Contributor

A Refugee’s Life: Rape, Pirate Attacks And Cannibalism

By CieCie Tuyet Nguyen

I often wonder what my life would have been like if I was not a refugee.

On the other hand, what would have become of me had I not spent my childhood in a war-torn country, in a war that seemed to be forever a background to my memories?

Those questions and those ‘ifs’ are not for me to contemplate,as I would not be able to change history or be born anywhere but Vietnam.

However, it is not to say that my childhood was full of images of war, atrocities, death, mass graves or miseries.

There was happiness and joy. I had loved being together with my siblings, catching the double-wing like yoyo fruits in front of my house, running wild with the wind and gathering fallen dead leaves to set up a mischievous campfire.

Being with friends after school wandering the streets of Saigon enjoying street food was enough. It was simple, a few moments to let loose, albeit momentarily.

Although in hindsight, there was never a complete picture of happiness or joy with sunshine, laughter, and contentment, as peace was an important but absent part of that 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle.

I had never felt fully at ease, or in other words, completely carefree.

That was before the war ended. When bombing, gunfire, and fighting had ceased.

Then peace arrived.

Finally, that missing piece was found to replace the empty space in my picture. Horribly and strangely, other pieces began to disappear. Freedom, then prosperity, dignity, and kindness were taken away swiftly.

They were replaced with oppression, poverty, degradation, and revenge that left peace a lonely part in my peculiar jigsaw puzzle, like a pitiful hostess in an empty house full of ghosts.

I could not understand it at all.

Without realising it, what I had wished for dearly had destroyed everything I valued most before.

Perhaps it was my fault that my childhood was scarred. My sensitivity and perception of life was too acute back then.

Moreover, they still are now.

See, I can taste the sweetness of freedom and touch the holy peace every day, every morning now, then feel alive and complete.

Years of living with freedom and peace in Australia has transformed my being to accept them readily but not to take them for granted.

The scars are my reminders.

I was born with a photographic memory.

Some would have said, “You’re lucky!” Ah, I would proudly have expanded my chest fully and answered, “Yes, I am.”

Even though there were images or memories I would gladly let fade away quietly and set me free.

Then I could have pretended that I had once been a child living happily and contentedly in a carefree environment with cute baby dolls to play with during the day and sweet dreams every night.

Not in a refugee camp, where I had spent a brief three months when I was sixteen, full of sad stories and images that I could have lived without.

That morning on the crammed boat escaping from Vietnam, I remember standing on the upper deck next to my mother, clinging tightly to her, feeling dejected and full of shame when the Malaysian coast guards shouted angrily at us, shooing our boat away in disgust.

The little riverboat, barely 10 metres long, 3 metres wide, had served its life miraculously attempting to deliver 50 people to shore.

It then had to resume its journey to some unknown destination because the refugees were not accepted there.

I stood there and cried.

Tears of shame and hopelessness were silently rolling down my cheeks as gunshots fired rapidly in the air, scaring the bunch of battered and wearied boat people away.

It was only at that moment I had realised I was a stateless person, a nobody, a refugee.

As a small child, I had never understood the real horror and suspense of trying to escape by boat to sea.

I was full of hope and anticipation before my departure. I grew up very quickly during that seven-day voyage.

I escaped from my country, away from the barbaric treatment of the communists.

I survived a sea full of stormy turbulence and remained relatively unscathed from two pirate attacks.

Then the Malaysian authority refused to let our boat anchor on their shore. I could not understand the coast guards’ language but their gesticulations were enough. I was rejected!

An equally devastating feeling of hopelessness had resurfaced, as much as when my boat was rolling madly like a tiny egg in a giant boiling saucepan in the storms a few days ago.

Why must I leave my country? Were freedom and peace worthy of my sacrifice of being a stateless person?

Those were the questions that I dared to answer because without gaining freedom and peace,followed by human rights, dignity and prosperity, my life would have been a waste.

I would have felt miserable being a refugee for nothing.

Indeed, I am glad that I have been a refugee once in my life. Mind you, once is enough!

The experience came with a high price and for some of us that included death by drowning at sea; witnessing family members raped, murdered by pirates; or being stranded for months on an island and becoming a cannibal to survive.

I am lucky that I am here right now.

Back then there were times I thought I was not.

I was miserable. Assimilating into a new country with nothing familiar to the old world I had left behind was a struggle.

I cringed every time thinking if I had to do it again.

