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。

2020/1/29 - 17:56

Chan, a St Mark’s School Student: If it’s the right thing to do, do it.

A group of students from St Mark’s School produced a music video in which they performed “Glory To Hong Kong” a cappella, denounced the government’s use of live rounds to crack down on protesters, and thanked Hongkongers with a soliloquy. Chan, who authored the soliloquy, told the reporter that she was pleasantly surprised by the popularity of the musical video. The idea of this MV was to give Hongkongers a morale boost, since the students felt that people were starting to lose their determination. They worried that Hongkongers had already forgotten the protesters who sacrificed themselves for the city. Chan stressed that the MV was a student initiative, that it did not represent St Mark’s School, and that the students had not told school about their idea beforehand.

Inspired by the student shot on 1 October
Chan is a Form Six student in St Mark’s School and a member of the ‘anti-extradition class boycott group’ in her school -  a group founded in summer 2019, which has staged sit-ins, organised human chains, held concerts, and produced music videos in support of the anti-extradition movement. Chan was enraged when secondary school student Tsang Chi-kin was shot by the police with a live round at close range on 1 October 2019.  She penned her anger into a soliloquy, which features in the MV. Chan and her fellow students were further prompted to act when Chow Pak-Kwan was shot by a live round by police at close range in Sai Wan Ho on 11 November 2019. Sai Wan Ho is very close to St. Mark’s School. After that, Chan and the other seven students decided to make an MV singing ‘Glory to Hong Kong’. Most of the performers are either Form Five or Form Six students. It took them a while to edit the videos, so the MV was not completed until the end of December.

When they were filming in Aldrich Bay Park near their school, Chan recalls being shouted at by quite a few senior citizens - “These students are troublemakers. They do not take their studies seriously.” Chan and others were wearing black face masks and one of them was raising a ‘Reclaim Hong Kong, Revolution of Our Times’ (光復香港、時代革命) flag. They did not flinch. Later they rented a studio for recording and came across a person who sympathised with their ideas, ‘He said: ‘Seeing as you are singing this song, I will work hard to ensure it is produced well!’’ Chan recalled.

廣告

Chan did not expect the MV to reach beyond the school campus. She was surprised at the popularity of the music video after publishing it through Stand News. “I had the feeling that Hongkongers were getting a bit tired. A lot of people I know who were working hard to contribute to the movement were feeling worn down––many felt as if they were the only ones continuing to put in efforts to sustain it. The encouraging comments on the MV really cheered me up. It is reassuring that a lot of people still care about Hong Kong,” Chan said.

Chan said that the soliloquy intends to denounce the crackdown as well as to thank people who stand with Hong Kong, including journalists, first-aiders, teachers and parents. “I thought of including police on the list, as I know there are upright police in the Police Force who will tell us to go home, to run away. But I didn’t think the public would accept this, so I did not put them on the list.” Chan said.

Taking off your mask is an act of determination
Many people admired the students’ decision to take off their facemasks in the MV. Chan told the reporter that there were some opposing views: “Some said that our action might make it look as though we should all take off our facemasks, which would be a sign of disrespect to those protesters who continue to wear them. But we didn’t mean this at all. It was meant to be a statement that shows our determination… We are who we are. We are not breaking any laws by singing a song. In the past, some musicians did the same. But of course, we agree that people ought to wear facemasks for their personal safety when they protest.” Chan said.

It was a coincidence that they performed in school uniforms, as their original plan was to dress in black bloc. It was difficult to find a day to get everyone together to film, so they did it after class over two days. “Of course, we are proud of our school. We want to emphasise our identity being secondary school students, so that people know we are making a stand too.” Chan added.

After the release of the MV, some student performers were recognised by their parents. Some were admonished by their pro-government families. Other students are now forbidden from going out, because their parents are worried about their personal safety. Chan was the only student who could be reached for an interview on the phone with us today.

“You may be able to purge the headmaster and teachers, you cannot imprison our minds.”

The MV makes students from St Mark’s School proud of being ‘St Markan’, Chan observed. Many alumni wrote long encouraging messages to them. Some teachers expressed concern about their personal safety: “They are worried about the risk of exposing our identities in public. They’ve told us to talk to them if anything happens. They said they will protect us,” Chan said she is not afraid of being punished by the school administration. “The Hong Kong Anglican Church (Episcopal) is pro-government. When we wore face masks during the graduation ceremony and shouted political slogans, the school administration was irritated. I do not know whether the video will make the Church exert more pressure on the headmaster and teachers. You may be able to purge the headmaster and teachers, but you cannot imprison our minds,” Chan said.

She stressed again that the music video was the students’ initiative, which does not represent the political view of St Mark’s. Neither did she notify the school beforehand. “I want the Church to know, we have a star student who passed the university admission exam (HKDSE) with flying colours last year, precisely because of the freedom and autonomy that students enjoy in St Mark’s. This atmosphere makes us more inquisitive about social issues. I hope that the Church will trust in our ability to discern and judge. Most of the time, we do the right thing, and are willing to contribute to society. We will not sit idly by, simply because our families or the school order us not to speak out,” Chan said. As for her expectations for Hongkongers, she only said, “I hope I will see you in the march on 1 January 2020.”