Humans of Hong Kong

Humans of Hong Kong

Translated version of feature stories and interviews by Stand News. 立場新聞專題、人訪的英文版本。

2020/1/4 - 17:42

When tear gas becomes a fact of life: 70-year-old homeless man in Mong Kok

Humans of Hong Kong 為《立場新聞》欄目,刊出由特約作者翻譯、英文版本的立場專題、人物專訪,方便國際讀者閱讀。

"Humans of Hong Kong" is a brand new column highlighting the English version of feature stories and interviews by Stand News.

Police-protesters conflicts frequently break out at the juncture between Nathan Road and Argyle Street in Mong Kok. For many evenings, Mong Kok is clouded in tear gas. Ah-Wah, a 70-year-old homeless man who sleeps on Argyle Street, has nowhere to go. When the gas hits, tears will be streaming down his face.

Ah-Wah has been sleeping on Argyle Street for almost six months. He did not know what to do the first time he encountered tear gas. “I had no experience. I did not realise the tear gas was coming in my direction.” It wasn’t until a youngster found him unable to open his eyes and feeling sick after inhaling the smoke that an ambulance was called. Ah-Wah was sent to a hospital for basic emergency treatment.


Now, tear gas has become a fact of his daily life. He is fortunate to have received a gas mask from a young protester. “There is very little I can do (about the tear gas), I will put on a mask if there’s one, if not I’ll run away. I am used to it by now.” He says he still does not know how to wear a mask properly, he only uses it lousily to cover his mouth and nose. 

Why won’t Ah-Wah go somewhere else to avoid the tear gas? He said that it is difficult to find a street corner large enough for his personal belongings and decent enough for resting. So, he does not plan to leave Argyle Street before he finds a new place. “I’ve gotten used to the tear gas anyway,” he said.

Witnessing the street protests first-hand, Ah-Wah speaks highly of the youngsters. “At least they know what is right and will fight against what is wrong. People of my generation didn’t do that.”

During the interview, more than one passers-by handed bottled water to Ah-Wah and told him to stay safe.

(Original version: 多次被警方催淚煙波及 旺角露宿長者認同年輕示威者:唔啱就反抗