Alan, a recent graduate from one of the local universities shares his thoughts on why he's helping out

Alan and his particular booth are part of the various networks of volunteer set-up of booths throughout the various protest locations distributing basic necessities. Alan and his particular booths are comprised of recent alumni of various local universities. They communicate mainly via walkie talkies and have been known on the ground as the walkie talkie-ers.

We are an independent group comprised of university students from the three universities : University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Polytechnic University and City University of Hong Kong. We are not HKFS. We are not here to voice our views. We are simply here to help by distributing necessities. We hope that the situation will not deteriorate. We have no comments.

I’ve been here at least four days. That booth over there close to the MTR exit is where I volunteer. I am one of those who hold on to a walkie talkie for communication and we’re known as the walkies. Just now, an ambulance needed to pass and we are still in a state of trusting emergency services. Though as a part of this group, we need to first confirm that the ambulance is an ambulance. There was an instance where an ambulance was not an ambulance and was used for transporting “certain people” instead. We also have to determine whether the ambulance has enough room to get to their destination and we try to facilitate that.

As for the movement, we do not know what the future holds. We just don’t want chaos. We want things to remain peaceful. Previously, Scholarism and the HKFS were both encouraging people to take further action to occupy the government. To be honest, I want none of that. I studied a professional degree, have already landed a job offer, and will be moving on to it really soon. I simply came here to help out my junior schoolmates. We set up this booth beside the MTR exit so that in case of an “emergency”, we would be able to get out from the scene. We want Hong Kongers to be calm and to remain peaceful. We should hope for the best and prepare for the worst. “Hong Kongers, we can do it!“

Translation and transcription : John Galt and Gengar Byte
Interviewed by : Gengar Byte
Interview Location : Central
Interview date : October 3 2014

The Walkie Talkies

Alan, a recent graduate from one of the local universities shares his thoughts on why he's helping out Alan and his particular booth are part of the various networks of volunteer set-up of booths throughout the various protest locations distributing basic necessities. Alan and his particular booths are comprised of...

Yury, in his mid-20s, shared with us his experience and thoughts on the Umbrella Movement on 16 October 2014:

I first went to Admiralty on 28th September 2014, the first day of the movement. Initially I was only planning to go there and have a look, because I heard from the radio and also some of my friends via WhatsApp about what the government had done to the students. When I reached Admiralty, the government started to close down the streets, and more and more people arrived and gathered.

I was standing on Gloucester Road near the government headquarter and close to the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. At that time, the police formed a human chain to surround some students, while people outside the chain became increasingly agitated. Many political figures also gathered outside to get information or to see whether they could get in. Later at night, when I was preparing to leave, I noticed that the situation closer to the frontline got more chaotic and then there was smoke [from police throwing CS canister] that could be seen from afar.

I only planned to show up for support and see what was happening there without really having a clear goal… till then. Afterwards, I calmed down and thought clearly over this. The idea of protecting the students came over me. You can see from the news that many students or minors went there and was hit by the tear gas, so I have continued to go back hoping that I could protect them. So far, I have stayed for around one-third of the entire period, and stayed overnight twice.

On one hand, I go there because I want to protect the students. On the other, I think the values that students are striving for are very noble – the pursuit of freedom through peaceful protest. I agree with their perseverance in “finding a way out” in the current political situation. Since I agree with them, I have to come out.

The most memorable things about this movement are the creativity demonstrated by participants and the peaceful nature of the movement. Usually when a large crowd gather, especially with students generally perceived as lack of self control and being fickle-minded, [it can be chaotic], but the students there have behaved in an opposite way. They are very calm and orderly, rational and efficient. When there is not a single person or organisation that can fully lead the movement, this is very precious and even rare. In addition, Hong Kong has been considered as a city lacking creativity and being very business-oriented. This movement has provided a space for people to think out of the box, as traditional ideas (such as in politics) have now been abandoned and creativity can finally flourish, shown by the creative use of “yellow umbrella” as a symbol in many different occasions.

