Briones: Hong Kong’s exodus

Publio J. Briones III
·2 min read

IT CAN get pretty tiring, you know.

It has been Covid this and Covid that for the last 11 months. It almost seems like the pandemic has everyone by the throat and choking the life out of us.

Well, guess what? I need some air. And I will even settle for a tiny gasp. So how about a respite, huh?

And for that, let’s go outside the country. That go-to place for many Filipinos who are able to go abroad for the first time purely for leisure. Meaning, they’re not there to work but to rest and to recreate, I guess.

They go there to enjoy the sights and sounds of the unfamiliar only to head to the nearest fastfood joint because they don’t understand the taste of the local food or find it too expensive.

And on their way there, they encounter their next-door neighbor. Or their high school classmate. Or their former colleague at work. Which had prompted a cousin in Davao, who is a frequent visitor to the former British colony, to quip: “Mora ra man ta’g naa sa Uyanguren.”

Yeah, I’m talking about Hong Kong. So what about it?

Well, did you know that many of its residents are fleeing?

According to Western media, thousands are looking for greener pastures somewhere else because, and get this, everything they “value — freedom of speech, fair elections, liberties — has been eroded.”

Obviously, only those who can afford to up and leave can do so. The rest, and by that I mean the millions who live and toil in the Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, have no choice but to go about their daily lives, worrying about putting food on their tables or having a roof over their heads.

Many of those abandoning their homes are going to the United Kingdom, the same country that forced China to come up with the “one country, two systems policy” so it could regain its own territory in 1997.

I know there’s more to it than that, but the gist is Beijing is finally putting its foot down after decades of being dictated upon or humiliated by foreign powers.

I find it interesting that Western media has focused on the plight of a few thousand and seems to ignore the hundreds of millions of people who have been lifted out of poverty by the same policy these would-be emigres are lamenting.

And before I go on, let me point out the most important fact that sympathizers of Hong Kong’s “democracy-loving” protesters conveniently ignore.

Hong Kong is part of China.

I have to pause here. I’m running out of space. Next time, I’ll talk about the future that awaits emigrants at their new home.