The November 12 clashes at the Chinese University of Hong Kong: An eyewitness view

The November 12 clashes at the Chinese University of Hong Kong: An eyewitness view

The November 12 clashes at the Chinese University of Hong Kong: An eyewitness view

Lokman Tsui is an Assistant Professor at the School of Journalism and Communication at Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUKH). This story is an altered rendition of a post distributed by Lokman on Facebook, demonstrating the veracity of the occasions encompassing the conflict between understudy activists and police on the CUHK grounds on Tuesday, November 12. 

On Tuesday, November 12, I should instruct my undergrad morning class, "improvement of mass correspondence," yet classes were altogether suspended in view of the fights. 

As I compose this, I am sitting in my office. It's 9am Hong Kong time on November 13. I've quite recently brushed my teeth, washed my face, and got myself some tea. Indeed, I rested in my office, on the love seat. My body feels somewhat firm and tired, and it helps me to remember the days I'd go out clubbing until dawn—with the exception of obviously I am not so youthful any longer, nor was I precisely moving the previous evening. 

I shouldn't whine, in light of the fact that at any rate I had a lounge chair to rest on. I don't have the foggiest idea what number of understudies rested outside the previous evening, yet when I left, around 3am, many were still outside working the inventory lines, truly keeping an eye on everything. 

The day of November 12 was totally nuts. 

It began with the 11am question and answer session in which I took an interest. In "ordinary" times, prosecuting the Department of Justice over an order looking to edit online discourse would be newsworthy. Be that as it may, yesterday, just a sprinkling of columnists were available. The meeting was live-gushed on the news gateway HK01, and it got inclusion from Apple, RTHK radio, Unwire and some others. Yet, on a day like yesterday, this was not news—and justifiably thus, with everything else that was occurring. 

After the public interview, which was held in the Legislative Council Building, I searched for a spot to plunk down and quiet my nerves. I was strolling towards Central area. It was nearly lunch hour; for the second day straight, office laborers were turning out to challenge the Hong Kong government and the police. Before Louis Vuitton, individuals wearing suits and high heels were attempting to possess the street, yelling trademarks. Some were stooping to use blocks so we could utilize them as barriers. Others remained on the sky connect looking down at us, and many were hollering at them to descend and go along with us, this isn't a film. 

Eventually, five secondary school young ladies appeared, unmistakably energized. They began yelling trademarks and the remainder of the group stuck to this same pattern. At that point individuals from the press began shooting the high-schoolers—improperly, all things considered a record could frequent them later. The young ladies laughed with shame from the start, at that point moved away; yet the picture takers tailed them. At last, a few of us took out our umbrellas and protected the young ladies. We held our umbrellas up for some time until my arm began getting sore. I advised the young ladies to recall not to disregard their examinations (when did I become this individual?), and we headed out in our own direction. 

As 2pm approached individuals started withdrawing. The lunch break was finished. Just minutes prior, we'd been remaining steadfast, looking down the police, at that point suddenly "reality" kicks in, and the time has come to return to the workplace. I got myself some nourishment and headed home. 

That was the point at which I started seeing film of the scenes at Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK)— the college where I educate. A portion of my understudies were tweeting things like "where is the college president, where is, where are the instructors?!" I felt horrendous. As I reacted to companions who were inquiring as to whether I was alright, I chose, screw it—I'm going to grounds. 

Be that as it may, how? I'm in Sheung San, Hong Kong Island, and my college is in Shatin in the New Territories, some separation away. Traffic is upset. At that point a companion offers me a ride. We get a few others en route, and, with the vehicle stacked, we are off on our approach to CUHK, talking en route about the individuals we realize who have been captured. 

The congested driving conditions is enormous, incompletely on account of barriers by nonconformists or police, and halfway on the grounds that it appears to be a gigantic piece of Hong Kong is preparing to go to CUHK to assist. At one point we can't drive any further as the street is obstructed by individuals and vehicles all attempting to empty and disseminate materials, protective caps, water, and so on. "It would be ideal if you help move stuff, this poo is overwhelming!" somebody hollers. I volunteer. I'm given a major box containing hard caps. 

At the point when I go to the college via vehicle it generally takes possibly a couple of moments through the Tai Po open street. The street is any longer on the off chance that you need to walk it, and it feels significantly more on the off chance that you are conveying a major box of hard caps. At the point when I at long last arrive at an inventory point I hand over my container, soothed. Where to now? I know the grounds, yet the reports on the circumstance are evolving quick. I start strolling towards where I figure a great many people would be. 

