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The ever changing political scenery of Hong Kong that keeps on surprising me!

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After the Chinese and the British had finally agreed on Hong Kong’s future back in 1984, the new term of ‘One country two systems’ was coined and the form of governance in post 1997 Hong Kong was duly established. But nobody knew for sure what it was going to be like and people had reasonable doubts on whether it was good for Hong Kong.

Hong Kong people were genuinely scared of red China, many rich and able ones had opted for a new passport and only the poor and feeble ones were left out without an escaping route. Doomsayers had predicted for a serious brain-drain problem hence putting the future of Hong Kong as an international financial hub in real danger.

As we all know, nothing of such calamity ever prevailed and Hong Kong still remains one of the best financial centers of the world even today. It has already been a little more than 19 years since the British had left Hong Kong and it is still going on as strong and vibrant as it was before 1997.

The new policy of ‘one country two systems’, the brainchild of China’s by then paramount leader, late Deng Xiao Ping, which means Hong Kong people ruling Hong Kong, seemed to be working pretty well hitherto and the initial doubts and fears of Hong Kong people had all but cleared by now for good.

However, the new phrase of ‘Hong Kong people ruling Hong Kong’ has been taken too literally by the Hong Kong people and everybody seems to have a go at it. Since the handover, almost everyone started complaining about almost everything, the streets were full of rallies and demonstrators, and activism filled up Hong Kong’s most weekends. Surprisingly though, there were hardly any grievances or demonstrations in Hong Kong when the Brits were still the colonial master.

Why such a sudden change? Pundits can certainly provide many explanations and there is no doubt at all that they can be right as well. But as far as I am concerned, one wise man got it quite right and his explanation was something like this. ‘When the Brits were ruling Hong Kong, nobody dared to speak out. Now, it is the locals who are running the show and suddenly everybody found their lost courage. Why? Because the Brits were from different race but we are all from the same race now. People see no difference between themselves and the local leaders hence feel easy and comfortable to speak out.’ I couldn’t agree more.

Hong Kong leaders are not seasoned politician, they are mostly bureaucrats suddenly put on the limelight through connections and sometime due favors. The top dog of Hong Kong incorporation is called chief executive of HKSAR or CE in short and elected by a coterie of 1200 elitists favored by Beijing. The 1st CE of HKSAR, Tung Chi Hwa, resigned due to health issue but the real reason was the failure of implementing article 23, the security law targeting subversion and sedition. The 2nd CE, Donald Tsang was embroiled in alleged bribery charges and his chief secretary is still in prison. The 3rd and current CE, CY Leung is probably one of the most disliked persons in Hong Kong and the next election for CE is due on 2017.

But the real show of discontent, disagreement and disrespect is utterly displayed in the chamber of legislative council, the top body of lawmakers in Hong Kong and people got to see it almost in a daily basis. Despite being elected through geographical and constitutional constituencies, the 70 legislatures are mostly divided into two groups – the pro and the opposition camp, and my God how they fight like spoilt children throwing banana, water bottle and files at each other when epithets were not powerful enough.

Everything boiled over in 2014. People took the streets in sheer frustration and almost paralyzed the city for the next 79 days. The civil disobedience movement started as ‘Occupy Central’ and got a new name as ‘Umbrella Movement’ at the end. It was quite a phenomenon by itself that it actually happened at the first place. Most importantly, it gave Hong Kong students the first taste of politics as well as activism and it was for the very first time ever they had played such a big role in shaping Hong Kong’s political scenes. They were the undesignated leaders of the new movement and made to shine before they were actually ready. It was quite an achievement for a city like Hong Kong where money talks the most and ‘Umbrella movement’ has given other name as well for Hong Kong.

But at the same time, the movement also laid bared other weaknesses as well as immaturity of our current political system. The movement was a mess, leaderless and rudderless all at the same time, and the participants were left alone and unguided at the latter part of the campaign. They were mostly of their own and did as they liked. The organizer of occupy central and its so called three leaders were nowhere and left the movement earlier when others stayed on. The pan-democrats, the opposition camp was nowhere to be seen as well, so, the new and inexperienced students’ leaders were forced to lead the campaign at the end. However by then, it had already lost its value.