It was no fun at all and that added to my lost childhood years.

I would love to be sixteen again as an Australian, but definitely not a refugee.

There were times I thought I would like to keep my old world with me, to go home, or to “go back to your country,” as I was told many times in the beginning by the locals. It hurt and I cried a lot, being a silly sensitive person as I was.

In hindsight, I now know a refugee must take that obvious path. Just like a book with a prologue, a main story and an epilogue.

I must take various paths and go through various chapters to re-establish myself.

It was not fun in some chapters, but I think I can differentiate happiness and grief philosophically now!

Gradually, I was accepted and I often reminded myself that I could not possibly be comfortable and at ease in my newly adopted homeland until I acclimatised successfully.

I was uprooted from my familiar though wretched environment and I needed time to get accustomed to my new land to grow stronger.

It was not easy. I had to make efforts to stay afloat.

There were language, cultural, and social rules that seemed so bizarre to me, probably as much as the locals viewed mine.

There were times I thought I had lost my identity and I tried desperately to retain it by keeping everything the way it was.

However, time passes, and so I have evolved.

I have become a Vietnamese-Australian to the extent that I cannot go ‘home’ because home is now here.

I  lost my identity as a Vietnamese, but I have gained a different one.

There were times when that concept was not visible to me.

I felt confused. Now, I am proud of my heritage but I no longer need to be a Vietnamese, because I am not living in Vietnam.

There is no more pressure for me and I am glad of my new identity, as I do not want my children to go through my experience.

They should not have to struggle with that disorientation.

They are Australians.

They must feel like Australians with the local language, culture, and social rules even though those are less bizarre to me now.

I would not want my children to feel alienated in their own home. They are Australians, luckier and richer with an extra bonus heritage in their background.

CieCie Tuyet Nguyen was born in Saigon and witnessed its fall in 1975 when she was 13-years-old. After continuing to live there for three years under the communist regime, she escaped with her family by boat to Malaysia in 1978. After staying in a Pulau Besar Refugee camp for three months, she resettled in Sydney, Australia, where she has remained ever since. She graduated with a bachelor of pharmacy in 1985 from Sydney University and has operated her own pharmacy since 1989. Shock Peace: The Search for Freedom is her first novel. For more information about Shock Peace: The Search for Freedom, you can visit Nguyen’s website or Facebook page.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Ani Bashar/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Hongkongers Might Lose Trust In The Judiciary, Thanks To Political Greed

By Raphael Blet

On Tuesday, Justice Thomas Au gave his verdict on the fate of Yau Wai-ching and Baggio Leung, the two mavericks who were disqualified from taking their oath after not following their scripts and using derogatory terms to describe China.

In an unsurprising move, the High Court decided to ban the two pro-independence lawmakers from taking a second oath, ordered them to vacate their LegCo’s premises and requested them to fully reimburse their salary.

This comes a week after Beijing’s interpretation of the Basic Law’s article 104.

The Basic Law’s interpretation has sparked concern amongst members of the judicial profession who saw it as a threat to Hong Kong’s judicial independence.

For some, the High Court’s decision might be seen as influenced by the NPC’s interpretation although the final verdict would probably not have been different even without an interpretation.

Many put the blame on the Chinese government and see in this interpretation a way for them to interfere in Hong Kong’s affairs.

The LegCo building. Photo Credit: Steve Cadman/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

The LegCo building. Photo Credit: Steve Cadman/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

WRONG: the basic law’s interpretation was in fact done on Hong Kong’s request, as it always did.

The chaos amplified when the Chief Executive decided to challenge the two lawmakers’ oath at the court while this matter could be resolved within the LegCo.

By taking this action, the Chief Executive brought the separation of powers into a vicious circle which has led to more divisions, uncertainties and anger amongst the population.

Read More: Ethnic Minorities Need To Be Embraced As Fellow Hong Kongers

At first, Beijing did probably not give a toss about those the two young people who probably had an overdose of testosterone at the time… Only when the Chief Executive triggered Beijing’s nerves did Beijing decide to interpret article 104.

While Hong Kong’s rule of law hasn’t changed, the public’s level of trust towards local institutions might be at its lowest.

On the other hand, the Western press currently feasts itself at having another occasion to portray Hong Kong in a negative angle.

Yet, it is indeed laborious to understand who is in charge of the matters given that the three powers have been ingested by what can be labelled as “political greed”.