Everything from that point onward, the remainder of the night, is somewhat of a haze. 

I saw a few companions who remembered me regardless of my protective cap, goggles and face cover. Minutes like these are extremely significant. Where we state to one another, yes I am here as well, truly, we are in this together. You feel the solidarity so clearly thus profoundly. We are here in body. We utilize our hands and arms and feet to help one another. 

Understudies were caught up with conveying nourishment. Some were dealing with the stockpile line. Others were detailing, but then others attempting to intercede between the various gatherings. 

Amidst this, I am moving stuff, while attempting to monitor companions to ensure they're alright. And at the same time my iPhone is being besieged with messages from companions close and far. I am happy with telling the dearest companions them where I am, however I attempt to not say excessively, in case they stress. 

I don't care for telling individuals where I am going and what I am doing at the fights. I am only one of the individuals. I am simply doing my bit to help, and I frequently feel I don't do what's necessary. I'm likewise cautious about who I share this data with, in light of the fact that this stuff is delicate, particularly nowadays in Hong Kong. 

In any case, I additionally need my understudies to realize I am there for them. I experienced childhood in a family where psychological mistreatment was overflowing and I am as yet grappling with that. Some portion of that misuse had to do with enthusiastic (and physical) nonappearance. This is a more drawn out story, obviously, however it discloses why it's critical to me that my understudies realize I am there for them. 

A couple of more minutes that stood apart for me: 

As the water gun hits the cutting edge, many need to withdraw, remove their garments, and recuperate. "Water" gun isn't exactly precise: the "water" isn't just colored yet in addition bound with some poisonous compound (most likely nerve gas) that makes your skin feel like it's ablaze. I am taking a break at the arena, as the understudies turn on the sprinkler and an enormous water party breaks out. It's a concise minute wherein you're reminded that these are kids, all things considered. Amidst it, the medical aid team is shouting for shirts and towels. I'd carried two shirts with me, and a few towels, and give them everywhere. 

Douglas Adams wrote in his most well known novel that a towel is one of the most valuable things you can keep on your individual, and it's valid. With a wet towel held against your mouth, you can ensure yourself against nerve gas. A towel will keep you warm on a virus night, and you can utilize it as a cover when you rest. You can wash with it, or crease it and use it as a cushion. Also, wave it to motion toward somebody that you are here and not there. Towels are love, towels are life. Towels are profoundly misjudged. 

Another minute that left an impact on me: I'm was remaining on Bridge Two, where most of the move made place before that day, viewing the college administration, together with two administrators, arrange an arrangement with the understudies. The college initiative is recommending they retreat, saying that the police guaranteed they would not return, and that the college security group would ensure the extension. 

What gives me some expectation is that the understudies over and again give the authority chances to talk, and they tune in. Obviously, the guidance to withdraw isn't actually powerful and the police have just broken a few guarantees that day alone. Also, can they truly rely upon the security group that has vanished in the course of the most recent two days? (Despite the fact that to be reasonable for them, I don't think they pursued this). 

At the point when you see media reports you for the most part observe the savagery, the vandalism, the turmoil. Once in a while the solidarity, or that we are here to secure our home and ensure one another. That we will not withdraw despite suppression and ruthlessness. That we may not generally get things right, however that we in any event attempt. What's more, that up until this point, we have been gaining from our missteps. What's more, that we trust the remainder of the world doesn't commit similar errors yet gains from our experience. 

In 2017 I expounded on why I needed to remain in Hong Kong. 

"Is there a future here?" Well, we should not overlook what's to come is open. It isn't unchangeable. We don't have the foggiest idea what will occur. Also, along these lines, there is trust. As Leonard Cohen stated, "there is a split in all things, that is the manner by which the light gets in." 

I am appreciative Hong Kong is (still generally) free. I will battle to ensure Hong Kong remains free, turns out to be all the more free. I likewise accept there is a lot of we can gain from Hong Kong, that Hong Kong has a basic influence in the bigger battle for opportunity all around. That is the reason I am in Hong Kong. That is the reason I need to remain here. 

It's November 2019, and I am here. This is my home. These are my companions, partners, understudies. 

Remain solid, remain safe, and be occupied with the way that sounds good to you.