Security law: An attempt to erase the memory of Hong Kong as it really was

In Yoko Ogawa’s novel The Memory Police, a new government takes over a small island off the coast of Japan and begins to remove objects from its residents’ memories. 

First, the residents must bring out a chosen item from their possessions and destroy it by killing, burning, burying, or discarding it in the rivers and oceans. Then, as time goes on, the people’s ability to remember begins to fade, until all is forgotten.

The chosen items start off mundane – such as bells, perfume, emeralds, and birds – but eventually grows to newspapers, televisions, and the ferry that takes people from the island to the mainland. 

Continue reading.

The way forward for a ‘humbly listening’ Hong Kong gov’t: an inquiry and amnesty for both sides.

Unsure of what defined a police state, I researched the answer. It seems there isn’t an agreed checklist or a threshold upon which a territory becomes a police state. The general agreement is that it is a place in which its government relies on the police to rule, rather than exercising its power through legal and political means – instead, using law enforcement, or secret police to stifle the opposition’s opinions and actions.

Refusing to approve planned peaceful protests, or tear-gassing demonstrations during sanctioned gatherings, ignoring acts of police brutality – as the Hong Kong government and police top brass have done – are undoubtedly indicative of a police state.

Refusing to approve planned peaceful protests, or tear-gassing demonstrations during sanctioned gatherings, ignoring acts of police brutality – as the Hong Kong government and police top brass have done – are undoubtedly indicative of a police state.

In a secretly taped recording of a closed-door meeting with business people, published by Reuters, Lam admitted that “all she has is the police” and, in fact, her government was “the weakest link.” In this confession, abdicating responsibility to govern and admitting that she relies on the police to maintain legitimacy is a policy that unquestionably contributes to, or indeed makes Hong Kong a police state.

In fact, police have taken on the role many militaries have historically filled in dictatorships across the world. As author Gerry Spence wrote in his book “Police State“: “… when the police become the military, then the people become the enemy.”



Fiction: Once, I Saw an Elephant.

We stood at the taxi stand before day-break as the lower part of the sky began to lighten. As the white mist burnt away, the buildings across the harbor began to show themselves as night became day. The sounds of early morning surrounded us—the sparse whoosh of passing cars with long intervals in-between. The beeping of rubbish trucks as they backed towards the rubbish bins. The rustle of newspapers as the men who ran the newsstands assembled and folded them up.

I rested on Tai-Men’s shoulders as we stood at the front of the taxi line. The morning air made us shiver even if it wasn’t that cold. The heat from the club had saturated us through the hours of dancing until dawn. We didn’t speak. In our silence we shared the knowledge that we must be home before our parents woke up so they didn’t discover we had snuck out the night before.

The other tightly packed bars and clubs began to close as well, and the patrons spilled out and headed towards the taxi queue as well. Most of them were western men, wearing crumpled collared shirts. They looked like a blur of thinning hair, punch stomachs, and wrinkles deepened by a night of drinking. Young Filipino women, attired provocatively, accompanied some them. Those men I knew, were the same men we saw in the business districts wearing suits and respectability, or playing tennis at the LRC exposing their rarefied existence in the last British colony of Hong Kong. My boyfriend and I, happened to be there because police didn’t like raves, so clandestine promoters held them at the red light district where the bar owners and the police had an understanding—the former not being too open with their girls, while the latter didn’t look too hard— and in-between DJs and electronic music slipped unobtrusively in the middle of it all.

“Don’t move,” I said to Tai-Men. “Don’t speak.” I slid behind him and turned him towards me, so his back faced the end of the queue.

“What’s going on?” he whispered. I furtively glanced behind him, and he quickly figured out we needed to hide from someone. “Who is it?”


Read More @ Five on the Fifth

Door - A Short Story.

“Door” is an excerpt from a trilogy of novels set in Hong Kong. The novels span the 50 years between the regime change between Britain and China in 1997 and when Hong Kong becomes fully integrated into the Chinese Communist Party’s totalitarian state. This story is set in today’s Hong Kong Resistance which started in June 2019 and continues to the present.”


"The next morning, I called someone to fix the door. An old sifu, with two young men arrived.

“I’ve been fixing a lot of doors,” the man said, with resignation in his voice. “There are so many doors being broken these days.”

I nodded at him, understanding his coded message. He knew.

After putting in the new door, I asked him how much. He pushed my wallet towards me. “Ng sai bei chin,” he said.