To sweeten the whole chaos, Hong Kong might now have to deal with by-elections and angry voters who felt betrayed by the two excited young politicians.

On both sides, political greed and dishonesty are to blame.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

You can also like our RISE NEWS Hong Kong Facebook page to stay engaged with our local coverage. 

Cover Photo Credit: Simon Cocks/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Start Up To Offer Incentives To Get Lawyers To Provide Veterans Free Services

This piece is from Jurbid, a legal start up. 

They serve and protect – the legal profession fails them. Veterans in need.

While today should not be the only day we honor the fearless and brave men and women who protect our great country and ensure that we can go about our lives safely, it is an important day to take note how we fail them at home.

Currently, there are nearly 40,000 homeless veterans. In fact, veterans make up nearly 20% of the male homelessness population.

Sadly, women veterans are the fastest growing homeless population in the US.

Women veterans are four times as likely to become homeless as male counterparts!

Per several sources, New York and Florida have among the highest veteran homelessness population in the country.

It is estimated that there are 3,500 homeless veterans in New York City alone! In Central Florida, there are about 4,500 homeless veterans.

Why are so many veterans homeless you may wonder?

screen-shot-2016-11-16-at-9-53-17-am

They are often unemployed and disconnected from their families upon their return home because of mental illness and substance abuse.

They are simply not given the proper support to be re-integrated in civilian life.

They don’t know how to apply for social benefit programs that are designed to help them.

Lawyers are trained to provide such services and can ensure that veterans receive the benefits they deserve.

Currently, there is very little legal support for them.

How can we as proud Americans live with ourselves knowing that these veterans are in dire need of support and help and they receive none?

Jurbid will make a stand.

Starting today, Jurbid will provide the lawyers in its network incentives to provide pro bono services to veterans including free or discounted services.

Additionally, all veterans will receive a 5% discount off their paid legal service.

We are here for you because you have been there for us.

With much respect and love.

Your Jurbid Team.

Jurbid is your legal connection. Our innovative platform connects you with top quality legal counsel. From employment disputes to immigration. You can learn more at www.jurbid.com

This piece is part of the RISE NEWS Marketplace, a place where startups and other companies can post articles about what they are up to. If you would like your company to be included, please email editor@risenews.net.

Cover Photo Credit: Embajada de los Estados Unidos en Uruguay/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

History Under Threat: Could We Be Near The End Of Street Markets In Hong Kong?

By Jessie Pang

14102652_634046983429152_5499073733867122338_n

The Millennial Intel In This Story: 
-The Central’s Graham Street Market has been in operation for 140 years.
-It has survived Japanese Occupation and decades of urban development but is now in danger of closing because its vendors are being priced out.
– The status of the market has raised questions about the survival of historical significant businesses in the ever modernizing Hong Kong.


It seems nothing has happened.

The Central’s Graham Street Market is still in operation normally ten months after the rumor that “Yesterday was its last day in operation.”

However, the disturbing noise coming from the adjacent construction field indicates that the wet market has been struggling against the city’s redevelopment plan.

The market has survived Japanese Occupation of Hong Kong and previous rounds of urban development for 140 years.

However, the redevelopment plan announced in 2007 by the Urban Renewal Authority (URA) has put it into the edge of sword.

property-agent

“We are afraid that Graham Street will become another Lee Tung Street which have utterly been changed and had no relations with her history,” the spokesperson of Central and Western Concern Group Law Ngar-ning said. “We have discovered three heritage sites, which are believed to be built in late-19th century, within the Graham Street Market area, but they are not reported by the URA. They become extremely vulnerable and may be destroyed at any time.”

Concerns have arisen not only because of the historical values of the street market, but also the survival and relocation of those old residents.

“Although URA guarantees you will be able to find all daily necessities in the new market, the price will rise and the market won’t be as comprehensive as the original one,” said a 60-year-old property agent Mr Lai.

“Only 20 tenants can be relocated in the new market and the rent will be too expensive for them. It’s about $10,000 per inch but each shop is about 300 inches big.”

Currently, 11 vendors are willing to join the Local Fresh Food Shop Arrangement after the redevelopment.

They will have the priority to rent shop spaces at a retail block being built.

But they will have to give up ex-gratia business allowance worth about tens of thousands of dollars and are required to pay rent at market prices, according to the URA spokesman.

graham-street

“What I say is useless. Nobody would bother listening to poor people like us,” Song Yin-wai, a 65-year-old stall owner said. “I don’t even know whether I would be relocated or not.”

