Two HKU students who took part in the Umbrella Movement last year admitted that it is difficult for them to bridge the gap with their “baby boomer” parents in terms of political views.
Ahead of the first anniversary of the start of 79-day Occupy Central sit-in, a Hong Kong studies scholar and two HKU undergraduates met for a public panel discussion meant to identify and understand the “Umbrella Generation.”
Occupy Central Movement, or Umbrella Movement, was a civil disobedience action which kicked off on 28 September 2014. Thousands of protesters, most of them were young people, blocked main roads in Admiralty and Mong Kok to seek a true universal suffrage for the chief executive election in 2017 from the government.
Some parents and youths within the same family were at loggerheads at the time of the protest because of different political stance. The older generation tended to oppose the movement, while most of the younger generation people supported the movement wholeheartedly. Some young people even left home and stayed on the street for days and nights.
One of them is Liona Li, a year 3 social sciences student who had not returned home for three weeks during the protests. She said that her parents still do not understand what young people are thinking now.
“They are not willing to listen to our views till now,” Li said.
Another student, Nora Lam, a year 3 arts student and a journalist of campus TV during the time of protest, echoed Li’s views.
“It is very hard to change their mind set,” Lam said, referring to her parents.
Even though her parents do not support her, Lam will continue to spare her effort to participate in political activities.
“Political participation can make our voice heard,” Lam said.
Aside from political participation, Li believes that changing the way to get the information is a possible way to transform the society.
“My parents only watch TVB and read Oriental Daily every day,” Li said. Without diverse angles from these two media outlets, she thinks the incomplete stories distort the way people thinks.
She aspires to start a campaign to educate people to get information outside traditional mass media such as online media, citizen media etc.
Professor Lui Tai-lok, Chair Professor of Hong Kong studies at The Hong Kong Institute of Education, offered a solution to mend the ties between two generations.
“You should understand the rules of the game of your parents’ generation before proceeding your own thoughts and actions,” Lui said.
Lui believes that the “baby boomer” generation would listen to the thoughts of new generation only if the young people meet their basic expectations. The expectation could be simple, like getting scores high in academic work and being punctual.
While Li and Lam are pessimistic about the future of “Umbrella Generation,” Lui is more optimistic.
“I believe the “Umbrella Generation” will blossom in society after 10 years,” he said.
(Photo: Alex Hofford/EPA)