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An open letter to Hong Kong

Hiu M. Chan
An open letter to Hong Kong
'Your voice is heard through your demonstration. It is time to plan for the next step'

My name is Hiu M. Chan. I am currently taking my PhD research in cross-cultural theory at Cardiff University.

I am a Hong Kong citizen who has been living, studying and working in the UK since I was 17. As the tension rises between the Umbrella Movement (Occupy Central), the government and for those who are anti-protest Hong Kong citizens, I feel like perhaps it is time to write something.

I grew up in Mainland, Hong Kong and in the UK, and but I’ve never been fully recognized by each part. In this case, as an outsider, perhaps I can see the big picture in a more objective way without aligning myself to each side.

What I believe in is not about who will “win” this battle at the end; but rather, how we can move things forward. The situation we are facing at the moment is not helping in encouraging a political reform in a practical way: clashes between pro and anti-protesters citizens, clashes between protesters, non-protesters and the police, division among Hong Kong people, fears about police force and the government are working with the gang and so on.

All these events, comments, assumptions, fears, frustrations and clashes that we have been witnessing for the past few days, they do not help us to resolve the urgent problems right now. In fact, if the protest (occupation) spreads across the whole Hong Kong, we will soon face many unpredictable problems and circumstances.

What are coming, we cannot control; what we can do though is to stay together, work together in order to find a realistic solution for the issues that we are facing urgently. We need to stay calm, and question ourselves: can we still manage this ‘protest’, is it now still under control?

FOR DEMOCRACY. Pro-democracy protesters flash lights during a rally to protest the violence seen in Mong Kok, in Hong Kong, China, 04 October 2014. Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has called on pro-democracy protesters to end their blockade of major roads by 06 October adding that the government will take 'all necessary measures to restore social order.' The ultimatum came as pro-democracy protesters and their opponents skirmished after a night of clashes that reportedly injured at least eighteen people. Photo by Alex Hofford/EPA

For the past few days, the most shouted slogans include the following: ‘democracy’, ‘real general election’, ‘universal standard’ and many more. Since the government has not responded directly, instead of sitting on the street, perhaps as the future of Hong Kong, you could continue the protest in some other creative, critical and affective ways. We have seen a lot of images and videos, but it seems that there is one thing missing from the protesters: writing!

Students, why have you not written so far? The questions that you have brought up, they not only mean to Hong Kong, but to the whole humanity. Let’s start writing critical articles, to demonstrate your belief, to defend your arguments.

Dear Joshua Wong and the fellow leaders from Students Federation, please allow me to show my deepest respect to you. It seems to me, the Hong Kong government is stupid enough not to know what “universal standard” and “real general election” means. I think it is time for you to write a detailed demonstrative article and a proposal. This could become the future political reform agenda. Any kind of reform, requires a detailed proposal, how do we take the steps and what we can do to achieve these steps.

Every international student movement includes some serious and thought provoking writings, some of the publications still help us to think about the world today. We wouldn’t want our glorious movement left behind the universal fashion.

Do not waste all the passion that you have generated. Continue the protest in an alternative and intellectual way; start writing articles in both Chinese and in English, by turning your slogans into questions. Publish your articles, let the world see, let the world hear, and let the world think with you all together! Universities and schools can treat this as an alternative exam result.

Dear government, it is now time to talk to your people. Why don’t we set up a stage in front of the government, let everyone to join this open discussion? Let the students read out their writings and broadcast it live. Not only the students, we shall invite every Hong Kong citizen who is interested in the debate to join this discussion in bilingual, or with simultaneous translation.  

All these above if succeeded, will make Hong Kong the leading place to put democracy into a real practice!

I have been touched by the Hong Kong students’s determination and spirit, so has the world. But perhaps, it is now time to seek for another strategy. All the chancellors of Hong Kong universities, many other individuals and organizations have released statements in order to express that is now a time to call for an end due to their worry towards the students’ safety in unpredictable circumstances.

Your voice is heard through your demonstration. It is time to plan for the next step. –

Hiu M. Chan is a PhD student at Cardiff University in the United Kingdom.


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