Tuesday, 14 October 2014

The Chinese White Dolphins Tale – Part 2

Will these dolphins ever be this happy again?
Image from scmp

What happened next is of anyone’s guess.

The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge construction began in Hong Kong in December 2011 as all environmental impact assessments failed to stop it. Government claims that the impact on the Chinese White Dolphins will be kept at minimal level.

The ‘possibility’ of economic benefits always ranks much higher than lives of dolphins, as a result, the total number of dolphins plunged from 158 in 2003 to just 62 dolphins in 2013. The dolphins complained, they even demonstrated year after year, some even offered their lives to get attentions, but the government wouldn’t listen. Every day, they tolerated, quietly they allowed their livable areas shrink.

The government said they are “are studying the designation of the Brothers Islands as a marine park in accordance with the statutory process stipulated in the Marine Parks Ordinance to compensate the permanent loss of the dolphin’s habitat arising from the reclamation”, but this isn’t a promise and so the study goes on forever.

And then came another project – a third airport runway construction which requires reclamation of 650 hectares of the sea and expects an additional 981 hectares of heavy impact zone. In a sense, it means taking over the dolphins’ entire habitat! In return, the authority involved “has so far agreed to set up a 2,400 hectare marine park to compensate for the habitat loss, but will build the park only after the runway is completed in 2023.”

The dolphins of Hong Kong aren’t stupid. They won’t “Take It First” and accept a fake compensation of the homeland-we-want –not, so they decided to fight the power in their own peaceful way, calling their movement Occupy Sha Chau. The main idea is to use their own body and flesh to block marine traffic from using major routes such as Urmston Road, Adamsta Channel and West Lamma Channel in exchange for more bargaining power and an opportunity to negotiate with the government. To protect themselves from any forceful clearance, the dolphins covered themselves with layers of rubber-like dead skin cells and some plastic bags they conveniently picked up from the abundant marine garbage.

But what did the Hong Kong government do? They responded with more vessels, sprayed them with thick, stinging diesel and injured them with vessel propellers. It was brutal. To make this even more outrageous, the environmental impact assessment report received the endorsement by the Advisory Council on the Environment, which means only the acceptance from the director of environmental protection is needed for the project to get a green light. There was also no apology from the government, who claimed that it is simply futile because the dolphins speak a different language which they cannot comprehend.
And all these, triggered something that no one would ever expect…

Part 2 Ends
(To be continued)

Hong Kong Dolphin Conservation Society


“30 Third Runway Victims” Campaign @Hong Kong Dolphin Conservation Society

HongKong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (HZMB) : Q&A

Hong Kong must act to save pink dolphins, conservationists say @South China Morning Post

Highways Department Hong Kong – Zhuhai – Macao Bridge Hong Kong Boundary Crossing Facilities Project Profile

LCQ1: Judicial review case regarding the Environmental Impact Assessment reports of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge

LCQ20: Judgement of the environmental impact assessment reports of Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge project

China's white dolphins headed for extinction in Pearl River Delta? @ CNN.com

Impact on the Chinese white dolphin @WWF Hong Kong

Third runway decision on hold over dolphin habitat concerns @South China Morning Post

Plea to reject airport runway impact study @South China Morning Post

Friday, 10 October 2014

The Chinese White Dolphins Tale – Part 1

A Chinese White Dolphin
Image from HKDCS

Part 1:

In 1997, the Chinese White Dolphins celebrated the handover of Hong Kong. Being the official mascot they helped raise people’s awareness. They are the symbol of prestige – a rare, small bunch, probably the lasts of its kind. They had been through some tough time when the Chek Lap Kok Airport was built in the early 1990s, but those days were behind them. Some hoped for a better future, others would remain satisfied as long as their habitat remains intact. Overall, they simply wanted to live a simple, stable life in their little natural habitat. Unfortunately, situation did not turn out the way they expected.

Throughout the years, their small natural habitat keeps shrinking as investments from the mainland China pour into Hong Kong financing construction projects after construction projects. Where there is money spent, pollution soars. What was once crystal clear water the dolphins were extremely proud of became stinking sewage and waste from numerous constructions. The dolphins know this well enough, they witness the problems, they feel the impact, they swim in shrinking free waters. A few got fed up and left, some send their calves away to clearer waters while they stay behind, some deny the situation while others decided to stay simply because of their love for their homeland. Silly, or brave things these dolphins, even though there is danger lurking at home, they always return for it.

But what happens next?

Part 1 Ends
(To be continued)

Hong Kong Dolphin Conservation Society


Thursday, 9 October 2014

Event & Opinions: Arguments Surrounding Occupy Central

TIME will tell? Yes, TIME did tell
Image from 破折號 Dash
Too many arguments surrounding Occupy Central are anything but logical. After days of flooding myself with information, I wrote a number of posts on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter and here is the compilation, plus additional comments at the end.