Her stall named Marilyn mainly sells small electronic gadgets and women’s bags. Some small lights are switched on all the time to attract customers.

“I have been running this stall for more than ten years. In the past, it was easier to make profits. But now, fewer people are willing to stop by because of the ongoing construction sites and road maintenance,” Song said. “Sometimes the income is not even enough to cover the rent. I have lost around $2,000 for this month.”

Meanwhile, some remains positive towards the redevelopment plan.

“The redevelopment plan won’t affect me as my stall is not within the redevelopment area and won’t be relocated. Actually, it will attract more people to stop by and buy desserts from me,” Wong Tai-jie, a 70-year-old Chinese dessert stall owner said.

“The development plan is good for the community since the streets will become wider, safer, tidier and more hygienic,” said Wong Tze-nin, 24, one of the construction workers, “what’s more, two new residential buildings will also be built alongside the new commercial area.”

According to the URA website, the redevelopment plans will provide 293 residential flats and a total of 44,575 square meter commercial area. It will also include new community facilities for the public and more open space to serve as a green lung for the city.

Over the years, the URA has also taken various measures to maintain the vibrancy of the street market, such as market promotional campaigns, installing electric meters for stall operators and redesigning safer and user-friendlier stalls.

Although the future of Graham Street remains uncertain, the bargaining noise between the shopkeepers and residents tells you life goes on in spite of all the circumstances.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

You can also like our RISE NEWS Hong Kong Facebook page to stay engaged with our local coverage. 

Photo Credits: Jessie Pang

This Online Platform Is Revolutionizing Hong Kong Sex Education

By Jessie Pang

14102652_634046983429152_5499073733867122338_n

The Millennial Intel In This Story: 
-Sex education in Hong Kong is woefully inadequate.
-Traditional Hong Kong culture looks down on casual sex, even in committed relationships.
-A 24 year old millennial named Julia Sun Wai-han is using tech to help young Hong Kongers learn about sex and it is working really well.


 

“Talking about sex should be as comfortable as talking about food but the experience can be quite scary to young people even though it’s good for them,” Julia Sun Wai-han the 24 year old founder of Sticky Rice Love said.

Sticky Rice Love is the food name of a Chinese rice ball dessert that literally means “sugar will not come off” from dumplings made of boiled sticky rice.

But in this context, it is also an online sex education platform for young people in Hong Kong.

“It is [our] hope to remind people that food and sex are both basic human needs and avoiding the awkwardness people usually face when they refer to a sex health educational website”, Sun said in an interview with RISE NEWS.

Sticky Rice Ball’s platform publishes articles about sex and hosts an online forum for young people to discuss sex anonymously.

It has filled a gap in sex education for young people across the island.

Everyone can post a question which they don’t feel comfortable to ask about on the forum and will receive a prompt reply or advice from volunteers who have received proper sex health training.

picture2

A look at the website of Sticky Rice Love. (Screen grab)

Sun’s idea was inspired by her experience as a teaching assistant in a local high school to start the platform.

“Sex education in Hong Kong is really inadequate and lagging behind. Apart from a lack of school hours, resources and the right people to teach students about sex, most people usually hold a traditional and negative view towards sex,” Sun said. “For instance, the best way to avoid pregnancy is to avoid having sex, which is impossible for people in a relationship. Such education has tremendous consequences on the young people. Some still find it uncomfortable to have sex after marriage. Hence, I decided to do something to change it,” Sun said.

Read More: Hong Kong Slut Walk Draws Many In Effort To Rid City Of Sexual Assault

Seeing there’s no need for people to meet face to face and the set-up cost is low, Sun found that the Internet is a perfect place to realize her dream.

At first, she was frightened that she might faced viral opposition as people were not familiar with her mission: empowering the youth to make their own choice on sex and relationships.

“Our role is neutral. We are not telling them what’s right or wrong but simply offering them comprehensive information they need and want to know about. It can be quite vague and controversial to some people,” says Sun.

To her surprise, there was overwhelming support from the public and the mainstream media interviewed her about the venture.

A couple enjoying the movie “An Autumn's Tale” in the Clear Water Bay Film Studio. Photo: Goooood Secrets

A couple enjoying the movie “An Autumn’s Tale” in the Clear Water Bay Film Studio.
Photo: Goooood Secrets

The platform also holds some offline activities, such as visits to some local sex toys shops and co-organized screenings of an X-rated movie to several hundreds people at the Clear Water Bay Film Studio, which is rarely open to the public with Goooood Secrets.