This is not my first time joining protests, but it is my first time being so involved. I have been to the July 1st demonstration and so as the June 4th Commemoration. For the June 4th Incident, students at that time knew that they would be supressed, but they were still willing to come out and voice out their beliefs because they put their political pursuit over their life. To uphold and safeguard their principles, they were willing to sacrifice their life. Now, in Hong Kong some participants actually share a similar view: they put their values and beliefs over their safety. Just like my friends, they have stayed at the frontline, as they are willing to sacrifice their safety to achieve their goal.

Not all my friends are supportive of the movement though. Luckily, only one or two of them have expressed that they are against the movement because they only care about money, like the movement has hindered them from making money, which I understand it is indeed the case for some people. But I have still “unfriended” them [on facebook]. The problem is if they value money more than beliefs, then it’s hard for me to be friends with them anymore.

As violence has escalated, I do worry about my own safety every time I go to the protest, so as my family whom I’ve told every time before I go (apart from the very first time). However, even if I’m worried, when I know what I’m pursuing is remarkable, I would need to put my worries aside and continue in fighting for the cause.

I’m not optimistic about the future of this movement, because the government has taken a hard line in the issue. No mercy. It no longer regards the citizens as people whom they should be responsible to. When a government no longer has mercy, it could resort to violence or illegal means to solve problems. Currently I don’t see any reasons for the government to soften up. I believe that the movement will eventually end up in violent suppression or witness an increase in bloodshed. Regarding the accomplishment of students’ goal, I don’t think the chance is high.

From a cultural perspective, the movement has made certain people, especially students, more aware of political issues, as it is no longer something that they don’t care about. This awareness could be extended to history and other humanities. To a certain extent, the society is now in self-reflection, thinking about how it should go on, but since it involves many stakeholders with different interests, [the conflict of interest] has led to many violent incidents. Politically, it is also good for the political parties to learn more about planning and strategies in organising protests in the future.

I don’t think the movement has affected the fundamentals, core values, or even problems in Hong Kong. But as Leung Man-tao said, China has lost this generation of Hong Kong teenagers. When teenagers can’t achieve their pursuit of democracy, there are two things that they can do: retreat and do not care about the society anymore, or pursue it with a more radical approach. Both are not good for the society.

“It’s a matter of what you value most.”

Yury, in his mid-20s, shared with us his experience and thoughts on the Umbrella Movement on 16 October 2014: I first went to Admiralty on 28th September 2014, the first day of the movement. Initially I was only planning to go there and have a look, because I heard from...

Dear Mom and Dad,

Due to Occupy Central, our relationship has taken a turn for the worse. It has come to the point where you even expressed desires of disowning me. I am not sure how to respond to that, but the only thing I would like to let you know, is that I am sorry.

Sorry, mom and dad. I am sorry, however, I am not apologizing for doing something wrong, but because I know you love me, and I love you, too. This really is an unpredictable world, who would have thought that today, just because of the differences in our understandings on certain issues, I chose to disobey your orders, and refuse to do anything that contradicts my beliefs in order to be true to myself. I am sorry.

But don't you worry, I am no longer a toddler. I am well educated, and I know what should and should not be done. Everyone has their own convictions, one can choose to be oblivious about politics, and I can respect that, too. You are my kin, even though we have very different beliefs, I still respect you, and love you. You are irreplaceable. At the same time, I also want you to respect me, and love me in a way that is respectful. What I am doing here is not anything immoral. I am not expecting you to come stand beside me, but I hope you would let me live by my own beliefs. This is all that I wish for.

I was watching the live broadcast all day when the tear gas was fired. I was so distraught that I was not able to eat nor sleep. I rarely talk about politics with you, this is probably why you never knew how much resentment I have harboured all this time. You thought somehow I changed, maybe I was instigated by someone, and now I’m on the streets. No, that’s not how it happened. I rarely discussed politics because I know we stand on opposite sides and I don't want to argue with you. The real estate market is ridiculously high; our law and order is disrupted by mainland tourists with their smuggling[1]; the predatory practices of the Link REIT[2]; the inflation caused by the tyranny of real estate companies[3]; the MNE[4], the rejection of HKTV’s broadcast license application[5] while TVB monopolizes the industry; the cost of MTR rose even though their breakdown frequency also rose[6]; the legislative system is also broken[7]; even our government officials are becoming more corrupted as time goes by[8]. And yet, there are still more incidents that are not listed. Perhaps, you don’t have an opinion on these issues. Perhaps, in the time being, you don't see how these issues might affect your daily lives. But for a young person like myself, I can only see the future in an abyss of darkness. At this moment, the students are going through an immense number of tough situations to fight for a true democratic future. I sincerely hope that you would be willing to open up and understand them. You only need to come out here for one night and you will know that these students are here not because it is fun, not because it is new,not because it is exciting either, and they certainly are not getting paid. Everyone who comes out here has sacrificed something and has given his time, labour, sweat and perhaps more. This is simply because we fear. We fear that if we do not stand up for ourselves today, we will not be able to stand up for ourselves again tomorrow.