A demonstrator resting
Image from The New York Times / Xaume Olleros/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Like it or not, 'pro-' or 'anti-', treasure your right to 'oppose' whichever side you're on, because if #occupycentral fails, very soon one day, people of Hong Kong won't even be able to search for these words on the internet, or dictionary, or books, or newspapers, or posters, or leaflets, or flyers, and the list goes on and on.

Prepare to say goodbye to Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp, LINE, Google, Yahoo!, Wikipedia and enjoy WeChat, Baidu with highly limited information.

Will Hong Kong still be an international city in the future? Smile if we can make it 3rd-tier city of China.

Great Firewall of China
Image from http://youjiatang.files.wordpress.com


If you think #occupycentral demonstrators are disruptive, you are right, because that's the whole point. Want everything to return to normal? There's a way, ask the Chief Executive to answer the crowd.


True, freedom isn't food, can't sustain your living. But how's life without freedom gonna be different from life in jail even if you are well-fed? #occupycentral


#occupycentral The argument I hear the most these days is, "if they dislike China's way of governing Hong Kong so much, why don't they go live in America?" But the same argument can also be rephrased, ,"if you like the China's way of governing Hong Kong so much, why don't you go live in mainland China?" This is not productive at all, so might as well not say it.


#occupycentral Some people are sharing photos of female demonstrators being sexually assaulted in some democratic country to argue this to be the norm in all democratic societies. Here're the possible outcomes if such tragedy happens in a democratic society versus an anti-democratic one:

In a democratic society: Victim sues the abuser and justice might serve (or might not).

In an anti-democratic society: Victim sues the abuser and victim gets jail time, or the victim doesn't get to sue because she simply vanishes -- lost in oblivion.


Image from 9GAG.com

And some anti-#occupycentral supporters on social media say, "If you dislike CY Leung so much, then why don't you be the chief executive?" Great suggestion! But...isn't this what the Occupy Central demonstrators are fighting for? The right to vote and be voted?


Organisers of the movement (from the left Reverend Chu Yiu-ming, Dr Benny Tai Yiu-ting, and Chan Kin-man) published their statement at a press conference on 27 March 2013.
Caption from Wikipedia, image from VOA
Senior relatives laughed at their own imaginary scenario, "Haha! If those 3 founders of #OccupyCentral were in mainland China, they would have long been arrested and 'disappeared' entirely! Hahahaha!" I don't find that funny at all, because those words had a lot of implications, here are the key ones:

  1. they are anti-democratic, 
  2. they implicitly admit that the way Chinese government deals with the opposition is scary, 
  3. they explicitly enjoy it and they agree that the same policy should be adopted in Hong Kong, 
  4. they think they understand every bit of how the Chinese government works, 
  5. they think they, and/or maybe their love ones, will forever be exempted from such brutal treatment. 

The last one scared me the most. Because when one thinks he knows any governments best, that's when he is truly ignorant.


To those who believe that "it is stupidly wrong to attempt the impossible and fight a no-win fight, here's what the English subtitles say in this episode of House M.D,

House M.D. Season 1 Episode 17
Image from FOX
This is what I have found in the midst of my PhD research. Don't look at the Chinese subtitles, read the English ones.

Senator: Well, [knocks on the hospital bed frame] then I’m running.

Foreman: Good for you.

Senator: No, don’t get excited, he’s right, I, uh, I won’t win.

House: Then why run?

Senator: Oh, I see, your point being the only way to make a difference is to win every fight. 

[House looks pensive.]

#HouseMD, #occupycentral

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Event & Opinions: Occupy Central Day 4 @ Causeway Bay

Hennessy Road
Image from Locky's English Playground
A very quiet 1st October, an afternoon on Hennessy Road on the National Day was exactly what the photo above showed. Traffic has never been smoother. I went to buy a board game nearby and then took a chance to visit Causeway Bay.

Image from Locky's English Playground
I arrived just the right time to witness District councillor Paul Zimmerman, a former Civic Party member, raising a yellow umbrella yet again while giving a speech of support to the students.

Daring councillor at the 1st Oct flag-raising ceremony
Image from todayonline
Didn't get to hear much from that as I arrived pretty late, but his yellow umbrella spoke louder than his words.

What Causeway Bay looked like that morning
Image from Locky's English Playground
Sign post, post signs
Image from Locky's English Playground

Papers of wishes and will
Image from Locky's English Playground

Demonstrators sat peacefully while attending free lectures
Image from Locky's English Playground
BBC News article Things that could only happen in a Hong Kong protest is a really good piece of reading, but if you want to understand it fully, your physical presence is the only way.

A volunteer held a large paper requesting for speakers on the floor
Image from Locky's English Playground

Panorama outside Sogo
Image from Locky's English Playground

Vertical Panorama outside Sogo
Image from Locky's English Playground

Speaker from the floor
Image from Locky's English Playground

Umbrella means peace, defend and protect
Image from Locky's English Playground

Mainland Chinese tourist father and son experiencing what's left of Hong Kong's freedom
Image from Locky's English Playground
Even tourists from mainland China are enjoying themselves! What a surprise! Or maybe it is not surprising at all, because what is left of Hong Kong's freedom is probably far greater than anything they have experienced.

