Occupy Central has been a very important topic this semester. International media, local media and independent reporters are all focusing on this. I went on several scenes and tried to do some coverage but I was very frustrated to what I got. I felt that it may take me a lot of effort to cover it and what I got may just be similar to other reporters. But still, I found my interest under this big topic, that is, focusing on professional individuals. It was a great experience to talk to everyone on street, to know their lives and how their opinions were formed. Through different small angles I can see the big picture more clearly.
The sanitation worker is an example. I just turned a corner where all the occupy Mong Kok conflicts happened. I found a sanitation worker who was cleaning a big pile of rubbish. Surprisingly, she was very talkative, friendly and open minded. She talked about her everyday work, her personal experience, and her life wisdom. You can find that her opinion was very logical and reasonable. It was a great opportunity to talk to her not as a mass opinion leader but only a ordinary Hong Kong worker.
The talk to her also inspired me to write a report on the sanitation angle of Occupy Central. It was very important to care about our city’s change in appearance during this kind of mass movement. When you find a newer angle, there are a lot more fun to do the reporting. Because you will get many new things motivating you to explore more.
The following is the report:
Occupy Central has lasted for a week, and the whole society of Hong Kong has been changing completely. According to returning visitors and sanitation workers, the city’s sanitary condition and appearance has been changed as well along with the Occupy movement.
The city rarely lost its order for years. For years, Hong Kong has enjoyed a reputation for orderliness. But this week it has been overwhelmed by passion, anger and intense emotions. Conflicts between two sides of protesters have been reported in the Mong Kok area. Lenses have been focusing on people’s angry faces.
“It’s been a very tough week.” said Wong Kai Fung, a sanitation worker working around Langham Place in Mongkok.
The Occupy Central people and anti-Occupy people clashed at the crossroad beside Langham Place. It is also very near where the crowd gathered. People were yelling and making speeches at the intersection, but there were still some tourists from mainland China eating fish balls at the street.
Wong has been working here for 16 years. To clean up one of the most crowded streets in the world is not an easy task. But the job has been even harder for her since the Occupy Central movement produced a lot more rubbish than normal. “I worked until 9 o’clock to get the work done,” said Wong, whereas normally she can finish her job between 5 and 6 p.m.
Wong is certain that the Occupy Central movement has affected the city’s sanitation. “They will not drop litter in the daytime; they do it at night,” she said. “The garbage has piled up like this, and the since transportation is dead here we can hardly get the garbage out of here.”
Wong was also willing to share her own opinion about the Occupy movement. She said she understands the students’ and allied Hong Kong people’s will and aim to get democracy, but she suggested that the young people should show a more generous heart to the world. “Yesterday lots of people messed up the garbage pile, which I took hours to collect,” she said. “But I won’t be angry with them. Holding an open and happy heart to others and yourself makes you look younger.”
To visitors, many of whom don’t know what is going on in Hong Kong, the city’s appearance is totally a mess now. Nathan Road has been blocked by very primitive bus stop signs. Paper with slogans supporting Occupy Central movement is pasted everywhere, on the curb and on the walls of the MTR station. An abandoned bus sits in the middle of Nathan Road. The whole scene looks like the movie “I Am the Legend.”
But the poor sanitation situation may be inevitable when a large-scale protest is going on. Protesters produced large amount of garbage in Admiralty as well. But the volunteers have contacted the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department there to get Hygiene Department’s vehicle to the nearest point to the scene.
“I hope we can be more self-disciplined. They have just collected a large pile of garbage as high as this,” said Yuk Shing, a volunteer at Admiralty. She was describing the height of the garbage pile last night that was about a meter high.