Lok’s Story of Taiwan
One night in January, while Tsai Ing-wen was announcing to be successfully re-elected as the President of Taiwan and bowing solemnly with her staff, a black flag of white prints of ‘Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our time’ was caught being waved in a sea of smartphone flashlights. This scene was imprinted deep in the hearts of Hongkongese.
Lok was one of the Hongkongese who took his days off and visited Taiwan for the Taiwan Presidential Election with a placard, an iPad, and a projector in his backpack. What prompted him to go was a memorable face. ‘Around 2014 I saw a photo where a boy was holding a placard saying “I am a Hongkongese. May Taiwanese continue your path stepping on our dead bodies”. His facial expression was stirring and tragic, which I still recall today.’ Setting foot on Ilha Formosa, Lok was eager to remind Taiwanese, just as that boy, to take Hong Kong as reference and vote for a president who was willing to safeguard the island’s democracy and justice.
Before departure, packing was easy except his emotions, which weighed a lot. Travelling alone, Lok prepared his Black Bloc protest gears and clothes changing route to protect himself; he couldn’t help but wonder, ‘Will I be dogged?’ If you ask why he was afraid of being tracked, he would say, ‘I play videos of police violence.’ He mocked himself for being timid yet one could hear beyond words that this fear was not without reason but elicited from tyrannical rule.
To produce the film, Lok rewound half-year worth of videos of police violence and felt desolated. ‘While watching video clips, you can do absolutely nothing. For one, these events have become the past; and regarding police violence, you are helpless as well.’ He could only self-soothe, ‘this is to let more people know about the issue and attempt to find a balance.’
What grounded him was being on the streets in Taipei, waving placards and playing videos with cliques of unknown Hongkongers. Some developed photos and strenuously explained Hong Kong’s recent events to Taiwanese. The most memorable anecdote of Lok was about a Hongkongese couple aged around seventy who stood five or six hundred metres away from them, observing reticently. After a long while, the old man came forward and stuff a stack of five-hundred Hong Kong dollar notes to his palms.
Nonplussed, Lok explained, ‘I am not a student. I have been working for many years.’ The other party refused to back off and Lok persisted, ‘This is not the best thing to do. Why don’t you donate this money to organizations supporting the protest, or even the youngsters back in Hong Kong?’ They were pushing and pulling for a while without any resolution.
Finally, the man conceded, took back the money, and slowly returned to his partner.
This scene lingered on in Lok’s mind. He could vaguely tell that the couple felt guilty. If there was another chance, he hoped that couple would hear his words, ‘I would like to tell you that there is absolutely no need to be apologetic. I believe that in those few days, all the Hongkongers in Taiwan might have the same goal or feel the same emotion. At that moment, it was me who was waving the placards, but so were you too.’
Everyone has been looking for a standing point in the social movement. Inspired by the boy, Lok screw up the courage to march on Taiwanese streets, supported by the travellers of the same mindset. He hoped that the couple would know that their kindness was well-received and kept in someone’s heart.