Sunday, October 5, 2014

Meet the teen mastermind of Hong Kong's "umbrella revolution"

That's quite the hagiography the CBC has on view for young Joshua Wong.

I personally am profoundly sceptical of masterminds of all stripes, but especially teen masterminds. What vague memories I can still summon about my own teenage years recall an age more consumed with zits, onanism, and existential angst, not social justice and democracy activism.

But perhaps young Wong is an early bloomer. He got all that stuff out of the way in his pre-teens, and was therefore primed to embark on his activist calling at the age of 14. Not surprisingly, he grew up in a relatively privileged environment, and coincidentally, his parents were democracy activists too! That's something he has in common with other early-blooming activists like Malala and the Kielburgers.

We are told that Joshua was raised a Christian, which is a happy thing. Overall, there are far too few Christians taking an activist role in the world around them, and when they do it's more likely to take the form of lobbying against gays in Uganda than promoting freedom. So kudos to Josh for taking his faith into the real world.

The fact of his Christian faith also makes him the perfect David in his Quixotic tilt against the atheistic behemoth in Beijing. Who could not root for Josh in this confrontation?

Then again, when you look at what's at issue here, it seems that all this youthful idealism may be a tad misplaced. As I understand it, the umbrella revolutionaries are distraught that the atheists in Beijing are reserving the right to veto what are essentially mayoral candidates in the up-coming Hong Kong elections.

Here are three reasons why that may not be a bad idea: Marion Barry, Kwame Kilpatrick, Rob Ford. A little bit of sober oversight of local goings-on can't hurt.

And as for actual freedoms, Hong Kong remains number one in the world when it comes to the freedom to accumulate wealth. The commies in Beijing have taken a liking to that aspect of Hong Kong culture. Indeed, in the almost twenty years since the dreaded "hand-over," which at the time begat oodles of breathless end-of-the-world journalistic nonsense, China has become much more like Hong Kong than Hong Kong has like China.

So good on you Josh, but lighten up a bit!

Besides, over-exposure in mainstream Western media can really blow your cred in the long term... look what's happened to Pussy Riot.

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