Ringo L.

The 79-day Umbrella Movement of 2014 was a watershed moment in the history of Hong Kong. Not only has the protest movement transformed the political and social dynamics of this former British colony, it has also deeply affected overseas Hong Kong and Chinese communities.

Here is the story of Ringo.

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Born and raised in the former British colony, Ringo, a veteran of Hong Kong’s financial services industry, has witnessed many of the city’s most significant events in the last thirty-five years. Still a child at the time of the signing of the Sino-British Joint Declaration in 1984, Ringo—as many others—held out hopes that the reversion to Chinese sovereignty in 1997 would bring about a better future for Hong Kong as well as a greater sense of pride of being Chinese.

But that was not to be. For Ringo, the proposed introduction of Moral and National Education in 2012 was a turning point. Even though Ringo did not have any children at the time, he felt that the proposed curriculum was a major assault against the way of life of the people of Hong Kong. So he took part in the protest.

The Umbrella Movement was for Ringo a time of hope. He supported the idea and the objectives of Occupy Central, and he was inspired by the sight of a massive group of Hongkongers all working for the same goals. For him, notwithstanding the outcomes of the Movement, the protests were an excellent vehicle for civic education for all involved.

The firing of tear gas by the police, however, brought home the reality. To Ringo, it was clear that the government was not interested in making any concessions, and it would dawn on him that a fair portion of the population in Hong Kong—the so-called “blue ribbons”— actually supported the government.

So there was a sense of powerlessness. Much as he would love to stay in Hong Kong, where it will be always be “home,” the desire to be free from fear has led Ringo and his family to relocate to Vancouver. He remains hopeful about the protests surrounding the 2019 extradition bill, but he is also realistic that people must at the end decide for themselves where they would want their children to grow up.

「如果你珍惜你的下一代,他未來所接受的是怎麼樣的教育,他會有什麼思想,真的要去思考為了他們,應該要去思考下一步要怎樣做。」已移民溫哥華接近一年的 Ringo 如此寄語。他四十多歲、從事金融行業,經歷過八九民運和雨傘運動後,在2018年的時間,他決定以夫妻團聚的方式移民到溫哥華。

在六四事件發生後,他對回歸曾經抱有疑問。然而,他憶述當年的感受時提到,雖然六四事件引來許多擔憂,但當時仍對回歸抱有一絲希望,認為中國政府會珍惜香港這一片土地,並會小心處理中港關係。但回歸後,Ringo卻看見不少中國的政策為香港本土帶來一些改變,並影響到香港人的生活。在回歸後數年,香港有受惠於大陸的發展與機遇,本地經濟發展不俗。然而,不少中港之間在政策上的合作卻為香港本土帶來一些民生問題,並嚴重地影響著本地香港人的生活。而在2012年發生的反國教運動,也對 Ringo 帶來很大的衝擊。他認為香港的教育制度所擁抱的價值觀,不應該被扭曲和改變。因此,他在當時已經支持抗爭者的行動。

而 2014 年雨傘運動的爆發,令他體會到中央和香港人對普選的不同理解。雖然是否有普選對一般人的生活來說並不會有太大影響。但經歷長時間佔領的雨傘運動,卻成為了一場少有能令香港人齊心的行動。當時,他在社交媒體上得悉關於催淚彈的消息時,他感到震驚和心傷。政府對抗爭者的冷漠亦令他明白政府是不會理會人民聲音的。他也認為當年雙學五子和政府的對話是徒勞無功的。

在社交媒體上,Ringo 表示他對網上散佈的白色恐怖感到十分不滿。Ringo 感受到香港人正逐漸失去「免於恐懼的自由」。在網上的言論和政治取向也會引來秋後算帳的擔憂,因而令人不能暢所欲言。雨傘運動後,他感到很無助,並在2018年決定移民溫哥華。雖然移民的時候,部分家人仍然住在香港,他仍然比較希望能夠生活在擁抱民主和自由價值的國家。