The Umbrella Movement seems to have brought Hong Kong's older and younger generations to an irreconcilable position in terms of values and world views. This article is one of the best that I've read so far that has shed a light on the dichotomy between the two camps of thoughts. (See my translation of the salient passages further down).
Here's the link to the InmediaHK article
Here are the salient passages:-
The two opposing camps of thoughts (or values/world views) are:-
(From the Silent Majority camp):
1) If the students truly want to build a better Hong Kong, they should study hard and then find a government job and bring about changes within the establishment.
2) Having an ideal is a good thing, but one must also be pragmatic and be ready to compromise.
3) Hong Kong has always enjoyed prosperity and stability and is a free and open city; don't destroy the harmony.
4) You students are still young and can easily be misled and used by politicians/demagogues.
5) The Chief Executive's job is not easy - no one is perfect; we have to be more tolerant.
6) Concentrate on your studies and don't go out to stir up trouble; you should care more about your future.
7) Occupying public space is illegal; an illegal act is wrong, period. Please stop your movement.
If you had a chance to stroll through any of the protest sites, you would most certainly hear these counter-arguments to the above points from any of the youngsters:-
(From the Umbrella Movement camp):
1) It is our cherished wish to make Hong Kong a better place. The only way is to reform the whole political structure. History shows us that the establishment cannot be expected to reform of its own will without being instigated by struggles from the outside.
2) It's true that we do have ideals. Everyone should have ideals. We are not being impractical - we are only striving to change the status quo and build a better home. History tells us that change is possible.
3) Hong Kong did enjoy prosperity and stability when the economy flourished in the 70s and 80s. But in recent years systemic weaknesses have become obvious and the wealth gap has been widening. At the same time the Beijing government intends to mainlandize Hong Kong and suppress our freedoms while the Hong Kong government plays deaf to our democracy demands. We have been forced into a corner where we have no alternative but to resist.
4) We are absolutely clear on what we are doing. If you think that the Pan-Democratic Party politicians are able to influence or use us in any way, you are just being naive. They belong to the past.
5) We know the CE's job is a difficult one. But it's not just about changing the CE - it's about changing the system. Why is it that you can be so tolerant of the government who holds all the power, but you are so harsh towards the protesters who are without power or wealth?
6) A protest or occupying movement is not an attempt to stir up trouble - it is a struggle for social justice and for change. Our own future is certainly important to us, but the future of our home city is even more important. This is what education is all about - we have to be civil humans who care about our community.
7) Civil Disobedience implies that participants are ready to admit their guilt - this does not contradict the spirit of rule of law. Committing an illegal act is not necessarily wrong. If the law impedes a citizen's pursuit of social justice, then he/she does not have to abide by that law. Civil Disobedience apart, is there any democratic movement in history that could have taken place effectively with participants strictly abiding by the law?
In sum, the stance of the "Silent Majority" is about keeping the status quo and letting stability and prosperity rule, while that of the protesters is about pursuit of change, freedom, social justice and autonomy. All world views and values are formed from education, knowledge, receipt of information, combined with personal life experiences and backgrounds. They thus vary according to a person's growing trajectory.
It seems that the Silent Majority are the ones who refuse to leave their "comfort zone" to seek change and to grow, while the students and protesters are eager to change and grow. Change and growth entails pain, and that's why most people try to avoid it.