Chronic protests in Hong Kong are less and less called mass, now the word «student» is more often used, which is quite true. The recently-assaulted campus of the local polytechnic university seems to have been the epicenter of the riots, including several thousand bottles of flammable liquid stored there.
The question is who treats this. In the United States these days, the Senate passed the Hong Kong Democracy and Human Rights Act, which sparked a protest from the Chinese parliament. It is clear that if somewhere in China someone protests and paralyzes a whole city in the process, then for the American elite this struggle is nothing more than for democracy and human rights.
However, there is a twin brother of Hong Kong, that is, Singapore. And it turns out that both the top leadership and many others are not at all enthusiastic about the protests in Hong Kong.
Both Singapore and Hong Kong are populated mainly by Chinese. Both of them are important global financial and business centers. The difference is that the former is an independent state, note that Asia is considered very pro-Western, and the latter is a special administrative region of China.
And then the Prime Minister of Singapore, Li Xianlong, answers a question at a conference of world leaders held by one of the media structures of the Forbes family, and says the following: Hong Kong protesters put forward five demands that are not subject to discussion, and their goal is to humiliate the city administration. Moreover, he adds, the demonstrators do not even know what their ultimate goal is (it turns out, we add, a protest for the sake of protest). In such a situation, hoping for a good outcome is not worth it.
And Prime Minister Lee was asked about this because it was not the first week that all of Asia was only discussing whether student and other protests would begin in Singapore. The fact is that the Singaporean economic miracle has run out, a protest charge is being felt within society. So local experts analyze what is happening in tandem, given the similarity of the two territories.
What and what can be protests in Singapore against? Back in the late 80s in terms of standard of living, this former British colony overtook Great Britain and has since remained in the same position in world rankings. In Singapore, 90% of the population own their own houses and apartments, in all respects it is an unattainable example for neighbors and not only for them …
But this year, economic growth may be less than one percent, and this is considered a formidable sign. Singapore sociologists say that more than half of the respondents do not expect improvement in their financial situation, four fifths admit that their salaries do not reach the level of expenses. Students are unhappy that they have to live with their parents, that is, 90% of homeowners are families, not individual and very young people.
Will the economy produce just as much this year as it did last year? And what, last year they felt bad there, in this richest country? By the way, in Hong Kong, the situation is about the same — after all, it grew in the past century at a record pace along with Singapore. The only difference is the housing issue, which in Hong Kong looks much worse.
That is, the reason for the massive social disorder is that the new generation is not guaranteed an annual improvement in the situation, and not because his life has become worse. This thinking phenomenon is considered the cause of riots in Hong Kong and possible similar unrest in Singapore. Note that both there and there we are talking about the children of a prosperous middle class, and not some poor groups of society.
Something important and unpleasant is happening, but it is still difficult to give a name to this phenomenon. However, it is clear that it can be traced far not only in East and Southeast Asia. How about, for example, the United States, where exactly universities become nests of unprecedented aggressive activity for any reason — against “racism”, against “destroying the planet”, against anything, just to protest? And already secondarily, other dissatisfied join students, as in Hong Kong.
And there is India, which is almost nothing like the USA, Hong Kong or Singapore. But there has recently been a series of student riots on a variety of occasions.
And here in India, in discussions about the reasons for the protests, one interesting thought surfaced. It was voiced by an opponent of the government, the man who accuses the government, in fact, of provocation. According to the author, there was a kind of conspiracy: to raise tuition fees at the best university in India by 300% at once, provoke riots and pogroms — all this in order to transfer the management of education to national forces, advocates of Hindu values, and so on.
«Student movements have a transformative revolutionary force throughout human history <…> This is how our youth grows in the social and educational system — to challenge the status quo if it is unfair, to create a liberal order, to pursue ideals not soiled by politicians, and to do it uncompromisingly. That’s why students overthrew regimes around the world», — the opposition writer writes.
But what if we assume that the reason for the student and other unrest in the middle-class youth is not in some unbearable difficulties or even in the strange belief that each generation should live richer than the previous? What if there really is some kind of globalistic and actively imposed educational standard — not around the world, fortunately, — the essence of which is to make rioters and destroyers out of students, breaking society over and over instead of leading it to further prosperity?
Dmitry Kosyrev is a Russian orientalist, journalist, political observer and writer of detective, historical and adventure literature.