Thursday, August 23, 2007

Pier Movement has Deeper Meaning

People may have missed the key issue in the Star Ferry and Queen’s Pier movement if they think that it is just about retaining the piers as two pieces of heritage structure. It’s much more than that, as Local Action member 周 思 中 explains in his article.

Below is my short translation of the key points in the article:-

“The Star Ferry and Queen’s Pier movement has always been based on four fundamental principles:-

(1) The citizens’ user right and participating right relating to public open spaces;
(2) Democratization of the city planning process;
(3) Preservation of Hong Kong’s historical spaces and structures;
(4) Resolving issues relating to Hong Kong’s history, identity and decolonization.

Starting from the 1950s, the public open spaces surrounding Star Ferry, Queen’s Pier and City Hall have always been the historic venue witnessing Hong Kong people’s strife to develop and establish their own citizenry character with dignity and self-respect.

According to information on hand, civic movements that occurred in these public open spaces range from the 1965 residents’ protest against tax hikes, rent hikes and price hikes, to the 1966 蘇 守 忠 's anti-Star Ferry fare increase hunger strike, to the early 1970s’ 保 釣 and Chinese language movement. Apart from hosting these incidences, the spaces also serve as the Philippine domestic helpers’ weekend “refuge” in a consumerist city. All these scenes are evidence that Hong Kong people understand and know how to exercise their civic rights in this city. The colonial government and the Royal Hong Kong Police Force can and may have good reason to disregard this piece of history. But as Hong Kong citizens, particularly now that colonial governance is ten years away from us, can we ignore it? Can those experts in history ignore it?

The history of civic protests deeply impacts Hong Kong’s social progress, be it in the arena of economy, religion, education or healthcare, and cannot possibly be a question that could be answered with a simple yes or no. Not only does Hong Kong’s heritage policy and heritage administration structure need to be changed, the more important thing is to discuss and treat with care the conceptual question of what kind of historic preservation is needed, given the current historical stage Hong Kong is in.”

I found this video on Sham-Shui-Po Boy’s website, which is a good speech by a HKU professor during the Queen’s Pier movement. In case you missed it, here it is:-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tBZO0BCX_m4&mode=related&search=

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