Thursday, August 26, 2010
Hong Kong Tragedy in the Philippines
On Monday evening 21 Hong Kong tourists were taken hostage in the Philippines by a disgruntled former policeman hoping to get his job back. An 11 hour standoff with a Filipino SWAT team left 8 of the Hong Kong residents, as well as the gunman, dead.
At our school's assembly this morning we began with a moment of silence and a short prayer. All Hong Kong seems to be in mourning and flags are flying at half-mast. Under the sorrow and mourning though, a real anger has been unleashed. Because the entire situation was shown on live TV, serious questions about the police handling of the incident have been voiced...loudly!
Protests have begun, lawmakers have demanded answers, and even China, who typically lets Hong Kong handle issues like this on its own ,have stepped in to apply pressure on the Philippine government for an accounting.
Stories coming out suggest that the gunman was not intending to hurt anyone, that he was only using the hostages as a bargaining chip in his grievances against the government. The feeling people have here was no one had to die ; and that the responsibility of those who are dead rests at the feet of the Philippine officials in charge.
Normally, I tend to side with law enforcement in these types of situations. I can't appreciate being in such a life and death situation so I usually want to give the police the benefit of the doubt. But as stories come out, and with what I've seen with my own eyes...well, I'm joining in with a little anger myself.
But even more distressing is to see some people in Hong Kong taking their anger out verbally on the Filipino population here in Hong Kong. Over 100,000 Filipinos work in the city, most employed as domestic helpers. The newspaper this morning reported some Hong Kong people taking out their anger by firing their Filipino maids.
Ok, we can be a little angry...but lets not get crazy. Even famed Hong Kong actor Jackie Chan, fearing retribution against Filipinos in the city has publicly asked people in Hong Kong not to translate their anger into hate. Says Chan, "We already have so many natural disasters-typhoons, tsunamis, everything! We should be united and not kill or hate each other."
Lets not make a bad situation worse Hong Kong. Rather, lets ask for God's peace and to remember the victim's family in prayer.