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How political and cultural differences have polarized our society in Hong Kong?

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Before 1997, you could hardly meet a mandarin speaking person throughout Hong Kong but now you can hardly find a place where they don’t. It has become so ubiquitous that whenever my foreign friends asked me about the main changes in Hong Kong after 1997, it is my readymade answer. Hong Kong is nothing more than just a small dot in the map of greater China, but Beijing seemed to be in such a hurry to recapture it that they sent all of their extra men here all at the same time and it surely overwhelmed Hong Kong.

Political and cultural differences played a great role in polarizing our society in Hong Kong. It said to be the main two causes that created deep-rooted bitterness between Hong Kong people and mainlanders. But it wasn’t done overnight. There was a time like SARS epidemic in 2003, when Hong Kong economy got a beating and needed a helping hand from the motherland, and they came in huge numbers. Hong Kong was genuinely grateful. By this generosity Beijing managed to kill two birds with one stone: they were not only helping Hong Kong in adversity but also claiming its authority over Hong Kong by sending more people of its own.

But the trend didn’t stop there. They kept on coming and overstayed their welcome. Hong Kong was already a crowded place before and the sudden influxes of mainlanders didn’t help. Hong Kong was hosting more than double of its actual population at a time – statics showed and the public infrastructures as well as general services ran well over its capacity. Government found a new mantra of “Looking North, but they took it almost literary, and started looking only to the North by forgetting everything else. For the sake of tourism and trade, everything else was forgotten and more mainlanders were invited in. As a result, public transportations got overcrowded, public and entertainment venues were oversubscribed, government services were overwhelmed, housing prices as well as renting went up, competition grew in manifold, and people’s livelihood suffered in great deal which created resentment among locals towards mainlanders. But it was the hoarding mentality such as hospital maternity ward, milk-powder fiasco, parallel trading, school place snatching displayed by the mainlanders that the locals disliked the most. Other uncouth and uncivilized behaviors such as talking loudly, eating and sleeping on public transport, and urinating and defecating in public places disgusted the locals in great deal.

Both Hong Kong government and Beijing did almost nothing to allay public’s concern, people’s insecurity gradually morphed into anger and resentment, and suddenly everyone started talking and became very vocal. The schism between the two had already widen up by now and it only grew wider henceforth. A perfect situation for politic to take root, it provided more materials for both pro and opposition parties, and Hong Kong’s political aspiration had never been so louder since then. Unlike its counterparts from around the globe, Hong Kong students which were in long lull hitherto suddenly rose up and asserted its claim as one of the formidable forces of Hong Kong politics for the very first time and the Umbrella Movement was the pinnacle of their newly found aspiration. And as the saying goes, the rest is the history and the ever widening gap between the locals and the mainlanders is not receding anytime soon.

In fact, it had become so bad and serious by now that they got blamed for almost everything bad happened in Hong Kong and reconciliation is the last thing they have in mind. Being communist or associated with them is enough to flare up unnecessary frictions in Hong Kong.

But there are always two sides of a coin that we all seem to forget here in Hong Kong. A story is never complete until we heard from the both sides and this piece won’t be completed before we heard from the mainlanders’ side as well.

Hong Kong is a totally services-oriented economy, it produces almost nothing by its own and everything we need here is imported from outside. Needless to guess, it all comes from where else, China. The dynamic economy of Hong Kong runs not by big conglomerates but SMEs and almost all of them rely on China for their businesses and survival. Our stock market and housing, two main drivers of our economy might not survive without China’s money. Our hotels, restaurants and transportation industries will suffer without them. Without China, our daily necessities like foods, clothes and households items like furniture, electronic appliances and other stuffs will cost more. Many won’t know but we also import our fuels and petroleum products from China as well. Most importantly of them all, we get our drinking water from China as well and without China, Hong Kong will be a lot different place than it is now. It won’t be a calamity or something like that, but it won’t definitely be as vibrant, busy and successful as we have now for sure.

As the saying goes, politic is politic, and as long as you can justify and make people to belief it, anything goes in politic. Talking is cheap without responsibility in politics but our actions have consequences. As far as I am concerned, our politicians in Hong Kong lack real ideology as well as charisma and behave almost with impunity. Be grateful that we still have freedom of speech, press and humans right despite being a part of communist China. Politics has its own place but can also be a very danger game if not careful. Do anything but don’t gamble away Hong Kong’s future and be condemned by history. My two cents of advice, at the end, would be something like this. We don’t have to like each other and we can keep on bickering for as long as we like. But keep it to the sibling rivalry level and never let it escalate further up. If not, we will end up fighting no one but our own brothers and nothing is worse than that.

TIM I GURUNG/AUTHOR AT ISSLCARE – http://www.timigurung.com

AUTHOR’S NOTE – An extracted version of this article was published on a local news portal on 15 July 2016 and you can read it here – http://www.ejinsight.com/20160715-why-hk-people-should-learn-to-live-with-mainlanders/

Why I won’t change the core subject and value of my writing for more sales?

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Although I started writing in 2009, I became a full time writer only in early 2015 and have eight books by now. What I have learned in this period of a little more than one and half year however, is simply priceless. I not only read but also value readers’ comments and read each and every comment with interest. Of course, good comments make me happy and bad comments make me sad. Nothing unusual there! After all, I also am a human and people’s comments certainly affect my feeling as well. But I am old and experienced enough to be able to analyze them, differentiate the useful ones from the nonsense and make necessary changes as I move on.

Fortunately, most of the comments I have received from the readers were good. They were not only positive and encouraging but also flattering in some extent and I was genuinely touched by many. If I were to talk directly from the heart, I was humbled and couldn’t thank them more. And trust me, it won’t inflate my ego but will make me even more determined to do my best and hopefully I won’t disappoint you in the future.