“Both online and offline sex education have advantages,” Sun said. “It’s not about online or offline but more about how you do it.”

Despite the success of the platform, Sun still wants to do more but long-term financial resources remain as a problem.

Read More: Hong Kong Is Already More Independent Than Any EU Country

“I really hope to design interactive online courses on sex education for young people to dig into the topics they are interested in, but it’s hard to do fund-raising as people are not confident in a youth- led organization,” Sun said. “They prefer to back adults or experts more.”

Yet, Sun remains optimistic as the society becomes more and more receptive to the idea of promoting sex education.

For instance, sex secret groups are very popular among high schools and universities and everyone changed their Facebook profile picture to rainbow color watermark to show their support to the legalization of same sex marriage in USA.

“It’s hopeful that young people won’t need our platform and can talk about sex as freely as it should be in the coming future,” Sun said.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

You can also like our RISE NEWS Hong Kong Facebook page to stay engaged with our local coverage. 

Cover Photo Credit: Jessie Pang

What Do I Tell My Daughter After Trump’s Win?

By Caroline Galloway

What just happened in America is beyond anything I could have ever imagined.

The soul of this country was torn apart at the very moment when we had a chance to rise above the hateful rhetoric we have been forced to listen to for months and to unite with a compassion for those who are different, a love for our country beyond measure and an acceptance of opinion and ideals that makes this country great….Not Great Again … GREAT!

Instead we watched a wild witch-hunt supported by a predominantly white male force incessantly run after our first female candidate as if she was the most horrendous human being alive. The emails, the emails, and the emails….must I say more.

We have allowed a man to escape the same trials beset on a woman and skate free through a remarkable path of no consequence for things that otherwise make us gasp in disbelief.

Corruption?

Has anyone, including the media, dared to bring out the stories of Donald Trump’s association with a convicted sexual predator who he has called “a decent man?”

Has anyone, especially the media, given any of the women who accused Donald Trump of mishandling them more than a story or two, or a conversation sparking protests and demands for the truth within their own circles?

Does anyone who voted for Donald Trump even understand how many lies he told during the campaign and how many facts he got wrong, all proven in written form by fact-checkers, historians and other leaders?

Does anyone who voted for Donald Trump really think he is going to be honest with anyone when he takes the Oval Office?

What do I tell my teenage daughter when she asks why a man who has obviously done so much wrong in his life doesn’t get held to the same standard as a woman?

In this case, one who devoted her life to public service and the betterment of the lives of children and women?

What do I tell my teenage daughter when she asks me how an election can be won by a man who has proven to be unfit?

Donald Trump fed into the weaknesses of this group just like the schoolyard bully.

He surrounded himself with people who feed negative and unfair propaganda to the masses each and every day.

He has been fed by a silver spoon all his life and has never known what it feels like to mine for coal, live in rural America on a fixed income or work all day every day for minimum wage barely making ends meet.

I do. How can anyone expect him to understand? What do I tell my daughter?

This president-elect has admittedly, and in his own words, grabbed women by their “pussy” and let’s not forget had extra-marital affairs.

A man who has bankrupted companies more than I like to count at the risk it puts such great fear in my heart for our country that I can’t even keep my head up.

Photo Credit: mathiaswasik/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Photo Credit: mathiaswasik/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

A man who openly made fun of a disabled person on national television with the world watching. A man who couldn’t even bring his ego in long enough to pay respect to a four-star father who lost his son fighting for our country.

A man who has no military experience whatsoever and had the fortune of money behind him when he escaped serving our country because of a spur in his foot, a spur he cannot even remember correctly.

A man who has made clear he has no tolerance for immigrants, minorities, gay people and the like. Is this really what my America looks like? What do I tell my daughter?

I am old enough to remember several elections and while my candidate of choice didn’t always win, I don’t remember our country protesting with such fervor at the prospect of an individual not fit to run our country ever before.

How can this be? Why didn’t the majority of people who voted for this man understand this? How can a narcissistic egomaniacal liar make it to the oval office? How can bad behavior continue to be awarded in a country that was to represent “strength, power and honesty?” What do I tell my daughter?

He fed into the uneducated and the displaced, allowing them to believe he will save them. That’s what bullies do.

