican government, come from below or even outside the circle of rule. Republicanism is built on fundamentally traditional values, thus it is pragmatic and realistic, but hypocritical and inconsiderate.

Democracy may appeal to society, because on paper the ideas and incentives revolve around its People. The People make the change, the People determine the system. At the end of the day, it’s an idealistic and utopian system of government, popular by demand and appeal, but impossible to satisfy (especially in highly populated regions like the US). Perhaps democracy isn’t all that it was set out to be, but on a smaller scale (small countries) it might turn out more efficient and effective, simply because fewer people means fewer demands; fewer demands means fewer changes; fewer changes means fewer adjustments; fewer adjustments means fewer complaints.

Thus, the upcoming US elections are likely to be taken over by Republicans, simply because of it’s “unwavering values.” These values are “convenient” and ancient, but have existed long enough for society to incorporate the institutions into everyday life: the institutions of the Republicans are legitimised by social compliance, and though society will realise sooner or later that the amount of control and influence each individual once had is slowly slipping away, stability will improve simply because the foundations are firmer and stronger.

Until then, this hypothesis will remain a conjecture until proven (or disproven) in the next few years.

You want me to come over but I got an excuse
Might be holding your hand but I’m holding it loose
~Example~

The Great Firewall of China

Stop calling, stop calling
I don’t wanna think anymore.
~Lady Gaga~

In the rise of national interest, advocacy for human rights seem to be declining. Despite Amnesty International, UNICEF and other major World Peace / Freedom fighters, more and more are focused on the growing demand for the national interested of already developed (OECD) states.

Not only are the democrats demanding Obama’s desires and goals to be fulfilled, but in rejecting the Republicans’ (GOP – Grand Old Party) efforts in bettering the state, one can only wonder what is the the real reason for the underlying tension between parties. Since both parties have similar views — the only obstacle hindering the US from progressing is the label “Republicans” vs. “Democrats.” Suppose one were to remove the titles, and simply come forth with different proposals, it would become evident that the country is merely holding grudges within its own national parties rather than focusing on the betterment of the country and global enterprise.

This said, here are a few updates in sum.

  • China’s increased efforts in silencing its citizens voices has proved harder than envisioned: despite Google’s recent threat to pull out, China has continued building up its firewall to the point where most of its citizens have no idea what they’re missing out on. (Newsweek: Europe. March 2010 edition).
  • Obama’s Health-Care Plan has reached a total of 1,990 pages and has increased to US$950 Billion. This is not only causing disputes amongst most of Congress (who are still weary of this proposal) but medical students fresh into their career are making an average of US$100,000 annually, as opposed to their US$200,000 med school debts which they are left with. This explains why most med students choose to go into private practices and dermatology rather than work for the public systems. Which leaves the state at a medical stand still: hence a desperate need for the Health-Care Plan to be revised. (Mary Carmichael, Newsweek)
  • The IPCC has admitted to giving out inaccurate information, especially regarding the melting of the Himalayan Mountains. Their predictions for 2035 have been off by 20 years (at least). The question lies at why errors were found in the configuration system of the Panel. Rajendra Pachauri, head of the IPCC, claims that the panel has been “too transparent with their work, using the [circling the jungle] system” rather than keeping their research on a low key. This has resulted in a 15% decrease of Global Warming Theory supporters, and has also reduced the credibility of the IPCC and UN organizations trying to combat gas emissions. (Newsweek, March 2010 edition)
  • Human Rights are becoming less significant on a global scale, not only because the American Democrats are acting in their own national interest, but also due to the fact that underdeveloped countries are lacking in advocacy. The minimal amount of advocacy they do currently posses, however, would have to represent their state in the presence of 15 separate judges from various geographical locations globally. However, the ICJ (International Court of Justice) takes a more conservative stand, acting in global benefit rather than national interest, thus if the fact that TWC (Third World Countries) are lacking in human rights doesn’t have a major affect on OECD countries, thus it is virtually impossible to take into account of each uprising fight for human rights. (International Relations: Key Concepts)
  • After China’s ban on freedom of voice and religion, China ranks second in having the least human rights recognition. The first is Kazakhstan. (Newsweek, March 2010 edition).
  • Australia is co-operating with the Sri Lanken government and limiting the amount of refugees entering the country. Reasons remain unclear, although speculations have been made that this is due to the possibility of Australia becoming uninhabitable in 20-50 years. If this were the case, a total evacuation of the country will have to be made, thus limiting the total influx of “less privileged people” will allegedly ease the evacuation in the years to come. (Theory still being revised).

Anyway, for those of you who faithfully follow my blog (I know there aren’t many yet), I hope this helped with a recent update. I should try to keep this going with more consistency, but due to the sudden inundation of information which I have been taking in recently, one can see why consistency might be a bit difficult at this time.

All the same, don’t stop reading!

Mikaela G.

Come on make a move on me.
~Joey Negro~