Your protests have affected those of us who just want to work

Your protests have affected those of us who just want to work

As the intensity of Occupy Central increased last week, we asked three students to share with us their experience and thoughts on the movement and how it affected them


Secondary school students walk on a highway past a roadblock on their way to school
Secondary school students walk on a highway past a roadblock on their way to school
Photo: Reuters

My school, German Swiss International School, along with others in the Wan Chai and Central & Western districts, was closed on Monday (September 29) and Tuesday. In addition, all ECAs (extra-curricular activities) and sports fixtures have been cancelled, which is a real shame as our girls’ hockey team has been training hard in anticipation for our upcoming games. The Kindergarten and Primary sections (in Pok Fu Lam and Wan Chai respectively) have also been temporarily shut down. Only our Sai Kung campus continues to operate.

Whether you support or detest the Occupy Central protests, you should consider the third party involved – the people who are not taking part in the protests. Some of these people are Admiralty-based workers whose offices have been closed down and are thus unable to work. Some of these are taxi drivers who have lost customers and wasted time and fuel being stuck in congested, closed-off roads. But most of them are students. Students who want to learn, to receive an education in order to better serve their city in the future, but whose schools are being shut due to the excuse that it is too dangerous to travel to and from classrooms.

Many students I have asked are willing to take longer routes to avoid any potential dangers on their way to school. Many are even to risk hours being stuck in traffic, just to reach the school door. The reason is simple: we all agree that our education is worth more than a protest. Schools should be allowed to open, as long as staff and students who are making their way to school acknowledge the difficulties and potential dangers.

Although I personally do not know of any teachers or students who participated in the strikes, there’s been a lot of debate and expression of opinions going on our class’s Facebook page. It’s amazing how we can all share our opinions instantly through technology and social media without even meeting up in person at class. A classmate of mine even started a petition to rally for the re-opening of our school and others in Central and Western districts. Although a holiday once in a while is nice, we’ve been skipping too many classes, what with the typhoons, teacher training and INSET days, and public holidays! Many of my classmates have been worried about how skipping lessons will affect their upcoming IGCSE exams and their grades. Our teachers have been religiously sending us work online so that we are not behind, but I miss the camaraderie and being with my classmates at school. I honestly could not stand being stranded at home for more than a week!

Check out our "Humans of Occupy Central" galleries to see who are on the streets and their reasons for being there.

Roger Lau, a Year 11 student at GSIS, posted this on Facebook: “How can you fight for democracy, when you use violence and law-breaking actions? How can you advance humanity, when you use a savage and undiplomatic way to resolve issues, demonstrating a regression in humanity? How can you fight for democracy, where majority wins, in a way that the majority of HK loses out: the people who can't go to work or whose jobs are affected, students who can’t go to school, the already suffering economy? How can you ask for pro-human right laws when you attack those who defend the law?”

Lots of people have argued by saying that the protesters have done nothing violent, so they should not have been so forcefully treated by the police, and that they’ve done nothing wrong.

But in another post, Roger questioned their logic. “Is theft violent? Not always, but it is illegal. Why? Because it undermines the benefit of others and takes away what is rightfully someone else’s. So how can a peacefully illegal act that brings serious harm to the benefits of others be justifiable, when theft is morally wrong?”

I think that the protestors should just see that their actions are affecting so many people, as well as the economy of Hong Kong. Life has been brought to a complete standstill. This is not how Hong Kong should function! I’ve had friends all the way from Ankara, Turkey, to Munich, Germany, concerned about Hong Kong’s situation, asking me how I’ve been doing. It seems like the protestors are just showing us why Hong Kong is not yet ready for democracy. Even if the majority pick a decision (which is to carry on with our daily lives and not get ourselves worked up over the situation, and instead, accept what we’re given), the minority will always continue to create disorder and express their unhappiness. If we happen to pick a leader with a 99% majority vote, there will still be that 1% protesting. My message to the protestors is: the whole world has seen your message, not just the government. If you’re still unhappy and want to continue with your protest, that’s fine, but don’t block up all the traffic and cause a major standstill in Hong Kong’s busy, hectic life! Go and protest somewhere sensible, like Victoria Park!

Also, take a look at the other two student blogs

- Nastassja Chan, Sha Tin College: It is the best of times, it is the worst of times

- Jessie Pang, Baptist University: We have no choice, we have to stop the reform proposal


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