A big week for Hong Kong, democracy wins big in the District Council Election on Sunday. On Monday the city felt lighter, and we continue to stay strong.
A few weeks ago the sadness of the Hong Kong Protests was getting me down (again). Hong Kongers were posting inflammatory things on social media, and a general malaise had set in, keeping us from feeling much hope.
In the second week of November, in true Winnie the Pooh style, I sat there wondering if there was anything I could do to help; to make things better. Think, think, think, think, think… I pondered. And then I got it, “I know! I can help my favourite candidate get elected in my local district!”
Now, if you know anything about me at all, you know that I’m remarkably passionate about my neighbourhood and the people in it. As a result, this was obviously the most clever solution to my problem. I help to get the only democratic candidate in my district elected, who has already actively done more for the community in the past several years than the current incumbent, plus we get reasonable representation in the government with hope for change. Ever since the protesting started in HK the government has been absolutely useless in their response; only inciting more fear and hate, while pitting the police against the people & vice versa.
I sent a message offering my help, and the next day I was out canvassing with Cherry Wong Kin-Ching and her team on the street.
On Monday the 11th that the protest really blew up. Most of us stayed holed-up in our homes and didn’t leave the neighbourhood for days. I became pretty depressed that week and just hung out at home with my dogs feeling listless.
It wasn’t until the next weekend I ventured out canvassing again, and I took my newly adopted Pomeranian, Rocket, with me. Interacting with people on the street renewed my spirits. More and more people walked by giving fist pumps and thanking me for helping. One woman said, “Thank you for doing this! Stay strong!” It resonated with me, we really do need to stay strong. “You too!” I replied cheerfully.
I went out a few more times that week and also designed some election day signage. When I wasn’t out on the street, I was talking to neighbours in elevators, while walking the dogs, and nearly anytime I bumped into anybody. I’d start with, “Are you voting on Sunday?” or “Don’t forget to vote!” and go from there. I looked up the voter registration link when I discovered some expats didn’t even know they were eligible to vote (unfortunately registration closed in July). And I did my best to let them know how to vote in the next election. I started telling other people to stay strong.
Finally it was the weekend of the election, the streets were abuzz and the protests had died down to leave us free to vote in peace. The final day was exciting, and nerve-wracking. It’s common knowledge that the Pro-Beijing camp spends a lot of underhanded efforts to cheat at the polls. So it was really important we got enough people out to beat their trumped up numbers.
My polling station had a weird issue when the polls closed at 10:30pm. It managed to get resolved in the wee hours of the morning. I went to sleep while they were still counting and woke up to discover we’d won! Not only that but record numbers of Hong Kong people came out to vote, and in support of democracy. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and we had an extra bounce in our step all of Monday. As we continue forth, I sincerely wish for renewed hope, optimism, and a safe way to solve our problems here in HK. Wish us luck, keep sharing the news, and STAY STRONG!
A few pictures of my canvassing efforts…
(click on the photos for larger slide show)
Title image: purchase tshirt design here – Herviar