The biggest loser of the ‘Occupy Central’ movement was the pan-democrats and many had lost their mandates as politician as well. The scandal of being allegedly enrolled by media tycoon Jimmy Lai didn’t help them at all and seriously harmed their name. It left a vacuum in the political stratum and new aspirations had to come in from somewhere before it could fill up the void.

Here come the new breed of political groups and activists, also known as localist, which are brutally loudest and propagate for a completely new Hong Kong that has less to do with China. Bring in overly-hyped media onto the game, add western hypocrisy on top of that, and what we will have at the end is a very loud, hot and overly excited crowd that will do almost anything to make themselves popular.

Independent was a taboo in Hong Kong and nobody dared to talk about it until recently. But now people not only talk openly about independent Hong Kong but also freely advocate about it and nobody seemed to worry much about the consequence. The recent election of two new legislatures from the localist camp and the oath-taking-fiasco they had created is the testament of Hong Kong that time is changing.

However, people have completely forgotten about one very important point and that is China’s patience. Many might not agree but barring from the booksellers case, China has been extremely tolerant towards Hong Kong, it has duly kept its promises with less interference since the handover, and I must say, that is quite commendable as well as surprising.

As we all know China is on the rapid ascension now, unity and integration of Chinese people is the main priority of the rising nation, and separation or disintegration is the last thing it wants to hear for now. Needless to say, what is happening in Hong Kong nowadays is a serious issue and it shouldn’t be taken lightly.

If China loses its patience tomorrow and really come for you, trust me, you will have nowhere to hide, and no power from the world can save you. What’s more, all of those so called supporters or sympathizers of yours will be the first one on the plane home. They are all here for a temporary basis, but you will be staying here for life.

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

How I Learned to Interpret The Meaning of my Own Dreams in Those Years?

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As we all have dreams while in sleep, we don’t pay that much attention on them and we do mostly forget about it after we woke up. Dreaming can be both common and surreal at the same time. Sometime it is good and interesting, the other time it is bad and even scary. But they are too sketchy and nonsensical in most cases and manifest nothing more than a myriad of blurry visions that holds not much significance in our daily life. We mostly remember the scary ones for quite sometime though, especially when we are young but it won’t last for that too long anyway hence no importance.

Having said that however, dreams can still hold great significance in our life and paying attention on our dreams can be really helpful sometime. It works like a premonition, sort of intuition or presage like if I must say, and can save unnecessary hassles in our life. You might not believe it but it is quite true that I have somehow learned to interpret the meaning of my own dreams in those years and trust me they have been pretty accurate as well as helpful. Of course, I cannot probe for others but I am only writing from my own experiences and believe that if you pay more attention in your dreams, you can find some patterns of particular dreams and easily interpret them.

Here are few examples of mine that might amaze you but are true.

1. Flying – It is a very common form of dream and almost everybody knows its meaning. If you were flying in your dream, it means you are still growing and only children of growing up age tend to have such dream. It also is said to be the reason why grownups won’t be having such dreams anymore.
2. Seeing fish – If I see a fish or fishes in my dream, the next day I get cold and it is pretty accurate as well.
3. Seeing fire or visiting toilet – It is the worse of them all. Each time I saw one of such dreams, I know I am in trouble and no matter how cautious I am, I always end up arguing with someone.
4. Touching someone’s feet – It is a common tradition of Nepalese people, we do touch elder’s feet to show our respect and blessing. But whenever I saw this particular dream, I always end up receiving bad news or got blamed for something that I wasn’t responsible for.
5. Riding a galloping horse, crossing a bulging river, and climbing a majestic hill – They all portent for a good result, especially when I am waiting for any and the particular dream seen just before the waking up is the most accurate one. Needless to say, whenever I was waiting for some results, whether it was at school or in life, I always had some sort of indication from my dreams and I somehow knew the final outcome beforehand.
6. Running downhill – It means only one thing – bad news or failure.
7. Misc. – Seeing gold bullion, pile of white rice and abundance of fruits were all for good omen. In contrary, seeing a dead relative, being lost or panicked, showering with bundles of money and got beaten up by unknown people were all for bad. Some people believe in opposite effects of the dream but for me it is not.
Just like everybody else, I didn’t pay much attention to my dreams at the beginning but when the patterns started repeating itself again, I was intrigued and started paying more attention before finally believing it.

