20 April 2019
Students who stormed the HKU council meeting last week are fearless because they know they are doing the right thing for society. Photo: HKEJ
Students who stormed the HKU council meeting last week are fearless because they know they are doing the right thing for society. Photo: HKEJ

Why students are masters and HKU council members, slaves

Since the students of the University of Hong Kong (HKU) are themselves masters, they are fully justified in exercising the morality of a master and regaining control of their future.

Some may probably ask, since there are tens of thousands of HKU students and alumni out there, how could the 50 students who stormed the HKU council meeting last week possibly justify their role as masters?

As a matter of fact, it is a person’s attitude to life and his mindset, rather than his wealth and social status, that determine whether he is a master or a slave.

The students are masters because they embrace the mindset under which they are determined to be their own master and take back control of their beloved university, whereas the prominent members of the HKU council are indeed slaves because they have adopted the slave mindset and resigned themselves to becoming slaves of the people in power.

Again, it’s the attitude that determines what position you are in, and it is also a matter of whether you are determined to uphold your moral principles.

So why were the 50 students, some of whom are just about to graduate, morally right in storming the council meeting last week when nobody had given them a mandate to do so?

Why were the prominent and respectable members of the HKU council so afraid of that small bunch of students that those who remained in the meeting room had to humbly engage the students in conversation for an hour, when they could have just called in the police to subdue the students?

The answer is simple, because those who adopt the slave mindset, like the council members did, are always wimpy and fearful.

They are well aware that justice is not on their side, and they don’t have a clear conscience.

In contrast, those who exercise the morality of a master, like the students did on that night, are always fearless and courageous, and they don’t need any authorization or mandate to do so, because they know they are doing the right thing for society.

Students who stormed the council meeting on Tuesday last week have already succeeded in raising the “master’s awareness” among the vast majority of HKU alumni in our society.

Once that awareness is awoken, all it takes to regain autonomy of HKU is unified action of the students and alumni, and wily old foxes like vice chancellor Peter Mathieson, council chairman Edward Leong Che-hung, council member Arthur Li Kwok-cheung or even Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying will have no place in the game.

It is easy to tell who is the hypocrite and who is the true martyr who suffers in silence, and this is exactly the kind of differentiation that can be made between legislator “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung, who wore a bra during the protest on Sunday over a woman’s conviction for assaulting a police officer with her breast from the very person who has been sentenced to three-and-a-half months in jail for doing that but who chose to suffer in silence.

Feng Jing-en, chairman of the HKU student union, who led the charge into the council chamber, refused to apologize afterward, saying the students had to resort to drastic moves and storm the meeting because all their previous peaceful measures had proven futile.

As he said, while people referred to their action as an act of violence, he preferred to call it “violence against tyranny”.

What Feng demonstrated is the spirit of a courageous man, and it is the same spirit that inspired the great HKU alumnus Dr. Sun Yat-sen more than a century ago to devote himself to building a modern China.

Unlike the hypocritical pan-democrats, who often beg the regime for mercy and sympathy to avoid being punished, what the students intended to do on that night was to raise the “master’s awareness” and sense of conscience of their fellow students and HKU alumni by sacrificing themselves.

Their action served as a reminder that it’s time for HKU students and graduates to stand up and take control of their own destiny.

So please don’t feel sympathy for these students, because it would be an insult to their valor.

Noticing that most HKU alumni were staying on the sidelines as the repercussions of the students’ action continued to ripple, in the past week pro-establishment pawns — such as Chinese University of Hong Kong economics professor Lawrence Lau Juen-yee and Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong stalwarts Lawrence Ma Yan-kwok and Christopher Chung Shu-kun — quickly rushed to the defense of the HKU council and demanded those students be arrested and punished — in an attempt to divert public attention from the issue that matters most: how to restore the autonomy of HKU.

Sadly, some of the unsuspecting pan-democrats have been lured into playing their game and got entangled in the meaningless argument over whether the students should be held legally accountable for disrupting the council meeting.

If the pan-democrats continue to stick to their “slave mindset” in the fight for procedural justice over the appointment of the HKU pro vice chancellor and just give up after a few attempts, then they are completely hopeless and are not worth the sacrifices the students have made.

The students are not only the true masters of HKU but also the masters of society.

They may probably find more worthy comrades with whom they can fight shoulder to shoulder on the main street than from among the pan-democrats!

This article first appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Aug 4.

Translation by Alan Lee

[Chinese version 中文版]

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HKEJ columnist

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