As I type this in a part of the world where people are debating the legitimacy of pumpkin spice lattes (they’re nasty—you’re welcome), teen activists are waking up on highways in Hong Kong. The fifth day of the Occupy Central pro-democracy protests has begun. There, it’s the morning of October 1 (time zones? time travel) and mainland China’s National Day, which could spell a turning point for the Umbrella Revolution.
The protests hit close to home. Literally. You can read about my ties to H.K. in “King of Kowloon” and “Pearl,” but, in a nutshell (and in my bio), I am the American-born only child of Hong Kong immigrants. I often wonder what my life would be like—what I would be like—if my parents didn’t have to come to the U.S. (Perhaps I often hear Hong Kong calling to me because, in an infinite expanse of parallel universes, I am already there.)
One of my uncles in Hong Kong is a former schoolteacher. My cousins there are all students, much like the young revolutionaries galvanizing the movement. When I look at photos and watch videos of the protestors, I see brothers and sisters. I see myself.
Unsurprisingly, artists have been creating a lot of powerful images (a few of my favorites embedded above). Revolution inspires art, and art inspires revolution.