With current situation in my country, most of the time I devour between news articles and opinion pieces on current Myanmar affairs. I can’t read any fiction book. I also try to read about similar issues in other countries. A few days ago, I got my hands on Unfree Speech: The Threat to Global Democracy and Why We Must Act, Now by Joshua Wong.
The book comprises three parts. In the first part, Wong recounts how he got interested in politics in such young age and shares about his involvement in Scholarism and later in Umbrella Movement as well as the founding of Demosistō. The second part is his letters and journal entries he wrote during his imprisonment in 2017. Wong was sent to Correctional Institution as he wasn’t 21 at that time. It tells his daily life in there and his continuous effort to fight for the rights as a prisoner and also for the future of his beloved city, Hong Kong. In the final part, Wong shares about his concern on CCP’s scheme of transforming HK into just another city of China could harm the rights of every civilian not for the people of HK, also for the rests of the world.
Wong is an activist and politician whose name was introduced to international as the student leader and the Convenor of Scholarism, a group for Hong Kong’s education policy, political reform and youth policy. His pivotal role in the Umbrella Movement made him TIME magazine’s most influential teen of 2014 and got nominated for TIME’s person of the year. In 2017, he was nominated for the Noble Peace Prize for his tireless pursuit of the democratization for HK.
As a youth, Wong inquisitively and fearlessly ask for the civil rights, demands the adults to involve in the fight, challenges the authority. He warns the danger of CCP’s elongating hands reaching to the rests of the world. He encourages others and pleads the remaining oblivious people that solidarity is the key answer in this important time. He signals that Hong Kong is not alone in the awakening of civil society in the face of political authoritarianism.
Inundated by the current issues in my country, I couldn’t pick any book for this whole month. This book somehow helped me get out from the chasm of reading slump. It is such an important read.
A week ago, I watched the 2017 documentary about him, Joshua: Teenager vs Superpower. The film covers his work before his first incarceration in 2017. The book is more in details about his life, both his political and religion beliefs. Apart from news and a handful of articles on the Umbrella Movement, I haven’t read anything that attributes so powerful and insightful like this book. While reading his views, I tried to reflect and analyse what is currently happening in my country and what had happened in the past. Then I continue to think how the people of Myanmar reacted in the past and the way they act right now. It’s sickening how the notorious Myanmar Military treats its civilians is sickening. And I’m not doubting my own people. I’m just asking myself how I can act on this and trying to challenge myself more in the future.