Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Diametric Conundrum

I walked through Victoria Park yesterday afternoon on my home from work. I was surprised that there were so few protesters there. I guess they were all down by the convention center in Wan Chai.

There is a group of statues in Victoria park that were brought to Hong Kong by a Dutch artist.

They depict starving people in Africa. In sort of a shocking way, they are really quite good. He seems to be a nice guy and his English is actually quite good. (Please note I'm not reflexively critical of these people) He brought these statues from Denmark as part of the Anti-WTO protest.

There were two things that did bother m about this exhibit however.

He had problems setting the statues up because he didn't have insurance for them as he was required to have and should have known he needed. It seems to me that one should, when one is visiting a country be aware of the laws of that country and try to obey them. I cannot for the life of me see how it is unreasonable for the Hong Kong government to require him to have insurance for the statues. If he was going to bring them here he should have brought them here legally rather than having them delivered and then arguing.

If he is so concerned about about the starving in Africa why did he make artwork about it? Why doesn't he take the money invested in creating and shipping his statuary and donate it to a charity like World Vision and ask that it go to famine relief and anti-poverty programs in Africa? It would appear to me that for the cost of the statues and shipping he could have probably helped many.

Granted, I don't know anything about this guy's personal life. But, I bet he doesn't give a huge percentage of his income to charity. Instead he wants others to help those he is concerned about. I think he should spend less time trying to raise my awareness of the problem and more time trying to help those he is concerned about through direct action. Let me use Jane Goodall as an example. Suppose she'd made statues about chimps rather than living with them? Would she have raised awareness of the life and biology and behavior of chimps? Yes, but she accomplished more by moving to Africa and working with chimps.

Maybe this guy should give up his art and take up social work.

Other Thoughts
It is interesting that this guy is protesting for the relaxation of trade barriers and the Koreans and Japanese are protesting to keep them up. Yet both of these groups happily march, chant and riot together? Why? I would think that they would be fighting each other. There are only two possible reasons that I can think of that cause such disparate groups to work together when they want apparently different ends.

The first is that they are unaware of each others position. That seems somewhat unlikely considering that they broadcast their position with the help of bullhorns.

The second and I believe the correct answer, is that the protest against trade is a smokescreen. I believe that the real reason that international socialist groups protest the WTO is not trade practices but rather because they want to start the (In their minds) inevitable revolution of the proletariat to overthrow the oppressive Capitalist. If so, the issue wouldn't matter so long as the end is achieved.

It also apparently doesn't matter how many people get hurt along the way; how many lies they have to tell; how many must starve or how much misery they have to propagate or maintain.

Last Observations
There was a protest organizer on TV last night being interviewed by a Chinese language television station. He basically said that the protesters here want to be peaceful and not cause any trouble. However, he said if they are denied access to areas they want to protest in or continued to be harassed by the police that might change. I live right across the street from where these protest are being staged. I've not seen any harassment. I have seen the Hong Kong Police requiring the protesters to obey more or less the same laws that the people of Hong Kong have to obey when protesting something. Indeed, from my point of view, Hong Kong has bent over backwards, or possibly just bent over for these people. Having seen the Hong Kong police in action for several years I'd say they tend to be way to soft soap in dealing with rowdies. This guy is simply full of it.

All I can say to this guy is go a head; make your veiled threats. You are a guest here and should obey our laws. Civilized people (As the people of Hong Kong have proven themselves to be) don't give into threats and they don't engage in behavior like yours. Just last week there was a protest against the government in Hong Kong that drew nearly 300,000 people not your paltry 20 to 30 thousand. The whole thing was done peacefully and respectfully. If you can't refrain from making threats then maybe the 9000 police deployed against you need to be a little more proactive. I hope if you want to get down and dirty the Hong Kong police bust your head and ship your butt back to wherever you came from with a black-eye contusions all about your ears.

Until Next Time Fai Mao

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