If I tell you my full name, will you only say it when I drown or fall? Which protest poster will you carry around close to your chest like an oversized pendant? Have you been served gas or spray? Where to meet next, a nearby MTR station or the airport? When they used water cannon they hijacked our story—our story. Can we rehearse running away, not from our family, but from the gangsters, the police? Can you chant louder, please? We don’t have a microphone or an elaborate stage. Tell them not to look at us as though we are in a clichéd narrative. Sometimes, when we are all together, I just want to see one human face. All the voices in the dark enlivens this street in the poorest neighbourhood in Hong Kong. You are in my memories, emerging from engulfing smoke, your helmet broken in symmetrical halves. Don’t tell me sleep is good when armed men with dazed eyes are still out there. Throughout epochs, time is the epitaph, the answer. Remember: history will not desert us. We are everything: the pavements, the schools, the little shops, the young women violated, the protest songs sung over the Chinese national anthem, the placards that enthusiastically say Add Oil, the walls covered with post-its and graffiti: ‘You taught me peaceful marches are useless’. The moon does nothing but watches, for she knows our destiny. It mourns lives lost. We are time and we witness and we flow, in motion, but we are not silent. One of us holds up a sign, millions of us mouth the same words, solitarily, across this tiny, insignificant port city, which is my city. Millions. Millions.
(5 September 2019)