Thursday, February 11, 2016

Rather Be A Broken Piece of Jade Than A Perfect Tile

This is a very moving statement from Ray Wong (Wong Toi Yeung), the 22-year leader of Hong Kong Indigenous, a localist group that defended night market vendors in Mongkok on Februrary 8 as the police threatened to drive out the hawkers, pepper spraying and beating up protesters and journalists. The violent clashes were dubbed as #FishballRevolution.

Wong released the recording of his last words a few hours ago as the police were surrounding his apartment building, possibly to arrest him. His statement (in Cantonese) has been shared around widely and featured in media. I just translated his words into English. Please share.

Wong's last message in Oriental Daily
My fellow Hong Kong people, greetings!

I am Wong Toi Yeung of Hong Kong Indigenous. I don’t know what my situation is when you listen to this recording of my words. I don’t know what event I’ll be facing either. That’s why I’m recording these words for Hong Kong people. Possibly this is my last chance to speak to you publicly. 

As a young person born and raised in Hong Kong. I’ve been living and growing up in Hong Kong. I love, care and cherish this place; But as I grew up slowly, I witnessed the place that belongs to Hong Kong people changed beyond recognition. When I stand on the railroads, gradually, I can’t tell if I’m in the mainland or Hong Kong. That’s why I came out to participate in social movements: I’ve joined in the Movement Against Patriotic Eduction and the Movement Against Development in North East New Territories. But these movements all ended in failure. For some time, I was very disappointed and dismayed. I had thought Hong Kong was beyond repair, until September 28, 2014, which was when the Umbrella Revolution started. I saw many Hong Kong people being fearless, facing off the tear gas and guns of the riot police on Harcourt Road. At that moment, I really saw the courage of Hong Kong people being the masters of our own place. I saw Hong Kong people’s bravery in fighting back. The Umbrella Revolution ended in failure, but it changed my thoughts about Hong Kong.

I think Hong Kong can be changed. 

Wong in Mongkok on Feb. 8, 2016. Photo by Kris Cheng
In came February 8, 2016, we launched an action to protect night markets. Like when we established Hong Kong Indigenous, we believed we could bring change as long as we insist on our beliefs. On that night, many things happened. Probably many protesters and members of our group will be arrested because of our action that night. But we hope everyone will trace memories back to the days after February 8, 2014 (“reclaim Tuen Mun”). On that day, we didn’t step back because of any lack of crackdown from the government or social pressure. We still kept on launching the reclaim actions in order to bring change.

We’ll be facing more serious problems in 2016, and will have more issues that force us to take to the streets and resist. But I do hope Hong Kong people will keep it up. Hong Kong will change if we believe our strength will bring change. Finally, I have these words to give to Hong Kongers, hope you will believe and hold onto them:

“I’d rather be a broken piece of jade than a perfect tile.”

(English translation by Rose Tang)

News report on Wong’s last message:
In English: 

In Chinese (with recording file): 

Wong on Wikipedia (in Chinese):



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