Sunday, June 05, 2011
June 4 Candlelight Vigil
On our way to the Candlelight Vigil, we heard from our friends who were already there that the grounds were filling up. We could not find out whether it was full already, and were worried that we might not be able to get in. On the one hand, it was encouraging to hear that a lot of people were attending. On the other hand, it would have been disappointing for our group, particularly those who were looking forward to attending for the first time. When we came out of the MTR station in Causeway Bay around 7:45PM, the streets were crowded with people moving in the direction of Victoria Park.
We decided to move in the direction of the football fields. When we saw that the crowd was moving forward, even though it was slow, we felt encouraged. Finally, after an apparent eternity, we entered the last football field, and sat down at a spot where we could see the stage, albeit from a great distance. 5 minutes after we settled down, the last football field was full. It was not yet 8 o’clock. Later, we heard that people were filling out the lawn, and the basketball fields. Many on the street could not get in because of the roadblocks and detours.
For the first time, Szeto Wah was not there in person. But he still appeared in a pre-recorded video. He did not live to see the massacre rectified. Will we? I don’t really know. I hope we do. But even if I don’t, I will continue to come because it is the right thing to do. I believe many people feel the same way.
For many years, it was older folks like me who attended, people who watched the events unfold, who were hopeful, worried, and then disgusted at the massacre. For many years, we did not fill up the 6 football fields. And we worried that as our generation die out, lose hope or interest, there might not be enough of us to sustain a credible remembrance.
It is therefore heartening to see so many young people showing up. Not the least the young people from our church. Many of them were not even born in 1989, or too young to have understood what happened. In them there is hope for the future. The generation of 1989 was not alone, nor unique in the history of China. They did not start the movement towards a more modern and open China that treasure the universal rights of human beings. Nor will the movement end with them. In remembering what happened on June 4, 1989, we are carrying the torch forward.
Then there were those from mainland China. Some, like my former student, were from the mainland, but are now living in Hong Kong. And there were many who came specifically to remember the event. Hong Kong can be proud to be again playing a significant role in the opening of China.
Eventually, and hopeful, we will also come to realize that the foundation of respect for human beings is knowledge of and faith in God, the creator of the universe. Without Him, there is no basis for true respect, compassion and love for each other.