July 1 – Hong Kong SAR Establishment Day

Starting them Young - this girl knows exactly what to do with her protest sign!

Starting them Young - this girl knows exactly what to do with her protest sign!

Unfortunately the blog has been silent for much longer than I would have liked, not for lack of ideas or the desire to post but rather illness. Been fighting off what became a very bad case of tonsillitis over the past week and a half. Ironically, I think my issues started on July 1st. As today has progressed I’m finally feeling somewhat well enough to poke my head out of the rabbit hole and do something more than sleep. I’m going to start off with a bit of a history lesson, but I’m bolding my own impressions at the bottom….

1 July is a big holiday in Hong Kong as it’s the anniversary of the British handover to China – hence, Special Administrative Region Establishment Day. The reason Hong Kong has the “SAR” tag is because it was negotiated that the colony would be accepted into China as part of the country but would keep the political system it had already in place, the mantra being “one country, two systems.” A big worry with the impending handover was that China would strip away much of the mechanisms that make Hong Kong a laissez-faire economy and some of the greater freedoms that Hong Kongers have. This is still a worry, though “one country, two systems” ends in 2047, causing democracy activists to feel the need to cement the differences of Hong Kong even more by introducing democracy.

There are a number of events that mark HK SAR Establishment Day, the two biggest being the Pro-China parade in the morning and the Pro-Democracy parade and protests in the afternoon. I did my best to take in as much as possible, going out early in the morning with my friend Alex while she interviewed Filipinas and domestic workers.

Ended up catching most of the Pro-China parade, which was a wonderful combination of acts – including many traditional (my assumption) Asian dances, dragon dancers and even an International Latin formation team. I was approached by two young girls who asked to interview me. Not sure what it was for, but they seemed happy that I obliged – they asked me where I was from, why I was in Hong Kong and if I knew what the celebration was about. I was silently thankful for the curriculum we were required to familiarize ourselves with given I could tell them the significance of July 1!! I told them I was really enjoying the festivities, and was also looking forward to the Pro-Democracy parade later in the day. The interviewer wrinkled her nose, and I wasn’t sure if this was because she didn’t know what I was talking about, or because she disagreed with my sentiment. Regardless, I found the exchange amusing, especially the end.

I think what stood out so much to me was that despite all of the Chinese protesters who carried things advocating for a political system of universal suffrage and democracy in addition to more rights, it makes me sad that they seem to have so little interest in the issues that domestic workers face, many of whom were marching at their side. The rights they are looking to attain will not extend to domestic workers, as the immigration system is crafted to keep them separate from society. It also makes it incredibly easy to violate the little rights they do have – I have gone with domestic workers to “court” only to witness all parties pressure them into settling for less than what they are legally entitled to. The methods they must go through to get legal recourse are a series of steps that put them in situations like this again and again. It makes my blood boil.

Project 365 Starts Tomorrow!!!

Japanese Maple

Japanese Maple at Planting Fields Arboretum

…since I’m putting up an old picture today. One of my favorite trees in the arboretum, and the one I camped out under today with a blanket and a book…

Project 365: Hoping to post 1 picture per day for a year. Don’t have much faith in myself that I’ll stick to it, but I do hope so! Not sure how I’m going to make this all work in terms of logistics which is probably why I haven’t started yet despite meaning to since August.

I’d really like to use the blog everyday during my trip to Hong Kong with the focus on photos. Hope to be diligent about both taking photographs and posting them here.

A Beginning

Planting Fields Arboretum

I’m thrilled. An excerpt from my first graduate school reading:

This book is about two competing stories that seek to explain or make sense of this historical development – the narratives of modernization and underdevelopment. It argues that neoliberal globalization is the latest intellectual heir of the first story, namely, modernization, and postcolonialism is the child of the second story, that of underdevelopment and of resistance to the story of modernization. (Krishna, pg. 2)

In a nutshell, the book argues that although globalization is a movement that is suffusing the entire world with a form of production based on free-market capitalism and an attendant ideology of individualist consumerism, postcolonialism articulates a politics of resistance to the inequallities, exploitation of humans and the environment, and the diminution of political and ethical choices that come in the wake of globalization. If neoliberal globalization is the attempt of naturalizing and depoliticizing the logic of the market or the logic of the economy, postcolonialism is the effort to politicize and denaturalize that logic and demonstrate the choices and agency inherent in our own lives. (Krishna, pg. 2)

Postcolonialism contests the claim that free-market ideology is a natural commonsense and that it produces prosperity or improved lives for all. (Krishna, pg. 3)

This domination of the West over the world in the realms of knowledge production and culture, or Eurocentrism, is an enduring legacy of colonialism, and postcolonialism argues that reversing economic domination is inextricably linked to cultural decolonization. (Krishna, pg. 4)

This couldn’t be more tailored to what I want to study!!!

Globalization and Postcolonialism: Hegemony and Resistance in the Twenty-First Century by Sankaran Krishna