Just like everyone else out there, I also have received my fair share of criticism from readers as well as critics and I pay attention on them as well. The most common complaints that I have received so far were something like these: overwritten, repetitive, too long, too serious, cerebral, like an English dry humor, and full of pessimism. Yet, the most critical comment of my writing was ‘it was too heavy and difficult reading of a sort’ and perhaps people don’t like reading such serious stuffs anymore. I took them on the chin and started making necessary changes on my subsequent writing. As a result, my new books come with simple and short paragraphs, I use simple words and easy sentences, use one words instead of three, add more dialogues whenever possible, stop myself from getting carried away by emotions, and try to use not only less words whenever possible. All in all, I am trying to make my books ‘light and easy reading’ for all. Furthermore, my new books will be approx. 60k words long while my previous books were at least 100k words, and the longest one was a staggering 152k words.

If your readers need a dictionary to read your book, it is not his/her fault but yours. Someone has said it right and I will always keep that on my mind while writing. Writing has to be simple, story has to be flowing and the book has to be readable by all. This is probably one of the most important lessons that I have learned hitherto and writers should take note.

And yet, I am not going to change the core subject and value of writing for more sales. As a writer of conscience and righteousness, I write for people, society and even mankind if possible and money or fame had never been the reason of my writing. I write for a cause, my main purpose of writing is to highlight serious global and social issues and help bring public’s awareness on them. We have a tendency of not reacting until it starts affecting our own life. But due to globalization and internet, the world is much more connected to each other than we realize, and whatever happens in one part of the world can have direct or indirect effects on other parts as well. The sooner we understand it, the better. If I managed on achieving that, no matter how insignificance that number could be, I will take it as a success on my part and I can go to sleep every night as a happy man.

I have somehow figured out by now that what makes good sales. But in order to add few more sales, I am definitely not going to forget my own principles and ethics and change the core subject and value of my writing anytime soon. I will keep on writing as I have started out from the very beginning and will persevere. I might not be able to sell books in loads, but I know I will always be writing for a cause and that should be enough for me to continue writing as long as I like. I couldn’t ask for more!

TIM I GURUNG/AUTHOR AT ISSLCARE – http://www.timigurung.com

Are you still making these mistakes today as a writer ?

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After I started writing on book marketing, I do receive quite a lot of requests from other people and I found some of the writing quite appalling. With such a poor display of writing, you are not only killing your chances off right there but also getting yourself blacklisted as well for no reasons. Writing is an art, if you don’t know how to display that, at least try to be polite and this is where most would fail.

The basic rule of email writing is you should always start with a proper addressing, start with a nice greeting, put the main purpose of your writing on the middle and end the email with a few common lines of normal courtesy. When writing for the very first time, you should never address the person with his/her first name, especially when you are asking for a favor. The email should end with formal lines such as Best Regards, Best Wishes, or Your Sincerely etc. followed by your full name, proper address and contact details. Agreed, many writers don’t have business background but you don’t need business experiences to be polite and it is a pretty basic requirement. Some of the emails I received were like they were actually chatting with a chummy and had no respect whatsoever for formality as well as courtesy. I was instantly put off by many at beginning and didn’t feel at all like responding them. If you don’t care, why should I?

The other issue I found really irritating was the lack of reciprocation. We met, talked and sometime even worked together for a mutual goal and eventually went our own ways like fellow travelers in a journey. We have our own separate destination and sooner or later we must go our own way. Agreed! But if we try, we can make it a nice and memorable one and remember for life. A simple and tried policy of giving and taking can take us a very long way, I have always applied for giving first before taking anything from others and my experiences in this journey have mostly been well, disappointment. People mostly want to take, ignore and move on. It is more or less like a commodity that is mostly thrown away after being. It is a lopsided world and many people don’t even have a decency of saying thank you after someone had done something for them. It is like closing all the doors that you have tried so hard to open as you moved forward and ended up precisely at the same position as you were at the beginning. If you wanted to end up alone, why bother at the first place? I rather have those doors opened so whenever I feel like, I can go back and talk with them again.

Book’s review is probably one of the most important factors of writer’s life, it is like water to a fish and we all know how hard it is to obtain. It is an investment of time, money and commitment and an author has to go a long way to get a review. I had more than 3.5k downloads on one of my free-promo campaigns and hardly got some reviews at the end. And yet, most of the authors don’t understand this fact, let alone appreciate it. Whether it is due to ignorance, ego or being simply too self-centered, I don’t know for sure, but some of them just don’t get it. Despite my disliking, I tried to read and review many books from fellow authors and was hardly appreciated. Few of them didn’t even say thank you and I found no reason to carry on. I was simply trying to be helpful and I am certainly not going to waste my effort where it is not appreciated. You are not Rowling, Murakami or Rushdie, so, don’t act like them.

Despite all the shortcomings, I still helped many and will do so if you need one. I replied them not because of they were convincing but I am always in the giving mood by nature. If you are still making the same mistakes as others are doing today, it is about time you get some professional help from the outside. Here is a link for a starter, http://www.amazon.com/Gisela-Hausmann/e/B000APN192/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1467603728&sr=1-2-ent, read some of my fellow author Gisela Haumann’s books for guidance and you won’t be disappointed. Disclaimer: I have nothing to gain or have any agreements with the author, she doesn’t even know that I am actually doing it, and I am simply helping out a fellow author. Besides, it also happened to be the same subject matter as of my today’s blog and nothing more. All the best!

TIM I GURUNG/AUTHOR AT ISSLCARE – http://www.timigurung.com

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