On the one hand, the protesters - whether or not you agree with their message or tactics - appear to have convinced most locals, including members of the establishment, that Hong Kong needs fundamental change. That could be reflected in district council elections this weekend, in which pro-democracy candidates are expected to make major gains.
At the same time, the sense of fear around sharing one's opinion has been heightened. Restaurants and stores have been labeled as pro-protest or pro-police. Mainland Chinese residents and visitors are unnerved by increasingly anti-China rhetoric and action from some protesters, and people on both sides of the divide have been attacked.
Much needs to be done to rebuild trust in Hong Kong, not just in its institutions but also between its citizens. The current stalemate can only be addressed via dialogue - as the saying goes, "you can only make peace with your enemies."
Hong Kong is by no means doomed: a better city - not just a return to the status quo before the protests - is possible. The city can even become a role model for how a society, after decades of creating great economic disparity and disenfranchising the majority, can be reformed.
The path forward starts with dialogue: a point stressed by speakers at the recent Hong Kong Forward Alliance (HKFA) forum, with which I am involved. Even though most focus on dialogue between the government and the protests, there also needs to be dialogue between Hong Kong's people themselves: a point noted by international conflict resolution expert Michael Alar.
Despite a common stereotype of them as apathetic and money-driven, Hong Kongers are showing they have broader aspirations.
The views of Hong Kong people are also more nuanced than stories about the city's polarization imply. Even within Hong Kong's two political camps - the pro-Beijing, pro-business establishment and the pan-democratic opposition - there are diverging opinions on where Hong Kong should go, and how to get there.
Now is the moment to reach out and rebuild. As peace adviser Hannes Siebert noted at the forum, "there is a need for new mechanisms, both from the (city's leader) and from the students, because they have also reached their maximum power."
We should remember that Hong Kong has only been an autonomous region for 20 years. It is still a young political system. Many of the things advanced political system take for granted - rigorous public engagement, deep policy discussions, and mechanisms for civil debate across the political divide - still need to be developed here.
The spaces and forums where people can engage in safe, civil and private discussion about what the problems are, and how to resolve them, are still missing. These can be community centers, open spaces, private facilities, and other places, where community and social groups can bring together ordinary people for an open sharing of thoughts and opinions - behind closed doors, if need be and as and when they choose. This is lacking in a city where the price of renting spaces borders on extortion.
That post exemplifies the root of the problem - a historical legacy of centuries of propaganda based on the premise of European racial supremacy. It portrays the white colonial master that is the savior to the ever thankful poor black slave. Thank God, I’m an emancipated African - and I don’t worship at the feet of white gods - the Queen or the Governor, who are simply relics of outmoded colonialism built on the tenets of racist institutions of white supremacy that colonized and enslaved Africans for centuries.
As Bob Marley said, “Emancipate yourself from mental slavery,” because sometimes, “shit is just shit!”