For days, residents chatted excitedly among themselves in the apartment complex where I'm staying, while cops watched wearily from their patrol cars just outside the gate. The compound is perhaps the most expensive in the neighborhood, beautifully landscaped with lush plants and flowers and with a tiny muddy river running through it.
The agitation came from the river--the government wants to clean up the river and turn the banks into public recreation areas with boat docks and bike tracks. Not a bad idea considering how polluted the river is right now. But the residents are angry--as property owners, they had not been consulted before being told that walls would be built along the banks and their apartment compound's land would shrink.
That would decrease the value of our property! One resident seethed.
Owners' association organized late-night planning meetings and public rallies. Huge banners unfurled from the top of the tallest building proclaiming the residents' "strongest resistance." On Saturday afternoon during a rally a resident was arrested after an altercation with a plainclothes cop. More confrontation. Riot police was called in. The intersection was jammed.
A resident said that he had taken photos of the plainclothes cop and he would post it on the Internet. Another chimed this is our property, they can't do whatever they want here; doesn't the government want a harmonious society; we are all for harmony here! (A beer-bellied cop chuckled awkwardly nearby.)
A day later I came down the building and saw two cops helplessly surrounded by angry residents again. Many were yelling "get off our property," "you don't have any right to be here." Even a kid learned fast--"Get out, cop!" he screamed at the top of his voice.
It's exciting that finally one hears some angry voices up close. Only confrontation begets negotiation which begets some semblance of true harmony.
Let one hundred voices bloom.