I’m currently contributing a short, light-hearted political column to Hong Kong Time Out Magazine. Below is the uncut, original version of my latest piece…
Stopping the traffic
Since the 1922 seamen strike, Hong Kongers have long expressed their grievances and achieved results through protest. Our lack of a voice at the ballot box means over 3,800 public rallies and protest meetings are held annually in the territory. This can make it difficult to catch the attention of the guilty parties being targeted, let alone the fickle mass media.
With such competition, it pays to be imaginative or risk slipping under the radar ignored as yet another ‘McProtest’. The creative approach took on global proportions last month as locals joined the 360.org day of grassroots action ahead of December’s climate change meeting in Copenhagen. At 3:50pm on October 24th, hundreds of concerned flashmobbers descended on Central. Worried that Saturday shoppers already resembled a crazed flashmob, organisers secretly ensured that that activists halted traffic by suddenly flooding a crossing, before heading to Bauhinia Square to video-link with fellow campaigners around the world.
Despite being a ‘world city’, our politics and media have always been pretty Hong Kong-centric – after all, the Basic Law assigns diplomatic relations to Beijing. However, we still have autonomy in commercial, domestic and economic decisions and it is likely we will be one of the first places to be affected by global warming. With Donald too busy making money out of the crisis for his relatives, we must engage on an international level ourselves. 350.org draws on leading scientists, the governments of 89 countries, and a huge variety of NGOs – all of whom agree that atmospheric CO2 must be safely capped at 350 parts per million.
Shortly after 360 Day, Asian government representatives emerged from a Shanghai climate conference having failed to announce a single concrete initiative. As the ‘last chance’ meeting in Denmark approaches, it’s time to join local NGOs such as Clear the Air, Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth to help effect change before change affects us.
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