I insisted, at least let me pay for the door, even if he didn’t let me pay for his services. He said again, “No need to pay.” I took out some cash, and tried to tip the young men who helped him.

They both shook their heads. As they started to leave, one of the young men looked around as if wary someone might hear. When he saw no one, he spoke to me.

“Gwon fok Heung Kong,” he said. “Liberate Hong Kong.”"


Full Story. 

It’s #MeToo and all of us: Hongkongers will not accept oppression, subjugation or sexual violence

This op-ed contains descriptions of sexual violence.
Sexual violence in prisons around the world is commonplace and often not reported. Under these extreme conditions, women are particularly vulnerable. Cases of gang rape, sexual torture and humiliation in mainland Chinese jails have been well recorded by human rights groups. Amnesty has reported that sexual abuse has been practised against Uighur women in Xinjiang, nuns in Tibet, and Falun Gong practitioners, male and female, across the country. According to the NGO International Society for Human Rights, female detainees have been sexually abused either by police or prison guards, such as being stripped naked and thrown into cells with male inmates. Yin Liping testified before a US congressional committee in 2016, saying that after she was jailed for her religious beliefs, she and another woman were thrown in a cell with four to five male inmates who were told they could do whatever they wanted to them without consequences. Yin said she was beaten unconscious and gang-raped by the men.

What is White Terror? The slipping of norms in Hong Kong’s flawed democracy

"Until recently, Hong Kong had all the norms and a limited election system, which according to the Economist, made us a “flawed democracy.” The same category which the US is in. In fact, some scholars have suggested that the only place that has ever had unlimited freedoms but not a directly elected leadership is indeed our city — both under colonial rule and the SAR under the Basic Law.

But the undemocratic norms have been appearing in all sectors of society. Government organisations that should be neutral have become politicised. The business sector has been pressured to police their employees’ freedom of thought and the public’s ability to gather. Even illegal organisations such as gangs have been used to threaten the general public.

This is what is referred to in Hong Kong as “white terror.” A systematic attack on the norms without always directly dismantling the Basic Law. It is feared, with the implementation of white terror, totalitarianism will emerge from the background without the Chinese government ever having to send in the People’s Liberation Army."


Hong Kong’s last stand? A gallant battle in the face of unspeakable sacrifice and overwhelming odds

Watching another press-conference with Chief Exec Carrie Lam, made me really frustrated and sad. It made me think we would not succeed, but I believed in our dignity. 

It seems more and more likely and Hong Kong people are increasingly aware of it. This Resistance is no longer about fighting the extradition bill, or for the Five Demands. What it is now, is an all-encompassing protest movement against simply not just encroachment but becoming fully a part of China. It is making people desperate, it’s pushing people to violence, as in many other moments in history.

There have always been groups of people who eventually lost but stood their ground in the meantime. The Lake of Blood in Ecuador against the Spanish, the Warsaw Uprising against the Nazis, the Battle of Shanghai against the Japanese, the Prague Spring in Czechoslovakia against the Soviets, and recently the Ukrainians against the Russians in Crimea.

Those people despite knowing that they were facing a superior military power, remained steadfast in their beliefs, in their identity and their dignity.

Hong Kong's Last Stand? 

Fiction: Falling

This is an excerpt of my novel published in Gravel Magazine 


While standing on the roof of the 20 story building where I lived, I looked across the harbor from Hong Kong Island to Kowloon and studied the hill facing me. In English, we called it “Lion Rock,” and in Cantonese “Lion Mountain,” because the top of the hill was shaped like a lounging wild cat, and the greenery growing among the granite rocks made up the mane. 

I leaned over the perimeter wall and experienced the vertigo of staring straight down to the ground so far below. It was dizzying to look down, so high up in the sky, my body reacting to the dangers of an accidental fall. I moved backwards away from the edge and continued to wait for my friend Kai-Yuen and even though he was the one who asked to meet on the roof, he had really taken his time. 

I felt so unsettled at the thought of seeing him. It had started a few months ago when I first noticed something growing on his face that had never occurred to me he would have. “You have stubble,” I said, peering closer. A subtle covering of facial hair had appeared on his face. I had reached up to touch it and it pricked my fingers, which surprised me as I had assumed it would be soft like the hair on his head. 

“Get off me!” he said, swatting my hand away quickly.

