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Hong Kong and Thai protesters form the “Milk Tea Alliance”

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Links to continue to grow between the core Hong Kong protest movement and the current Thai protests. The alliance is being called “The Milk Tea Alliance”…milky orange-coloured sweet tea is popular in both Thailand and Hong Kong.

Democracy supporters in Hong Kong, Thailand and Taiwan are sharing their criticisms and demands for change against “regimes” they claim are stymying attempts at democracy and closing down freedoms of speech. ‘Thailand and Hong Kong Together’ is a new Facebook page which is helping to draw attention to the 2 protest movements and help the Thai protesters with donations of supplies and protection during the current protests.

The site has already gathered some 20,000 followers and is headlined “Can You Hear The People Sing”, a reference to the freedom anthem from the musical Les Miserable.

The Bangkok Post reports that around a dozen Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protesters were rallying outside the Thai consulate in Hong Kong last Monday showing solidarity with their protest peers in Thailand.

Holding banners bearing the message “Stand with Thailand”, the small group gathered outside the Thai consulate on October 19. Joshua Wong, one of the leaders of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement, was in the group. They chanted displaying the 3 finger salute gesture borrowed from the movie ‘Hunger Games’, which has become the symbol of the protest in Thailand.

Wong says that while people in Thailand continue to demonstrate, the “Milk Tea Alliance” should stand with them.

“We shall weather the authoritarian storm and reclaim our freedom, irrespective of the cost, the pain and tears ahead of us.”

Prominent Thai activist Netiwit Chotiphatphisal says that the Thai and Hong Kong protesters are facing similar challenges and can share their experiences, and tactics.

“Protesters in Thailand understand the importance of protecting themselves with hard hats and umbrellas, which are both iconic protest gear used by protesters in Hong Kong.”

“We also feel the threat from China in Thailand, so we know how people in Taiwan and Hong Kong feel. Even though the Milk Tea Alliance is an abstract coalition, we are now connected by a common vision.”

“The protesters are trying to make the Thai government look ridiculous and ruthless at the same time.”

Netiwit was referring to the Thai protesters almost intuitive use of social media and messaging as they play cat-and-mouse with Thai authorities and police, moving their protest locations and announcing fake locations for rallies.

SOURCES: Bangkok Post | Deutche Wella

Poster developed by Hong Kong protesters comparing their “Quest for democracy”…

Hong Kong and Thai protesters form the

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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Fabian

    October 25, 2020 at 1:08 pm

    The young generation is world wide connected from since they were born. I guess that’s why they feel much more as world citizens than the older generations.

    The older generations might even never have left their own country or even province. They learn about other countries with another culture. That can make them divisive.

    Perhaps younger people understand better than we are all humans and that the borders don’t really matter. Or actually, they just divide.

  2. Avatar

    Issan John

    October 25, 2020 at 2:40 pm

    Another big mistake, by both groups.

    Sharing “experience and tactics” is one thing and has always happened, but to be successful any movement has to be targeted; both are now starting to lose track of their own targets with a broader “common vision” instead.

    While students may be interested in student solidarity and their “protest peers” internationally, to be successful nationally they need a broad base of national support, and away from the students Thais are interested in Thai issues, Hong Kongers in HK issues, Taiwanese in Taiwan issues, etc.

    Unfortunately for both, they’re being their own worst enemies by trying for some sort of international student social revolution with a “common vision”, and they’re blowing it.

    • Avatar

      Toby Andrews

      October 25, 2020 at 5:12 pm

      The Hong Kong protestors have blown it. They want special treatment from the Chinese government, who assured the British government they would have.
      However, Hong Kong is Chinese and they are being subjected to Chinese law now.
      The Thai protestors have not “blown it” because they just want back what they were entitled to last year, which is democracy.
      They will have it eventually.

      • Avatar

        Issan John

        October 26, 2020 at 10:42 am

        “… eventually.”

        Exactly.

        With clear aims and more focus they’d be likely to get more and wider support, making it sooner rather than later. It’s not complicated.

      • Avatar

        Khun plastic

        October 30, 2020 at 1:44 am

        China kowtows to nobody.
        Has been that way for more than 2000 years now.
        They tolerated the Brits for a while as they were useful to them at the time,that’s all.
        Much as I agree and admire the protesters in hkg I have a pretty good idea how it is going to end!

