The two faces of Hong Kong police in two viral videos

There is a common goal.
There is a common goal.
Image: AP Photo/Wally Santana
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Amidst the social movement in Hong Kong (or as some would argue, social disobedience), the tension between the people and the police is not far from (if not already at) a breaking point. People have vandalized a recruitment slogan outside the police headquarter urging people to leave their jobs and a video clip of a police officer spraying pepper spray directly into the eye of an elderly man has gone viral. I was even told by a fellow protestor named Lau that one of his wife’s friends is considering a divorce because her husband (whom is a police) does not share her sentiments for the protests. Supporters of the police have opted to wear the blue ribbon to pledge their support as opposed to the yellow ribbon, a symbol for democracy and universal suffrage.
But not everyone in Hong Kong shares the same disgust for the police. A photograph of a Hong Kong policeman cleaning the eyes of a protestor after he has been hit by pepper spray has gone viral too. A video clip of police officers asking for understanding from the protestors inside a police van and a photograph and video clip of protestors sharing an umbrella with a police office has softened the hearts of some Hong Kong people. Yet, walls remain between the people of Hong Kong and the police. People have continued to question why members of the police force continue to follow orders by turning their backs on the people of Hong Kong.

For the past week, I have been unfriended on Facebook because I do not hate the police or the people on the street. Hong Kong has one of the lowest crime rates internationally so our money are not wasted on the police. Our students are amongst some of the brightest minds on an international level so we really shouldn’t be calling them insulting names or label them violent. If we turn our backs on each other now because of our different point of view, the only beneficiary is the Hong Kong government.

Nobody in his or her right mind would want to sit on the street after a long work day. I would much rather be drinking an ice-cold beer in an air-conditioned room watching the world pass by. Vice versa, I believe no police officer wishes to be out on the street in their uniform at 4am in the morning. Our common goal is democracy, not name-calling, finger pointing, spreading useless posts or starting arguments with people whose beliefs differ from yours. After all, a democratic society is about having room for different point of views but not one’s ego.

Hong Kong may be stressful, crowded, expensive, humid and hot. There may be places around the planet that are more exotic, peaceful and laid back but every time I leave Hong Kong, a part of me longs to go home. There is simply no comparison because, for good or bad, Hong Kong is my home and it brings me enormous sadness to see us divided.