A Journalist reflects on the Umbrella Movement (Part 1)

Hong Kong experienced over 79 days of mass protests and civil disobedience in 2014. Such events which were initiated as the Occupy Central movement quickly evolved into what is now known as the Umbrella Movement or Revolution. What happened on the streets of Hong Kong after 9/28 (28th September 2014) was a new precedent never witnessed on such a large-scale.

Having covered the Umbrella Movement from its onset in late September 2014 to the end of the year through my blog, I became part of a unique handful of freelance journalists that followed the event’s entirety. That statement is made about the first 79 days or more of the public occupation of the streets in Hong Kong and not drawing a conclusion on the current sociopolitical status of the Umbrella Movement.

I have recently been approached by a History honours student from the National University of Singapore about my insight and experience of covering the Umbrella Movement. My daily coverage of the Umbrella Movement can be viewed on my blog. Below is a response to the interview questions that have been posed to me:

The Internet and Social Media also played a large role in the Umbrella Revolution as a communications medium and a facilitating tool for the protesters.

Thoughts on the Hong Kong Federation of Students (HKFS), Scholarism and Occupy Central with Love and Peace (OCLP)

HKFS, Scholarism and OCLP should be commended for their attempts to keep up an orderly mass protest taking into consideration the lack of prior planning that took place. Each of these three activist organisations played an important role in the initiation of the Umbrella Movement and the sustaining of the civil disobedience activities that last 79 days. The role that HKFS played could be described as one that capitalised on the ideas of OCLP. The longer the Umbrella Movement lasted, the more clear that HKFS and Scholarism were standing at the forefront of the protests with OCLP being sidelined. Although each of the three organisations had similarities in the goals, their different methods of practising civil disobedience in the protests should be noted as well. Should HKFS, Scholarism and OCLP have pre-coordinated the Umbrella Movement, I believe that there would be a stronger initial climax followed by a faster end to the protests as ‘leaderless’ and ‘grassroots’ aspect would be different. Although HKFS, Scholarism and OCLP did not meet their final aims in the protests, they however have made a difference to Hong Kong and it’s people’s socio-political psyche.

A Journalist’s Reflection on the Umbrella Movement (Part 2) will be published next week.

This article was first published in The Typewriter