The Coming Dawn: employment for protesters
'The Coming Dawn' is both the name of a business and a reference to the 'new day' that Hong Kong (HK) protesters optimistically look forward to.
The following article based on an exclusive interview first appeared online, April 4, 2020 as an Exclusive Special Report:
The Coming Dawn HK Finds Jobs for Protestors: Routing Business for All Aspects of Life to Yellow Economic Circle
Ever since the protests began in HK six months ago, many protestors have lost their jobs whether because they devoted their time to protest activities or because of political differences with their bosses. Mr. R and Ms. C created The Coming Dawn Everything House to train protestors and find employment for them, in the hope of fulfilling all aspects of life by principled businesses, thus living out the “Yellow First” philosophy.
“The Coming Dawn” refers to the darkness before the dawn.
“Everything Houses” seek to provide all products and services. Recently-launched, The Coming Dawn Everything House has already fulfilled 60 orders/requests. Tsuen Wan District Councillor Lester Shum once hired an A/C cleaner from The Coming Dawn.
The protest movement is its own animal, switching from street-level protests to business-level protests. The “Yellow Economic Circle” sprung from the restaurants and now encompasses various businesses. Ms. C, wanting to contribute more to the protest movement, once considered creating a dioxin detector. But she ended up creating a self-perpetuating business—The Coming Dawn.
Mr. R and Ms. C both believe in independence. In naming their everything house, they harkened back to 2016 when Edward Leung stated during a rally: “The darkness before the dawn is the most [bleep] dark. But the dawn is coming. The entire corrupt government will be overturned.” Mr. R believes that, during HK’s past few years of political unrest, it was the anti-ELAB movement that pushed HK toward the dawn. Therefore, they named their everything house “The Coming Dawn.”
Offering matching services with a conscience to customers.
The Coming Dawn matches customer needs with protestors who can fill those needs. Mr. R and Ms. C are responsible for finding protestors who have expertise or experience in the service that each customer is seeking. They are looking to match customers with those who can provide professional, high quality services so that protestors may practice their professions or trades and earn a living with dignity.
So far, The Coming Dawn has provided a broad range of services, including remodeling, transport, air conditioner sanitation, performances, design, and hobby classes. They hope to use the everything house to redistribute the wealth, and hope to establish a “Yellow Work Union” through their hobby classes so that protestors can learn a trade and even get certified to increase their chances of getting hired.
Mr. R believes that the Yellow Economic Circle is the public’s support system, because the protest movement requires funding. He candidly states: “In the past, people were against the Establishment and boycotted blue shops, Maxim’s, and Genki Sushi. We used to think it was impossible. I mean, remember when you had to take a ticket to get into Genki and how long you had to wait? But then, we realized that businesses with a conscience could be established, and hoped that everyone could change their habits so that all aspects of life could be supported by our own [protestors]. Not one cent should flow to the opposition.
We should even earn the money that would have gone to blue shops.” Mr. R also stated that, “Even if the DAB party seeks out my services, I would fulfill that order.”
Ms. C believes that, besides marching on the street, protesting can take many other forms, including promoting businesses with consciences so that every aspect of life could be supported by those businesses. She looks forward to “independents” joining all ranks and professions of society.
Personally investing in The Everything House and refusing to rely on in-app purchases.
Mr. R and Ms. C candidly admitted that, as a consequence of the movement, “we have given up on two to three sets of airline tickets because we were in no mood to travel.” Their work developing The Everything House was done without compensation; rather, they had to personally invest in The Everything House.
When the two consult with customers to match them with protestors with the relevant expertise, the two do not earn a commission. They rely only on the profit from sales of “Reclaim Hong Kong, Revolution of our Times” banners to cover expenses. Even though this revenue stream is unstable, they do not encourage the use of in-app purchases because this mode of business is unhealthy.
Both have a day job and use only their off-hours to maintain The Everything House. They personally contact every single protestor to help them with resumes, and have developed a nose for uncovering each protestor’s hidden talents. Faced with protestors who are like a blank page, they are also responsible for training, revising resumes, and even pay to ensure that protestors can ultimately earn a living on their own.
After matching a protestor with a customer, they follow up to understand each protestor’s working conditions and to ensure their quality of service. They also follow up with customers to confirm their satisfaction. These tasks basically take up all of their time off. Even during their day jobs, half of that time is spent handling matters related to The Everything House. After hours, they are completely immersed in working for The Everything House. They laughingly state, “This work for The Everything House is what I consider my full time job!”
Currently, they have contacted about 70% of the protestors who have applied for jobs - around 300 people. They have successfully matched about 60 protestors with customers.
Ms. C remembers the first time she successfully matched a protestor to a customer, a hair salon. “I was so happy, and the protestor regained his/her confidence. The customer was satisfied. Even though it was a rush job, I was very happy and touched. I couldn’t sleep that night.” When they talk about successful matches, they can’t help but smile, praising a protestor’s design of a gaming app as “high quality,” and mentioning a band composed of all HKers that will be using an image created by a matched protestor for their album cover.
“The Yellow Economic Circle is investing money to construct the tomorrow that you want to see. It’s not just about protesting. We have to work, too!”
Reporting by Chou Lok-yiu, Ho Ka-yan
According the The Coming Dawn's Facebook page, services offered include: translation; transcription; illustration; graphic design; web design; interior design; modern art design; computer design and repair; A/C repair and sanitation; piano lessons; musical performance; vaudeville shows; film production; activity planning and photography; hobbyists. Special Chinese New Year offering: scroll writing.
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