What troubles me today:
1. Posts on HK, & even pro-government comments on Chinese social networks disappearing before my eyes;
2. The cacophony of media coverage going viral on facebook, blaming "the big brother" as the convenient target for the violence. Left-leaning critics opined that corruption in local, not central, politics is equally at fault. Of course it is impossible to sever the two as cause-and-effect.
3. The stark contrast between 1 & 2.
3'. No, 1 & 2 in fact reinforced each other.
4. As a result of 3', I cannot endorse a vision in which pro-democratic victory is predicated by further ostracizing the other side.
4'. In other words, Cold War mentality is returning, aligning itself quickly on both sides of the Great Fire Wall.
5. Which makes it really difficult to speak to either the eerie void (1), or the enthusiasm of (2).
5'. This stand-off between two ideologies is an extension of the debate around the New Left in the early 00s. But this time around, communication barrier provided the mold for barricades of the mind. Suppose the GFW went down over night - chances are the reading public will remain polarized and talk past each other.
5''. The shadow of censorship lives on as the surrogate for the same.
6. & I cannot even do a decent job explaining this to a concerned colleague in three minutes.
What to do:
1. To accept this situation as evident of a political configuration that our generation will have to live with and confront, on an everyday basis;
2. To have faith in the fact that analysis and criticism can be applied to both extremes, with equal vigor, regardless of one's standing point on any particular matter;
3. To disengage as a way of "protest" is not an option. Only through engagement with a complex reality can one identify the human reason for moving on.
4. To practice history is, in an important sense, to weigh and deliberate over the influence of ideologies.
4'. If any idea makes you uneasy, try taking it apart to understand its appeal to other ppl.
4''. If you really believe in something, be prepared to refine it, & make it more accommodating to all sorts of realities (not just the ones you like).
5. Perhaps this is the venue in which our political life will unfold (other issues may require a different form of participation). It's transnational, schizophrenic (severed but always cross-referenced), and austere for those who aren't content with mere entertainment.
6. Live it in full, live it in earnest. Because life is precious.