Alvin In The Room: Journal

Instagram Pier


In the city full of high-rise buildings, pressure and control, you can't imagine there are some places nearby to escape from the above. One of it is so amazing! In black and white words, it's a cargo working area with signs warning people not to enter the area. In fact, no one cares about what you do so you can ride a bike, sleep, chat with friends, take photos, do nothing (which is almost impossible in Hong Kong as hardworking is overemphasised) and anything else as they like. What does exist there is the true freedom with respect, and the other name of the place ‘Instagram Pier’ created by people.

The government does know many people regard there as the best public space in Hong Kong, so they plan to make a part of it ‘real’ by redesigning the area as a seaside park with fence. What is controversial between the government and the citizens is that the place seems to be controlled and ‘invaded’: it will be a park decided and ruled by the government and the experts (say architects, engineers...) chosen by the bureaucratic giant. The fences surrounding the area is already the first step. And then a series of unnecessary rules and the security guards who will monitor the citizens.

You can say what the government does is for people's good, like fences to ensure people's safety and rules to make a better and even enjoyable environment. You can say, in this perspective, that you shouldn't blame the government when they make a space for people. But we need to rethink if everything should be planned and controlled. Sometimes if you want to make something better, doing nothing is better than putting (excessive) efforts. So there is a Chinese philosophy called ‘Wu Wei’ (無為). Do you see more and more people learning how to protect themselves and managing a place well without any park rules? If you still think there is room for improvement, it is the law issue that they should remove the warning signs, it is the objective issue that the government should realize they're solving citizens' problems so they need to talk to the people in Instagram Pier, to see what people are doing. That's it.

 

在一個高樓、壓力和控制到處的城市,其實有一些可以暫時擺脫繁囂的地方。其中一個,白紙黑字說明這是貨物裝卸區而不得進入,但實際上沒人會理會你在騎單車、野餐、拍攝、聊天,甚至做與「獅子山精神」(努力、拼搏)所違背的放空。這裡有的是自由的空氣和互相尊重,還有人們對這裡的重新命名:Instagram Pier。

當政府知道這是人們所喜愛的公共空間後,就打算把部分範圍規劃做一個有圍欄的公園。既然指定了是公園或是海濱,這意味著政府部門和所內定的專家將會為市民決定一切,伴隨一大堆不必要的公園規則甚至監控市民的保安。

你可以說政府都是為市民好,就如圍欄都是確保市民的安全,規則確保理想的環境供市民享用,所以不應該反對政府的政策。我們是時候要想既然要更好,是否只有這樣的由官方主導和控制。而有時候,「無為」而治反而比做事會有效果。當你去Instagram Pier這個「無王管」的地帶時,環境沒有很亂、人們在學習如何保持地方清潔,做喜歡的事時不會打擾別人。如果真的有改善空間,也許就是把這裡的警告牌拆掉;政府官員既然是解決市民的問題,就應直接去到那邊跟人們聊天甚至自己一個來(但不是包場和帶保鏢)享受一下,看看為什麼人們會喜歡這裡。