They find the most disenfranchised weak individual on the playground and pick on them. Does anyone not see this and how this played out for someone who has the world in dismay and our allies bewildered?

Does anyone not notice that headlines across the globe are using such words as “W.T.F” and “Are you Kidding Me?. While those headlines circulate, can we not sit here and really ask ourselves if that is OK, if it is OK for a man to allow our country to now be a joke, a misfit, a low-lying power that doesn’t take all the risks involved with letting this man through the front door seriously. What do I tell my daughter?

I worked for someone who bears the exact same traits and behavior of Donald Trump.

They don’t change my friends, but they keep on winning despite their arrogance, lies and ugly behavioral traits.

I worked for a narcissistic man who treats women horribly, depletes the human spirit as a game of fun and thrives on power he exerts to make the “little person” feel even smaller.

The day I was able to leave that horrendous work situation was the best day of my professional life.

It is because of that and why I anxiously wait for four years to fly by faster than anything imaginable.

I am ashamed our country has gotten to the point where decency didn’t outweigh ignorance.

When I woke this morning I was hopeful to feel a bit of anxiety leaving my body, a sense of “we shall overcome” and a certain bit of optimism that would take me through the next four years.

It didn’t happen.

The tears keep flowing and the idea of uncertainty and embarrassment override any sense of understanding I can possibly relate to what just happened in this country…my country.

We have an Electoral College system that I believe is flawed and antiquated.

We have a process that doesn’t allow for certain standards of conduct to be upheld for the highest office in the world.

We have people who still believe that black Americans and women have only defined places in their lives.

Yet none of that thought process, none of that diabolical way of life compares to the remarkable and unprecedented statement on humanity in which the election of Donald J. Trump leads to.

And that is the purpose of why I write today.

Photo Credit: Ted Eytan/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Photo Credit: Ted Eytan/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

As of this morning Hillary Clinton continues to win the popular vote. I now know how Al Gore felt.

Our electoral college process which Donald Trump, in his own words and in his own tweet said “our electoral college process is a disaster, it is not democracy” proves once again to not honor the real power of our people.

I am hopeful that enough Americans join in to petition for this process to be reviewed, refined and changed so the people do speak in our next election and that the process is changed.

I know that I will do what I can to encourage and persuade those I come in contact with or know to support this change. “We the People” is exactly what we should be thinking!

I will close with recognizing that people wanted change. They wanted change in Washington and they wanted change in policy and for this, I can agree.

There were so many better choices for change throughout the entire election process. There were so many candidates who could have brought about change while keeping our country’s reputation alive with our allies, protected our country from the threat of all kinds of evil, changed our education, health system and environment for the good and protected our children.

But yet the hate-filled people who couldn’t get past their own simple way of thinking that someone who has billions will also make them billions have a very rude awakening coming their way.

It is hard to try to determine how change will be brought on by someone contemplating putting the same “old white men” in his cabinet and some who have questionable pasts…Giuliani, Gingrich, Christie. Is that an example of the change this country was looking for?

When the DOW drops 7,000 points in one night everyone needs to pay attention. When social media trends with #notmypresident in a democratic society, everyone needs to pay attention.

When women are asking “why have we not come any further?” everyone needs to pay attention. When immigrants who are the very fabric of our nation, and black Americans who gave more than they should have ever had to so we could build this country, ask am I safe, everyone needs to pay attention and when gays and transgender people ask if they can walk the streets and be free anymore, everyone needs to pay attention.

I simply ask “What will I tell my daughter?” And what will my daughter tell her daughter?

Open your eyes and ears America.

Be a voice stronger than you ever expected.

Please bring about change and force yourself to not tire in this fight and trying to make a difference, blocking hatred in any way or form possible. Be proud of who you are and for who will become.

Take a stand and be a force for those who need to be held up.

Don’t let this get away from you over time, don’t become complacent and don’t ever stop making sure your path to greatness is an important opportunity for all of us!

This is what you can tell your daughter.

Caroline Galloway is a PR specialist with 23 years experience in Entertainment and Consumer Brand Marketing & PR. She is based in Cleveland, Ohio and is a working mother of two, who has published numerous announcements and articles on a variety of topics.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Ted Eytan/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

LIVE: Echo Of Umbrella Revolution As Scores March On Hong Kong To Protest China

By Raphael Blet

HONG KONG- An estimated number of 12,000 people protested against Beijing’s possible interpretation of the Basic Law’s article 104 across the city.

