Before Enduring We Will Not Endure it: Notes From the Hong Kong Protests

Before Enduring We Will Not Endure it: Notes From the Hong Kong Protests

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Editor notes: The title of the piece is a twist of a line by Carolyn Forché from The Angel of History. It contains borrowed language from Adam Zagajewski, Olena Kalytiak Davis, and Brenda Hillman. Photos courtesy of Paul Swee. 
Nicholas Wong is a poet based in Hong Kong writing in English. He teaches literary studies and creative writing at the Hong Kong Institute of Education. Photos courtesy of Paul Swee.



When the mouth of a gun points at a face that looks similar to the holder, it is politics

                                                                            *

We equipped ourselves against the assault of the police that were trapped between dutiful and deceitful

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Our arms and eyes saran-wrapped against the burning of pepper sprays. Surgical masks and wetted towels ready in case of teargas bombing

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“It was not the teargas that made us cry”

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An underestimation: 87 teargas bombs were dropped. What had to be added: in close proximity of protestors

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Unarmed. We held umbrellas of thinning fabric mounted on brittle, shrinking bones

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CNN called this Hong Kong paralyzed, or The Umbrella Revolution. No one mentioned the weather. There was no rain

                                                                                   *

Women and men raised their hands, kneeled in front of marching squads, begging them to spare the hurt on students

                                                                                   *

Police raising a warning flag before assault. One side said “Tear Gas Warning”, another said they might shoot

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Our body has been very very reasonable so far, our body is the archive of the world

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The police, later, clarified there was no intention to shoot

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What if both sides of an event were the same? Would it make it less of a fact than a story

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I was searching for the capacity for the third

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It had been hours since I sat down in the middle of the street long as patience, and a day or even two for many others
 
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My friend brought us nuggets from McDonald’s that tasted 30% like chicken and 70% like civil disobedience

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The Government has urged protesters to stay calm and disperse peacefully as soon as possible. It said today some major thoroughfares have been blocked by protesters, causing serious disruption to traffic. Classes in Wan Chai and Central & Western Districts have been suspended. The Government urged those blocking roads to vacate some carriageways to allow the passage of emergency vehicles and the resumption of public transport services. As the people gathering on roads have generally calmed down, Police have stood down anti-riot officers, it added.

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Of all the forms of being – I like a vote, an arrival. And you, captive, erosive, crevassed
 
                                                                                         *

In a crowd, ego does not exist


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The fireworks on National Day had been cancelled. Smoke remained not as smoke


Wong's poem was originally published in Hippo Reads.