  3. Avatar

    Suzanne

    October 25, 2020 at 7:46 pm

    No John, I don’t believe it’s a mistake to create international struggles. In fact, one of the gifts brought by global media right now is to lay the groundwork for such platforms to be built. Others, both peers and older generations, can easily hear the message. It’s not good to have inward looking governments promoting only your nation’s culture or lifestyle. In fact, that path is no longer even an option in real terms. This is precisely the meaning and aetiology of the current Thai crisis. There’s a government which wants to keep international laws and customs away from the people.
    The present cause of confusion is more a result of trying to tie in monarchical reform at the same time. That caused the movement to be split, though in theory, yellow shirts were also democrats. The current situation has allowed govt forces to split the protest, implying all monarchists also support this government. But that’s not quite accurate. The coalition structure is really just window dressing for military power. Many in it have resigned due to such differences. In Europe there are monarchies working with democracy. They vary in style, but are more openly debated or criticised with impunity than here

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      October 26, 2020 at 10:09 am

      I think you’ve missed my point.

      I’m not suggesting the protest shouldn’t be internationalised and the message shouldn’t be heard internationally. Far from it.

      What I’m suggesting is, ironically, much the same as you are – that there is “confusion” and the protest is being “split” because the protesters aren’t targeting their main issue which is to have a democratically elected government.

      Instead, AS YOU SAY, they’ve made the mistake of “trying to tie in monarchical reform at the same time”. Now, in my view, they’re compounding that by spreading their aims even wider to include changes in Hong Kong.

      If “trying to tie in monarchical reform at the same time” has split the protesters and their supporters, AS YOU SAY, surely it has to follow that trying to tie in reform abroad at the same time, which most people here are unaffected by and have less interest in, will split them even more?

  4. Avatar

    Tobias Krantz

    October 25, 2020 at 11:15 pm

    Hey Issan John, have you ever stood for anything in your life? I read your comments here and your focus is to criticize and demoralize the young people of Thailand. I am guessing you are an old fart. All of Thailand old and young should be giving these demonstrators for democracy their support, they are doing a fantastic job.

  5. Avatar

    Issan John

    October 26, 2020 at 10:36 am

    My point isn’t about what I “stand for” or whether the protesters’ aims are right or wrong, but their focus.

    If they want “all of Thailand old and young” to give them their support then they need to make their aims clear and focused, not to “split” that focus and support (to paraphrase Suzanne).

    “All of Thailand old and young”, or at least a considerable number, are interested in democratic reform in Thailand one way or the other, for or against. A lot less are interested in Hong Kong, so adding that to the mix is “confusing” (to paraphrase Suzanne again) and so counter-productive.

    … and if you think that criticism is only demoralizing, then maybe you need to grow up a little bit.

  6. Avatar

    Issan John

    October 28, 2020 at 3:46 pm

    Oh, and Suzanne …

    ” It’s not good to have inward looking governments promoting only your nation’s culture or lifestyle. In fact, that path is no longer even an option in real terms. ”

    I agree with you that it’s “not good”, but it’s increasingly what’s happening as evidenced not only by places like India, Turkey, Hungary and Poland but by the US and UK as prime examples.

    Two decades ago their current leaders would have been seen in the same way as the Monster Raving Loony Party – now, they’re widely accepted however extreme or bizarre the “nation’s culture or lifestyle” might be.

    In France, for example, while you can’t wolf-whistle at a pretty girl or sit on the beach and go swimming in the sea with your clothes on, it’s perfectly acceptable to ridicule people’s religious beliefs or to be naked on many beaches and swim stark naked.

    Sorry, but “in real terms”, “inward looking governments promoting only your nation’s culture or lifestyle” is on the rise however much you (and I) may not like it.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Singapore – Hong Kong travel bubble delayed due to Covid rise in HK

Maya Taylor

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Singapore – Hong Kong travel bubble delayed due to Covid rise in HK | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Ruslan Bardash on Unsplash

Singapore and Hong Kong have agreed to delay their travel bubble plans as Hong Kong experiences a jump in Covid-19 cases. Although case numbers in both cities are nowhere near as serious as what’s currently being seen in places like Europe and the US, officials are erring on the side of caution and postponing the plan by at least 2 weeks.

The travel pact would have allowed people to travel between both cities without having to endure mandatory quarantine, but authorities on both sides had agreed it would be postponed if either location reported more than 5 new local cases in a rolling 7 day average. The Bangkok Post reports that travel between both cities remains possible, but quarantine is still a requirement in both places.

Mungo Paterson, a British national who lives in Hong Kong and had booked a ticket to Singapore for December 7, says the reinstatement of the quarantine requirement is the biggest problem.

“That is the main deterrent, I have no interest in sitting in a hotel room for 2 weeks – it’s not healthy. I was excited when they announced it, I thought ‘here we go’. I’m now holding off confirming until Dec 2. I think there’s a 50-50 chance the flight will happen.”

Singapore Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung says the rise in cases in Hong Kong shows that any attempted travel arrangement will not be plain sailing.

“This is a sober reminder that the Covid-19 virus is still with us, and even as we fight to regain our normal lives, the journey will be full of ups and downs.”

