Farewell to the Colonial Mindset Reclaim Our Own City
Jan 21 People Landing on the Queen’s Pier
Today, the colonial ritual of anchoring at the Queen’s pier is reenacted by Hong Kong people ourselves. We want to proclaim that Hong Kong belongs to Hong Kong people. The people have the right to decide on its policies and participate in the planning of our own place. We say no to the collusion between the government and the corporate business sector to privatize our public space and environment for the profit of a global elite and not the enjoyment of all ordinary citizens of Hong Kong. In a city with a net income per capita now topping the world and out-beating Luxemburg, our widening rich poor gap shows that more and more Hong Kong people are excluded from the city’s prosperous economy and the use of its limited public space, driven out by large corporate chain stores, and priced out by the corporate control of residential and business land prices. This is an imbalance that can be corrected by policy and planning that aims at a more just redistribution of wealth and public resources that all of us have a share in the making are supposed to share.
We are determined to defend Hong Kong people’s space! Preserve the Queen’s Pier ! Restore the Star Ferry! During the colonial period, the Queen’s Pier was the anchoring point for the British royal family and the governors of Hong Kong. Their landing on the pier marked their claim on our land. The local people had no say when they were deprived of their rights and power.
Hong Kong has been handed over to China for a decade now. Supposedly, we should have entered the era of self-autonomy. Unfortunately, the SAR government inherited the colonial governance model from the British colonizer and continued to impose its will arbitrarily on Hong Kong people, and irrespective of our protests, continue to destroy ordinary people’s livelihood in old districts, and forcibly tore down the Star Ferry Pier—one of the most important landmarks very dear to the people’s hearts. Worst still, stuck in its old arrogance, relying on a consultation method that allows it to neglect the opinions collected at will, the government can continue to complacently pronounce that “the consultation has completed years ago.” However, Hong Kong is no longer a colony, and the local people are no longer passive and submissive. Donald Tsang’s Administration can no longer abuse us.
In the past, the British colonizers claimed their possession of Hong Kong by landing on the Queen’s Pier; today, Hong Kong people are going to land on the pier and claim the sovereignty not only of the pier, but of all our public space, and the whole territory of Hong Kong—-Hong Kong belongs to the people.
Learning to rewrite history from our space
The spatial arrangement of Queen’s Pier, Edinburg Place, City Hall and Star Ferry convey a very significant historical landscape, they cannot be dismembered and arbitrarily located elsewhere. The preservation of Queen’s Pier is not about nostalgia for the colonial period. What we need is to let our next generation know about our past from the spatial setting of our city so that they can reflect upon the present and create their future. The process of decolonization cannot possibly be completed by demolishing buildings of the colonial period. Erasure of history denies the next generation a right to know and to interpret for themselves their own history. We need to transform the space into a people’s space by our critical understanding and our action.
Spreading the spirit of the Star Ferry struggle
We have to re-examine the colonial system, eradicate the corrupted aspects, including, the domination of the bureaucratic and colonial mindset of the government, the collusion of government and corporate business sector, the high-handed manipulation of public opinion and the media, and the deprivation of the people’s autonomy to decide about the future of their city. We have to defend our space, our livelihood, our history, our culture, our rights and rightfully practice the principle of Hong Kong people governing Hong Kong.