I am neither a psychologist nor a dream doctor, I am just a writer and as I always say, I just write from my own experiences. Needless to say, different people have different habits as well as characters and I won’t be surprised if this sounds totally irrelevant or unheard of for others. This is the account based on my own experiences at the best and nobody has to believe in it. All I am trying to do here is to share my experiences and if you are still reading this now, my aim of writing this piece is duly achieved. Meantime, maybe you should start paying more attention on your dreams as well, who knows? It might have some pleasant surprises for you too!

Thank you so much for your time, all the best and take care!

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

Why New Migrants Always Fail to Integrate Into The Mainstream Society?

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Thanks to globalization, migration has become a global phenomenon and people are always in the move. Some migrate for family reunion, other move for job, pleasure or new venture. But most people move from one nation to another for better life and economic migrants are said to be the main reason why people move in such great numbers.

Barring irredentism, migration is always a very hard journey and many will fail along the road. Starting a new life in a foreign country is extremely hard. It is not only the language, tradition, and custom that are different but also the whole damn way of life as well. And everything has to be restarted new from the scratch again. One’s entire life can slither away while trying to adjust oneself to the new surroundings.

But the hardest part of them all is the stereotyped perception that the locals harbor about the new migrants and it said to be the main reason why new migrants always fail to integrate into the mainstream society. The locals dislike, denigrate and discriminate against the new migrants; the laws and systems of the new land itself unfairly treat new migrants; and the locals not only believe but also behave as superior to the new arrivals. As a result, the mainstream society will not only ignore, bully and look down to the new arrivals but also segregate them. It would eventually create an invisible barrier between the two and make the process of integrating into the main society very hard.

The systematic policy of discrimination and disparity creates an unfair society and avoids better opportunity to the new arrivals. As a result, the new arrivals end up doing lowly odd jobs and rarely prosper in their newly adopted home. Lack of opportunity and successes not only frustrate them but also make them sad and homesick. It is about time when they feel unwelcomed as well as unwanted and will start seeking out for changes.

First of all, they will start searching out for their own type, make friends and create association for a long term goal. It will start with families and friends, and then origin of place, village and area, followed by hobbies, professions and connections. Individuals will become groups, groups will become communities and communities will become institutions. Only then, the locals will start noticing the very existence of such communities as a whole and treat them better if not as equals.

If the numbers of such new migrants are substantially big and they managed to unite as one, it can become a powerful institution and can fight and protect for its own rights, benefits and identities. It is the only way of making the locals listen for their needs and the key word is always ‘United as one’. If not, it will be just too insignificant for the local authority to pay any attention towards them.

In search of new home and respect in the society, the new arrivals will have no choice but to start creating a small nation within the nation and it will keep them away from the mainstream society. They will try finding new hope, success and meaning of life within their small world and learn to be happy with it.

But it comes with a price. As the chance of being integrated with the mainstream society will be lost once and for all, they will never become the part of the new nation as a whole and having such pockets of unknown and foreign element within the society is risky. Everything will be just fine as long as they are happy. But as well know, it is mostly at the bottom tiers of the society where vices flourish and give room for troubles including homemade terrorism.

Frustration, resentment and delusion are the main roots of evil. If not handled with care, it can easily become a serious problem for any society. Relevant parties should heed and help support the new migrants in the best possible way so they can integrate with the mainstream society. As the saying goes, ‘Precaution is always the better cure’ and we should never take the plights of those new migrants so lightly.

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

The Dilemma of a Modern-Day Writer!

