It has been a truly remarkable week watching the student boycott of classes gather momentum and truly embody a Hong Kong wide political movement. It is above all, as a an academic and a Hong Kong citizen, moving to see the calm and considered way in which the students approached this process.
From the very beginning our students informed us of their plans and asked for feedback about the consequences of their participation. Our students also asked for suggestions on readings and activities they could participate in as student anthropologists.
What they have shown Hong Kong people and indeed the world at large is that they are most worthy of self determination. Their peaceful protest has been eye-catching because of the way in which it has demonstrated their ethic of respect and co-operation. Students are cleaning up protest areas, providing medical care, looking after and out for one another.
Their actions ‘prefigure’ the type of Hong Kong they want. One founded on respect and dignity.
The South China Morning Post recently carried the report that former law maker Margaret Ng Ngoi-yee came out to support the protest and said,
"The fundamental thing for democracy is participation and responsibility, which they are showing. How can people say that Hong Kong is not ready? How you deny democracy to people like this?,"
Whilst I continue to teach to ever dwindling class numbers there is a special atmosphere at University far away from the large protests. I have not got anywhere near the protests other than the ones on campus. But I have heard many accounts from people who were there yesterday and those that were going today. I bumped into one student in the stairwell who was heading off to the central district. “I am going by supplies for the protesters he said.”