Letters to prison: The light in the dark


In the month where spring is on the way out and summer approaching, the air is tainted with the smell of blood. It reminds people of the grand democracy dream in 1989 that ended in a massacre. Meanwhile, the brutal regime stubbornly remains unchanged and is insanely slaughtering our city, throwing the most idealistic generation of activists to jail and forcing others to go into exile abroad. What else will confront us this year?

People inside and outside the high wall are suffering together. Mired in difficulties, we understand it is hard to change the cruel world right away, but at least we refuse to be changed by the world. No matter how distant our dream is and what the future holds, Hongkongers are staying where they are and doing what they can do. As journalist Bao Choy said, at a time when our city falls, we are living with integrity and maintaining our dignity, honesty and kind heart.

Hard pressed everywhere but not crushed

Mr Jimmy Lai,

Merely through a paper

He guides the world with his wisdom, moving people with words

The hero is not afraid of the knife nor the snow

He throws the dagger and wins the strongest of rivals

A Hong Kong citizen

We are hard pressed on every side,

but not crushed;


but not in despair;


but not abandoned;

struck down,

but not destroyed.”

- Corinthians 4:8-9

Look for the bright spots amid the sufferings

Friends who are under the weight of the tough time,

In an article published recently, Hong Kong writer Poon Yiu-ming mentioned that he read the book “Celebrity Biography”, which told the stories of the “endless sufferings” of three giants, Beethoven, Michelangelo and Tolstoy. Poon said the stories represented the tragedies of times, the deep pain of life, and a deep sense of loneliness and helplessness. Sufferings of this kind are what we are facing today. Poon then went on to talk about the late Chinese writer Shi Tiesheng, former vice chairman of the China Disabled Writers Association. At the age of 20, Shi became paralyzed in both legs. At 30, he was diagnosed with kidney disease. He suffered immensely in life, but was never dejected. Instead he tried to rescue himself from his plights. “It was all for the world to be able to see a ray of light in that wheelchair-bound person tucked away in a garden some day, and for him to find a place in the world,” Poon wrote. In the end, Shi managed to find a bright spot for himself. With his pen, he set free his soul and found freedom for himself! Hopefully everyone can find a bright spot for themselves. As Nathan Law said: “Eddy Chu’s boundless energy, Gwyneth Ho’s ability to stay focused, Tiffany Yuen’s perseverance, Lester Shum’s indignation, Joshua Wong’s drive, Jannelle Leung’s righteousness and Sunny Cheung’s deep thinking represent the different good qualities of mankind. They also symbolize the energetic young generation’s imagination of the world and their devotion.” Let’s safeguard our strongholds, bring into play our qualities, transform our strengths into a drill made of steel and use it to smash the weighty wheel of the times to find a new world. I’m borrowing jailed activist Yeung Wing-yu’s idea here. Hopefully we will see each other again after we get better!

Tame the wolves and banish our fears

I came across an expression today: “Fear makes the wolf bigger than he is.” When one is overwhelmed by negative emotions, it feels like one is surrounded by a wolf pack and cannot escape from the siege. But this kind of wolf pack is different from wolves in the jungle. I don’t want to be devoured by it. I need to stay calm, lift myself from sadness and banish all the fears. Then the wolf pack will disappear. Add oil, everyone!

Ah Wan

After all the struggles, here is more hardship

All brothers and sisters in and outside prison,

This letter is for Joshua, Lester Shum, Auntie Mo (Claudia Mo), Gary Fan, and each and every one of you who is anonymous but whom I am thinking of. I worry about the health of Long Hair and the future of Professor Tai (Benny Tai). I wonder if Auntie Mo has gained weight. I’m thinking of the calmness of Cyd Ho and Lee Cheuk-yan who is always consistent in what he does. Reading the moving mitigation statement of Margaret No again left me feeling emotional. Hong Kong people are carrying a burden that is too heavy and having to make sacrifices that are too legion. Our parents had to cross mountains and the sea just to flee from hardship. Despite their tough life, they tried every means to help their compatriots in dire straits. In the small city of Hong Kong, they struggled for decades to make ends meet, only to experience more hardship. Those in power are giving young people a very difficult time, throwing to jail those who want to make contributions to society and forcing some of them to go into exile abroad. Is that what a country should do to its people?

So disappointing is all this that one is reduced to tears.

They can lock our activists, but they can’t lock our thoughts, nor can they stop the river of history from flowing. Anything that has been present cannot be eliminated.

I wish everyone well!

Ah Ying

Click here for Chinese version

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