Editorial / September 2014 (Issue 25)

Valiant Beauty
Seen on the Hong Kong Baptist University campus

Words from educators in Hong Kong:
My students have told me they're boycotting classes indefinitely. I am proud of them. How can one not be moved?
—Eddie Tay

I applaud the courage and restraint of the protesters, who are mostly students, and am as proud as ever to call myself a Hong Konger!
—John Wakefield
... and you see, you see,
Love is disobedience, disobedience love,
And the dungeon doors open for you
And your questions to walk through.
—Shirley Geok-lin Lim

Hong Kong students continue to put 'civil' in 'civil disobedience'.
—Colin Covendish-Jones

[A] movement such as this one, defined by youth, by love and peace, by aspiration and inspiration, will always find a way to win.
—Lucas Klein

I've seemingly always already been way more cynical than sentimental. But I found myself crying in the face of the generous and caring humanity of Hong Kong's youth, both in Mong Kok and in Central. Hong Kong is my much loved home—and it's the Umbrella Uprising that has delivered this sense of home to me.
—Jason S Polley

100,000 people on the street in Hong Kong (a reporter told me it was that many) singing, applauding, chanting. There is a feeling of great hope.
—Michael O'Sullivan

I hope that all of the students participating in the protests will stay safe and remain optimistic for a better future of this place we call home.
—Heidi Huang

Hong Kong's higher education system should be proud of the exemplary "knowledge transfer" and "experiential learning" that our courageous students have been exhibiting.
—James Shea

Teachers, like many others, have doubts all the time. One that I often ask myself is "Should I keep teaching?" But seeing all of you in the streets, I am moved and I know the answer. Last night at 2am, I encountered a confused 18-year-old, who kept wondering what's next. No one knows, except the battle will be long. And a quote from Hemingway may help: "I did not care what it was all about. All I wanted to know was how to live in it."
—Nicholas YB Wong

You'll learn more at the barricades than in my class. Take your notebook with you, this is history, you're making it, and make sure you write it too.
—Justin Hill
I have run out of umbrellas to lend to my students,
braving all weathers, all scorn, for a future they no longer have any option
but to believe in.
Now it is my heart I would shelter them with.
I do so happily, without reservation.
They were the first, and will be the last,
to welcome me here.
They have always stood by me.
—Stuart Christie

Over the last week, Hong Kong has transformed—gone from a city that, while not politically apathetic, was generally willing to put prosperity and business first. But Beijing's refusal to allow Hong Kong open elections and the growing unease among its residents about the SAR's future in China have finally come to a head. The Umbrella Revolution has shown that Hong Kong is no longer content to allow Beijing to dictate its fate. The city has decided to stand up and fight. And it has brought umbrellas.

The struggle for free elections is nothing new—the pro-democracy camp has for decades been determined in its efforts to bring self-rule to the city. But something changed this week: the passion and energy of youth. Young people, yellow-ribboned, faces covered with cling film and goggles, and equipped only with umbrellas to fend off the fierce sun, rain and tear gas, have fought peacefully, proudly and insistently, for genuine democracy in their—my—beloved city. It is their efforts—nonviolent but still resolute and resourceful—that have not only captured the attention of the city, but of the world.

Like many people who care about Hong Kong's political future, I have been able to focus on very little else over the past few days. At times, I have been worried—worried about the safety of the protestors; worried that their efforts will fail to bring change; worried about the future of the city that I love. But I have also been deeply moved and inspired. I have never been so proud of Hong Kong. It has never been so determined.

For those of us who support democratic change, we realise that the time has come, that we have to fight now, before it’s too, too late. We are uncertain of what the outcome might be, but we are nevertheless united, hearts with one purpose, and we are fighting.

Will we succeed? We already have. Hong Kong will never be the same again. A valiant beauty has been born.

Tammy Ho Lai-Ming / Co-editor
1 October 2014
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