Our Desk | Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?

Renato Marques

As everyone knows by now, the protests in Hong Kong have reached the ninth consecutive week. From a weekend event, it has now passed to an almost-every-day event with several protests and incidents occurring in locations across the city.
Last Saturday night was no exception as protesters took some of the streets in Mong Kok, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hung Hom, and Wong Tai Sin areas. An intervention from the Tactical Team of the Hong Kong Police forces came to meet them, as though it were a continuous “reality show” that can be followed on pretty much every news media channel from Hong Kong.
Like many others, on Saturday night I was watching the feeds arriving via Facebook and eventually stopped at one aired by the sole public broadcaster in Hong Kong, Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK).
With the live streaming videos looking pretty much the same as they have done for weeks – with police and protesters moving back and forth according to the situation – my attention was caught by a conversation between two women on the chat window next to the live feed.
The two both had Chinese names in their profiles and also both presented the social media- famous “Dying Bauhinia” as their profile photograph; an image that represents support for dropping the even more famous “extradition bill.”
What caught my attention was the fact that they were maintaining a conversation mostly in the English language (with the exception of a few Chinese characters occasionally added in the middle of the English sentences), while the rest of the chat was mostly in Chinese.
From the way they treated one another, I deduced that they were at least acquaintances and not just two perfect strangers that by chance had met in a Facebook chat during a live feed. But what was more interesting to me was the fact they were expressing opposing ideas facing the events they were watching.
While one was showing complete support for the cause and the protesters’ actions, criticizing the attitude of the government and the attitude of the police force, which she classified several times as “irresponsible” and “unprepared,” the other was expressing mixed feelings, calling for an end of the protests saying, “it’s enough” and “this is too much already.”
I was trying to focus so as not to lose the thread in the middle of all the other comments, but finally the second person said something that led me into this writing.
I cannot recall precisely the exact words now but it was something close to: “If they don’t stop we will for sure have the army here soon and Hong Kong will be the new Tiananmen.”
That was the cause of her comments – fear. And do not get me wrong, I do find fear a very reasonable cause for a lot of things and situations.
In my mind, several questions: Will the Hong Kong protests eventually end due to a political turn-around? Or will fear, intimidation or bullying eventually put an end to it?
All in all, who’s afraid of the big bad wolf? (Like in the Three Little Pigs story). Are the 30-year- old “ghosts” of Tiananmen alive enough in the minds of those that did not live through such events to be able to stop them?
These are all the questions to be answered very soon, maybe even this week.

Categories Opinion