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If we had a choice, we would rather be writing all the time. After all, we are writers. I am sure that we all would have the same answer. We all thought that writing was the hardest part initially. If we write, readers will come eventually. As the saying goes, we believe in it and started weaving our dream around it.

If we had a choice, I would rather not write for money or fame. After all, we are not only intellectual but also weird bunch and we pay more significance on artistic than materialistic value. We love to say that, how good it sounds, isn’t it? And self conscience and righteousness run in our blood like a river. A true writer never writes for money. We not only preach about it but also strongly believe in such principles and try to apply that as well in real life.

Had it been that easy, perhaps every person who has aspiration of writing would have been successful and nobody has to be disappointed in life again. Having said that this is still true in some extent, this is what we actually believe at the beginning of our writing career and if you find yourself in a similar position, you are not alone. We all have been there. If someone says otherwise, he/she is lying.

As I have always been saying and will say it again here, I never write as an expert, I only write through my experiences and this one is no exception. This piece is also intended for the new writers and mostly self-published ones like me and if you are a traditionally published writer, you are probably on the wrong page my friend and you might not want to continue reading it for obvious reason. I am not a traditionally published writer by choice, I don’t have experiences on traditional publishing and I don’t pretend about it.

Whether you are traditionally or self-published writers, one thing is pretty certain though. And that is, the real situation of writers has certainly changed in great deals in recent years. Internet and digitalization have revolutionized the publishing industry. Nowadays, anyone with a computer and internet connection can become a writer overnight. The market is overly crowded, competition is tough and hardly anyone can differentiate the good books from the not-so-good ones.

I have already said it before and will repeat it here again. According to statics, only 5-10% out of total writers makes big, 20-30% survives on providing services to the fellow writers, and the remaining bunches are only there for making up the numbers. The statics for the self-published writers are even worse, we don’t have big publishers with huge financial muscles and distribution clouts behind us, and as a result, only a very few can make it to the top and live a successful life.

That is only possible if we have enough time, money and passion with solid marketing plan and bucketful of luck.

It is all about discoverability, good writing and plenty of luck. You have to do a lot of things at once for maximum exposure and they have to be working very well as well. It is the reason why you need a solid marketing plan before the book launch and if you are a writer with no marketing background, you have a real problem here. In such cases, we have no choice but to rely on others but unfortunately most paid ads just don’t work.

Most of the writers I have noticed are coming from a single demography – the retirees and we are mostly, shall I say as mildly as possible, tend to be a tech-unfriendly. Needless to say, everything nowadays is done in computer and computer-savvy-person certainly has an upper hand to the luddites like us. Algorithm is said to be the holy grail of Amazon ranking, I have seen people who have made six figures through playing with it, and it is certainly not all about good writing.

It would be great if we could reach that status as well, a bestselling author title won’t hurt, but that is not what we are expecting from our writing. If we can sell a dozen of books in a day, a lot of folks like me would be more than happy. But even that seems to be a farfetched task for most of us and being tech-unfriendly also didn’t help much as well. But don’t worry. You are not alone.

If necessity is mother of all inventions, I think, desperation is mother of all excuses. I have seen writers shamefully pimping, begging and cajoling on social media like paupers. And if it wasn’t desperation, what is it then? I do certainly understand their position. We all want people to read our works and help spread the words. But we are writers, we have our self-pride, dignity as well as ethics, and we should know our limitation. If we don’t respect our own self, nobody will.

It also is the reason why I never write about sex, vulgarity, and malevolence.

Writing is the easiest part, the real works start after we have finished the actual writing and it is where many would struggle. Being a modern-day writer is not easy and we have to know about many things besides writing. And the dilemma actually begins when we have to keep on upgrading ourselves in a regular basis. Upgrade? What upgrade?

Until next week, keep writing and upgrade yourself as well!

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

5 Basic Points You Need to Consider Before Publishing Any Book!

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Thanks to Amazon, book publishing has become very easy and anyone from any corner of the world with a computer and internet can do that with just a few simple clicks. Anybody can be a writer these days, even cats and dogs, and that is actually not a bad thing after all. But vanity has its own limitation, it comes with a very short expiry date and your fifteen minutes fame can come and go in a blink of an eye.

