This morning, I was reading the comments of the apology letter posted by Versace to kill some time before lunch. I didn’t read all of them obviously, but only the several dozens on the top at the time. It’s actually not surprising to notice that only very a few of them are focusing on the facts while the majority of them were just solely expressing their emotions.
In case you missed out what happened in the last a few days, Versace was found mistakenly listed Hong Kong as well as Macau on a T-shirt as an independent sovereignty instead of a special administrative region of China, which is regarded as inappropriate considering nowadays international situation. In light of the series of ongoing events (riots or protesters, whatever you call it) during the last two months in Hong Kong, some people are planning to make Hong Kong independent from its own country for some reason. That’s kind of the background.
Anyway, among those comments you could easily divide them into two distinct groups. Both sides are doing nothing but yelling at each other with the words you can easily imagine. However, no one can persuade each other and apparently they both think their side is “winning”.
Before I elaborate on my own judgment, please first allow me to tell a little story that may or may not be relevant.
A few days ago I was going to get a new pair of tires for my car, and it’s the first time ever I got to deal with such thing, so I talked to my families and friends in China about that. Surprisingly, they all coincidentally reminded me to put the new pair of tires in the front, so that when I steer I won’t lose control of the vehicle with new tires, and that generally is how it’s done in China. However, they all seemed a little astonished when I informed them that in U.S. people put new tires on the rear axis, and it’s for the exactly same reason, since the slippery rear wheels will indeed cause the vehicle to lose control if you think about it.
I didn’t argue with any of them of cause, because it’s obvious that both sides have their own rationales and no conclusion could be soundly drawn without some proper experiments/simulations/calculations, or further researches, which is beyond my ability and interest. Besides, arguing, like the comments I saw in the post mentioned at the beginning, is not going to help anything, it should have been facts instead of emotions that help people make choices. However, I do need to make a decision on who I should listen to given the information I had at the time.
The decision is exclusive, since if you put new tires in the front, you won’t be able to put them in the rear, and the decision does seem to affect the safety of the vehicle greatly, because you might literally lose control.
In my point of view, such debate about the tires somewhat resembles to what’s going on recently in Hong Kong. Both sides are astonished by the other’s view, and they are exclusive. Both sides believe in what they were told before, and the believe itself is supported by rationales. Besides, arguing or debating apparently solves no problem here due to continuously emotional escalation on both sides. So, what went wrong?
That’s actually beyond my scope and I have no idea how to express my view on that. However, my basic point is that, people must reach to a point where they can safely assume everyone is not out of mind and woule like to talk to each other. After that, if something I don’t understand occurs, I have to acknowledge myself where my own prejudice lies and how I can reach to theirs.
In real life, I think most of the people do know how to stand in others shoes, but when it comes to ideology, many people seem to be going crazy. Everyone involved was trapped inside a bubble with one-sided mirror, and many (rhetorically, not statistically) of them doesn’t even aware of the existence of this bubble. They don’t seem to express the intention of finding a common ground.
Another subtle thing I noticed today when I search for Hong Kong is that, on Weibo, I was actually able to find videos of violent behavior of both polices and protestors. However, on Twitter, instead, I could only find the video of police hitting people but no trace of outraged protestors illegally attacking the police. The only sources of the video clips in favor of police that I could find were those posted by Chinese official medias, and in the comments you can easily find the complains about the objectivity and neutrality issue of the source were repeatedly raised, which you would never find in other “freedom advocating” medias when they were posting the opposite ideological contents.
My engineering background told me that if one is going to compare things according to the metrics, the same standard should be applied to all relevant objects. Otherwise the measurement would not be credible, and I think it is an universally accepted rule.
Anyhow, do you wonder what I did with my tires in the end? I put them in the rear, because that’s how it has been done for ages here in the U.S. where I currently live, and it won’t hurt anyway.