“At the beginning of the movement, I was only part of the first-aid teams. No one actually planned how the ‘team’ works during the protests, it was all self-initiated and spontaneous. I guess this is the Lion Rock Spirit of Hong Kong that we grow up with. To the others, the protest may have been quiet down; to me or some of us, the fight is still going on and it won’t come to an end till the day we win, the Hongkongers win.”, said Oscar (Pseudonym).
Oscar, 23 years-old, graduated from one of the top universities in Hong Kong last summer. He is always the brightest among all peers and has been devoting his time to study astronomy. Looking up at the sky, he wonders if the stars are watching over him. You may not know what Oscar looks like, but he is one of those protesters geared up all in black. Five months ago, he was arrested during the siege of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (part of the anti-ELAB movement protest). This protest was led by large groups of students and frontline protesters, which happened days after the protest inside the Chinese University of Hong Kong, in order to urge the government to answer the 5 demands they have been requesting since the start of movement.
“The police chased after us [the protesters]. Everyone was pushing and shoving the people out of the way. There were people with blood all over their faces, or teenagers screaming for help. It was just a chaos. We were trying to escape from the police and protecting ourselves from inhaling the teargas and shots. Maybe it’s a bit overdramatic to describe it as a war, but who would’ve thought this happened in a so called international financial city. I have never run that fast in my life. I thought my life was really over when I got arrested. My mind was completely blank, but the first thing popped up in my mind when the police wrestled me to the ground is my family.”
Oscar’s family was not particularly supportive to the movement, especially the frontline protesters which is also known as rioters. “My parents would call frontline protesters as cockroaches. I didn’t bother to argue with them, as I know it’s difficult to change their perceptions and I don’t blame them for that. Who doesn’t wish to live in a peaceful land? The young generations are not the reasons turning our homeland into a mess, but the useless and corrupted regime. But at the end of the day, I still love them.”
Oscar was detained in the Reception Centre as a judgement respited prisoner for about more than a month. Through witnessing how the police would mistreat the detained protesters, the fire in his eyes goes out. “My friends think I’ve changed since I was released after the judgement… Perhaps part of my soul has died.”
The missing part of his soul was left in the old days on battlefield. During the times he spent in the Reception Centre as waiting for the judgement, he learnt how to be patient and stop being impulsive without thinking of any consequences. Life in the Reception Centre was not particularly nice, but unexpectedly there is full of love and supports from other detained protesters and all the letters sent by people who support the Anti-ELAB movement. He spent his Christmas and New Year’s Eve in the centre with other arrestees. In the meanwhile, thousands of people gathered outside the Reception Centre and sang the popular protest song “Glory to Hong Kong” and Christmas carols to the detained protesters inside. “You know what, we always wish to receive many presents or Christmas cards from the Santa when we’re young. This year, there’re too many to count, but I think I got about 50 Christmas cards at least from all the movement supporters whom I never met before.”
The fear that night he got arrested is still in his head. He looks up the stars at insomniac night and wonder what he should do from now on. “I cried out at night. I’m scared. How many times I was trying to save other protesters from being detained every time in the protest; and how ironically, I wasn’t even able to save myself. I looked at the other younger detained protesters crying helplessly, the youngest is only 13 years old.” In the end, we might be able to save someone’s life, but not their broken souls. How many shredded pieces of souls were there on the battlefield of the anti-ELAB movement?
“The love I received during the tough time is absolutely priceless, especially from my family. The only reason stops me to be irrational from now on is the love and supports my parents and friends gave me unconditionally. I’m not scared of being hurt again, but scared of hurting them.”
The lost puzzle in Oscar’s heart doesn’t matter anymore, instead he keeps moving on with love. Would he still make the same decision if he could go back in time?
“Yes, absolutely. No doubt. I love Hong Kong, may glory to Hong Kong.”
It’s nearly been a year. The situation with Coronavirus seems to have cooled down the protests a bit, but every protester still does the most they can to fight for the Hong Kong’s freedom.
The article column of Hong Kong anti-ELAB movements comes to an end, but our journey to fight for democracy and justice will be continued. Five demands, not one less! Stand with Hong Kong, fight for freedom!