However, if you are a serious writer with firm belief, determination and passion, you have to come up with much better plans than a vanity writer and be well prepared to grind it through. Writing is undoubtedly one of the harshest professions, it is also much neglected as well as unappreciated one, and eking out a living out of writing is needless to say extremely hard.

Experts say, only 5-10% of the writers make decent living through actual writing, half of them earn living through catering other wannabe writers, and the rests are just there to make up the numbers. If I were to talk from the heart, I have hardly seen a writer with an easy and comfortable life. It might be wrong but statics don’t lie.

You bled to write the book, got a nice cover and finally downloaded on Amazon’s site. Your job is done, all you have to do now is to wait and start reaping the rewards that you deserve. If you think that way, sorry to inform you that but you will be hugely disappointed. There are millions of books out there in the market, tens of thousands of more new books adding up in a daily basis, and readers are spoiled with choices.

In fact, writing is the easiest part, the real work starts after you have finished the actual writing and sadly it is where most writers like you and me fail. There must be thousands of reasons why we fail or succeed. Besides hard work, perseverance and good connection, luck also plays a big role and there are only few things that one can do as a writer.

Anyway, these are the five basic points that need to be considered before any publication.

1. Book’s title – We writers usually make up our mind with the first title and hardly tend to change it later on. It is sort of emotional thing and tweaking on our original work is like playing with our own emotions which is needless to say, very hard. But having a nice, catchy and interesting title can be a big plus, experts say and I tend to agree with them as well. Books with long and uninspiring title can turn people off and they won’t be reading your book again. Therefore, putting a little bit of effort on your book’s title might pay off at the end.
2. Book’s cover – Don’t judge the book by its cover! We must have heard it almost hundred times but people actually judge book by its cover. We also say ‘first impression is the last impression and that turned out to be quite true as well. A nice and attractive cover can make that decision easy and sell more books. That’s why we should pay more attention on book cover and hire a professional. It doesn’t mean you have to break the bank, there are plenty of very good and reasonable book cover makers out there and all you have to do is ask your author friends or search on the internet.
3. Sample page – Sample page is only needed when you apply for a pre-order launch at Amazon, it means the book is only available in later days, and you haven’t put the whole manuscript there yet. It is like a teaser, a trailer like for a movie, and people would order your book after looking at the sample page. Therefore, it has to be catchy, interesting and a very nicely written piece. This is certainly not an easy for all, even great writers can struggle and we are just the beginners. All I am saying here is we just have to give our best. Once your book is published, the first few pages of your book will be your sample page. That’s editing is very important and you should never publish a book without proper editing. There are many editors out there, choose the best one as per your need and don’t go for the low price. You should never skip on the editing part.
4. Description – Description is probably the most important part of book selling. It has to be not only appropriate, pithy and brilliantly written but also very enticing as well and make people wanting to read your book. People mostly make the decision after reading the description and the writing should help make their decision easier. But of course, it is easier said than done. I have already made few changes on my books and I still have to perfect it. Experts say, the best way to write a good description is to check on the books of top sellers from your genre, see how they have written the description of their books and learn from them. If not, hire a professional content writer and hope for the best.
5. Price – It is undoubtedly the most important factor of book selling. Don’t make the same mistake like I did when I published my first books. My books were priced at $9.99 for e-book, I did actually check on the famous writers and their books were priced at $15-$16 per e-book and I genuinely thought that my price was reasonable. Needless to say, I was way off the mark, e-book by a new writer like me shouldn’t cost more than $2.99 at the highest, and believe it or not, most books sold today as e-books are priced at $0.99, $1.99 and $2.99. Therefore, if you don’t want to get stuck there at the bottom, don’t price yourself out of the market from the very beginning. Experts say, the best starting point is at $0.99, and then raise the price up in a gradual manner as your readers grow.

Hope this was helpful.
Gentle reminder: Please note that I never write as an expert, I only write as my own experiences and you should take it only as a reference. Thank you for the reading!

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