Wishes and words of encouragement
Image from Locky's English Playground

Audrey Eu speaking to the demonstrators
Image from Locky's English Playground
The question is, should we be satisfied with the freedom we still have while ignoring the fact that all these will soon disappear, or stand up to protect it before it is too late?

If you are the latter, you are a visioneer!

visioneer -- (n)[C] a person who can foresee and understand what is to come and decides to create visions for people who are unaware of the forthcoming change / situation. 

Audrey Eu @Wikipedia

Occupy Central with Love and Peace @Wikipedia

市民遭警員揮棍施襲 @Facebook

HK leader opts to wait out protesters as numbers grow +TODAYonline

Friday, 3 October 2014

Event & Opinions: Occupy Central Day 2 @ Admiralty

Cross harbour tunnel has never been smoother
Image from Locky's English Playground
I have been more active on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ these days, as live reporting spreads faster and wider. Now is time to get back to my blog.

Flooded with people who wanted to contribute
Image from Locky's English Playground
Day 2 of Occupy Central,  the day after what happened to be peaceful demonstration turned tear gas horror. Knowing that my very own students were smoked,  I decided to step out my classroom half an hour earlier and took MR to Admiralty to support. It is a struggle started by students, now it's time for adults to play their part.

The moment I hoped onto the MTR in Hung Hom, I could already see students carrying large large boxes of bottled water heading to the venue.

When I stepped out of the train, I was immediately surrounded by other black shirts with yellow ribbons. At first, I was slightly worried by the number of people leaving, but that did not mean the up-escalator was not congested.

When I stepped out of the building, this was what I saw,

I thought it was a marvellous view but I was wrong, not until I saw this,

This is not the whole picture
Image from Locky's English Playground

and then this,

This is no joke
Image from Locky's English Playground
I was truly amazed by the determination demonstrated by this group of students. It was almost 10pm and there they were, packed together like bees in a hive, extremely crowded, but traffic never looked congested.

Supply station was well-organised
Image from Locky's English Playground
Demonstrators were highly organised, each having their role, their own way of contributing to the event. Some volunteered to help at various stations, a few spoke of their aims over the speaker system,

Image from Locky's English Playground
some initiated street cleaning, others walked up and down supplying water. At some points, everyone cheered, sang and applauded. All these supportive effort for one another was done in a strictly obedient manner.

For love and peace
Image from Locky's English Playground
Everyone seemed to know the rules, the code of ethics. No one was talking any chances of giving excuses of any kind for the opposition to ruin the name of event.

Can't see the end of the crowd, thus hope
Image from Locky's English Playground
They actually kinaesthetically realised "love and peace"!

View from the bridge
Image from Locky's English Playground
Has Hong Kong ever seen this kind of unity? Yes, but never went so far and so great in terms of scale and mentality,

Act of determination
Image from Locky's English Playground
and definitely for the first time ever for such huge scale event initiated and dominated by youths and young adults.

Action speaks louder than words
Image from Locky's English Playground
I was hoping to find some of my secondary school students, but instead, I found a student from my previous learning centre job.
My student's way of contribution
Image from Locky's English Playground
And there I was, for about an hour, helping her make giveaway yellow ribbons as we discussed the future of Hong Kong and the direction demonstrators are heading.

Atmosphere speaks, "Don't worry,  I got your back!"
Image from Locky's English Playground
Of course, most are just guesses, but what we know for sure, is that this tear-gas stupidity of the Hong Kong government has permanently scorched memories onto each one of these young people's mind.

And the message has spread across Hong Kong
Image from Locky's English Playground
And this fight for freedom and democracy shall go very far in many more future generations to come.

Occupy Central @ Admiralty Day 2 +YouTube

Monday, 29 September 2014

Event & Opinions: Stunning Images and Videos of Occupy Central @ Hong Kong

Hands in the air umbrellas as anti-pepper spray measures
Image from huffingtonpost

Love is silly, for it drives people to attempt the impossible.
Love is powerful, for it gives undefeatable strength to protect what you treasure.
Love is fearless, for it never shies away from a victoryless struggle.
Love knows no compromise, for it never dims to fight for what's right.

When 'crowd' and 'order' become synonymous
Image from huffingtonpost
They came in peace
Image from mcclatchyinteractive

Touched by what HongKongers have done for Hong Kong and our future generations! All day and night long, dare to put hands in the air to defense not just pepper sprays, tear gas and batons but our freedom of demonstration, speech, press, choice, and many more. Hong Kong protesters are world-class! Peaceful and highly organised! I'm proud of you all!

Image from Alan Wong

Tear gas for peaceful demonstrators
Image from huffingtonpost
Image from Alan Wong

Crackdown on Protests by Hong Kong Police Draws More to the Streets +The New York Times

CNN crew gassed during Hong Kong protests @YouTube

Riot police fire tear gas at protesters @YouTube

Hong Kong Pro-Democracy Protesters Clash With Police In Surreal Scenes @Huffington Post

Pro-democracy protests expand in Hong Kong @The Kansas City Star