I know you have friends and family who may influence your views. They were born and raised in mainland China, and are used to avoiding politics. Perhaps, it is impossible to change their political views, but at least they know the injustice in mainland is caused by government corruption. If they didn't, why would they have emigrated to Hong Kong in the first place? Maybe they have forgotten the injustices of the past, but I am witnessing acts of injustice taking place in front of me right now. How could I stand by and watch Hong Kong become just like the rest of China? If our home becomes as corrupted as it is in the mainland, where else could I be fleeing to? My heart and gut tell me, I cannot just sit here and stay silent. Like most of the younger generation, we cannot stay silent anymore.

These are words from the bottom of my heart. I hope you can understand me. Actually, it does not matter whether you understand or accept my beliefs or not – I will always remember your love, and I will always love you regardless of your rejection. Over here at the protest, Beyond's song “Under A Vast Sky” will often rang. Maybe you guys do not understand the meaning behind the lyrics, but they have another song that I am sure you will understand. It's called “Really Love You”.

(It is) a pair of hands with little decorations 無法可修飾的一對手
(it is) always bringing warmth from behind 帶出溫暖永遠在背後
even though annoying at times but (it) always cares 縱使囉唆始終關注
(I) would regret if (I) do not treasure (it) 不懂珍惜太內咎
She never acknowledge (me) being drunk in music 沉醉於音階她不讚賞
(Her) motherly love however, never ceded 母親的愛卻永未退讓
(I am) determined to break through the struggles inside (my) heart 決心衝開心中掙扎
to finally pay back (her) love and kindness 親恩終可報答
(Like) the spring breeze and shower warming my heart 春風化雨暖透我的心
Giving (me) the caring of a lifetime without using any words 一生眷顧無言地送贈
(It is) your kind eyes 是妳多麼溫馨的目光
that taught me to look at the front resolutely 教我堅毅望著前路
reminded me not to give up upon tripping 叮囑我跌倒不應放棄
How to repay family love is not something explainable 沒法解釋怎可報盡親恩
(but) love’s all-acceptance is infinite 愛意寬大是無限
Please just let me say (I) really love you 請准我說聲真的愛妳
(I) still remember that pair of kindhearted hands 仍記起溫馨的一對手
who continued to cared for me and never changed 始終給我照顧未變樣
(My) dream finally came true today 理想今天終於等到
(I) wish (I) can share that honour (with you) 分享光輝盼做到

P.S. Recently, I heard that a lot of youngsters were quarreling with their parents, some asked me what should they tell their parents. I deeply felt for them, I pictured a younger me and what I would tell my parents, and wrote this article. In fact, what one said is not that important in this scenario. There are many flaws in words and language, it is easy for the listener to misinterpret what one really meant. In my opinion, the most important thing here, is love; since expressing love, never needed a word.

My mother was also someone who escaped mainland China a long time ago, and came to Hong Kong. She rarely spoke about politics- she did not even understand politics, and I know that she would never be able to understand my reasonings either. However, this is not important at all. The important thing is that, when she was still around, she loved me very much and cared for me alot. I would like to present the song mentioned in this article to my mother as well, who is now in heaven.

