In the 1950s, Lee Kuan Yew visited Hong Kong and was impressed not only by the infrastructural sophistication but by the collective sense of discipline among the people, their work ethic and their high level of modern thinking. Lee fully admitted that his experience as a visitor to Hong Kong helped to shape his own vision of a modern Singapore. In 1978, things came full circle as Deng Xiaoping visited Lee’s Singapore which served as a source of inspiration for China’s Reform and Opening Up, a process that was nearly 20 years underway by the time Hong Kong reunited with the rest of China in 1997.
Lee detailed many of these experiences in his autobiography/political handbook From Third World to First. The book describes not only Lee’s personal journey but Singapore’s journey from an under-developed colonial trading post to a global financial centre boasting some of the world’s highest living standards, educational standards and environmentally clean and safe streets.
This journey from third world to first involved sacrifice, hard work and discipline among Singapore’s multi-cultural citizenry, but most agree that the results have been well worth it. At the turn of the 21st century, both Hong Kong and Singapore had first world economies and both had their share of first world problems.
Like in New York, London, Paris or San Francisco, demand for housing outstripped suitable supply. Making matters worse was the fact that an asset economy bereft of a gold standard to naturally regulate prices led all forms of housing to serve as a giant inflated asset bubble.
Singapore has dealt with its housing issues more thoroughly than Hong Kong, but in any case, the riots in Hong Kong began as demonstrations against jurisdictional judicial reform rather than anything to do with housing or economic affairs. Insofar as this is the case, the initial protesters achieved their goal when Hong Kong’s legislature dropped the proposed jurisdictional judicial reforms.
Since then, the protests have become riots with no real aim other than to terrorise the city and its people – particularly its workers, the elderly and south Asian immigrants. Much like communal, sectarian or religious riots in under-developed third world nations, the riots in Hong Kong are an expression of hatred rather than of anything constructive. Of course, the rioters call themselves “democracy protesters” but their acts betray this label to be a monumental lie. Terrorising law abiding people as part of a crazed lust for power is the antithesis of democracy. Anyone with half a brain automatically knows this.
Making matters all the more shameful, the protesters themselves are of Hong Kong – of the first world. Like any first world city, Hong Kong is not without its share of first world problems but the rioters have taken it upon themselves to forsake the normal rules of civilisation and instead to descend to the law of the jungle and the rule of the blood thirsty mob. Their language is destruction and chaos is their creed.
The spoilt brats who are clearly bereft of anything related to conscience and totally devoid of anything remotely related to humane characteristics have devoted their shameful existence to a life of terror directed at the degradation of the livelihoods of normal Hong Kong people, tourists and legal immigrant workers. This is an exercise in naked banditry, the likes of which would not be tolerated in any American or western European city. In 1992 during the Los Angeles riots, police officers used live ammunition against the agitators before Washington sent the military in to restore order through the use of force.
China has refused to take such measures in Hong Kong but instead of taking this as a signal to embrace civilised methods of citizenship and return to normal behaviour, the rioters have only increased their propensity for violence and terror.
Whilst the world looks to Kashmir where a fully fledged war might soon begin, it helps to contextualise the futility of the rioters in Hong Kong who are only making their homes worse rather than working through lawful means to help and improve Hong Kong. Kashmiris have something to fear whilst the Hong Kong rioters are in fact the source of fear among a terrified public.
The people and economy of Hong Kong would be better off if the rioters were rounded up and sent to a penal colony somewhere on a remote island in the South China Sea. But Beijing shall not take such measures and nor will Hong Kong’s local authorities. Instead, both shall use more conventional and non-violent policing methods for the time being whilst Hong Kong nevertheless slips from first world to third at the hands of scoundrels of the lowest order.