Supporters of Yau Wai-ching and Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang were seen waving colonial flags and banners stating ‘Hong Kong is NOT China’.

The duo – refused to take their oaths according to the script, which leads to the invalidation of their oaths.

This prompted the government and to intervene through legal actions which would prevent them from taking a second oath.

Last week, the government announced that they would seek an interpretation of the Basic Law by Beijing, prompting reactions amongst citizens.

Many see it as an interference into local politics and the judiciary.

WATCH: Live video of the protests

The case is currently ongoing in the court and Beijing’s interpretation is seen as an interference into Hong Kong’s rule of law.

Under the Basic Law, it is legal for the government to seek an interpretation under particular circumstances. However, the law stipulates a separation of powers and ‘a high degree of autonomy’.

Amongst the protesters were some pan-democratic figures, including veteran politician Martin Lee.

The protesters marched from Southorn Playground in Wan Chai to the Court of Final Appeal in Central.

However, some demonstrators decided to extend their march until Beijing’s Liaison Office in Sheung Wan, prompting the police to set-up barricades to avoid possible stormings of the delegation.

A number of demonstrators made numerous attempts to push the barricades, obliging the police to make use of pepper sprays after ordering the protesters to calm down.

Currently (22:45 HKT), protesters have blocked partial sections of Des Voeux Road, where the delegation is located.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

You can also like our RISE NEWS Hong Kong Facebook page to stay engaged with our local coverage. 

Photo Credit: Reuters Hong Kong/ Facebook (Screengrab)

Hong Kong Slut Walk Draws Many In Effort To Rid City Of Sexual Assault

By Paulus Choy

HONG KONG- “Slut walk” was held for the fifth time at Chater Garden in Central this Sunday, with protesters expressing concerns over recent sexual assaults in Hong Kong.

This event originated from Toronto, where a police officer said women should dress less “slutty” to avoid sexual crimes, sparking outcries and subsequent protests, according to the Hong Kong Slut Walk’s website.

Protests turned into a global movement, with Slut Walks happening in several places including Germany, Korea and now Hong Kong.

Read More: Thousands Protest Against Comments Made By Two Localists

America’s very controversial personality Amber Rose, also organised her own Slut Walk, which occurred on 1st October this year.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The movement encouraged participants to dress in a provocative way, rebelling against social expectations and condemning gender violence on women.

Hong Kong’s Slut Walk organisers Sally Tang and Angie Ng discussed about gender violence before the march began, they talked about recent sexual assaults against women, they pleaded for societal and legal changes to better protect the rights of women.

Read More: Hong Kong Is Already More Independent Than Any EU Country

They talked about a rape case involving an owner of a nursing home and a mentally-challenged girl, as the girl’s evidence was accepted by the Court, the owner was later acquitted.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Another case they talked about was a pub owner who drugged a girl and allegedly raped her.

He was sentenced to 240 hours of community service, as the judge found him to have an entrepreneurial mind and does not wish to harm his future.

Read More: Photo Essay-Goodbye (For Now) To Hong Kong’s Hipster Paradise Hidden Agenda

Different concern groups came forth to give speeches, including migrant worker association Gabriella, and several political party-affiliated groups.

The protesters convened at around two in Chater Garden at Central, and started marching towards the High Court, ending their demonstration at Lan Kuai Fong district, which was a famous bar and clubbing spot for Hong Kongers.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Protesters shouted out pleads during their march, yelling out “my body my choice”,” my dress is not a yes.” and other slogans to express their concerns, which were also shown on their banners.

Read More: How Nathan Law Is Representing A New Generation Of Leadership In Hong Kong

People of different races and nationalities came out to support: there was an Irish student, who talked about how women in Ireland is stripped of their rights to abortion; there was another student from the US, who came here to support the movement.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

There were speeches as well as live performances throughout the protest; a group of students performed a poem in front of the High Court, some even painted pleads on their bodies, to express their anger.

Read More: There’s A Bleak Outlook For Artists And Businesses In Industrial buildings

There were roughly around a hundred people marching through Central.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

You can also like our RISE NEWS Hong Kong Facebook page to stay engaged with our local coverage. 

Photo Credits: Paulus Choy

Thousands Protest Against Comments Made By Two Localists

By Paulus Choy

HONG KONG- The newly formed organisation “Against Hong Kong’s independence and the insulting of Chinese”, protested outside the Legco parliament complex yesterday, in response to two politicians’ comments during their oath-taking, with journalists caught in the cross-fire.

