How to Occupy properly

Posted on 27 October 2011

Unlike Occupy Singapore, you can trust the people of Hong Kong to sustain a protest proper.

By Belmont Lay

I’m here in Hong Kong, Singapore’s closest financial centre rival.

And boy, could things be more different on the ground.

If you remember, two weeks ago, an anonymous organiser in Singapore tried his/her hand at setting off a leaderless movement in Raffles Place, in the name of the Occupy protests that were sprouting worldwide.

Only to get egg all over the face.

No one showed up at the Central Business District. Except for a bunch of pigeons, the press and police.

Basically, Occupy Raffles Place failed.

Now check out the scene in Hong Kong. Occupy protestors made themselves really cosy. At the sheltered ground floor of HSBC, the emblem of Hong Kong finance.

They even got their tents up. Because they’ve been there like what? Three weeks and counting?


Apparently, based on what a Hong Kong lawyer told me, protests like these are no big deal.

And he might be right. Bank employees walked by, took pictures, casually talked among themselves and the rest of Hong Kong near by waltzed along just fine.

Tourists like me at the Central headed for Madame Tussauds wax museum before stopping by the bank to gawk on our way down from The Peak.

Basically, the protest and its unambiguous message is how the Occupy protestors, or protestors in general, blow off steam.

And based on unconfirmed anecdotal accounts, HSBC has been gracious enough to lend the protestors some power. Literally.

The mighty bank provided power point plugs so that the protestors can charge their phones and have lights put up.


Some Hong Kongers are still smarting from the sale of toxic structured financial products that went tits up a couple of years ago.

It is still an issue of contention even at today’s Occupy movement in Hong Kong.

Wonder what happened to burnt Singaporean investors…


Citibank = Citicrook.

Enough said.


Power Laws: The funny thing about Power Laws is that it can be found in every domain of life, from economics to book sales to language to wars.

The richest 400 people owns more wealth than the bottom 50%…

The 10 best-selling books of all time outsold the bottom 200,000 lousiest selling books…

Understanding just 500 of the most common Spanish words will allow you to comprehend 80% of all everyday conversations in Spanish…

More people are killed in the two World Wars than the past wars in the last 1,000 years…

But you get he point. Inequality sucks.


What’s a decent protest without cooking your meals on the spot?

How long can the protestors last? As long as there is food…


… and shelter…


… and lots of books to read.

Lefty anti-capitalist Naomi Klein appears to be a must-read.

So are Marx’s secondary readings.

And how about a dash of Noam Chomsky?


… “They paved paradise to put up a parking lot…”

Why put up signs only when you can sing about them?


What’s a protest without a cross-legged, candle-lit, brainstorming vigil?


Oooh! What’s a protest without pencil sketches?


Lastly, I leave you with the punchline from one of my favourite grumpy old men/ comedians: George Carlin (misspelled as Carlyn by the Hong Kong protestors).

“Let me describe Capitalism: The rich pay none of the taxes, do none of the work, get all of the money. The middle class do all of the work, pay all of the tax. The poor are there just to scare the shit out of the middle class.”

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