Author: Yip Yat-Chee
Translation: Gengar Byte & C Lee
Publication Date of Original: October 10, 2014
Publication Date of Translation: November 11, 2014
Trackback: 佔領時刻:給爸媽的信

1: In 2003, the Individual Visit Scheme (港澳個人遊, more commonly known as 自由行) was initiated to boost the tourism industry in Hong Kong. Although this scheme had adversely improved the tourism industries, it also brought numerous negative social impacts, such as anchor babies, smuggling, black labour and rise in other criminal activities.
2: The Link Real Estate Investment Trust (Link REIT, more commonly known as 領匯) had gained a bad reputation for their project, Assessment Enhancement Initiative.
3: The real estate system in Hong Kong is believed to be structurally broken, allowing the real estate developers to dominate the economy.
4: The Moral and National Education (abbr. MNE) was a class curriculum published in 2012 by the Education Bureau of Hong Kong, to replace the current Moral and Civil Education class (abbr. MCE). The curriculum was controversial due to its focus of “strengthen national education”, and was deemed to be an attempt of brainwashing school children with the communist and nationalist ideologies.
5: The successor to City Telecom Limited, Hong Kong Television Network Limited (commonly known as HKTV) attempted to apply for a television broadcast license since 2009. In 2013, they finally managed to make the application but was later rejected by the Communication Authority of Hong Kong on alleged grounds of regulatory capture, as other license applicants had closer ties with government officials. The rejection is widely considered to be a case of social injustice.
6: Abbreviation for Mass Transit Railway. In 2008, the MTR contracted a mainland manufacturer called Changchun Railway Vehicles Co Ltd. to build its trains. Put into commission in 2011, the trains received bad reviews and the frequency of train breakdowns exceeded that of the preceding trains. Despite this, MTR fares rose and caused widespread consternation amongst the Hong Kong public.
7: The Hong Kong Legislation Coucil (abbr. LegCo) members are elected through two systems, the Geographical Constituencies (GCs) and the Functional Constituencies (FCs). While the GCs seats are elected through a democratic election system, with universal suffrage and a "one man, one vote" system, most of the FCs seats are not. The election system of the FCs seats not only allow coporate voting, it is even possible for some voters to vote twice if they fall into the category of two functional groups. The FCs system is also criticized for giving some minorities too much power and influence.
8: Despite assertions of multiple cases of government corruption, none of them have been investigated due to political intimidation from the Hong Kong government, including Chief Executive Chun-Ying Leung.

In the Time of the Occupy - A Letter to Mom & Dad

Dear Mom and Dad, Due to Occupy Central, our relationship has taken a turn for the worse. It has come to the point where you even expressed desires of disowning me. I am not sure how to respond to that, but the only thing I would like to let you...

Anita Mui & Leslie Chueng

After I shared the following piece of writing, “The Meaning of a Uniform[1]”, on Facebook, a friend whom I have known for over 10 years, unfriended me. I understand that this is because he is against occupy central. Although we are just acquaintances, we were acquainted for such a long time and had knew each other from our youth, I would not have thought that our relationship would come to an end because of this occupy movement.

My friend is a hardcore fan of Leslie Cheung (張國榮), his dream of life was to become a singer and sign to the label, Capital Artist [2]. Of course, that never happened. After years of wrestling in the business world, he became a stereotypical Hong Kong middle class: now he lives in a luxury apartment, on the higher floors with a view of the sea as well; he travels to foreign countries a few times per year, and had already been to a lot of places. He also enjoyed practicing photography with his luxury camera during those trips. Sometimes, he would stop by a local store and see if he could find a record of Leslie Cheung, as if he is searching for the lost memories of the 80s.

I often imagine, if Leslie Cheung and Anita Mui (梅艷芳) were still alive, would they come to the occupy sites and support the participating citizens and students? It is undoubtable that Mui would do so. She had always been a person who had no fear of the authorities and had been a protector of the weak. A magazine once published nude photos of Carina Lau (劉嘉玲) being abused; Mui consolidated 10 unions of movie workers and performance artists, published a declaration titled “Unacceptable by both the heaven and earth”, and organized a march to the government headquarters to make a denouncement against the magazine. After the ’89 Democracy Movement[3], she actively participated in the rescue of the activists, both financially and physically. 10 years after the incident, even though most people had changed their stance, she still claimed herself to be “a loyal member of democratic movements”.