The strict border controls seen in Asia appear to have helped countries here suppress the virus better than elsewhere in the world, but the controls have come at a significant cost, crippling tourism and the aviation sector. Rico Merkert from the University of Sydney’s business school says that, without international traffic, Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines will continue to struggle, even when the travel bubble between their 2 hubs does begin.

“Even if the Hong Kong-Singapore corridor opens, the boost to the 2 aviation hubs will be limited. Singapore Airlines and Cathay will continue to struggle because they can’t funnel onto the route those travellers who would normally arrive from Europe and the US. Without that feeder traffic, those bubbles will at best be limited to the local population. International travel is going to remain a tricky affair.”

October traffic for both carriers has plummeted compared to the same period last year, with Cathay carrying just 38,541 passengers, down 98.6% on 2019 figures. Singapore Airlines has experienced a similar slump, with October numbers down 98.2% on last year’s, at 35,500.

Brendan Sobie from Sobie Aviation says at this stage, the implementation of a travel bubble is mostly symbolic, adding that the aviation sector will take years to fully recover.

“Bubbles provide a little bit of incremental additional international traffic in the interim period until the pandemic ends. A full recovery in air traffic will still take a few years, even with a vaccine, though bubbles will help get the process moving.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Hong Kong

Up to 5,900 jobs to go as Hong Kong carrier Cathay Dragon shuts down

Maya Taylor

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Up to 5,900 jobs to go as Hong Kong carrier Cathay Dragon shuts down | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Kwok Ho Eddie Wong / Flickr

Hong Kong airline Cathay Pacific is set to close its subsidiary, Cathay Dragon, with the loss of up to 5,900 jobs. The carrier, that used to be called Dragon Air before being absorbed by Cathay, has become yet another casualty of the Covid-19 pandemic that has decimated the aviation business.

The Bangkok Post reports that 5,300 jobs are expected to go in the airline’s Hong Kong base, with a further 600 axed overseas, accounting for 17% of Cathay’s total workforce. Cathay Dragon primarily operated short-haul routes within Asia, including direct flights from Hong Kong to Bangkok and Phuket.

Cathay Pacific bosses have hammered out a HK$2.2 billion restructuring plan that involves thousands of job cuts, pilots and cabin crew having to sign cheaper contracts, and total closure of its subsidiary carrier. The South China Morning Post describes the plan as, “life or death”, reporting cuts to a total of 8,500 jobs across the group. The parent airline is understood to be applying for approval to absorb Cathay Dragon’s routes into the Cathay Pacific network, as well as that of its low-cost carrier, HK Express.

Cathay Pacific CEO, Augustus Tang, says the restructuring plan is essential to Cathay’s future survival as the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic show no sign of abating.

“The global pandemic continues to have a devastating impact on aviation and the hard truth is we must fundamentally restructure the Group to survive. We have to do this to protect as many jobs as possible and meet our responsibilities to the Hong Kong aviation hub and our customers.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post| South China Morning Post

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World

Hong Kong resumes travel bubble discussions with Thailand and Japan

Maya Taylor

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Hong Kong resumes travel bubble discussions with Thailand and Japan | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Ruslan Bardash on Unsplash

Hong Kong’s commerce chief, Edward Yau, says the Special Administrative Region is once again chatting to Thailand authorities, and Japan, regarding the possible formation of “travel bubbles”. The talks were suspended last month as Hong Kong battled a third wave ‘spike’ of the Covid-19 virus. Now, the idea of mutually beneficial travel agreements is back on the table, subject to a agreed testing procedures to screen travellers for the virus, in both directions.

A report in the Bangkok Post says Yau made the announcement while speaking at a webinar hosted by the Hong Kong Productivity Council. He says that, while Hong Kong is in travel bubble talks with up to 10 countries, talks are at a more advanced stage with Thailand and Japan.

“It may be some time yet before any arrangements are put in place, as all countries involved continue to monitor the development of the pandemic.”

He noted that travellers would have to take Covid-19 tests that are “mutually recognised”, and the test results would be sent to the destination country, via the airlines, for confirmation before they were being allowed to board.

“Once landed, the local health department could demand further testing.”

Last year, around 2.3 million Hong Kong residents visited Japan, compared to just 20 in July this year. Hong Kong has not been able to receive any foreign visitors since a ban on international arrivals implemented in March, at the height of the Covid-19 outbreak regionally. Repatriating Hong Kongers are required to undergo a mandatory 14 day quarantine. In June, Hong Kong saw a 99% drop in visitor numbers year-on-year, with numbers down 90% in the first 6 months of the year, compared to the same period in 2019.

Hong Kong is emerging from a small third wave of the virus, after a spike in new cases last month saw it record over 100 new cases a day for 12 days. However, after the re-introduction of some restrictions, including restaurants only offering take-away food after 6pm, numbers have started to fall again.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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