We need a new set of epoch-making political language

August 12, 2019 15:26
Protesters react after police fired tear gas during an anti-extradition bill demonstration in Tai Po on Aug. 5. Photo: Reuters

We need a new set of groundbreaking and epoch-making political language to capture what has been going on in our city since the beginning of June.

Hong Kong is changing almost on a daily basis, with new incidents emerging every day that are turning conventional wisdom on its head.

For example, we didn’t know until now that junior police officerscould have a bigger say than the chief secretary.

Also, it wasn’t until very recently that we realized that our right to protest peacefully may be denied by authorities, and that police can fire tear gas, bean-bag and sponge rounds at people who take part in peaceful demonstrations or even passersby at will.

And since these common sense-defying episodes are taking place so frequently in recent months, many of our government officials, professionals, senior business executives, civil servants and even ordinary individuals can no longer grasp the current state of affairs.

All we can do is to try to figure out our current problems and seek a way out based on our existing framework of knowledge.

That said, I sincerely feel that Hong Kong needs to develop a ground-breaking set of political language that will allow us to accurately describe and present our current emotions, which are completely different from the past.

Here are some of the things that I hope Hong Kong can do at this point:

1. I hope every Hong Kong citizen can be entitled to the right to disobey authority.

2. I hope that justice can be served, that all those who have committed violence, be they in uniform or dressed in white, will be brought to trial.

3. I hope every Yuen Long resident will no longer have to fear for their own safety when buying late-night snacks in the neighborhood while dressed in black T-shirts.

4. I hope all Hong Kong citizens, social workers and journalists who have been beaten, fired upon and intimidated the past two months can eventually witness the birth of a democratic community where everybody will have a say, rather than the existing one where everyone is gripped by a deep sense of powerlessness.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Aug 5

Translation by Alan Lee

[Chinese version 中文版

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HKEJ contributor