As for Leslie Cheung, he never had any political overtones, as though he was an otherworldly being. However, it is certain that he was never pro-establishment. He would never make an appearance in the joint performance of handover anniversary galas. The only people he cared about was his fans. Basically, Leslie Cheung and Alan Tam (譚詠麟) are antonyms, everything that Tam does today, we have confidence that they are the things that Cheung would not do.

In the whole entertainment industry (of Hong Kong), there is only one artist that is around the same level as Cheung: Tony Leung. If Tam is the antonym of Cheung, then Leung is a synonym.

Regarding the occupy movement, Tony Leung only posted one message, “I support all Hong Kongers who are peacefully voicing their concerns, protesting against the government for using excessive violence on the peaceful protestors, and hope that the government will show some sincerity and arrange a meeting with the people as soon as possible”.

Cheung has already passed away, we have no means to confirm his stance. Yet, I am sure that between an egg and a high wall, Cheung would chose to stand on the side of the egg.

“An Egg and A High Wall” was a speech delivered by Haruki Murakami. In 2009, he was offered the Jerusalem Prize. In avoidance of being misunderstood for supporting Israel’s military actions towards Gaza, a large number of people thought that Murakami should not go receive the prize. In the end, Murakami decided to accept it. At the award ceremony, he addressed this speech, and it was later considered a classic. Below are some excerpts:

“… Between a high, solid wall and an egg that breaks against it, I will always stand on the side of the egg. Yes, no matter how right the wall may be and how wrong the egg, I will stand with the egg.”
    “… each of us, to a greater or lesser degree, is confronting a high, solid wall. The wall has a name: It is The System. The System is supposed to protect us, but sometimes it takes on a life of its own, and then it begins to kill us and cause us to kill others - coldly, efficiently, systematically.”
    “… Each of us possesses a tangible, living soul. The System has no such thing. We must not allow The System to exploit us. We must not allow The System to take on a life of its own. The System did not make us: We made The System.”

In this day of chaos, I reminisce about Anita Mui and Leslie Cheung again.

“Autumn would be nice if you were here, autumn would be beautiful even if it’s getting cold…”[4]

Author: Keith Li
Translation: Gengar Byte
Publication Date of Original: October 18, 2014
Publication Date of Translation: October 30, 2014
Trackback URL: 如果張國榮、梅艷芳還在世,他們會選擇雞蛋還是高牆?

1. A viral article on Facebook written by a flight attendant. The author, as one who wears a uniform, criticized the police for dishonouring theirs.
2. In the 80s, it was one of the most influential record labels in Hong Kong.
3. The movement that eventually lead to the Tiananmen Square Protest and June Fourth Incident.
4. Lyrics from Leslie Cheung’s song “Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter” (春夏秋冬)

If Anita Mui & Leslie Cheung were Still Alive

After I shared the following piece of writing, “The Meaning of a Uniform[1]”, on Facebook, a friend whom I have known for over 10 years, unfriended me. I understand that this is because he is against occupy central. Although we are just acquaintances, we were acquainted for such a...

Today is October 3rd and I am at Connaught Road Central. My name is Mia. I am originally from Taiwan but I now work in China. I had some holidays so I came here to take a look and to give my support.

During March of this year, something similar to this situation happened in Taiwan with student protests1. We have been watching the situation since July 1 and I feel like I have to come see the situation here in person. Because the government controls some of Taiwan’s media so reports are very unclear and biased. Many of the reports in Taiwan make the people of Taiwan think that Hong Kong is a mess now. They say: “Do not go there, it’s dangerous, you must be careful.” Since I have some holidays, I felt compelled to come here to take a look firsthand and observe the situation myself.

I think it’s very hard to say what the results will be of this protest because yesterday Leung Chun Ying held a press conference and he said he will not step down. And today I was flipping the newspaper to read over the comments, and this is indeed still the case. If he does steps down, it will give the citizens of Hong Kong thoughts that that if there are enough people, enough movement, and protestors, the leader will step down.

Also he has support from the Chinese government so I don’t think he would want to step down. Today I saw something important related to this. During China’s 1st October Celebration, they broadcasted Leung’s speech. The commenters claimed that this was the government letting the Chinese in China know that Hong Kong is in a very stable state and that Leung is supported. So I believe the result is very hard to predict but this movement has to exist because it is the right thing to do.

