I would like to start my blog post with this metaphor as titled for the societies I am going to discuss today.
The social unrest in Hong Kong is becoming fierce lately. I read a few articles by commentators explaining why people in Hong Kong are not happy with what they are living with. Despite a still rather stable and secure social status, the residents in Hong Kong no longer feel comfortable living in their ‘motherland’ – so to speak.
What is the problem?
I think it is good that some people would simply escape from one society to another just because they don’t like it. This not only happened to people in Hong Kong, everyone see that lots of Chinese citizens do that while they still can nowadays.
Hong Kong is now not happy with PRC trying to interfere its own governing. That’s why 2013 is ‘an unrest year for Hong Kong to fight against a system they don’t want to be in’ according to some Chinese commentary.
What happened to Hong Kong?
Hong Kong was actually a small island that once colonised by Great Britain since Qing Chinese government lost the First Opium War, a.k.a. First Anglo-Chinese War back in 1842. It is then being ruled under Great Britain for more than 150 years, till 1997 when Hong Kong was ‘returned’ to People’s Republic of China.
Hong Kong has their own independent government managing the area under the command of either a Governor of Hong Kong assigned by British Government before 1997, or, a Chief Executive of Hong Kong elected through Hong Kong Parliament members after 1997.
On the UK-China negotiations about the rights of Hong Kong back in 1980s with Mrs Thatcher, Deng Xiaoping claimed that Hong Kong will remain it’s own politic system for 50 years without changing it. In regards to this negotiation, it made some Hong Kong people migrated to other countries, because they don’t believe in those words.
What I see the truth?
Hong Kong is now fighting for the rights to carry out general elections, in fact, it’s been fighting for it for decades, ever since 1997. Because Hong Kong thought that after being part of PRC, they could actually have an independent government, and to perform ‘Hong Kong people ruling Hong Kong themselves’ as PRC government said to them if they would be part of PRC.
But we all know that it’s not going to happen. Why? Because it is politics! Hong Kong will not be able to actually have the independence unless they are independent. Yet unfortunately, this little island is in-between strong powers both from the East and West, being independent requires Hong Kong to have strong diplomatic ability in the first place, not to mention its economical and military conditions.
Just look at Singapore, then you know things are not easy and with its critical geography position in Singapore, maintaining independent while stabilising its society within could lead to strong single power, just because their society cannot afford any unrest caused by political debates.
Educated Child, Spoiled Child and Mis-educated Child
Here comes the explanation of my metaphor now.
If we look at governing styles of countries in the East and West, I would say how the government runs is like how parents teach their children. As an old Chinese saying for the Emperors to follow: you have to restrict yourself so to run your family, you have to maintain your family to rule the country, you have to make your country prosper to win the world.
So the British governing and Chinese governing, I would say, are like educated children, even though they were educated in different ways. British governing converts its history of conservative manners, which is quite similar to Chinese governing. However, the child of China is more restricted by her parents. Chinese parents expect more obeying than British parents. While maybe, just maybe, British parents would like to hear your thoughts even though they might not take it into any considerations, yet Chinese parents still has a long way to go to get there.
And the American society? (Sorry I keep using the US as an example but I could imagine they don’t mind) It is like a spoiled child due to American history as ‘the land of freedom’. She simply pursues what she wants to become under the name of ‘democracy’ but that’s just the mind of any humanity would develop into when she wiped out her past.
And Hong Kong? I would say she is confused. Because she was not properly taught any manners that was suitable for her. She was born to be Chinese, however received British education. When the Chinese culture influence and human nature told her she needs to be freed, the British education told her she should listen to the Queen. And then as she graduated, her Chinese biological parent came and wanted Hong Kong to become like Chinese again. So she is confused, seeing the American child running wild around the world, she is wondering, ‘is that something I belong to?’
But beware, my metaphor here means the political systems, not their actual parenting even it is quite true about parenting in different cultures. And this is also a concept that I don’t really agree with when the PRC government is trying to combine the concept of Chinese culture with Chinese politics, along with the Communist Party. As you can see from my previous blog, being Chinese only means you come from a certain area with certain culture, but not necessary a certain politic system.
Then, Hong Kong people are also confusing the concept of if they go back to UK’s wings, their lives will be better.
I am afraid that will not be the case given the PM had just come back from the visit to China.
Hong Kong now remains to be advised for its outlet. However what I would suggest is that people there should keep a calm mind. If they want to work their way out, they have to figure out what they want to become in the first place. And from what I observe, I am not quite sure they have a clue.