The father of Wu Chi-wai (detained for his participation in the democratic primary election) passed away on April 13 at 92 years old. Wu Chi-wai was unable to be at the hospital for his passing, and was unsure, at the time, if he would be approved for bail to attend his funeral. At 5 a.m. on April 15, he wrote the letter “Father in Chi-wai’s eyes” in prison, and asked his wife to read it out loud at his father’s funeral.
Last week, Wu Chi-wai was granted permission to attend his father’s funeral. His original letter in Chinese had been uploaded to his Patreon (patreon.com/chiwaioffice ).
‘Father in Chi-wai’s eyes’
Father was born in the last century, in June of 1929. He had nine siblings, and was the youngest of all the boys. Born and raised in Thailand, he was a descendant of overseas Chinese. Although the family took refuge in Thailand, they never once forgot their motherland and her suffering. They always concerned themselves with the wellbeing of the motherland. Although they were in a safe place, they were constantly thinking of giving back to the motherland.
In the 1950s, Father responded to the call of rebuilding the country. Together with his second-eldest brother, eldest sister, and second-eldest sister, they returned to China to help with rebuilding. They were part of a generation that bore witness to the desperate history of the country. Waves and waves of political movements in China finally caught up to my father and landed him in jail. Thankfully, Mother worked very hard to get him out, and the two of them finally managed to leave this land which once prompted countless enthusiastic youths to leave their homes and return from abroad to help rebuild the country.
It took a few twists and turns, but my parents eventually arrived in Hong Kong in the 1960s. Breathing in the free air of this city, they contributed and experienced Hong Kong’s economic take-off. Despite having to squeeze in a tiny space on Lung Kong Road, Kowloon City, and living a hard life, they were living without fear, and Mother gave birth to me and my two younger sisters; however, the peaceful life ended amidst the riots. Worried that we would return to living in fear, Father decided to move the whole family back to Thailand. Yet times have changed, and it was not the same to return after one had departed. Father decided once again to move the family back to Hong Kong, and we settled down.
Father’s ancestral home was in Chao’an. He was a typical Chaozhou man – subjective, but family-oriented, hardworking, smart, and good with people and things. His only desire was to feed his family, yet life was full of twists and turns. When his children were young, life was not easy and relocation was a common occurrence for the family. It was not until 1980 when the family was finally allocated to the public housing in Shun Lee Estate, and our wandering and turbulent life was finally settled.
We struggled to make ends meet, but at least there was stability for the children’s growth, and plans for the future could be made. Although it was hard, Father would try his best to raise money to send the children to school. Not every one of his decision was perfect, but his children all managed to graduate, and subsequently establish their own families. Father no longer had to worry.
In his younger days, Father’s passion led him to misjudge situations, and his interest in politics got him locked up behind bars. He never forgot his belief in rebuilding the motherland and his wish to see the country prosper. These contributed to Father’s contradictory political views. Coupled with his own son’s choice to embark on the road of politics, there were always political controversies between the two of us. He was worried that his son would be caught in a political whirlpool.
I inherited my father’s passion. Father’s political experience is also replaying in my own life. For these reasons, as the eldest son, I cannot bid farewell to my own father. Although Father lived a life full of ups and downs, and had a temper that was just as volatile and impacted his relationship with his children, his dedication and care for the family and his wife was never in question.
Dearest Father, although I often argued with you, every single moment, I am reminded of how proud I am to be your son. I strive to learn from your best qualities in order to take on greater responsibilities, such that my inheritance of your passion will not be in vain. Dearest Father, it is truly an accumulation of many years of good fortune and good karma that you were able to depart peacefully and painlessly. Dearest Father, I bid you farewell. May everyone in the family be well.
Devoted Son, Wu Chi-wai
Written at 5 a.m., April 15, 2021, in Lai Chi Kok.
Click here for Chinese version
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