Matthew: In 1997, the British colony of Hong
Kong was handed back to China. However, the agreement was that, for the next 50 years,
Hong Kong would remain a free territory with its own economy, laws, freedoms, language,
and way of life in general. However, the Chinese government has made it quite clear these days
that a free Hong Kong is not something it’s going to tolerate and has slowly been dismantling
the democratic system of this microstate. Sure, there’s still a border and Chinese people
still need a visa to get into Hong Kong, but with loosening restrictions and government
planted disruptors and protests being quashed and the realization
that the outside world can’t really do anything to intervene, the general feeling and opinion
amongst normal Hong Kongers is that they’re going to be a de-facto part of Chinese Communist
Party rule much sooner than 2047. I asked former reporter and my cousin Wing to join
me in a hidden underground restaurant to chat about what’s actually going on.
Wing: Actually, things are getting…I can’t say it’s worse but it’s still the same because
price is always high, and then also for the real estate and the young people can never
get our house, like for me. Even how hard you work, you can never get enough money to
buy a house for your own life and you always have to stay with your parents. Like, for
my home, I only live in a little rank higher public estate, kind of public estate but has
a higher rank. It cost for a market price four to five million. It’s just normal for
a normal house…apartment but not so big. Bachelor degrees, 13K to 15K for
fresh graduate. Yeah. Yeah, of course. Even if they can have a house to move out, it is
because their parents help them a lot. It’s so where that they can afford their own apartment
by themselves. I think if the people…because the investment in real estate from overseas
or from mainland, it’s not going to stop, so the situation is still the same. Many of
the young people, they only focus on the public estate, public housing. We only depends on
this because even for the public housing, we still are really hard to avoid them. Now
people…some of the protests are made by arose by the young people,
but now seems like young people, part of them become more radical, part of them become more
cold to this political situation because they think that even…no matter what they do,
they can’t still…cannot change the situation. So, they just leave it and then keep going
on living again. Just seems like nothing happened. Not completely go away. I mean, some part
of them is to insist on this and some of them become radical, but some of them just…I
mean, the majority feel, like, hopeless and powerless, at least for me. For me, for my
own age, I know that we do have the freedom to have the party or
freedom of speech, that kind of thing, but I don’t know that government becomes so…they’re
really scared of some coward and then they try to do something but they cannot
do it really obvious at a past…in the past, but now seems like they can. I don’t know
where they got the courage and power to do this. Seems like they don’t care about what
Hong Kong people think. Of course, of course. We know that but we cannot do anything, and
now there’s a news come up that the vaccine in mainland, although, for me, it’s not a
news. It’s…because it happened before already, about the fake vaccine, or the poison vaccine,
that make the children in mainland suffer. They got a huge serious health problem.
I really sad to hear about that. I actually am pathetic [sympathetic] to them because
they live in a country that they cannot have some safe vaccine for their children. It’s
for young kids but not for the adult, and at once I really don’t like that that’s so
much people rush into Hong Kong but, on the other hand, I also very pathetic to them because
they can only protect their own basic health for their family. So, I think it’s really
sad and pathetic to them. I don’t know. Seems like Hong Kong people have become…in the
past, they are always so cool and cold to what others do. For me, even for a Hong Kong
people, I think that some of the Hong Kong people are really cold to others, but I still
think they are part of the Hong Kong people. They really hope something can improved or
it get better, but we really lack of some power or, I don’t know, maybe knowledge or
support to make things change. Yeah. So, it’s really struggle. Yeah, a big struggle.
Matthew: In my interview with Wing, I noticed a palpable change of what she was comfortable
talking about compared with previous chats. We’re going to get on, like, a more sensitive
topic, like about crime. Have you seen a difference in, like, crime rates or even stuff that you’ve
heard about? Like, what’s the rumors that go around Hong Kong about mainland China?
Wing: There are crimes everywhere. Every time you come back, you’ve got to…you must
be get robbed or cheated, and so that’s why my friend is so afraid that when I say, I’m
going to go back to mainland, she’s like, what, what are you doing?
Matthew: Right. But you don’t…you’ve kind of gotten used to…you’re not really
afraid of being here anymore. Wing: Yeah, because every time I come back,
I just become…I don’t know, I would become so, like, fighting mode.
Matthew: I was saying, like, what if I got you a job opportunity and you made okay money
and living cost is cheaper here, right, would you be able to put up with mainland Chain
and live here? Wing: No.
Matthew: No. Wing: Still no.
Matthew: Still no. Wing: I mean, I feel like no hope here. Sorry
to say that. Matthew: No. It’s fine, it’s fine. Even
when talking to my friends in Hong Kong, they were much more careful about what they were
saying compared to just one year ago. The tension is real and fewer and fewer people
seem to be confident that the freedoms that they were once used to are going to continue
into the future. There seems to be a massive disconnect with the mentalities of Hong Kongers
and mainland Chinese people. Mainland Chinese citizens seem to not only be used to but almost
accepting of one-party rule due to its history with a top-down government simply changing
its name over time whereas, in Hong Kong, the dissolution of democracy has been an abrupt
change and one not welcome to a territory that has typically enjoyed some of the highest
levels of freedom in the world. Wing: Yeah.
Matthew: Vivi, get out of her country. Wing, why are we in a dungeon right now? Underground.
Wing: My brother recommend that. Matthew: It was very good actually. It was
quite good. Wouldn’t you agree? It was really nice, and maybe you could explain what it
was. What did we just eat? Vivi: We just ate some slop.
Matthew: But it was good slop. Vivi: Slop looking with a tomato, and then
some beef and some noodle. It was really simple but actually taste…it’s
like a comfort food. Matthew: Cool. If you enjoyed this video and
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