My family told me I have to watch what I say and not to post up articles so often while I am here. But I can’t post now anyway because my internet is really slow!

I feel lucky to have the opportunity to come here myself to take a look, to observe and record what is happening. These two days I took many pictures and spoke with a lot of the workers so when I go back I will collect my thoughts and post up articles and pictures and explain what is happening in each of the picture. Things aren’t as bad as what the Taiwanese think and there has been a lot of support here.

I think in Taiwan now, a lot of young people are starting to care about the politics. And there are some young people like me who care about what is happening in Hong Kong and their views are similar like mine. We no longer trust the government and the reports we see on television. Youth my age are cultured and educated and understand the world better. People in the past had more closed thoughts with a set standard of teachings.

In this generation, people are more open. Everything is global now. We are able to get knowledge easily about other countries. We can read about things happening in different countries through the use of many translation applications. We can understand many of the thoughts and ideas of different countries. Why they make certain decisions, why they are so powerful yet having a standard, and a basis of civil and moral foundation.

We can’t really say it is the past generation’s fault but since now this generation has a chance to fix the situation, we have to try our best to do so. Of course the change will not be immediate, we have to take it slowly. And so we have to be here to tell the past generation and the government what we want.

I think the major similarity that keeps Taiwan and Hong Kong close is that Hong Kong uses the Traditional Chinese system. So to us Taiwanese, when we come here, we feel a sense of closeness and there is no confusion in reading. Also the people here are starting to speak in Mandarin so it feels nice to be here.

I belong to the young people of this generation so I will give my opinion on their behalf. From what I know, I think the young people like the hospitality they receive here as well as the culture. For example, we really like Causeway Bay here. So we don’t want China to influence Hong Kong, making many of the specialized little shops of Hong Kong disappear. The films of Hong Kong have had an influence on us. I remember there was a film called “72 Tenants of Prosperity” which talks about the situation in Hong Kong where the rent in Hong Kong became so high causing all the little shops to close down. There is no longer any specialization or uniqueness left. For example when I first visited Hong Kong during June, I was at Nathan Road where there were whole blocks of jewellery stores. I cannot accept that. I feel like there is something missing. There are places where the culture of Hong Kong should be maintained. I think if they could be a balance, it should be good. But now I feel these big businesses are taking over the culture of Hong Kong.

I wasn’t born yet when the June 4 Incident occurred. My family and my friends speak very little about it. Taiwanese try to keep a distance from this issue – only those with extreme thoughts take a stance. [Taiwan has a very huge website called ptt??. The people there belong to the group of people which I talked about earlier, the people who keeps a distance from China.] As for Taiwanese, I think only those people who are bored on the internet will make comments about starting another June 4th in a joking way.

I talked to one of my colleagues in China, he supports me coming here. But he believes that China didn’t treat Hong Kong very badly. So our views are quite different. He thinks that Hong Kong is in this state now because they are trying to start another June 4th. But I suspect whether he has a good concept of June 4th. Because from what I know, the people of this generation in China do not know much about it. Some who do know about the events may question about the authenticity of the reports? Whether the history is made up? I feel they may have a blurred view from their teachings and education about June 4th so they may feel that Hong Kong is trying to launch another movement like it.

I think that the situation here is very similar to the one in Taiwan in March and I am not too worried. In Taiwan, the police did use force. There were even spies causing troubles and chaos. So I worry about whether it will be the same here. But I feel pretty safe here. There is a pretty good system here. They are many prompts to remind everyone to calm down and to take note of any "Leftards"2.

Coming here wasn’t not as bad as I thought, it’s much better than I expected. There is a good system going on and also so much support from different people coming here to understand the situation. I think this is very good.

1: referring to the Sunflower Movement of Taiwan
2: Leftard (左膠) is a new slang that is popular among Hong Kong netizens. It is originally used to insult leftist, and is extended to refer to traiters in the movement.

Thoughts from a Taiwanese Girl

Today is October 3rd and I am at Connaught Road Central. My name is Mia. I am originally from Taiwan but I now work in China. I had some holidays so I came here to take a look and to give my support. During March of this year, something similar...