“No, let me look!” I had slapped his hand back, and reached for his face again, petting him like a small delicate animal at a zoo exhibit. My fingers had wandered over to his lips. I had pressed on it lightly, and I felt a shock of static zap my fingers, but instead of pulling away, my fingers had melted like glue and I had felt stuck to him. We had started breathing in time. 

“What are you doing?” he had finally said, “Stop touching my face!” I noticed his voice had deepened.  

I had stepped back but found I could no longer look into his eyes; not like before when I had thought nothing of staring at him.

After that, everything had felt awkward. When had I hugged him, my growing breasts managed to get in the way, when I linked arms with him walking home from school, I had to avoid brushing up against his thighs. Resting my head on his shoulders, once a matter of course, had become imbued with meaning.

“Wei!” I heard him yell, and when I saw him, he was all the way across the other side of the roof.  

“Kai-Yuen!” I shouted back, excited to see him.

He leapt in the air then ran towards me. I stepped forward to greet him but he ran past me, changed direction and went straight towards the side of the building. When he got to the perimeter wall, he pushed himself up with one hand and vaulted over into the sheer drop. 

“Oh my god! Noooooo.” I screamed. Was he dead? There was nothing between him and the ground below. I kept screaming, my hands covered my head, my legs crumbled and I knelt on the concrete. He hadn’t given me any indications he hated life. He had always seemed happy and confident in school, had a lot of friends. We were Scout and Dill. How could he? I couldn’t bring myself to run over and look down. If I did, what would I see? 

I stared at the wall where he jumped. 

He popped up.

Perfectly intact. 

“Surprise” he said, with a big grin.

He hadn’t fallen into the air but landed on a platform on the other side of the wall, that extended the roof.

He carefully climbed back to safety. He convulsed with laughter, pointed at me and wiped away his tears. The word “guffawed,” came to mind, its meaning until then had always confounded me.

“I hate you!” I screamed. “Whats wrong with you?”

“I just wanted to see your face.”

“I really thought you had died, and you left a mess for us to clean up.”

He cackled again.

“What’s so funny?” I said completely indignant.

“Just the way you said it.”


“It’s true, it would be disgusting and some poor person would have to clean you up.” I felt embarrassed by my response, and hated him laughing at me. I raised my voice. “You didn’t think of that person did you?”


“I didn’t plan jumping. I wouldn’t be falling down 20 floors.”


“You’re so inconsiderate.”


Kai-Yuen laughed again.

Hearing his laughter reverberating in my head that mixed with the left-over adrenaline continuing to swell and retreat. Unable to express myself, I reverted back to being ten. I ran towards him and tackled him to the ground.

His arm looped around my waist and brought me down with him. I got up quickly, straddled him and began to hit him as hard as I could. Rocking his body like a boxer trying to deflect my blows, he said, “Argh! What are you doing?” He grabbed my wrists and twisted my arms behind my back. It hurt, but I didn’t let him know. “Okay, okay, stop now.” He let me go.

I decided that the game was over too and calmed down.

“Don’t die on me please,” I said.

“Why would I?” he replied. He put out his hands and I placed my palms onto his. Then he bent his fingers forward holding onto my hand. I felt my thighs tighten against his torso.

For a short moment it felt like everything was what it had always been: we would play fight and things would reach equilibrium.

Yet, as I felt us breathing in time, I knew it would be the last time we would do that.

A cloud shaded the sun and we sat in the path of the shadow.

I found myself gazing into his eyes, for the first time in months.



Hong Kong’s third generation of democracy fighters are not just rioters, they are last line of resistance

I wrote this piece to explain the factors that created the more confrontational protesters that have appeared. It covers briefly the 30 years of democratic movement in Hong Kong. 

Over social media it had nearly 1000 likes and was shared over 500 times. I'm really proud of this piece. 

It’s easy to dismiss this generation for being naive. For being reckless. That with their anger and actions, they are bringing the end of Hong Kong closer than it would have come if they just left it alone. But expecting them to stop by chastising them would be as effective as those who were there that early morning. Why should they listen? The criticism is mostly coming from people they despise or from those whose lack of success has directly influenced their mentality. After all, they know they cannot leave the cause of the resistance undone. Theirs is the last generation to fight for Hong Kong’s freedoms. There is no leaving it to the next, because it’s their children who will be silenced.

Hong Kong’s third generation of democracy fighters are not just rioters, they are last line of resistance

The Day When Hong Kong Protesters Stormed the Parliament.

