- Nathalie Ho
Fate of a Protester
Eastern Nethersole Hospital, Chai Wan
I’m in the hospital right now. Not because I’m sick, because Joey’s sick. I’m in the ward ordering breakfast for her, then the doctor’s going to come for diagnostics and blood tests. I quickly gave the nurse my order, and then helped Joey to the bathroom to brush her teeth. On the way over, I sighed. No more ‘Do You Hear the People Sing’. No more hanging out with Hana.
When I came back from the bathroom, I saw breakfast on the table. I fed Joey, then went to the day checkup sign-in counter. When I came back Joey had thrown breakfast up. I called my mom since she asked me to, and told her what was going on.
The nurse finally arrived to help Joey and to give us an update on her stats. She said she would have to give Joey an IV since she didn’t seem to be able to hold her food in yet. I sat on the bed and looked out of the window. I sighed. I really wanted to start protesting again, but I had to take care of Joey. I still love her, but cleaning up her that mess was not pleasant. Eeww.
It was 9:30 am, and I knew the doctor was going to come soon. I went downstairs to the cafeteria and bought a bottle of soda and some chips for my breakfast. I went back up and saw the doctor, talking to my mom.
Yay!!! Mom was here! She offered to take care of Joey.
I texted Hana hurriedly, then ran down, hailed a cab to Central and got dropped off in front of an old building on Queen’s Road. I headed down the secret basement where the rest of the movement was.
I greeted Hana with a wave, offering my chips and soda. While working on some posters, we came up with an idea… we would write a song called Glory to Hong Kong.
Hana and I worked on the lyrics…
We pledge: No more tears on our land
In wrath, doubts dispell'd we make our stand
Arise! Ye who would not be slaves again
For Hong Kong, may Freedom reign
Though deep is the dread that lies ahead
Yet still with our faith on we tread
Let blood rage afield! Our voice grows evermore
For Hong Kong, may Glory reign
Stars may fade as darkness fills the air
Through the mist a solitary trumpet flares
Now, to arms! For Freedom we fight with all might we strike…
When we were done, we told everyone to bring an instrument to tonight’s peaceful protest, which was happening in Times Square. Hana and I would lead the singing, and it would be a protest concert. When we arrived, we got everyone sorted, I gave the signal and we played and sang for Hong Kong’s freedom. A crowd formed around us, growing bigger and bigger. Eventually, people started singing along. We were so nervous, but we thought it went well.
I went home feeling incredibly tired but accomplished. I got a mug and filled it up with tea, took a shower, made myself a microwave dinner then just fell asleep straight away.
It was Saturday the next day. Another big day for us! As soon as I woke up, I brushed my teeth, grabbed breakfast, then ran out of the door and down the building stairwell instead of the lift, in a rush to get to Central. Once I was in front of the old building and went downstairs to the basement. Hana and Willy were already there.
I took a peek into the bomb lab and saw the guys prepping. The oldest of the guys, Calvin, told me they were making petrol bombs.Then he asked me to step out of the lab for my safety.
l played some music. Hana was working on her posters. My phone beeped. It was a message from my mom telling me Joey had a lung infection from tear gas exposure. I was worried, but I had no time to think. We had to head back to Times Square...
Times Square was a complete mess. There were loads of people shopping and lots of cars crossing. I had to shout to get past all the commotion! I put my gas mask on, adjusted it. Finally, we got to our usual hiding spot. Soon, it was time to roll. The bomb guys started throwing petrol bombs, while Hana, Willy and I hurled bricks and made barricades on the road. The police were getting closer. We wanted to get back at them for spraying us (and so many innocent people) with tear gas the last time we had a peaceful protest. My dad was shouting commands. It was all so messy, but we stood our ground.
It was midnight by the time I got home. I went to bed, I couldn’t sleep. I was thinking about Joey. My phone beeped. I picked it up and went to Whatsapp. My mom had sent me a picture of Joey with a respirator. Ugh, l thought. Why is this happening? I couldn’t sleep anymore after that. I texted Hana, who was still awake. She texted me something in Cantonese that said, “See you tomorrow, I’m going to sleep.” I typed back, and then turned my phone off and went to bed.
Morning came. My mom sent me another photo. Joey was getting worse. I didn’t know what was going to happen next. My phone beeped again. Hana and the rest were waiting for me downstairs. I went down, greeted them, discussed our plan, then we hailed separate cabs, going our different directions and scattering like fanned fireworks…
This disclaimer informs readers that this is a work of realistic fiction, and any thoughts and views expressed in the text belong solely to the author and/or the author's protagonist. Glory to Hong Kong" 願榮光歸香港 is a Cantonese march originally composed and written by a musician under the pseudonym "Thomas dgx yhl."