The organisation issued a press release saying the two has insulted the Chinese and condemned the two for spreading independence ideas in Hong Kong.

Legco members Baggio Sixtus Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching called China “Chee-na”, and displayed flags saying “Hong Kong is not China” during their oath-taking on the 12th October.

Read More: Hong Kong Government Tries To Bar Young Lawmakers From Serving In Office After They Call China “Chee-Na”

Hong Kong government has initiated legal actions against the two, pleading that both’s occupied office in Legco is to be vacated, after their court injunctions to prevent both from taking oath was rejected.

img_9798

As Leung and Yau returned yesterday attempting to redo their oaths, protesters surrounded the complex, expressing their concern against Yau and Leung’s derogatory comments, as well as their promotion independence.

The protest started at around 10 in the morning, as groups started filling up areas around the complex.

The protests included over 300 groups, ranging from concern groups, business unions and district councillors. The legco headquarters was filled with chinese and Hong Kong flags and chants condemning “anti-chinese” sentiments.

Read More: Hong Kong Is Already More Independent Than Any EU Country

A collection of people spoke during the protests, including College professors, union leaders and business figures.

WATCH: Video from the protest

The protest went on without huge confrontations, but was interspersed with a case of disturbance.

img_9791

HKFP reporter Stanley Leung had his camera taken away, when he was covering the protest according to HKFP reports. He was surrounded by protestors, and later recovered his camera, only to find his memory card stolen.

HKFP released an announcement on their facebook page, condemning acts interfering with their operation.

Photo Essay: Goodbye (For Now) To Hong Kong’s Hipster Paradise Hidden Agenda

The organisers said roughly 16 to 17 thousand people took part in the rally, according to their announcement at noon. The police said around eight thousand people took part.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

You can also like our RISE NEWS Hong Kong Facebook page to stay engaged with our local coverage. 

Photo Credits: Henry Wong

Hong Kong Is Already More Independent Than Any EU Country

By  Raphael Blet

In a time when the call for independence constantly increases, we need to put the dots on the i’s.

There is nothing wrong with discussing independence and the right to self-determination.

What is necessary for those independence advocates and supporters is to be conscious that sovereignty isn’t the key to independence and self-determination.

I have recently met some Hong Kong people who seemed to show their admiration for the European Union but at the same time, are advocating Hong Kong’s independence.

Isn’t it ironic to admire a supranational force when you advocate self-determination for yourself?

Many Hong Kong independence advocates who have not lived in Europe might not realize that Hong Kong is in fact much more independent than France, Germany or any other EU member state.

Despite not being a sovereign territory, Hong Kong benefits from more independence compared to EU countries like France or Spain. While the Basic Law guarantees Hong Kong’s autonomy, the EU’s Treaty of Lisbon advocates supranational submission.

While Hong Kong controls its borders and trade, EU members don’t as they are mostly signatory of the Schengen agreement which does not allow them to filter humans and goods entering their territory.

At the same time, Hong Kong has an independent judiciary in which Mainland laws do not interfere while European countries have to follow what is known as ‘directives’.

Such directives coming from the two parliaments (in Brussels and Strasbourg) are imposed to the national laws.

This strongly harms the judicial integrity of member states.

This without talking about monetary sovereignty which doesn’t exist in Europe.

When Hong Kong has its own currency, most EU members are depending on a single currency on which they have no control.

Some might refute my arguments with empirical evidence and say that either the two problems are not comparable or that the EU’s constitution was ratified after consulting the people.

This isn’t a valid argument as the Treaty of Lisbon was rejected by the French (54.67%) and Dutch (61.54%) voters who were later forced to accept it despite showing their opposition in the ballots.

All the examples given are enough to assume that Hong Kong has already more autonomy and self-determination compared to EU member countries.

As a ‘European’ who is reluctant in regards to EU institutions, it is even more revolting to see some EU officials commenting about democracy and sovereignty in the world while their own institution is anything but democratic.

Unfortunately, many people will not be willing to assume this reality, their answers being as usual: ‘it’s impossible to make such comparison.’

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

You can also like our RISE NEWS Hong Kong Facebook page to stay engaged with our local coverage. 

Cover Photo Credit: Bernard Spragg. NZ/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Scroll to top