I wrote this after the 22nd anniversary of the "Handover" when a group of protesters stormed the parliament. Hong Kong Free Press

For those versed in resistance movements, the storming of the parliament would not be shocking or surprising. Breaking into the chambers of power—a symbolic take-over of the people from the elites—has been used countless times in many different circumstances. 

The escalation of civil disobedience is common when the government does not heed public sentiment expressed by peaceful protests. The Umbrella Movement lasted an uneventful 79 days without achieving free elections of our leader. Two million people marched, according to the organisers—which meant over one in four of the population and the government still did not withdraw the extradition bill. Facing constant refusal, there will always be a tiny fraction of the population to radicalise: the Antifa which broke away from the Women’s March after President Trump’s election, an Agit Singh to a Gandhi, or a Malcolm X to a Martin Luther King. This process was succinctly described by the statement graffitied outside LegCo in Cantonese: “It is you who taught me that peaceful protests don’t work.”

Being polite and respectful is not an indicator of how worthy Hongkongers’ causes are

When six million Hongkongers were handed over by their colonists to a totalitarian regime

The Column I wrote for the 22nd anniversary for the "handover" of Hong Kong from British rule to Chinese rule. 

"Today is the 22nd anniversary of the “handover” of six million people by their colonists to a totalitarian regime. Although this sentence might make people uncomfortable, it is what happened on this day, and no amount of politeness can make this fact go away....

One may see this day as the end of 155 years of humiliating colonisation, a sad day as the sun finally set on the British Empire, or a grave violation of human rights. But beyond dispute, this is the day the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China was created. On this day, the former colony turned into a semi-autonomous city-state within the great expanse of the once-communist PRC."

When six million Hongkongers were handed over by their colonists to a totalitarian regime

Carrie Lam compares Hongkongers to children as a tactic to disenfranchise.

My first column for Hong Kong Free Press 

"[Chief Executive Carrie] Lam isn’t speaking just from a place of hubris. Political leaders calling the people they rule “children” taps into a long and oft used tactic to disenfranchise people. Women were denied the vote because men said they did not have the logic to interact with the wider world and should thus be relegated to the home along with the children. Black men in the US and South Africa were called “boys” by whites to remind them of their subservient status. Europeans justified colonising other parts of the world because the inhabitants were “primitive” and “childlike.” Philosopher Herbert Spencer, who coined the term “survival of the fittest,” wrote “the intellectual traits of the uncivilised… are traits recurring in the children of the civilised.”

Carrie Lam compares Hongkongers to children as a tactic to disenfranchise.


Fiction: Stop at Red

This is an excerpt of a novel that's set in LA, I've been working on as well. This is published by Great Weather For Media

"Wan Yi stood in a lack dress and stiletto heels, outside the Viper Room in Hollywood at the exact spot where the actor River Phoenix died of an overdose. As a teenager she had been heart broken, but it seemed silly in retrospect to be sad over an actor since had found out how complicated life actually was. She leaned against the black wall with the club's logo stenciled in white paint: a silhouette of a woman with perky breast wearing a top hat, smoking a cigarette, and from waist down having the body of a snake."

Read More 

Buy on Amazon

Suitcase of Chrysanthemums. 

Fiction: Consumed.

Here is an excerpt of my novel published in "Ordinary Madness Vol. 2" by Weasel Press

I tasted the flavor of his mouth, I predicted the temperature of his body when we went to bed, knew it would get hotter as he slept, and learned the hour it cooled as we reached dawn. I could conjure up the curve of his shoulders, the width of his waist, the hardness of his thighs. I lusted after him when I caught a glimpse of his chest through the second and third button of his school shirt he’d slightly outgrown.

Read More

Download Ebook. (I'm on page 17)

McKinsey Point: That Day My Friend Saved My Life

A very old friend got in touch with me. One of my favourite people in the world. I remembered the day he saved me. A fun essay I wrote about that day. Published in Animal Literary Magazine

Of all my dive stories, however, his favorite is the one where Karl saved my life or at least saved me from the possibility of anaphylactic shock, which would cause my airways to constrict until my body suffocated itself. It’s possible I wouldn’t have reacted that way to the venom, but thanks to Karl, I didn’t have to find out, especially since there was no hospital on the Honduran island we lived, only a clinic with the most basic of supplies.

McKinsey Point